Trump International, Scotland, has responded to the decision by NatureScot to withdraw the status of the sand dunes at the Menie resort as a site of special scientific interest.

Sarah Malone, executive vice president, Trump International, Scotland, said: "This is a highly politicised decision and reflects the historic lack of interest shown by NatureScot in this SSSI. Our commitment to this stretch of land is unparalleled - we funded the leading environmental experts in the country and have spent millions of pounds on the management and monitoring of this site.

"NatureScot ignored and neglected the dunes under the previous ownership and has made only a handful of short visits in the past 10 years. Their own assessment acknowledges that many attributes of the SSSI have flourished since the golf course was completed and had it not been for our team of agronomists, geomorphologists and environmental scientists, NatureScot would know very little about this SSSI and the site would remain neglected and deteriorating annually due to invasive weeds and other external factors had it not been taken into our care.

"Trump International’s level of investment and ongoing care of the site far exceeds just about every other SSSI site in the country and yet, NatureScot singles us out and prioritises this decision during a global pandemic when the tourism and leisure industry is at its most vulnerable and is contending for its survival.

"Regardless of their decision, we will continue to maintain the site to the highest standards. Our award-winning championship links course is managed by a highly specialist team in accordance with an environmental management plan prepared by world-class ecological and environmental experts. The golf course is ranked among the top links courses in the world and is one of the great modern links courses of all time."

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