A keepered shooting estate is not nearly as beneficial to birdlife as a £1billion golf course development, including an 18-hole course, 500-bed hotel, conference centre and leisure complex ? at least according to Aberdeen architects Jenkins & Marr, who are presiding over the building of ?the world?s greatest golf course? for billionaire tycoon Donald Trump.

A detailed planning document in support of the development on the Menie estate, near Balmedie, 12 miles north of Aberdeen, claims: The commencement of the project will result in an end to the shooting of birds on site. This will lead to a transformation in the habitat value of the estate. The proposed golf course will create an environment far more compatible with the needs of birdlife and, on that basis, will lead to a significant improvement in the protection of wildlife on site.

Of Scotland?s 7.8million hectares of land, 4.4million hectares benefit from shoot management, some of which is included in the area mapped out for Mr Trump?s new development. In Scotland, shooting not only provides 2,000 full-time jobs, but also generates £43million, which is spent on improving habitat and wildlife management. Architects Jenkins & Marr were regrettably unavailable for comment on the environmental impact of their plans.

Colin Sheddon, director of BASC Scotland, told ST: ?The fundamental point is that we weren?t getting objections when it was a shooting estate; objections are arising now that the area is to be turned into a golf course. Both the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage were happy when the land was run as a shooting estate; golf courses simply don?t have a vested long-term interest in bird life.?