Decision to hold no inquiry into plans for windfarm next to Donald Trump golf course was ‘entirely reasonable’, court hears
The Scottish Government’s decision not to hold a public inquiry into plans for an offshore windfarm within view of Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf resort was “entirely reasonable”, a court has heard.
James Mure QC told the Court of Session in Edinburgh that an inquiry would have been of no benefit to ministers deciding whether to grant consent for the scheme.
Mr Trump opposes the 11-turbine European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), claiming it will spoil the view from his luxury golf course on the coast.
Lawyers acting for the US property billionaire are challenging the legality of the approval of the windfarm, as well as the decision not to hold a public inquiry into the project in Aberdeen Bay.
Mr Mure, making the Scottish Government’s case, said objections to the scheme were properly considered throughout the lengthy planning process.
The Trump development was given “preferential treatment” late on in the process to encourage them to share anything they thought relevant and had provided an “entirely clear” message about their objections.
“It was not a message which, in my submission, could have been clarified for (the Scottish ministers) by a formal inquiry,” Mr Mure said.
“It was entirely reasonable for the Scottish ministers to take the view that a public inquiry would not assist the ministers on the question of balancing and weighing up the policy interests which, at the end of the day, are at stake in Aberdeenshire.
“When it comes down to planning judgment, when there are policy interests, the respondents have to have the final say and an inquiry into matters which the petitioners suggest would not have provided any benefit.”
Mr Mure rebuffed an argument that a right to “peaceful enjoyment of property” under the European Convention on Human Rights was breached in relation to the Trump development.
The windfarm is not on Mr Trump’s land and does not affect rights under the planning permission, he said.
“They don’t specify any particular effect on their land, although we understand that there are visual impacts which are by no means minimal,” he said.
“In my submission, really no case is made,” Mr Mure said.
The petition lodged by Trump International Golf Links and the Trump Organisation earlier this year asks the court to declare as unlawful the Scottish Government’s decision to approve the windfarm on March 26.
Mr Trump has said he will pull the plug on plans to finish his luxury resort with a large hotel, holiday homes and a residential village if the windfarm goes ahead.
Senior members of Mr Trump’s executive team, including his son, Donald Trump Jr, and George Sorial, have attended court for the judicial review hearing which is expected to continue until tomorrow.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding