DONALD Trump’s lawyers will go to the Court of Session tomorrow to launch the tycoon’s legal challenge against the Scottish Government’s decision to approve the controversial offshore wind farm he claims forced him to pull the plug on future investment in his luxury Scottish golf resort.
The hearing for a judicial review over the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay is expected to last four days.
Lawyers acting for Trump have already lodged a petition at the Court of Session, asking the court to declare that the decisions not to hold a public inquiry and the subsequent approval of the EOWDC were unlawful.
The EOWDC is being spearheaded by Swedish company Vattenfall - Europe’s sixth-largest generator of electricity - together with the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), and engineering company Technip Offshore Wind.
The petition, lodged by the Trump legal team, argues that the Trump Organisation was denied a fair hearing as result of Scottish Ministers’ refusal to hold a public inquiry and that their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights were breached as a result.
The Trump organisation also claim that “it appears that the Scottish Government, as well as Aberdeen City Council,” have a financial involvement in the project. Both Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Council have a councillor on the board of directors of AREG, a 25 per cent shareholder in the wind farm project.
According to the petition the Trump development “had been found to be of national significance” and the Trump Organisation had a “legitimate expectation” that the wind farm application would be the subject of a public inquiry.
It argues: “The holding of public inquiry would provide a procedural safeguard against the appearance of bias in the decision- taking process. It was even more critical to hold an inquiry given that the respondents (the Government) and the two local authorities appear to have a financial involvement in the project. A public inquiry would have afforded the petitioners, the respondents and others the opportunity to obtain further information on the likely outcome for the Menie Estate.”
Trump has hired Gordon Steele QC, one of Scotland’s top legal planning counsel, to lead his case at the Court of Session.
A spokeswoman for Trump organisation said: “ Senior members of the New York executive team arrived in Edinburgh today and are currently working with our legal representatives in preparation for the judicial review, which begins tomorrow. We welcome the opportunity to present our case before the Court of Session.”
But Lang Banks, the director of environmental pressure group WWF Scotland, said: “It’s depressing to think that Donald Trump has nothing better to do than use his vast wealth to try and undermine Scotland’s aim of becoming a cleaner, greener, job-creating nation. We hope that in the end the court agrees that giving the go-ahead to this development was the right decision.”
He continued: “Scotland is home to a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource. Studies estimate that Scotland’s offshore wind industry could create 28,000 jobs by 2020 and contribute over £7 billion of investment to the economy. It would be a great pity if Donald Trump was in any way responsible for frustrating Scotland’s ambition to generate clean power and green jobs.”