Environmentalists propose alternative layout to protect sand dunes from Donald Trump's planned golf resort

Donald Trump's planned £1bn Scottish golf resort has met such resistance from environmental groups that they have put forward their own alternative proposals.

RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust had their own plans drawn up to demonstrate the feasibility of building the golf course without damaging environmentally important sand dunes around the site.

They commissioned golf specialist architect Mike Wood to produce an alternative layout for a championship course at the proposed Menie Estate site avoiding the sand dunes, part of which is designated as a site of special scientific interest.

However, Trump objected that their alternative proposals for his resort at Balmedie, in north-east Scotland, were not adequate for a championship course.

The Trump Organisation had already said last week that amendments were being made to the proposed design in response to environmental issues.

While the environmental charities acknowledge this as a step in the right direction, they want to see much more major revisions.

Anne McCall, head of planning at RSPB Scotland, told the BBC: “Rather than the minor tweak that their new indicative plans would mean, we hope that they will now agree with us that it's entirely possible for them to have a top golf course without building on the SSSI in the north or the sensitive dunes to the south.

“If the development goes ahead it will come at an environmental price but we can make that price smaller.”

The Trump Organisation has said that the best forum for full debate of all the issues is the public local inquiry to be held next month in Aberdeen, at which Trump himself is to appear. The environmental groups' alternative proposals for the site are to be submitted to the inquiry.