US tycoon Donald Trump is to bankroll an anti-wind farm campaign in his fight against an offshore development near his luxury golf resort.
Mr Trump wrote to First Minister Alex Salmond earlier this month, telling him he seems “hell-bent on destroying Scotland’s coastline” with wind turbines.
A planning application for an 11-turbine European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre off Aberdeen Bay, near Mr Trump’s Menie resort, was submitted to Marine Scotland last summer. A decision is expected to be made later this year.
He said turbines are “ugly monstrosities” and “horrendous machines” and has halted work on his development until the decision is made by the Scottish Government.
Communities Against Turbines Scotland (Cats) contacted the Trump Organisation after the letter to Mr Salmond was published and they have now joined forces.
Speaking to The Herald newspaper, George Sorial, vice-president of the Trump Organisation, insisted Mr Trump will use all resources at his disposal and do “whatever it takes” to prevent the turbines being erected.
He said: “We have agreed to provide financial support to Cats. We have agreed to assist them with marketing and PR.
“We have agreed to provide them with staff, with some of our team at our New York office working with them on a daily basis. But the details will be worked out over the coming week.”
Cats chairman Susan Crossthwaite said representatives from the Trump Organisation will attend a meeting of the campaign group in St Andrews next week.
She said: “We are continuing to negotiate with Donald Trump but he has pledged his support.
“We are an umbrella group and represent local groups and people who have campaigned against turbines across Scotland. It’s better to have one voice to speak on behalf of us and to give us some real standing.
“We are trying to wake Scotland up to the devastation this is causing.”
Mrs Crossthwaite, who lives in the south of Scotland, claimed there is “huge despair within the rural community” at decisions to build more wind farms.
Mr Trump said in his letter to the First Minister that he would never be “on board” with a project he described as “insanity”, adding: “With the reckless installation of these monsters, you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history.”
Mrs Crossthwaite said Cats has no particular interest in Mr Trump’s luxury golf course and is more concerned with a general trend for building wind turbines.
She said: “We don’t support everything Donald Trump does by any means but on this issue we are singing from the same hymn sheet.”
Environmental charity WWF Scotland said it is disappointed with the financial support pledged to the anti-wind farm campaign.
Dan Barlow, head of policy, said: “Given the urgent need to tackle climate change, it is deeply depressing to hear in detail how Donald Trump intends using his vast wealth to try to kill off one of the clean, green solutions available to the people of Scotland.
“Along with energy-efficiency and other forms of renewables, wind power is helping to reduce emissions, create jobs and export opportunities.
“Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine Scotland’s renewables ambitions are misguided.”
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