Donald Trump loses wind farm review bid

Source: By BBC News • Posted: Monday, June 8, 2015

Donald Trump has lost a fresh legal challenge over an offshore wind farm near his golf resort in Aberdeenshire.

The American billionaire wanted a judicial review into his claim that Scottish ministers acted illegally by approving the 11-turbine scheme in Aberdeen Bay.

A previous application by Mr Trump had been dismissed.

Scotland’s most senior judge, Lord Gill, has now ruled that the earlier decision had been legal.

The judgment followed a hearing which was held at the court earlier this year.

A spokesman for Mr Trump said the ruling proved “it’s impossible to have a fair hearing challenging wind farm applications in Scotland”.

The tycoon objected to the government decision in March 2013 to proceed with the £230m European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) scheme without holding a public inquiry.

‘Obviously delighted’

Mr Trump believes it would compromise the view from his golf course at Menie.

Advocate John Campbell QC argued for a judicial review.

However Lord Gill ruled: “None of the considerations founded upon by the petitioners comes anywhere near to supporting the petitioners suspicions.”

A spokesman for Mr Trump said a legal team had already been instructed to lodge an appeal at the UK Supreme Court and the European Courts.

He added: “The EOWDC proposal has now languished in the planning system for more than 10 years and has a long way to go before construction can actually commence.

“Vattenfall, 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.”

‘Painstaking work’

A Scottish government spokesman said: “Scottish Ministers are pleased that the court has found in their favour.

“Ministers are happy to see that the courts have vindicated the Scottish government’s decision making process and found that the painstaking work of Marine Scotland staff was both fair and reasonable.”

Andy Paine, project director for the EOWDC, said: “We are obviously delighted that the Scottish courts have yet again supported the EOWDC, a much needed investment in Scotland’s and the north east’s energy infrastructure.

“The decision by the Scottish courts brings closer a technologically-advanced offshore wind sector supporting a sustainable and secure energy supply at lower cost.”

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.

“It’s now time for Mr Trump to stop wasting any more time and money on this case.”

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.”