GOOD politicians learn lessons from history to try to avoid repeating past mistakes. One of Scotland’s biggest environmental blunders in recent years was to give Donald Trump the go-ahead to build a golf resort on the Aberdeenshire coast.

His development has irrevocably damaged a wildlife conservation area, and is now regretted by most of the leading politicians who supported the idea ten years ago. It is seen as an object lesson in how not to conduct environmental policy.

Unfortunately, as we report today, the Scottish Government is now at risk of making the same mistake with another golf course planned by another US property developer. The proposal for Coul Links in Sutherland is also threatening a precious coastal conservation area.

Internal emails reveal that the developer, Todd Warnock, has met with rural economy minister, Fergus Ewing, and may benefit from an intervention by Ewing’s most senior civil servant, director-general for economy, Liz Ditchburn. This all happened before detailed planning permission was sought last September.

Since when has it been wise or appropriate for senior ministers and officials to give developers jeopardising our natural heritage such encouragement? Shouldn’t they be maintaining their independence by not getting involved with highly controversial planning decisions?

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has signed up to UN sustainable development goals to protect wildlife and the natural environment. If she’s serious, she now needs to take a closer look at what some of her colleagues have been doing – and rein them in.