US BILLIONAIRE Donald Trump has lost his latest legal challenge against an offshore wind farm project near his Scottish golf resort.
Proposals to build the 11-turbine scheme off the Aberdeenshire coast were approved by the Scottish Government in 2013.
The scheme is opposed by the property developer, who claims that it would spoil the view from his luxury golf links at the Menie estate.
The Trump Organisation went to Edinburgh’s Court of Session for a review of the Scottish Government’s decision 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, has now ruled that the earlier decision was legal.
He said in his judgment, published earlier today: “None of the considerations founded on by the petitioners comes anywhere near to supporting the petitioners’ suspicions.
“I propose to your lordships that we should refuse the reclaiming motion.”
Mr Trump has previously said he will pull the plug on plans to further develop his resort near Balmedie if the wind farm goes ahead.
The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) project is a joint venture by Vattenfall Wind Power and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), who say the turbines would be capable of yielding enough electricity to power 68,000 UK households over a year.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “This result is good news for Scotland and for all those interested in cutting carbon emissions and creating jobs.
“Once again the courts have seen through Trump’s flimsy, misguided attempts to frustrate Scotland’s ambition to create clean power and green jobs. It’s now time for Mr Trump to stop wasting any more time and money on this case.
“Once up and running, this test facility will be ideally placed to help test the technologies needed to harness the huge offshore renewables potential, ensuring learning by industry and playing an important role in helping to drive down costs.”
A Trump Organisation spokesman said: “Today’s written judgment is no surprise – it’s impossible to have a fair hearing challenging wind farm applications in Scotland.
“We have already instructed our legal team to commence an appeal before both the Supreme Court of the UK and the European courts. The EOWDC proposal has now languished in the planning system for more than ten years and has a long way to go before construction can actually commence.
“Vattenfall, and AREG and Technip have long abandoned the project and it’s common knowledge that there is no money available for it to proceed. Onerous conditions must be purified and the legal challenge to its electrical substation, which is being fought by the entire village of Blackdog, is far from being resolved.
“Despite today’s ruling, with no available money and the current political movement to end wind farm subsidies, it’s impossible to envision how this ill-conceived proposal will ever get built.”
Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie said: “This spurious legal action has gone on too long already and we cannot allow Trump’s inflated ego to delay our renewables industry a moment longer.”