Trump loses legal challenge to Aberdeenshire offshore wind farm

Mr Trump's Menie Estate golf course
Mr Trump’s Menie Estate golf course

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s legal challenge to a planned offshore wind farm has been rejected by the UK’s Supreme Court.

Developers intend to site the large turbine structures close to Mr Trump’s luxury golfing development at the Menie Estate on the Aberdeenshire coast but the US businessman claims the wind farm would spoil the view from his golf links.

Mr Trump began his long-running challenge to the Scottish Government decision to grant planning permission more than two years ago. The American raised a court action in the Court of Session against ministers in January this year but judges upheld the decision and refused the appeal.

A previous application for judicial review failed when Lord Doherty ruled in 2014 that the government had not acted illegally.

He then brought the case to the Supreme Court, asking judges to determine whether a condition attached to the government’s decision was enforceable.

Judges have today unanimously rejected his legal challenge.

The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) project is a joint venture by Vattenfall Wind Power and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group.

They claim it would be capable of powering up to 68,000 homes a year.

The Trump Organization said decision was an “extremely unfortunate verdict” for Scotland.

George A. Sorial, executive vice president & counsel for The Trump Organization, added: “The EOWDC will completely destroy the bucolic Aberdeen Bay and cast a terrible shadow upon the future of tourism for the area.

“History will judge those involved unfavourably and the outcome demonstrates the foolish, small minded and parochial mentality which dominates the current Scottish Government’s dangerous experiment with wind energy. While the EOWDC’s “leadership” have stated the project will proceed, the onerous planning conditions remain unpurified and it is common knowledge that there is no funding for a technology that is now many years obsolete.

“With oil prices plummeting and the lack of money for vital projects like the AWPR, the EOWDC will never be built and comments that suggest otherwise are nothing more than delusional posturing. We will evaluate the Court’s decision and continue to fight this proposal on every possible front.”

Patrick Harvie MSP, economy and energy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, welcomed the rejection saying: “This crucial project has been delayed for too long by one rich climate change denier. This is the latest rejection for an irrational bully whose brand is increasingly toxic.

“Scotland’s potential for new jobs in offshore renewables is massive and we must now see progress on this project, as it will help deliver the innovation the industry needs to move to the next level. The Scottish Government consent is in place and I would urge all those involved to get cracking.”

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “This result is great news for Scotland and for all those interested in tackling climate change and creating jobs. Having failed in his attempt to undermine Scotland’s renewables ambitions, it’s now time for Mr Trump to move on.

“Once up and running, this test facility will be ideally placed to help test the technologies needed to harness Scotland’s huge offshore renewables potential, ensuring learning by industry, and playing an important role in helping to drive down costs. We hope developing this important scheme can now quickly progress.

“It’s clear from the recent Paris climate talks that the world is going to have to undertake a massive renewables revolution, and schemes like the one off Aberdeenshire will have an important role to play. As we approach the Holyrood elections, we’d like to see all the political parties fully grasp the economic opportunities that will arise from this transition by committing to make Scotland’s electricity system entirely renewable by 2030.”

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