Donald Trump swings a golf club on the Menie Estate, where his controversial luxury golf resort will be built.

  • The site of Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, will likely lose its status as scientifically significant because sand dunes were so damaged by building it.
  • The unique natural features of the dunes have been damaged, meaning there is no longer any point giving it special scientific status, said Scottish Natural Heritage.
  • The golf course was opened in 2012 despite protests by environmental groups, who argued the golf course would damage the unique habitat.
  • In a statement to the BBC, the Trump Organisation said the report was a "stitch up".
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The site of one of President Donald Trump's golf courses in Scotland could lose its special scientific status because the environment has been so badly damaged by the development.

Scottish Natural Heritage, a watchdog that lists and inspects environmentally important areas, said that the site of Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire may be removed from a list of sites of special scientific interest.

The organisation found that the construction of the golf resort led to 15% of the 154 hectare special scientific interest area being damaged.

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The course is built in a system of shifting sand dunes that shift move along the coast over time, but some have been bulldozed or reshaped to make the golf course.

This means that there is no longer any point in giving that part of the dunes special scientific status, said SNH.

"The denotification of SSSIs is unusual, however in this case we have found there is 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," Sally Thomas, SNH's Director of People & Nature, said in a statement.

"Most of the time, development can take place without damaging important natural features, but this was not the case in this instance."

Trump during a visit to Turnberry, a separate golf resort in Scotland he owns.

Scottish National Heritage said the construction of the course had damaged unique natural habitats, while others had been "significantly fragmented, and ecological processes disrupted".

It will now begin the formal process of delisting the special scientific interest area.

Trump played the first round on the course in 2012 despite protests from environmental groups, after Scottish ministers deemed the economic benefits of the project would outweigh the environmental damage, reported The Guardian at the time.

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In a statement to the BBC, the Trump organisation described the report as "a stitch-up."

"Before Donald Trump invested in the site, SNH had little interest in the SSSI at Foveran Links and did even less about it, and has barely been on property since," the statement said.

"Trump International funds a team of leading geomorphological consultants, ecologists and environmental experts and has spent millions on the care, protection and maintenance of the small area of SSSI in Scotland that it owns and yet SNH has offered no support, guidance or help."