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Trump loses legal challenge against wind farm plans  

Credit:  Tuesday 11 February 2014 | www.heraldscotland.com ~~

Donald Trump has lost his legal challenge to an offshore wind farm which he claims is ruining his plans for a controversial golf resort in the North East of Scotland.

The American tycoon raised a court action against the Scottish Ministers who are backing the wind power scheme in Aberdeen Bay.

He threatened to halt further investment in his resort development at nearby Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, if the eleven turbine generating project went ahead.

But in a written ruling issued today/yesterday (Tues) judge Lord Doherty dismissed the Trump petition for a judicial review.

During a hearing last November Trump’s QC, Gordon Steele, described the wind farm proposal as “criminal” claiming that Aberdeen Offshore Windfarm Ltd did not have an operator’s licence and had nor been granted an exemption.

His attack came soon after another judge, Lady Clark of Calton, had ruled that the Scottish Ministers were wrong to allow a wind farm in Shetland in similar circumstances.

Lady Clark’s decision is currently under appeal and the Scottish Ministers insist that giving the do-ahead to the Aberdeen Bay proposal did not breach the law.

The backing for the wind farm came in spite of a planning objection by Trump who complained that the view from his golf hotel would be ruined and that guests would not want to stay in “an industrial park.”

The nearest wind turbine would be 3.5km away.

The action which led to Lord Doherty’s decision today was raised in the name of the New York-based Trump Organisation and its local arm Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd.

The controversial golf resort on the Menie Estate, Balmedie, was given planning permission after a four week public inquiry in 2008.

The bid for a judicial review criticised the Scottish Ministers for their decision last March not to hold a public inquiry into the 100MW wind farm which is also intended to be a test-bed for wind turbines.

The Trump side argued that because the wind farm was receiving public money through Aberdeen City Council and the European Union there was an appearance of bias.

The SNP, committed to green energy, want to increase the percentage of Scotland’s electricity produced from sustainable sources.

And funds already committed to the project would be wasted if it did not go ahead.

Trump then turned on First Minister Alex Salmond claiming that remarks he had made during the 2012 Scottish Open about the certainty of the wind farm going ahead could be interpreted as showing bias.

Lord Doherty concluded that the reliability of the memory blogger who reported what the thought Mr Salmond had said could be called into question. In any event, the judge said, Mr Salmond was speaking informally at a lunch in a hospitality tent at a sporting occasion and not in a public speech or interview.

Counsel Gordon Steele also pointed to the number of meetings and correspondence between the Holyrood administration’s officials and Aberdeen Offshore Windfarm Ltd, claiming this could lead an informed and fair-minded observer to think that the Scottish Ministers wanted the wind farm to go ahead.

Minutes of a meeting called by Aberdeen City Council in December 2009 described the government side as “very keen.”

The Scottish Ministers denied that, as decision makers, they had any financial stake in the outcome – either real or apparent.

They also said it was right that there should be close consultation in complex planning applications.

Lord Doherty also ruled that it was “clear beyond peradventure” that the Scottish Ministers were fully aware of the experimental nature of the wind farm scheme – dismissing another objection from the Trump side.

Source:  Tuesday 11 February 2014 | www.heraldscotland.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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