Within a few days of work commencing on Donald Trump’s controversial Scottish golf resort – Aberdeenshire Council has granted permission for work between now and next March to stabilise the Menie sand dunes and the beach – the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) has described the news as ‘a great setback’.
This is in sharp contract to the story about Machrihanish Dunes published yesterday on GBN in which Roseanna Cunningham, Scotland’s Minister of the Environment, praised the recently opened Machrihanish Dunes as a good example “where entrepreneurship does not have to be at the cost of the environment”.
Jonathan Smith, CEO of the Golf Environment Organisation, an international non government body that is working positively in golf to support the industries performance and its reputation expressed his perspective: “The Trump project has broken ground. One of Europe’s most significant mobile sand sheets will now be dressed in hessian and grassed over – all in the name of golf…. and housing.
“This is a great setback. After all that golf has done for the protection of Scotland’s coastline over the last 250 years, we now witness a high profile golf development being responsible for the damage of one of the countries most valuable sand dune ecosystems.
“The game has generally evolved with the coastal environment, has certainly protected strips of links land from harder forms of development, and could widely be considered to have done more to enhance the Scottish coastal landscape than detract from it.
“However, with modern day levels of public awareness and scientific understanding of the fundamental physical, psychological and cultural value of intact and functioning ecosystems, combined with the increasing rarity of such sites, the move to stabilise the most sensitive Menie Estate sand dunes goes firmly against the grain.
“Unfortunately, the original decision by the Scottish government has paved the way for the destruction of a priority ecosystem. The question remains, why isn’t the Trump project being acclaimed for protecting the sites natural and cultural assets and using modern day capabilities to rejuvenate the degraded parts of the land?”
Turning off the ‘heart beat’ of the system
Professor Paul Rooney of Liverpool Hope University, one of Europe’s foremost sand dune experts and GEO Advisory Council member adds: “The start of works by the Trump organisation to stabilise dunes at Menie links marks a sad day for our golf and natural heritage.
“Lovers of the true spirit of links golf and dune conservationists both share a passion for raw and living dune landscapes. True links golf treads lightly upon the dunes. The stabilisation work at Menie links does not do this. They will start to drain the mobility out of this naturally dynamic dunes and will begin to turn off the heart beat of the system.
“Of course, the work is technically possible, and the dunes will be stabilised if enough effort and resources are applied, but this is neither a good thing nor the right thing for golf and the environment.”
Golf Environment Organisation www.golfenvironment.org
Trump International Golf Club www.trumpgolfscotland.com