NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Offshore wind farm application 'mishandled' says Trump legal team

Photomontage of planned turbines
Image caption A photomontage depicts how the offshore deployment centre turbines could look

An application for an offshore wind farm which could be seen from Donald Trump's golf resort in Aberdeenshire was mishandled by government officials, his legal team has claimed.

The US businessman wants the decision to approve the project overturned.

Gordon Steele QC said if the project was not a "guinea pig" it was "one of the first applications" handled by Marine Scotland.

The Scottish government wants the challenge dismissed.

The legality of the approval is being challenged at the Court of Session.

Mr Trump claims the £230m European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) would spoil the view from his golf course at Menie in Aberdeenshire.

The deployment centre would allow offshore wind farm developers to test new designs.

It could also generate enough power for tens of thousands of homes.

In his closing comments to the court on the fourth day of the hearing, Mr Steele said the wind farm proposal being one of the first considered by Marine Scotland "perhaps helps to explain what I say are the procedural irregularities".

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

Mr Steele argued that the benefits flowing from the two proposals should have been compared.

He said: "In the resort construction, there will be of the order of 6,000 jobs created and 2,000 in the resort operation.

"The vision of Mr Trump is to construct the greatest golf course anywhere in the world, capable of hosting a major championship."

'National interest'

Mr Steele referred to Mr Trump in his closing remarks to Lord Doherty, stating: "It's beyond doubt that this inward investor does not feel that he has been treated fairly, reasonably or in an unbiased fashion.

"Accordingly, I invite my lord, in the interests of the Trump Organisation but much, much more importantly in the national interest, to uphold the petition for judicial review."

James Mure QC, closing the Scottish government's case, said potential benefits to golf or tourism had to be weighed with benefits in other areas.

He said: "The responsibility for weighing and balancing the different policy considerations rightly rests in our system with the Scottish ministers.

"The job is not that of an accountant."

The first minister took the matter "very seriously", Mr Mure added.

A decision is expected at a later date.

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