Donald Trump has been accused of misleading the public after he took out an advert showing photographs to highlight his campaign against Scottish wind farms that were taken in Hawaii.
The American tycoon launched his public relations offensive against the Scottish Government’s policy on the issue with a full page newspaper advert, which showed the disused turbines, under the headline “Welcome To Scotland”.
It said: “Alex Salmond wants to build 8750 of these monstrosities – just think about it!”
However, industry body Scottish Renewables said the advert was misleading and questioned why it needed to use a photograph of the delapidated Kamaoa site in Hawaii that was decommissioned seven years ago.
Niall Stuart, the chief executive, said: “The advert begs one very, very obvious question – if wind power is really impacting on Scotland’s landscape in the way these two organisations claim, then why did they have to go to the other side of the world and use a photograph of a wind farm in Hawaii to make their point.
“Not only that but the turbines are no longer there. The Kamaoa Wind Farm, South Point, Hawaii, where the photograph was taken, was decommissioned in 2006 with the final turbine dismantled earlier this month.
“We believe the advert is highly misleading, given the photo of the turbines is under the heading ‘Welcome to Scotland’.”
The row comes as Mr Trump steps up his campaign to stop an 11-turbine wind farm being built near his golf development at Menie north of Aberdeen, and get ministers to rethink their strategy on green energy.
Mr Trump and several of his senior aides are due to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee as part of its inquiry into the Scottish Government’s renewable energy targets next week.
The advert, which does say in small letters at the base the photograph was not taken in Scotland, is thought to be the first of several due over the coming weeks.
The advert promotes a march and rally being organised by Communities Against Turbines Scotland (Cats) in Edinburgh before the committee meeting.
George Sorial, the Trump Organisation’s executive vice-president and the billionaire’s legal counsel, rejected the claims by Scottish Renewables. He said: “This is the first in a series of adverts we will place in Scotland all around Scotland.”
Asked whether that meant television, radio and billboard advertising as well, Mr Sorial said: “We will do what it takes. We are in a marathon. We are here to stay. We have created a masterpiece in Aberdeenshire and we are not going to let Alex Salmond or anyone else jeopardise it. The intent is to create some thought about the future of Scotland if his plans to construct thousands of these turbines all over the county are realised.”
He said it did not matter that the photograph had been taken abroad. “It really captures the end cycle of these turbines. They are built with public subsidy at a cost of around £250,000 but can only produce £150,000 worth of energy. So how can long can any business exist on that type of deficit?”
He said their legacy would be a wasteland of steel and concrete. “We want to ask whether that is the direction Scotland should be headed in.”