NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Donald Trump challenge to Aberdeenshire wind turbines begins

Photomontage of planned turbines
Image caption A photomontage shows what the development could look like

Donald Trump's legal challenge against plans for an offshore wind farm near his Aberdeenshire golf resort is under way at the Court of Session.

The US tycoon is attempting to overturn the Scottish government's decision to approve the project.

The developers said the turbines could power tens of thousands of homes.

Mr Trump's counsel said it would "a criminal offence" for Aberdeen Offshore Windfarm Development to operate a generating station for electricity.

Gordon Steele QC said: "The applicants do not have a licence to operate a generating station nor do they have an exemption."

The £230m European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) scheme consists of 11 wind turbines.

Mr Trump argues the turbines would spoil the sea view for guests at his Menie resort.

Image caption Donald Trump has shelved plans for his hotel while the row goes on

He has shelved plans for a hotel, holiday homes and a residential village while the row goes on.

Scottish ministers said the judicial review petition should be dismissed.

The offshore scheme was put together by Vattenfall Wind Power and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (Areg).

A change to the application in August last year increased the proposed height of some turbines, prompting further anger from Mr Trump.

The maximum height would increase by 3.5m (11ft) to 198.5m (651ft), with the maximum radius of the turbine blades increased by up to 11m (36ft).

These turbines would be placed furthest from shore. Closer to shore, the maximum height would decrease from 195m (639ft) to 180.5m (592ft).

Later decision

In May, majority shareholder Vattenfall announced it was paring back investment in the scheme, calling on potential investors to realise the £230m cost.

At the time the firm had invested about £5m.

Last month, the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre project was dealt a blow when Aberdeenshire Council turned down a planning application for a substation at Blackdog, which would channel power from the turbines.

Lord Doherty is due to hear four days of legal submissions from lawyers representing the objectors, Scottish government and the wind farm firm and is expected to give a decision at a later date.

Previously, a judge held that ministers were wrong to grant consent for a wind farm project on Shetland in similar circumstances.

Lady Clark's decision in the Shetland case has been appealed against and is due to be heard next year.

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