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Salmond ‘playing no part’ in deciding windfarm fate

First Minister Alex Salmond has confirmed that he will play no part in deciding whether a windfarm can be built off the north-east coast, near Donald Trump’s golf resort.

In a letter to the American businessman, the SNP leader reaffirms his belief that the renewable-energy sector will play a key part in the economic prosperity of Scotland.

But the Scottish Government’s green-energy policy has been heavily criticised by Mr Trump, who is furious at plans to build 11 turbines in Aberdeen Bay.

The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre is a £200million joint venture by utility company Vattenfall, engineering firm Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group.

The government is considering the planning application – but Mr Salmond says he has not been party to any of the discussions.

He said: “Given the proposed European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre rests partly in my constituency, I have debarred myself from having any role in the ministerial planning decision as to whether or not it is approved.”

The first minister was responding to several attacks by Mr Trump, who has accused the Aberdeenshire East MSP of being “hell bent on destroying Scotland” with wind turbines.

On Wednesday, Mr Trump will tell MSPS he would not have spent a single penny in Scotland had he known the government wanted to “decimate” the country with windfarms.

In a measured response, Mr Salmond told Mr Trump: “I don’t expect you to support the development of offshore wind in Scotland, but I hope this letter will allow you to understand the position of the Scottish Government in terms of the importance we place on this industry’s great potential.”

He also plays down Mr Trump’s claims that he was given an assurance by the previous Labour-Liberal Democrat administration that the windfarm would not go ahead.

He said: “I understand the vehemence of your position given you believe you were offered an assurance by the previous administration that the EOWDC would not go ahead.

“As I explained, the policies of one government do not bind its successor. Regardless, if an assurance was given – and I do not doubt your word – it should not have been, because it is simply not in a government’s gift to determine future planning applications.”