Donald Trump has launched an astonishing attack on Alex Salmond, accusing him of being “hell bent” on destroying Scotland with wind farms.
The tycoon, who only four years ago described the First Minister as an “amazing man”, claimed in an angry letter that he was single-handedly threatening to do “more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history”.
The outburst – which was hyperbolic even by his standards – followed Mr Salmond’s claim that the American billionaire would eventually “get on board” with offshore wind farms.
The businessman is bitterly opposed to plans for 11 giant wind turbines off the coast of Aberdeenshire, which he claims will ruin the views from his new championship golf course on the Menie Estate north of Aberdeen.
He has previously announced that he plans to halt all new work on the pounds750 million project – including plans for a luxury hotel and holiday homes – until the project has been rejected by ministers.
Tthe row escalated when he responded to comments by Mr Salmond at a renewable energy event on February 8, when the First Minister said wind farms were creating thousands of jobs and Mr Trump would get on board when Scotland was established as a world leader in green energy.
As recently as 2008, Mr Salmond had to defend himself against complaints about his “cosy” relationship with the tycoon, whose controversial golf resort is in the First Minister’s constituency and was approved by an SNP administration.
But there was no sign of a special relationship when Mr Trump called his wind energy plans were “insane”.
He also announced that he was funding an “international campaign” against wind turbines around the Scottish coast.
He wrote: “I have read your recent statements concerning so called ‘wind power’. For the record, taxing your citizens to subsidise wind projects owned by foreign energy companies will destroy your country and its economy.
“Jobs will not be created in Scotland because these ugly monstrosities known as turbines are manufactured in other countries such as China.
“These countries, who so benefit from your billions of pounds in payments, are laughing at you.”
He added that other countries in the EU had abandoned failing offshore wind programmes, and claimed turbines at sea had to be renewed every five years because of the harsh environment.
“Who is going to pay for those new installations then?” he wrote. “Not you, for you will be long gone, but the people of Scotland will suffer forever.
“You seem hell bent on destroying Scotland’s coastline and therefore, Scotland itself, but I will never be ‘on board’, as you have stated I would be, with this insanity.
“As a matter of fact, I have just authorised my staff to allocate a substantial amount of money to launch an international campaign to fight your plan to surround Scotland’s coast with many thousands of wind turbines.
“It will be like looking through the bars of a prison and the Scottish citizens will be the prisoners.”
Mr Trump signed off by saying that he was “doing this to save Scotland and honour my mother, Mary MacLeod who, as you know, was born and raised in Stornoway”. He added: “She would not believe what you are doing to her beloved Scotland.”
The agency Marine Scotland is expected to make a recommendation on the disputed wind farm later this year.
The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre is a pounds150 million venture by a Swedish company and the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group.
A spokesman for the Scottish Executive said an application for the project was under consideration, adding: “A recent study suggests that harnessing just a third of the practical resource off our coast by 2050 would enable us to generate enough electricity to power Scotland seven times over.”
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