A councillor has called the damage caused by the development of the Trump golf course in the north-east “environmental vandalism”.
As reported in later editions of yesterday’s Evening Express, the dunes at the Menie estate may lose their protected status.
A report released by Scottish National Heritage (SNH) yesterday said a consultation had started on the Foveran Links Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
In the document it said Menie Links Golf Course had “adversely affected” the sand dune habitat with 11% of the total SSSI lost and 15% of the sand dune habitat gone.
It added that 34% of semi-natural habitats in the Menie section of the SSSI had been “destroyed or severely modified”.
However, the Trump Organisation has branded the report a “stitch-up” and criticised the release of the information without warning.
Councillor Martin Ford, who has previously been critical of US President Donald Trump, called the Scottish Government decision to approve the golf course “terrible”.
He said: “Whether officially denotified or not, the fact is that the mobile dune habitat upon which Mr Trump built his golf course is no longer shifting dunes, but a fundamentally changed environment shaped by bulldozers and not the wind.
“This was an officially sanctioned act of environmental vandalism approved by the Scottish Government.
“Mr Trump’s absurdly exaggerated claims of job creation and economic benefit have turned out not to be true. The tragedy is that was entirely foreseeable. The Scottish Government should never have been taken in.
“The Scottish Government’s support for Mr Trump was a terrible decision.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scottish Natural Heritage has begun a consultation exercise on its intention to denotify a part of the Foveran Links Site of Special Scientific Interest.
“This is in line with the procedure provided by the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, in which the Scottish Government has no statutory role.”
Sarah Malone, exective vice president at Trump International, said: “This is an utter disgrace and shows SNH has hit an all-time low.
“To make an announcement to the media before informing us, the actual landowner, shows how politically-motivated this decision is. It’s a stitch-up.”