"This site is one of the most important in the Moray Firth area." 

- conclusion from 2001 Scottish National Heritage report

The type of dune slack (wetland) found at Coul Links is confined in the UK to Scotland. Scotland has just 500 km2 of dune and machair habitats. Of these  Coul is by far the finest and an important part of the Loch Fleet SSSI.  

The dune habitat has almost no invasive alien species, is varied and, in some cases, rare.  The magnificent winter lock extends for more than a kilometre in length and floods up to half a metre for six months of the year. In the summer it supports a large spread of scented meadowsweet.

David Patterson, Scottish National Heritage’s Operations Officer for the North Highland Area, said the proposal is likely to have "a significant effect"on the Loch Fleet Special Protected Area.

He stated: "It has the potential to result in wetland habitat loss...which may be used by SPA waterfowl, and could result in significant disturbance to SPA birds," Read the SNH citation here

Mr Paterson added: "The environmental impacts on this protected area are likely to be significant. Further assessment will be required on the level of impact to sand dune habitats."

We will be working with SNH, the  Scottish Government, Local, National and International Charities to fight this destruction.

​Click below to read about just one of the many animals at risk from the development. 


Dr Tom Dargie lives close to Coul. In late summer 1994 he was commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage to complete a full vegetation survey of all dune and machair. This took 6 years. 

​Tom found the area, including Coul Links, to be 

"an outstanding dune system on several grounds including plant species diversity and rare vegetation"

The reports are  here and here and a map here shows the huge area and its impact on the wildlife and habitats. You will see that almost all of the development is within the SSSI/SPA/Ramsar boundaries. This data shows the sheer scale and the devastating effect the proposed golf course and infrastructure would bring.  

Other useful articles, SSSI documents and ecological studies for Loch Fleet and Embo are included below. 

The Story of Loch Fleet 
Managing SSSI areas
The Loch Fleet SSSI map

Please send us any more information to info@notcoul.com