Trump steps up attack on Scottish government over offshore wind plans

Billionaire Donald Trump has launched fresh attack on the Scottish government’s position on wind farms, after the chairman of the National Trust controversially claimed the charity shared his personal scepticism of wind power.

Trump is staunchly opposed to plans for a £150m offshore wind farm off the coast of Aberdeenshire, on the grounds it will spoil the view from his golf course, and has said he will abandon his proposals for a hotel and houses on the Menie Estate if the development is approved.

A venture led by Vattenfall, French engineering firm Technip and the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), is seeking to build the 11-turbine off Aberdeen Bay in Scotland.

Trump wrote to First Minister Alex Salmond last week, accusing him of being “hell-bent on destroying Scotland’s coastline” with wind turbines and said he would donate a substantial amount of money to launch an international campaign against government plans to build more than 30 offshore wind farms off the country’s coast.

The renewable energy industry dismissed the letter as “trumped-up nonsense”, while the Scottish government has declined to respond directly to the billionaire’s criticism.

Now Trump has stepped up his attack, by accusing the government-backed bodies Scottish Natural Heritage and VisitScotland of being “pathetic” for failing to speak out against wind energy, after National Trust Chairman Sir Simon Jenkins this week said the charity was sceptical about the renewable energy technology.

According the the BBC, Trump has written to Jenkins, praising him for criticising wind energy, and accusing Scottish Natural Heritage and VisitScotland of being “pathetic for refusing to speak out on the issue”.

But the National Trust has since tried to distance itself from its chairman’s comments. A spokesman for the charity yesterday told the Guardian that it did not share Sir Simon’s personal views.

“Our chairman has long-held views on wind that don’t necessarily chime with our current views as an organisation on wind,” he said. Asked if it was true that the organisation was “deeply sceptical” about wind, the spokesman said: “No, our position hasn’t changed on renewable energy.”

A VisitScotland spokesman said the future of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre would be decided by the planning authority.

Scottish Natural Heritage has not commented on the letter, however its website states that it does not have a specific offshore wind energy policy, and would consider individual projects on a case-by-case basis.

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