The man who represents US billionaire Donald Trump last night launched another attack on wind power, this time questioning the “sanity” of the Scottish Government and reiterating Mr Trump’s belief that Alex Salmond is “hellbent” on destroying Scotland with windfarms.
The comment came as Mr Trump threw his weight behind 11 groups from across Fife who have written to the chief executive of Fife Council to complain about the perceived threat from a plethora of wind turbine applications proposed for the kingdom.
Mr Trump, who has already voiced his opposition to proposals to erect 11 turbines off the Aberdeenshire coast, near his golf resort, recently turned his attention to saving the whole of Scotland against the energy devices that he calls “ugly monstrosities”.
He previously announced plans to halt all new work on his £750m project – including plans for a hotel and holiday homes – until plans for offshore windfarms in the North Sea have been rejected by ministers.
Mr Trump has described the National Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage and VisitScotland as “pathetic” because they have remained silent on the issue.
Mr Trump plans to spend more than £10m campaigning against offshore windfarms and reinforced his dedication to the cause a fortnight ago by sending his executive vice-president and legal counsel George Sorial to a heated Is wind the answer? public meeting in St Andrews.
Last night, speaking exclusively to The Courier from the Trump offices in New York, Mr Sorial said the Fife campaign groups were doing “absolutely the right thing” by banding together against proposals that had the potential to “destroy” coast and countryside in Fife and beyond.
The 11 organisations have complained that planning reports, which Fife councillors use to decide applications, ignore national and local policies. They also claim that planning officials uncritically accept developers’ statements, especially about the visual impact of turbines, in a way which “is prejudicial to the people of Fife”.
Mr Sorial said: “This is an issue that’s very important to us and we certainly understand and support the efforts of the groups in Fife who are concerned about the impact of mass wind turbine applications. We agree that a unified approach is the only thing to do. What’s going on in Scotland with the proliferation of these windfarms is absolutely disgusting.”
Criticising First Minster Alex Salmond for pushing ahead with wind turbine policies and “misleading” the public over their merits, Mr Sorial reiterated Mr Trump’s promise to use all resources at his disposal to do “whatever it takes” to prevent Scotland being “encircled” by wind turbines.
“Scotland is 10 years behind the curve on renewable energies. Just about every country in the world is abandoning wind turbines, from Spain to Holland to the USA.
“Wind power has caused great destruction and wasted millions. For example, in Palm Springs, California, 14,000 turbines have been abandoned in the desert because they are inefficient. They don’t work.
“Can you imagine the cost of building these things off the coast of St Andrews, for example, finding they don’t work then abandoning them?” he said.
“What kind of rational politician would destroy a site that people have been enjoying from all over the world for centuries? St Andrews is the most iconic golf course in the entire sport. What kind of a madman would compromise that kind of an asset?
“People come to St Andrews from all over the world. The Government should be protecting it and trying to treasure it. It’s lunacy. Scotland is the only country going in the opposite direction.”
Mr Sorial added: “We find it incredible that Fergus Ewing can be Minister for Energy and Tourism. That is an inherent conflict of industries that are now colliding. There needs to be a more sensitive approach.
“We look forward to April 25 when Donald Trump will testify with Communities Against Turbines Scotland to the Scottish Government parliamentary committee.”
Last night a Scottish Government spokesman said: “An application for consent for the 11 turbine European Offshore Wind Demonstration Project in Aberdeenshire has been submitted to Marine Scotland, and we are currently considering the views of consultees, interested parties, and the public.
“Scotland has massive green energy potential – with a quarter of Europe’s tidal and offshore wind potential and a tenth of its wave power – and we have a responsibility to ensure that Scotland seizes the opportunity to create tens of thousands of new jobs and secure billions of pounds of investment.
“We welcome the widest possible debate on how developing our clean, green energy resources is bringing industry and jobs to communities across Scotland.
“Although we are unable to comment on live planning applications, planning authorities and where appropriate the Scottish Government will only allow windfarms to be built where the impacts have been found to be acceptable – and unsuitable applications are rejected.
“Every application for windfarm development is assessed against development plan policy and on its merits, taking into account the views of statutory consultees, interested parties, local communities and the public.”