LONDON (AP) — Conservation officials in Scotland said Wednesday that the coastal sand dunes at President Donald Trump's Aberdeenshire golf resort have lost their special status as a protected environmental site.
NatureScot, Scotland's nature agency, said that following construction of the Trump International Golf Links course at Menie, north of Aberdeen, the dunes no longer "merit being retained as part of the Site of Special Scientific Interest."
The sand dunes had been a "high quality example" of a geological system characteristic of northeast Scotland, the agency said.
But it said that despite nature conservation work by the Trump golf course to protect the rare habitats and plants remaining on the site, "there is now 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."
"This is a bitterly disappointing decision which shows that golf still trumps the environment when it comes to Scotland's natural heritage," said Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the London School of Economics' climate change research institute.
Ward, who has been closely following the environmental impact of the Trump course, said the news "opened the door to further harm to the remaining dunes from the construction of a second Trump golf course at the site."
Scottish authorities have already approved plans for a second Trump golf course next to the original one on his Menie Estate, which opened in 2012.
The existing golf course and luxury hotel at the estate have not been profitable since they opened.
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