Donald Trump swept defiantly into Scotland yesterday, vowing to continue his fight against an offshore wind farm development in Aberdeenshire and accusing Alex Salmond of “destroying” the country.
The billionaire, who is widely expected to announce his intention to run for US president later this month, said the former first minister had done a “tremendous disservice” to the nation’s landscape by approving wind farms, and reiterated his warning that he could pull out of his resort near Balmedie if the latest contentious scheme goes ahead.
In a characteristic show of swagger, the businessman could not resist taking aim at his old sparring partner as he officially opened the revamped clubhouse of his newest golfing resort, Trump Turnberry.
He told The Scotsman that he had done Scotland a “big, fat favour” through his investments and contrasted the approach of authorities in Aberdeenshire to those in South Ayrshire, who he hailed as “fantastic.”
He warned that the reason taxes were “going through the roof” in Scotland was “largely down” to the subsidies being paid to wind farm developers.
Last week, the property developer was dealt a fresh blow in his campaign against an 11-turbine wind farm off the coast of his luxury golf links at the Menie estate in Aberdeenshire.
The plans were approved by the Scottish Government in 2013 but are bitterly opposed by Mr Trump, who claims the scheme will spoil the view at his resort.
His Trump Organisation went to Edinburgh’s Court of Session for a review of the decision by Scottish ministers not to hold a public inquiry on the wind farm application and their decision to grant consent for the project.
The petition was dismissed in February last year and Scotland’s most senior judge, Lord Gill, ruled on Friday that the earlier decision was legal.
The Trump Organisation has pledged to continue its legal challenge at the UK Supreme Court and the European courts.
But yesterday, Mr Salmond singled out Mr Trump’s firm as one of those who “use and abuse corporate power”.
“It’s said everybody has to have their day in court, but some people – particularly some companies – are not content with a day in court. They want months, years in court to frustrate democratic decision- making.
“The Trump Organisation know that the longer they drag out the court process, the less chance there is of the wind farm demonstrator going ahead.”
But when he was told of Mr Salmond’s comments, Mr Trump expressed confidence that his appeal would prevail and railed against the turbines he believes are blighting Scotland.
He said: “They are very bad for tourism and the environment and certainly for the birds. Thousands of birds are being killed by these monsters.” He also criticised Mr Salmond, saying: “I have not spoken to Alex Salmond in years but I think it is a terrible thing he has done to Scotland. He has destroyed some of the great beauty of the world.
“Scotland is known for its landscape and I fly over Scotland and I see these windmills that are killing the birds. Alex Salmond has done Scotland a tremendous disservice, a tremendous disservice to this incredible landscape.”
Mr Trump has previously said that he will pull the plug on plans to further develop his resort near Balmedie if the wind farm goes ahead. Asked whether he would pull out if such a scenario came to pass, he added: “I would think about it but I don’t think it’s going to happen.” He was also asked whether he would be standing as a Republican candidate in the US, and said: “I will be meeting lots of people at Trump Towers on 16 June and I’m going to make an announcement that will be very interesting and I think it’s going to make a lot of people very happy.”
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