Donald Trump will seek to use Alex Salmond’s own words to try to halt plans for a windfarm off the coast of his Scottish golf course.
The US billionaire has seized upon comments by the first minister and Scottish Government reporters about the “national importance” of his £750million resort in Aberdeenshire.
He has now submitted them to Marine Scotland in a fresh attempt to stop the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) – an 11-turbine windfarm in Aberdeen Bay – from being built.
Mr Trump has opposed the project from the start, and has threatened to call a halt to remaining work at the Menie Estate if the plans are approved by the government.
He fears the turbines will drive visitors away and spoil the North Sea view.
The row has driven a wedge between the tycoon and the SNP leader, and triggered months of wrangling, in contrast to their once-harmonious relationship.
Mr Trump will now try to use favourable remarks made previously by the Aberdeenshire East MSP to his advantage.
In December 2007, just days after the Menie golf development was turned down by a local planning committee, Mr Salmond met Trump representatives in Aberdeen.
The next day the project was “called in” by ministers and, a year later, approved.
Documentation produced around this time is at the centre of Mr Trump’s latest effort to see the EOWDC plan thrown out.
The American’s legal team put most emphasis on a report to Scottish ministers that paved the way for planning approval.
In it, they were told that there is no doubt “the economic impact of the development would be nationally significant”.
If Marine Scotland, the adjudicating body, do not reject the EOWDC, Mr Trump’s team – who argue that their development should have the same protection as Eilean Donan or Urquhart castles in the Highlands – have urged it to call for a full public inquiry.
If an inquiry is denied, Mr Trump will seek a judicial review. Such moves could take years to complete and cost millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.
George Sorial, executive vice-president of the Trump Organisation, said it would be “unfortunate” if the public had to pick up the expensive bill for legal action. “Should Marine Scotland make a foolish decision, we will challenge it judicially and they will lose,” he said.
A Scottish Government spokesman said Marine Scotland was still considering the views of all interested parties before making a decision.
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