Donald Trump is making a further attempt to attack Alex Salmond’s policy of backing wind power by joining in a legal battle over the future of one of Europe’s largest onshore windfarms.
The property tycoon has asked for a court’s permission to intervene in a hearing to decide whether the 370mw Viking Energy project – a vast onshore farm in Shetland – will be allowed to go ahead.
Trump is seeking to help the scheme’s opponents defeat an appeal by the Scottish government. He has applied to the court of session for permission to fight alongside Sustainable Shetland, the community campaign which has fought against the 103-turbine Viking wind farm, in a major appeal hearing next year.
Trump is already fighting his own judicial review case against plans for a small experimental offshore windfarm with 11 turbines of different types near his golf course north of Aberdeen, with a three-day hearing last week. His lawyers have alleged the first minister abused his power by pushing for that scheme to be approved – a claim denied by Scottish government lawyers.
Sustainable Shetland won a major victory against the Viking scheme, set to be one of the most efficient and powerful in Europe, in October when a judge ruled that Scottish ministers had broke the European birds directive by failing to properly account for Shetland’s rare birdlife when they gave Viking permission to proceed.
The judge, Lady Clark, also ruled that Viking did not have the correct electricity generation licence, even though its majority backer, Scottish and Southern Energy, is one of the UK’s biggest power companies.
Scottish ministers are to appeal against her ruling, but Sustainable Shetland says it will be unable to afford to contest the electricity generation element of the case. Trump has now applied to join in the appeal hearing by taking up that part of the appeal in an unofficial alliance with Sustainable Shetland.
At a hearing in Edinburgh on Wednesday, Judge Lord Menzies allowed Trump to present a full case on joining the Viking hearing to three judges on 3 December.