Trump backed by former critics in wind farm fight

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The RSPB came out in support of Donald Trump's stance on the Aberdeen wind farm (Picture by Gage Skidmore)

DONALD Trump has received backing from an unlikely quarter in his fight against an off-shore wind farm.

The billionaire tycoon has joined forces with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland, who have previously locked horns with him over his controversial golf resort.

Both groups have challenged plans for an 11 turbine development in Aberdeen Bay.

Plans for the £150 million project were submitted by Marine Scotland in August.

But the proposals, which would see 640ft structures built of the coast has angered Trump, whose £750 million golf resort is being built nearby.

He has blasted the development as “disastrous and environmentally irresponsible” and added that it would leave an “ugly cloud hanging over the future of the great Scottish coastline”.

Last night the RSPB Scotland sided with the American over fears that the turbines could harm rare birds.

They say the area is home to seabirds and waterfowl, and is notable for the presence of rare species such as the common scoter and red-throated diver.

Ian Francis, RSPB Scotland area manager for north-eastScotland, said: “From an early stage, we have held many discussions with the developers, and we acknowledge the efforts they have made to reduce its scale and change the layout of the turbines, which has helped.

Impact

“However, more planning, research and monitoring is needed to ensure we truly understand the impact this site may have on local birds.

“The bay is an important area for many species. Since this is a European-funded test centre, it is crucial that a thorough research programme is developed to help understand how this and the many forthcoming offshore wind farms can reduce their impacts on birds and other marine wildlife.”

The charity has previously criticised Trump’s plans to build “the world’s greatest golf course” but welcomed their stance on the turbines.

Mr Francis continued: “The impact of this wind farm has on birds is one of the many concerns members of the public are raising with us.

“We have been inundated with calls and letters from people living throughoutScotlandwho are troubled by existing wind farms and are fighting similar developments. There are serious issues with this wind centre – it’s badly sited and will have a detrimental impact on tourism and other important businesses operating in the area.”

He added: “There are so many objections coming forward that the Scottish Government will have no option but to reject this terrible and destructive proposal.”

David Rodger, spokesman for the consortium behind the project, said the group had carried out research on the impact of the development since submitting the application.

“He said: “We look forward to working with Marine Scotland and RSPB Scotland to discuss the concerns and to share with them the emerging data we have on the proposed site.”

The championship course at Trump’s development on the Menie Estate had already been completed and is due to welcome golfers next July.

But he claims the rest of the project – a £250 million luxury hotel, 950 holiday homes and 500 houses – would “at risk” if the wind farm goes ahead.

The turbines would be visible from the development and would be just one and a half miles from the coast.

Mr Trump’s objection sates: “the reality is that this wind farm will significantly impact on our resort to the extent that the remaining parts will be at risk.

“There is no way that any international hotel operator will commit to developing a world-class hotel overlooking what will be an offshore industrial facility.”

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