Thousands oppose Trump golf course expansion

The championship links at Menie estate
The championship links at Menie estate

Over 70,000 people have signed an online petition urging Aberdeenshire Council to reject plans to expand a golf course owned by Donald Trump.

The Trump Organization hopes to build a second 18-hole course at the Trump International Golf Links Scotland resort at Menie.

Donald Trump at Menie last year

Donald Trump at Menie last year

Both the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) have formally objected to the plans in their current form over alleged breaches of rules governing sewage pollution, environmental protection and conserving groundwater.

Now a petition started by a global advocacy group has called on the local authority planning department to throw out the application.

SumOfUs, which describes itself as a “community of people from around the world committed to curbing the growing power of corporations”, has campaigned against Ineos proposals for unconventional gas extraction in central Scotland and is now demanding Aberdeenshire Council to “stand up to Trump and reject his plans”.

“Despite all the warnings from agencies, Trump wants to go ahead with his plans regardless, despite the risks to the local environment,” the petition states. “Aberdeenshire’s dune systems are one of the last true unspoilt wildernesses in the UK - when they’re gone, they’ll be gone for good.”

The application was due to go before councillors at the Formartine Area Committee on Tuesday, August 22 but was withdrawn.

The proposed location of the second course at Balmedie has been criticised by SNH as it claims substantial parts of the course are at risk of damage by drifting dunes.

SEPA has objected to the Trump Organization’s use of a “soakaway” to dispose of waste water and wants the company to connect the course and clubhouse to the public sewage system before any second course is built.

A spokeswoman for Trump International Golf Links said: “Our application is making its way through the planning system and this dialogue will continue until it goes before committee. We are extremely confident in our proposal and that this process will reach a satisfactory conclusion acceptable to all parties.”

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Planning and Building Standards, Robert Gray, said: “Consideration of the application has been deferred from the August 22 meeting of the Formartine Area Committee due to the submission of additional information by the applicants in relation to the application for the second course and the subsequent need to re-consult statutory consultees.”