“They may take our lives but they will not build their wind farms.”
That may as well have been Donald Trump’s war cry today as he stormed into the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh claiming to have been duped by Alex Salmond.
Mr. Trump, who has Scottish ancestry, has been in dispute with the Scottish government ever since it announced plans to build a wind farm just two miles off the coast of Aberdeen, where he is currently building what he has called “the greatest golf course in history.”
He was in Scotland’s capital today to sit before the Scottish Parliament’s economy, energy and tourism committee who are conducting an inquiry into whether Scotland is able to meet its green targets.
Trump says he was “lured” in
Mr. Trump told the ‘committee’ he had been “lured” into building his £1bn golf course and resort by previous First Minister of Scotland Jack McConnell and the current incumbent Alex Salmond.
Trump International Golf Links is at Menie on Aberdeenshire’s Coast and has been built in an area of Special Scientific Interest amid sand dunes which provide one of the best natural habitats for wildlife in the British Isles.
Mr. Trump is angered by the plans to build the wind farm which he says will spoil the views from his golf course and ruin the beauty of Scotland’s coastline.
He has been using Braveheart style rhetoric by talking of trying to save Scotland’s natural beauty and emphasising his ancestry and investment in the country to try and sway public opinion against the development.
He has attacked wind farms as an inefficient form of energy, described the turbines as “monstrosities” and argues that they kill huge numbers of birds and wildlife.
The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, which Mr. Trump objects to, is a £150m joint venture by utility company Vattenfall, engineering firm Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group.
Scottish ministers have yet to decide whether to approve the project.
Loss of Jobs and Tourist Cash
Crucially for Scotland’s economy, and especially its tourism industry, Mr. Trump is now threatening to stop construction of the 5-star hotel; lodges, resort and residential housing that he initially planned to build alongside the golf course.
Were he to carry out his threat, it would mean the loss of hundreds of jobs and huge amounts of money that would have been spent by visitors staying at the hotel and resort.
Today, Mr. Trump said he would not have invested his money had he known the Scottish government would build a wind farm within view of the golf links and hotel.
The golf course is set to be open for play in July but until this situation is resolved it is unlikely that the hotel and resort development will go ahead.
The Trump Golf Links project has been mired in controversy ever since the American business tycoon locked horns with a local Scottish farmer who refused to sell his land and later angered local residents by cutting off the water supply to their properties during the construction of the golf course.
You’ve been Trumped – Film hits back
Anthony Baxter, a former BBC Journalist living in Aberdeenshire, has made a documentary film called “You’ve been Trumped,” which he says tells the truth about Trump’s project and his dealings with local landowners and residents.
The film has won 10 awards worldwide and premiered at The Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival in the UK. It will be released in cinemas this Summer.
It shows Mr. Trump in an unflattering light.
Focus on Forbes
Baxter focuses on salmon fisherman and farmer Michael Forbes, a rugged Scot with a face wrinkled by sea and salt, who refused to sell his land even when offered £500,000.
Trump called his house a “pigsty” and an “embarrassment,” and he said of another property that he “wanted to get rid of that house.”
When told it could cause problems Trump said: “who cares, we are building the greatest golf course in the world.”
The story of the “greatest golf course in history” rumbles on and it’s not yet clear whether too much wind will make the course unplayable for the American tycoon.