‘Wind turbines will destroy landscapes’ — Donald Trump executive pledges fight at stormy St Andrews meeting
US billionaire Donald Trump has thrown his full weight behind a campaign to stop wind turbines being erected in north-east Fife and beyond.
Mr Trump, who has already voiced his opposition to proposals to erect 11 turbines off the Aberdeenshire coast, near his golf resort, has now turned his attention to preventing the whole of Scotland being “encircled” by the energy devices he calls “ugly monstrosities”.
It was reported earlier this week that Mr Trump plans to spend more than £10 million campaigning against offshore wind turbines and he reinforced his dedication to the cause on Thursday evening by sending his executive vice-president and legal counsel George Sorial to a meeting in St Andrews.
The purpose of the event, organised by Cameron Community Council, was to discuss the growing number of windfarm applications across Fife.
Speaking exclusively to The Courier, Mr Sorial said Mr Trump will use all of the resources at his disposal and do “whatever it takes” to prevent Scotland being “encircled” by wind turbines.
“The fact that 300 people have come here tonight proves that many, many people in the local communities are against wind turbines,” he said. “We are concerned wind turbines will destroy landscapes and will be seriously detrimental to Scotland’s fantastic tourism.”
Mr Sorial criticised First Minister Alex Salmond for pushing ahead with wind turbine plans, stating he should listen to the widespread concerned views of the public. He added that Mr Trump had entered into talks with Communities Against Turbines Scotland and had agreed to offer financial assistance and support “on a daily basis”.
He added: “We intend to use all our resources to fight these proposals.”
The subject was heavily debated at the meeting in St Andrews Town Hall by residents, local councillors, community council representatives, Euro MP for Scotland Struan Stevenson and other interested parties.
Cameron Community Council chairman Gordon Ball opened proceedings and Graham Lang from the East Fife Turbine Awareness Group was first to speak, outlining his organisation’s concerns on planned offshore windfarms.
He also highlighted concerns about the controversial £15m windfarm between Largoward and Dunino and of the St Andrews University proposal for a 12 megawatt windfarm at Kenly Farm near Boarhills.
Derek Birkett, a former grid control engineer of Northern Scotland who has been involved in the installation and commissioning of several power stations, said: “Technically, wind power is the worst way to generate electricity because it is intermittent, unpredictable and uneconomic.”
John Mayhew, director of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, said his organisation had concerns about industrialisation of rural landscapes, the erosion of wild land, the cumulative impact of having many individual turbines and battles between communities, developers and planners.
Mr Stevenson, who is the chairman of the Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Intergroup in the European Parliament, said wind turbines only served to “line the pockets of farm owners and foreign investors.”
“Tourists will not come to Scotland if it is littered with gigantic steel turbines,” he argued.
Some members of the audience, mainly young men and women, said they were in favour of windfarms but were heavily booed which led to them walking out.