Ancient Scottish Dunes May Lose Protection Due to Trump Golf Course

Before the Trump International Golf Links course was built a decade ago on part of Foveran Links in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, these 4,000-year-old sand dunes were considered one of the finest examples of a mobile sand dune system in the United Kingdom.

But flash forward to 2017, and you can probably guess what has happened there. The environmental damage and loss of habitat due to the construction of the golf course likely means Foveran Links could lose its special conservation status as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) — and thus be subject to further destruction.

“It’s been ruined from a virgin undeveloped wilderness site into something that’s relatively manicured,” Dr. Jim Hansom, a geomorphologist from Glasgow University, says in the new BBC documentary, “Donald Trump: Scotland’s President,” according to BBC News. Hansom says he’d be “absolutely surprised” if Foveran Links doesn’t lose its SSSI status, since the features that gave it that legal protection have been destroyed.

Environmentalists had predicted this would happen and objected to the golf course. Over 3,000 Care2 members signed a petition opposing it. Nevertheless, the Scottish government decided the golf course’s economic value was more important than its environmental impact. After all, Donald Trump had promised Alex Salmond, the first minister at the time, that up to 6,000 jobs would be created, thanks to the construction of a golf course, five-star resort, sports complex and more.

Almost 10 years later, just 150 jobs have been created with the construction of the 18-hole golf course (that’s only open seven months out of the year and has been losing millions of dollars), a practice range and a small clubhouse. A former manor house was converted into a 16-room boutique hotel. “The people who were putting it forward did not live up and honor the agreements they made to the Scottish people,” Salmond now says in the documentary.

Ever since the golf course opened in 2012, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the government’s conservation agency that assigns SSSI status, has been keeping track of its impact on Foveran Links.

Sarah Malone, the executive vice president of Trump International Golf Links Scotland, doesn’t understand why anyone would think the company would want to damage the dunes. “The fact of the matter is, contrary to what is propagated by a very small group of people, our environmental approach was first class,” she says in the documentary.

What exactly was “first class” about planting grass to stabilize the natural movement of the ancient sand dunes? The sands used to move a significant distance each year, but because of the marram grass planted for the golf course, the movement has stopped, an SNH spokesperson told BBC News.

The SNH is expected to decide by the end of the year whether Foveran Links will keep its SSSI status. And there’s potentially more bad news for the ancient sand dunes: Trump International has submitted an application to build yet another golf course in Aberdeenshire. Once again, environmentalists are voicing their concerns about the negative environmental impact.

At least this time around, they have the destruction caused by Trump International Golf Links as proof.

“I think the Trump organization will have a huge credibility problem in persuading this generation of planners and councilors in Aberdeenshire to believe the commitments they’re now making, given the track record of the last 10 years,” Salmond says in the documentary.

Hopefully he’s right, and the Scottish government will listen this time.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


Lesa D
Lesa DiIorio19 days ago

can't he just fail locally? he has to screw up other countries too???

thank you Laura...

Marilyn L
Marilyn L2 months ago

Get rid of the golf course & recover the dunes

Cindy M. D
Cindy M. Dutka2 months ago

President tRUMP=Master of Disaster.

Anette S
Anette S2 months ago

'Nevertheless, the Scottish government decided the golf course’s economic value was more important than its environmental impact. ' - Greed-again...
The worst part is that the unique landscape can never be restored back to its original state :-[

Linda D
Linda D2 months ago

Why is it still open if it is losing money? Close it, trash the golf course and put it back to wilderness, accept that it was a wrong decision and move on.

Carl R
Carl R2 months ago


Estelle Oelofsen
Estelle Oelofsen2 months ago

Yah! Scotland will still find out their error. They think they have an angel by its wing, but they will soon they have the devil by its tail - to their bitter egret. There is and Indian expression, which I, unfortunately, cannot remember exactly but is goes something like this:
When all the trees are gone, When all the rivers are gone,
When there is no food left, We will realize we cannot eat money?!

S M2 months ago

Yes, Scotland experienced the crassness and blindness for money that Trump has, before ever he came to be POTUS. If Americans has watched his crimes against locals, eccolgy, environment and rudeness to UK/Scottish laws, also his henchmen, from start to finish of this golf course, they might not have elected him.

Jetana A
Jetana A2 months ago

How about posting a petition opposing the proposed golf course in Aberdeenshire?

Stephanie s
Stephanie s2 months ago

Still closed