Fresh developments in Highland planning applications have led to renewed calls for ministers to “save Scotland’s heritage” through legislation.

The National Trust for Scotland wants the Scottish Government to “overhaul” the system with its new Planning Bill.

It comes after Highland councillors voted in June to approve a golf course at Coul Links, which lies within the Loch Fleet site of scientific special interest (SSSI).

Meanwhile, several new planning applications have been submitted to the local authority to develop sites at Culloden, including one proposing 13 holiday lodges and a restaurant.

Culloden, site of the battle between Jacobite and government forces in April 1746, has been designated as a conservation area.

The National Trust for Scotland said developments at both Coul Links and Culloden could be “disastrous” and questioned whether decisions to approve them would render special designations such as SSSI as meaningless.

The government’s bill, aimed at reforming the current planning system and giving local people more of a say, is due to enter its second stage at Holyrood in September.

Simon Skinner, chief executive of the National Trust for Scotland, said: “Culloden and the Coul Links are just two examples of a worrying trend.

“Scotland’s heritage is too often being cast aside for short-term economic gain.

“Four years ago, we argued for a planning framework which has the long-term wellbeing of our heritage sites built into it.”

He added: “The forthcoming Planning (Scotland) Bill is the point of no return for Scotland’s heritage - it could either prove to be the saviour of some of our most special places or the prelude to their irrecoverable loss.

“Of course, property developers will always play the jobs and economic growth cards - but we need to think long-term.

“Scotland’s economy sees huge benefits from tourism, which accounts for around 5% of our GDP and can largely be attributed to our outstanding landscapes, sites of historic interest and places of beauty."“We need to start reflecting that in the decisions we make with the land on which this country has been built.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The primary responsibility for dealing with planning applications rests with the local planning authority. We’re committed to ensuring we have a planning system that works for everyone, recognises the special significance of sites and ensures local communities have a say in their future.”