US TYCOON Donald Trump will warn the Scottish Parliament this week that his plans to build a luxury hotel alongside his Aberdeenshire golf course will be axed if ministers back a series of “insane” wind turbines nearby.
The billionaire property developer will appear at Holyrood on Wednesday to attack the Scottish Government’s renewable energy proposals, accusing Alex Salmond of “destroying” the country’s natural heritage.
His championship golf course, ten miles north of Aberdeen, is scheduled to open as planned in July, but the entrepreneur’s senior representative said additional plans for a major hotel and housing development could not “co-exist” with an offshore wind farm planned for the coastal waters nearby.
George Sorial, vice president of The Trump Organisation, said: “If there is an industrial power plant on the shore line, the concept of having a luxury hotel and resort is simply incompatible. The two can’t co-exist.”
Sorial’s comments throw fresh doubt on the 500-hectare development, along with the job hopes of the thousands of workers which the Trump Organisation claims will be needed to build the entire project.
However, Trump was accused of “showbiz bluster” by environmental campaigners last night, as they produced a poll showing that 71 per cent of Scots back wind power as part of the country’s energy mix. The Scottish Government is committed to sourcing all of the country’s electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020. Trump’s dispute centres on plans to construct 11 new “next-generation” wind turbines, that will be clearly seen from his development.
The American billionaire will give evidence this week to Holyrood’s economy and energy committee. He is also expected to renew his attack on both Salmond and former first minister Lord McConnell, claiming he was given assurances that the windfarm development would not go ahead. Both Salmond and McConnell, who lost power at the 2007 Holyrood elections, deny any such guarantees.
Trump is expected to speak both inside and outside parliament on Wednesday as anti-wind farm protesters gather to rally against the Scottish Government’s plans to increase the number of turbines both on land and at sea. Trump has turned on Salmond over the push, claiming the move will do more damage “than any event in Scotland’s history”.
Both Salmond and McConnell have said the matter of the Aberdeenshire wind farm proposal, known as the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, is now a matter for the planning authorities to decide. However, Sorial said that it was “disingenuous and ridiculous” for Salmond to claim he was not backing the wind farm programme off the north-east coast. “Everybody in Aberdeen knows that Alex Salmond is the driving force behind the EWDC application,” he said.
He added: “A lot of people won’t agree with us and a lot of people may feel uncomfortable agreeing with us but on this issue we were misled.
He went on: “It wasn’t until we built the course that the application went in. We knew the proposals were out there but we were always led to believe they wouldn’t get anywhere.”
Last month, Trump claimed he had been assured by McConnell there would be no wind turbines over-looking his course.
He said: “Jack McConnell and his administration said, ‘We really want you to spend your money in Scotland. We will not build the windmills.’ ... I said: ‘Do I have your word?’ They said: ‘You have our word.’”
However, McConnell hit back last night. He said: “Mr Trump was treated with the same respect and courtesy that I and my government treated all potential inward investors. It is a pity that he doesn’t return that courtesy now.”
Meanwhile, Trump flew into the former Soviet republic of Georgia yesterday to expand his global real estate empire, lending his name to a glitzy tower on the Black Sea coast. Unveiling a $250 million (£155m) residential high-rise planned for the Georgian coastal resort town of Batumi, Trump said the country had become a prime destination for foreign investment.
• http://snh.gov.uk/docs/B961030.pdf|Click here for a map of current and proposed windfarm projects in Scotland|Windfarm map}