The man who represents US property tycoon Donald Trump has said it would be ”tragic” if recent whale deaths in the North Sea were linked to windfarm sonar surveys.
In an exclusive interview with The Courier, Mr Trump’s legal counsel and vice-president of the Trump Organisation George Sorial said there was ”tested and proven” worldwide evidence of the impact wind turbines could have on sea mammals once constructed and this was one of the cornerstones of the Trump Organisation’s long-standing opposition to windfarms.
Mr Sorial’s comment was made as industry body Scottish Renewables said there was ”no evidence” that vessels using high-tech sonar to scan the seabed may be driving whales to their deaths on the beaches of Fife and Angus.
Seventeen pilot whales died after a mass beaching in the East Neuk earlier this month, just a day after a minke whale was found dead near the Bell Rock Lighthouse.
Just last week there was another death, with a 40-foot sei whale washed up on the shore at Arbroath.
There are suggestions that sonar – being used in seismic surveys to map the ocean floor to find the best places to site windfarms – could be causing the whales to become disorientated and swim dangerously close to the shore.
Mr Sorial told The Courier: ”This is really terrible. If it is connected, it’s unbelievable that this volume of whales should have to die before a single turbine has even gone up.
”It’s a terrible sacrifice. It’s not just birds that suffer from wind turbines but sea mammals too. It is well documented that wind turbines, once constructed, interfere with mammals. We again call for a moratorium on windfarms until a detailed study is carried out.”
Mr Trump, a prominent opponent of wind power, has crossed swords with First Minister Alex Salmond over a proposed offshore windfarm within sight of his golf course development in Aberdeenshire and Mr Sorial confirmed that the ”battle goes on”.
The Courier also contacted two of the companies hoping to develop windfarms in the North Sea within sight of the Fife and Angus coast.
A spokesman for Mainstream Renewables – which is behind plans for a 60- to 125-turbine windfarm at Neart na Gaoithe, seven miles off Fife Ness – said it was the company’s view that this was an ”industry matter” and they agreed with the statement by Scottish Renewables.
A spokesman for Scottish and Southern Energy, speaking on behalf of Seagreen – a partner hoping to develop a zone around 25km east of Fife – said there were no boats working on Seagreen’s behalf in the area immediately prior to the whales being washed up.