CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL STUDIES
Look at the sources below. They give information about a proposed golf course
development in Aberdeenshire.
Source A The billionaire and the golf course
The American billionaire, Donald Trump, wants to build a “world class” golf course
at Menie on the coast to the north of Aberdeen. He is prepared to spend £1 billion on
the development, which would also include a five-star hotel with 450 bedrooms, 500
luxury homes and nearly 1000 timeshare apartments. Some of the apartment blocks
would be seven storeys high.
Local business people are enthusiastic and welcome the 2700 permanent jobs which
the development would bring (1250 of these would be local) as well as the thousands of
additional jobs during construction. They see this as bringing money into the area.
Aberdeen is keen to get into golf tourism, which is worth about £300 million a year
elsewhere in Scotland.
There have been 958 letters and a petition with 560 signatures objecting to the
Source B Location Map
A90 to Peterhead
Hotel and holiday homes
Championship golf course
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Boundary of proposed development
Source C Sand dunes and SSSIs
Source D The decision
When Aberdeenshire councillors rejected Donald Trump’s plans,
reaction was varied. The RSPB said, “We are delighted that the
destruction of part of the beautiful, unspoilt coastline has been
recognised as too high a price to pay for this development.” Some local
businessmen were outraged. “The rest of the world will think we are
mad”, said one. “The social and economic benefits of the investment
should have been enough to set aside the environmental concerns. A lot
of Aberdeenshire’s traditional industries such as farming, fishing and
quarrying are in decline and the North Sea oil industry cannot go on for
ever. This decision will send out the message that, if you want to do big
business, don’t do it in Scotland.” However, another local said, “Money
and economic growth aren’t everything. In any case, the profits wouldn’t
stay here—they would go to Mr Trump in America.”
After a Public Enquiry, the Scottish Government overruled
Aberdeenshire Council and approved the plans, subject to some
Sand dunes are formed over thousands of years. They provide a unique,
but fragile environment which is dependent on wind-blown sand from
the beach. To stop sand blowing over the golf course, the dunes would
have to be stabilised. The sand dunes at Menie are rated as one of the
most important dune areas in the whole of the UK. Their importance is
recognised by giving them the legal protection of being an SSSI (a Site
of Special Scientific Interest).
Both the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the
Government’s own environmental advisor, Scottish Natural Heritage,
oppose the development. They say it is totally against Scottish and
European legal requirements to protect nationally important sites.
) From the sources, give reasons to explain why some people opposed the golf-
course development on
) From the sources, give possible reasons for the Government’s decision to allow
the scheme to go ahead.
) From your own knowledge,
(i) describe ways in which our recreational activities are putting pressure on
(ii) describe ways in which some of these problems are being dealt with.
) “After a Public Enquiry, the Scottish Government . . . approved the plans . . .”
From your own knowledge, describe what happens at a Public Enquiry and
how the final decision about a development is arrived at.