28 June 2019
Dunes at Menie golf course may lose protected status
The dunes on the Trump International Golf Course on Menie Estate may lose their status as a nationally important protected wildlife site, after consideration of the scientific evidence by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
Today marks the beginning of a three-month formal consultation on the future status of Foveran Links Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The dunes at Menie form part of this SSSI. Construction of the golf course has affected protected sand dunes severely, according to a report published today by SNH.
Sally Thomas, SNH’s Director of People & Nature, said:
“The denotification of SSSIs is unusual, however in this case we have found there is no longer a reason to protect the dunes at Menie as they do not include enough of the special, natural features for which they were designated.
“We work with developers across Scotland to ensure habitats and wildlife are protected when development work is undertaken. Most of the time, development can take place without damaging important natural features, but this was not the case in this instance.”
The Menie section of the Foveran SSSI comprised a range of special habitats, of which approximately one-third have been damaged. The remainder of the habitats in the Menie area have been significantly fragmented, and ecological processes disrupted. A total dune habitat of 154 ha was designated as part of the Foveran SSSI. The combined loss and damage at Menie represents 15% of this dune habitat.
Foveran Links SSSI was a very high quality example of a sand dune system characteristic of north east Scotland, and was of exceptional importance for the wide variety of coastal landforms and processes. The site’s notified features included its dune habitats, especially the dune slacks and pasture, and the geomorphological interest of its sand dune system, due especially to its dynamic nature.
Subject to the outcome of a formal consultation beginning today and lasting three months, the remaining SSSI at Foveran Links will be merged with the adjacent Sands of Forvie and Ythan Estuary SSSI.