Wed 15 Jan, 2020

Scotland’s wetland wildlife is at risk because of inadequate protection from the Scottish Government, the Scottish Greens have warned.

Wetlands account for 10% of the UK’s biodiversity, including some of the rarest species, but the Scottish Government has insisted they are protected by the Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designation.

However, the loss of that status in Aberdeenshire after Donald Trump’s golf course was built shows that protection to be inadequate, while a decision on the proposal for another golf course at vital wetlands Coul Links in Sutherland has not been taken, despite ministers calling the case in over 18 months ago.

Speaking ahead of his debate in the Scottish Parliament today, Scottish Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands John Finnie said: “Salt marshes, wet woodlands, marshes and fens are an important part of Scotland’s landscape. They are home to unique plants, birds and animals and are where Scotland can grow carbon-storing peat.

“If designations like SSSI are to actually mean something, then sites like Coul Links should never be considered for developers. A protective status should mean more to a planning application than a tick-box exercise. Development should not have to compete with our environment at every turn, and it wouldn’t if Scotland’s biodiversity was awarded some watertight protection.”

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