Scotland’s biggest anti-wind farm group has been torn apart by members’ accusations it is too close to Donald Trump. Communities Against Turbines Scotland (CATS) was set up to fight the Scottish Government’s obsession with turbines.
But concerns have grown that its campaign has been hijacked by the billionaire.
Mr Trump is claimed to have given CATS £10,000 and has taken out a newspaper advertisement in the organisation’s name.
A CATS appearance to give its views at the Scottish parliament earlier this year was overshadowed by the businessman, who has begun a fight against wind farms, in particular the one he says will spoil the view from his Aberdeenshire golf course.
The worries over Mr Trump’s involvement, among other issues, have led to a split in CATS and the formation of a separate alliance, yet to be named.
Linda Holt, who was told to leave the CATS committee after expressing concerns about its leadership, said: ‘CATS for the first time brought together people opposed to wind farms from across the country.
‘But its testimony at Holyrood was predictably overshadowed by Donald Trump and many people did not join the march outside Holyrood because of Trump.
‘The promised financial support for CATS never materialised – beyond £10,000 with strings attached. Obviously, many in the Scottish anti-wind farm movement felt let down.’
Miss Holt added: ‘The problem is that Trump has been a distraction from the thousands of ordinary Scottish folk who feel outraged by the Government’s relentless push to turbinise Scotland, whatever the cost.’
Another conflict has arisen from an anti-wind farm protest planned for today to coincide with the SNP conference in Perth. Protesters organised the march because they felt CATS was not sufficiently confrontational, although CATS has said it is now supporting the protest.
The campaign group has said it is no longer working with Mr Trump but its chairman admitted there would always be people who would not join because of his involvement.
Many Scots argued against Mr Trump’s golf course on the Menie estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, but at a rally against wind turbines outside the Scottish parliament in April, protesters found themselves on his side. Most of the news coverage of the public’s opposition to the Scottish Government’s wind farm agenda focused on Mr Trump.
He then took out a newspaper advert bearing CATS’ name and opposing wind power. But its photograph of rusting turbines with the heading ‘Welcome to Scotland!’ was of decommissioned turbines in Hawaii and it was last month banned by the Advertising Standards Authority despite a note explaining the photo had not been taken in Scotland.
Trump International managing director George Sorial last night said: ‘We have had a great impact against the wind turbine industry and we are in this for the long run.
‘The insanity of the proliferation of wind turbines is now very much in the minds not only of people in Scotland but across the world. We all continue to fight for the same cause.’
CATS chairman Susan Crosthwaite said the group had tried to give evidence at the Scottish parliament on a different day from Mr Trump to avoid the event being hijacked.
She added: ‘We have done a lot to leave the Donald Trump issue behind and make a name for ourselves and our communities.
‘For some people our involvement with him is the worst thing we could have done. But it is terribly important that everyone who is struggling with the negative impact of wind turbines works together for the same cause.’
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