Parts of the sand dunes at Donald Trump's Aberdeenshire golf course have lost their special status as a nationally-important protected wildlife site.

But NatureScot's Protected Area's Committee (PAC) concluded that, following construction of the Trump's International Golf Links course on the dune system at Menie Estate in 2012, the area no longer merits being retained as part of the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The PAC has now annouced its decision, following a formal consultation by NatureScot on the future status of Foveran Links SSSI, and on consideration of advice from NatureScot staff, other representations and independent specialist advice.

It comes after dialogue on the potential denotification of the site has taken place between NatureScot and landowners since 2016.

READ MORE: Second Trump golf course approved for Aberdeenshire

Eileen Stuart, NatureScot’s Interim Director of Nature and Climate Change said: “There is now 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. 

“Trump International Golf Links Scotland have undertaken to deliver nature conservation management on the golf course and we value the work they have done to protect the remaining rare habitats and the rare plants on their site however they no longer have sufficient scientific interest to merit special protection.”

Foveran Links SSSI was a very high quality example of a sand dune system characteristic of north east Scotland, and was of exceptional importance for the wide variety of coastal landforms and processes.

However, since the construction of Trump International Golf Links, there is "no longer a reason to protect the dunes" since the dunes do not include substantial "special" features fo which they were designated.

The site’s notified features included its dune habitats, especially the dune slacks and pasture, and the geomorphological interest of its sand dune system, due especially to its dynamic nature. 

The remaining reduced SSSI at Foveran Links will be merged with the adjacent Sands of Forvie and Ythan Estuary SSSI next year.