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Trump dismisses Scottish consultation over wind farms

Donald Trump, the New York real estate billionaire building a Scottish golf resort, said a planned consultation on how to protect mountain scenery in Scotland from wind farms was a “weak ploy.”

A new draft Scottish planning policy will be issued soon allowing the government to hear a range of views on how wild land could be protected, the government said today in an e- mailed statement.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Trump have been at loggerheads for more than a year over the extent of the proposed use of wind turbines to help the government meet its target of generating 100 percent of Scotland’s electricity by 2020 from renewable sources.

“This is just a weak ploy by Salmond to help defuse his highly ridiculed policies on these ugly and economically disastrous wind turbines,” Trump said in an e-mailed statement. “If these hideous structures are built by the thousands, tourism in Scotland will be forever ruined and energy bills there will increase five-fold.”

Salmond is ready to back the idea of turbine-free areas to protect some of Scotland’s most dramatic scenery, the Times of London said, citing author and broadcaster Cameron McNeish.

Scottish Natural Heritage will identify 28 percent of Scotland’s countryside, mainly in the north and west Highlands, as wild land. In those areas planning guidance is being drawn up to suggest that wind farm applications should not be approved except in special cases, the Times said.

The Scottish government would work closely with SNH and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to minimize the impact of wind farm developments, it said in its statement.

Trump last month confirmed a decision first made last year to put on hold the development of his 750 million-pound ($1.14 billion) resort in Aberdeenshire involving a five-star hotel, 500 homes and 950 rental apartments as well as two golf courses after the government approved an experimental offshore wind farm in Aberdeen Bay that will overlook the courses.