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A proposed project to create an 18-hole championship course in the Highlands has been rejected by Scottish Government ministers.

Roughly 32 acres of the planned course was proposed for dunes at Coul Links at Embo, near Dornoch.

Highland councillors gave the project the green light in June of last year, before Scottish ministers called in the planning application for greater inspection.

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Following a public inquiry, the government has refused permission.

In their decision, Scottish ministers said the plan would have supported economic growth and rural development.

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But they agreed with a government-appointed planning official’s findings that the golf course would have “significant” effects on rare plantlife, wintering and breeding birds and even the dunes themselves.

The government said the “likely detriment to natural heritage is not outweighed by the socio-economic benefits of the proposal”.

The plans also included a clubhouse and the renovation of existing buildings to form a maintenance facility, along with a pro shop, caddie hut, workshop, administration building and information booth.

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In a report by The National Scottish Greens Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie, who was among the project’s critics, said: “I am absolutely delighted that this ill thought out and unsuitable application has been rejected.

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“It seems the Scottish Government has learned the lesson from the disastrous decision to grant permission for Trump’s course in Aberdeenshire after all.”

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