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Councillors debate windfarm

Councillors will today (Thursday) discuss controversial plans for an offshore windfarm development opposed by US billionaire Donald Trump.

Plans for the 11-turbine development off Aberdeen Bay were submitted to Marine Scotland last year triggering a furious response from the tycoon whose £750million golf resort is being constructed nearby.

Mr Trump threatened last week to walk away from the project if the Scottish Government allows the 639ft turbines to be built between Balmedie and Blackdog.

Today, members of Aberdeenshire’s infrastructure services committee will discuss the plans before giving their views to Marine Scotland, which has the final say.

In a report head of planning and building standards Robert Gray informs councillors their main focus should be on the “impact” the turbines will have on the area.

He said: “It must be emphasised that due to the size of the turbines proposed, they will be visible from some distance from coastal locations throughout the eastern coast of Aberdeenshire.

“As there are no offshore turbines in this area at present, the installation of these will create a significant visual effect on these coastal areas of Aberdeenshire north of Aberdeen.”

Despite this, the committee is being urged to back the plans in line with colleagues from Formartine and Buchan who were “broadly supportive” of the application when they discussed it last month.

The application has been put forward by the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre and is a £150million joint venture by utility company Vattenfall, engineering firm Technip, and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group.

Last week Mr Trump, who has described the turbines as “disastrous and environmentally irresponsible”, said he would not spend “another penny” on his golf resport at Menie until he knew if the turbines were going ahead.

Marine Scotland has received 406 letters of support and 14 objections to the application.

Trump International was granted planning permission for a clubhouse by the Formartine area committee last week.