Trump vows to continue windfarm battle

Donald Trump at the opening of his championship course.
Donald Trump at the opening of his championship course.

Businessman Donald Trump has declared there will be no let up in his opposition to a planned windfarm off the North-east coast.

He delivered the warning when he arrived in Aberdeen on Thursday to spend time at his championship links at Menie Estate, near Balmedie.

His visit came as several key objectors withdrew their opposition to the Aberdeen Bay project.

The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre would see 11 turbines constructed not far from the Trump golf resort.

Last week four statutory bodies confirmed they had withdrawn their objections to the proposals following discussions with the developers - a consortium of Vattenfall, Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the Ministry of Defence, National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and RSPB Scotland have all now lifted their opposition to the scheme after receiving assurances over their concerns.

The objections were lifted subject to a number of conditions to minimise impacts during construction and operation.

However, Mr Trump, who has halted further work at his Menie resort until a ruling on the application, has threatened to hire the world’s top lawyers if the plans go ahead.

A decision on the windfarm is expected before the end of the year.

The billionaire has been a long-term critic of the proposals, claiming they would ruin the views from his course.

He has repeatedly warned that the remainder of his Menie development - a hotel and homes - would not go ahead should the windfarm be approved.

Trump International has insisted there has been no change in its stance, despite recent advertisements for hospitality jobs, including an accommodation and guest services manager, housekeepers and bar staff.

Mr Trump said on his arrival in the North-east on Thursday that he was ready to build one of Europe’s top hotels - but only if the wind turbine project was turned down.

He has continued to brand the scheme “a terrible development for Scotland and the entire tourism industry.”

Meanwhile, the developers have welcomed the withdrawal of objections by key organisations.

Iain Todd, the EOWDC project spokesman, said: “The removal of a number of objections is another significant step forward for the scheme and the EOWDC partners hope for a green light on its consent application from the Scottish Government later this year.

“The EOWDC is a cutting edge scheme that will deliver major economic benefits to the North-east economy and to Scotland.

“If the North-east, Scotland and the UK are to establish and maintain their lead in offshore wind it needs demonstrator sites like the EOWDC.”

Revised plans for the windfarm were discussed by Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee on Thursday.

In August, the developers altered the proposals, making some of the turbines 12ft taller, taking them to a total height of 651ft. They also reduced the height of those closest to the shore by more than 47ft.

The Formartine and Buchan area committees have already debated the plans and their comments, along with those of the infrastructure services committee, will now be passed to Marine Scotland as part of the consultation process.