Trump in guinea pig claim over windfarm

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An application for an offshore windfarm within view of Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf resort was mishandled by Government officials, his legal team has claimed.

Gordon Steele QC suggested, at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, that if the windfarm project was not a “guinea pig” then it was “one of the first applications” handled by Marine Scotland, the Scottish Government directorate which manages the country’s waters.

Mr Trump opposes the 11-turbine European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), claiming it will spoil the view from his nearby golf course.

The US property tycoon is challenging the legality of the Scottish Government’s decision to approve the windfarm.

In his closing comments to the court, Mr Steele said the windfarm proposal was one of the first considered by Marine Scotland.

“In my submission, this perhaps helps to explain what I say are the procedural irregularities and, frankly, mishandling of this matter by Marine Scotland,” he said.

“We were, if not the guinea pig, one of the very first applications before them.”

Mr Trump has said he will pull the plug on his own controversial plans to finish his proposed luxury resort, with a large hotel, holiday homes and residential village, if the windfarm goes ahead.

Mr Steele argued that the benefits flowing from the two proposals should have been compared. He said he previously underestimated the number of jobs to be created by the Trump development when he put it at between 4,000 and 5,000.

“In the resort construction, there will be of the order of 6,000 jobs created and 2,000 in the resort operation,” he said.

“The vision of Mr Trump is to construct the greatest golf course anywhere in the world, capable of hosting a major championship We are at the absolute extreme end, or perhaps off the spectrum, in relation to considerations of this type.”

Mr Steele also referred to a blog on a golf website where First Minister Alex Salmond is quoted as saying the windfarm will “absolutely” be built. The statement, as reported, “does not sit happily” with ministerial guidelines, he said.