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Donald Trump loses fight over Scots wind farm  

Credit:  By James Mulholland | The Scotsman | 05 June 2015 | www.scotsman.com ~~

Billionaire Donald Trump has lost his legal challenge to an offshore wind farm which he claims is ruining his exclusive golf resort in the north of Scotland.

The 68-year-old businessman wanted judges at the Court of Session to judicially review the Scottish Ministers decision to allow the Aberdeen Bay development to go ahead.

Lawyers for the property developer argued that the government’s decision was illegal.

But on Friday, Scotland’s most senior judge, Lord Gill, ruled that an earlier decision made by his colleague Lord Doherty to not grant the judicial review was legal.

In a written judgement issued at the Edinburgh based court, the Lord President wrote that Mr Trump’s lawyers argued that the Scottish government didn’t properly consider the matter.

The US Apprentice star’s representatives pointed to an online blog to illustrate their point.

The internet site claimed that First Minster Alex Salmond told people in a hospitality tent at the Scottish Open in 2012 that the scheme was going ahead. The formal decision which gave permission to the scheme proceeding was made in March 2013.

However, the Lord President said he didn’t think there was enough evidence to prove that the Scottish Ministers acted illegally.

He wrote: “The petitioners’ case on this point is based on an account by the American writer of A Travel Golf Blog of an incident in August 2012.

“The mise en scene was a hospitality tent at the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart in which the First Minister and other guests were having, according to this account, ‘an amazing lunch’.

“The writer reports that his American colleague asked the First Minister whether the wind farm would ever be built to which the First Minister replied ‘absolutely,’ and remarked that he would not have his energy policy ‘dictated by Mr Trump’.

“All of this occurred on a social occasion no doubt dedicated to the appreciation of golf.

“It is difficult to take a remark of that kind, if it was made, as a considered statement of the Scottish Ministers intentions, especially as the decision was one that would be made by the Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism in light of detailed technical advice.”

The judgement followed a hearing which was held at the court earlier this year. The tycoon objected to the March 2013 government decision to proceed with the energy scheme without holding a public inquiry.

Mr Trump believes the green energy scheme would compromise the view from his golf course at Balmedie, Aberdeenshire.

In January 2015, Mr Trump’s legal team began a further action before judges Lord Gill, Lord Malcolm and Lord Menzies.

Trump’s advocate John Campbell QC wanted the court to allow a judicial review into whether the Scottish Ministers acted legally.

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.

Mr Trump’s legal team also argued that remarks made by people close to the SNP administration gave the impression that ministers were biased against his golf course plans.

However, Lord Gill ruled that Mr Trump’s legal team had failed to prove their argument.

He added: “The emphasis in counsel’s submission was the multiplicity of allegedly suspicious considerations when looked at as a whole pointed clearly to the conclusion that the decision was pre-determined and that the Ministers showed a bias in favour of the development.

“I do not agree. None of the considerations founded upon by the petitioners comes anywhere near to supporting the petitioners suspicions.

“I fail to see how the aggregation of them makes its case any stronger.

Judges Lord Menzies and Lord Malcolm also agreed with Lord Gill’s judgement.

Source:  By James Mulholland | The Scotsman | 05 June 2015 | www.scotsman.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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