Donald Trump has flown into Scotland with an accusation that ministers are lying about his organisation’s past support for wind power.
The property developer’s private jet touched down in Aberdeen yesterday afternoon ahead of his appearance at a Holyrood committee this week.
Mr Trump will give evidence against wind farms as a vocal opponent of the developments – he has said he would not have built his golf course in the north-east of Scotland if he had known about plans to install turbines off the coast there.
But as he arrived on Scottish soil, he faced a claim revealed in our sister newspaper, the Sunday Herald, that lawyers for his company had written to energy company Vattenfall in 2010 supporting renewable energy and backing wind farms provided they were “appropriately located”.
Speaking after touching down at Aberdeen, Mr Trump said of the claim that he has backed renewables in the past: “They have to be kidding.
“They know, right from the beginning, if there was going to be something called wind power, which by the way is a very poor form of energy, we would not have done the job. We will be able to prove that very easily. Obviously, I haven’t supported it and if they’ve said that, then they are lying.”
The letter revealed at the weekend, which was copied at the time to the First Minister and planning officials at local and national level, said: “The Trump Organisation fully supports efforts being made by the Scottish Government and the Scottish renewable energy industry to achieve ambitious national targets to meet 20% of Scotland’s energy demand from renewable sources by 2020.
“Our clients support proposals for appropriately located wind farms and ultimately wish your projects every success.”
The comments are a far cry from Mr Trump’s strident remarks in recent weeks claiming wind farms could “completely end” tourism in Scotland and the country is “in effect committing financial suicide”.
He also claimed there was not a “shred of evidence” turbines benefit the environment, claiming their construction used “massive amounts of fossil fuels”.
The weekend also saw claim and counter-claim about any Government assurances which may have been given to Mr Trump ahead of him starting his controversial golfing development in Aberdeenshire, and whether this referred to the current SNP administration or the previous Labour-LibDem coalition.
George Sorial, vice-president of the Trump Organisation, said: “Who actually believes that Mr Salmond did not give us assurances? We were told there were military radar installations in Peterhead and there is no way there is ever going to be turbines there because they would cause interference. We were told shipping lanes coming in and out of Aberdeen are very busy so we have nothing to worry about. We were told any installations would be 10 miles out.”
Scottish Conservative energy spokeswoman Mary Scanlon has written to Mr Salmond demanding he discloses all correspondence with Mr Trump regarding assurances on renewable energy.
Mr Salmond’s spokesman said: “Absolutely no assurances have been given at any time by this administration to Mr Trump or his organisation, and any claims to the contrary are wrong.”
The exchanges came as a poll revealed 72% of Scots are in favour of using wind power, with 39% strongly in favour and 33% tending to agree.
The YouGov poll was commissioned by Scottish Renewables, whose chief executive Niall Stuart said: “This lays to rest once and for all the idea that people of Scotland do not support wind power.”
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