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To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the area being a Natura site, a Ramsar site and a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), whether it will call in the planning application that has been submitted to The Highland Council for a golf course to be built at Coul Links, and what the reasons are for its position on this matter.


Answered by Kevin Stewart (11/07/2018):

As the Council is minded to grant consent for the Coul Links application, and there is an objection from Scottish Natural Heritage, the case has been notified to Ministers. Notification gives Ministers the opportunity to decide whether there are national interests at stake which would merit Ministers calling in the application for their own determination. The Minister for Local Government and Housing will consider the details of this case and decide whether Ministers should call in the application for their determination, or clear it back to The Highland Council.


Current Status: Answered by Kevin Stewart on 11/07/2018

To ask the Scottish Government what recent discussions it has had with (a) Scottish National Heritage, (b) The Highland Council, (c) the Ramsar Convention secretariat and (d) the UK Government regarding (i) the proposed golf course at Coul Links and (ii) protecting Scotland's Ramsar sites.


Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (03/05/2018):

Recent contact between Scottish Government officials, Scottish Natural Heritage and the UK Government on the topics referred to in the question has been for the purposes of preparing answers to Parliamentary questions and to give and receive prior notification on materials selected for release in response to requests for information. There has been no recent discussion with Highland Council or the Ramsar Convention Secretariat on either of the topics referred to in the question.


Current Status: Answered by Roseanna Cunningham on 03/05/2018

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to reports that it has not provided pre-application advice on the international nature designations for the proposed Coul Links golf course development in Embo.


Answered by Fergus Ewing (01/03/2018):

Pre-application advice to developers on international nature designations in Scotland is provided (on request) by Scottish Natural Heritage.


Current Status: Answered by Fergus Ewing on 01/03/2018

To ask the Scottish Government what engagement it has had with the local community regarding the proposed golf links development at Dornoch.


Answered by Fergus Ewing (23/02/2018):

The Scottish Government has had no engagement with the local community regarding the proposed Coul Links development at Dornoch. For developments at this stage of the planning process, any such engagement is a matter for the relevant planning authority.


Current Status: Answered by Fergus Ewing on 23/02/2018

To ask the Scottish Government whether (a) ministers and (b) officials have offered support to representatives of the United States developer, Todd Warnock, regarding the proposed golf links development at Dornoch.


Answered by Fergus Ewing (23/02/2018):

Scottish Government Ministers and officials have not offered any support to the developer or his representatives regarding the proposed golf links development at Coul Links near Dornoch.


Current Status: Answered by Fergus Ewing on 23/02/2018

To ask the Scottish Government whether ministers were aware that government officials had reportedly held meetings with representatives of the United States developer, Todd Warnock, regarding the proposed golf links development at Dornoch.


Answered by Fergus Ewing (23/02/2018):

Ministers were aware that Scottish Government officials had pre-application meetings with representatives of the developer regarding the proposed golf links development at Coul Links near Dornoch.


Current Status: Answered by Fergus Ewing on 23/02/2018

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the proposed golf links development at Dornoch.


Answered by Fergus Ewing (23/02/2018):

The planning application for a golf course at Coul Links near Dornoch is currently under consideration by The Highland Council. As this is a live application and could come before Scottish Ministers in the future, it would be inappropriate to comment on this proposal.

In general terms, the Scottish Government is committed to creating the best possible business environment in a Scotland which is cleaner, greener and healthier. It is therefore important for government to engage with individuals, companies and organisations with an interest in economic development opportunities.

The Scottish Government encourages all those with views on the proposed development at Coul Links to make them known to Highland Council.


Current Status: Answered by Fergus Ewing on 23/02/2018

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-12978 by Fergus Ewing on 11 December 2017, what contact it has had or plans with the (a) Ramsar Convention secretariat and (b) UK Government regarding the proposed Coul Links golf club.


Answered by Fergus Ewing (25/01/2018):

An enquiry from the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention regarding the planning application submitted by Coul Links Ltd to the Highland Council for a golf course at Coul Links has been forwarded to the Scottish Government by the UK Government. The United Kingdom is a signatory (‘Contracting Party’ in Convention terms) to the Convention.

Under the Convention, Contracting Parties must pass on information if the ecological character of a Ramsar site has changed, is changing or is likely to change as the result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference. Should it be required, such information will be communicated through the UK Government to the Ramsar Secretariat at the appropriate time.


Current Status: Answered by Fergus Ewing on 25/01/2018

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-12453 by Fergus Ewing on 20 November 2017, which directorate the officials at each meeting represented; what the purpose was of their engagement, and what plans it has to engage with those opposed to the development.


Answered by Fergus Ewing (11/12/2017):

In relation to the engagements referred to in the answer to question S5W-12453, official attendance was as follows:

8 March – Directorate General for Economy

16 March – Directorate General for Economy, Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate, Environment and Forestry Directorate and Local Government and Communities Directorate

24 April – Directorate General for Economy

30 August – Environment and Forestry Directorate

The purpose of the site visit on 8 March was to see Scottish Natural Heritage in operation with developers through the example of a particular case.

The purpose of the meetings on 16 March, 24 April and 30 August was to explain procedures (at the pre-application stage) and to help ensure good communication with and between relevant agencies.

In the course of discussions between officials and stakeholders on a range of matters, some views from those opposed to the proposed development at Coul Links have been expressed. As the proposed development at Coul Links is now a live planning application, there are no plans for further engagement by Scottish Government officials. However the Scottish Government encourages all those with views on the proposed development to make them known to Highland Council.


Current Status: Answered by Fergus Ewing on 11/12/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what meetings (a) ministers and (b) officials have had with the developers of the proposed Coul Links golf course; what was discussed, and what assurances it gave to the developers.


Answered by Fergus Ewing (20/11/2017):

I met the developers on 31 August to hear about their proposals for a golf course at Coul Links. Officials met representatives of the developers on
8 March (for a site visit with Scottish Natural Heritage), on 16 March (with Scottish Natural Heritage, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and Visit Scotland), on 24 April and on 30 August.

Official engagement with the developers has focused on explaining procedures and ensuring good communication with relevant agencies such as Scottish Natural Heritage, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Visit Scotland.

No assurances have been given to the developer.


Current Status: Answered by Fergus Ewing on 20/11/2017
 
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