"We note the proximity of the development site to the Moray and Nairn Coast Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar wetland; this site comprises of intertidal flats, saltmarsh, sand dunes and woodland. It is of outstanding scientific importance for coastal and riverine habitats and supports a range of wetland birds throughout the year. This includes internationally important populations of Icelandic pink-footed goose and greylag goose and other water birds particularly sea ducks and waders. This area also forms part of the Culbin Sands, Culbin Forest and Findhorn Bay Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) and supports a great variety of coastal and woodland habitats which in turn support many national and internationally rare or scarce animals and plants. This makes the whole area of considerable national and international importance.
RSPB Scotland has two major concerns regarding this development. Firstly, that the area will be subject to an increase in the number of recreational visits by residents from the development potentially resulting in additional damage to the protected habitats that form the SSSI, SPA & Ramsar, which are already in unfavourable conservation status. Secondly that the development has potential to cause an adverse impact through recreational disturbance to feeding and roosting areas for wildfowl, waders and terns, designated features of the SPA and SSSI.
It is therefore necessary that Highland Council as the competent authority ensure that the conservation objectives of the designated sites are adequately considered within the required Appropriate Assessment process. Only if this assessment concludes that the proposal will not adversely affect the integrity of the SPA can planning permission by granted."
Should planning permission be granted the RSPB want significant conditions attached too - you can read the document from the RSPB and other material here on the Highland Council's e-planning file for the application under the documents tab.
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