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Billionaire Donald Trump loses legal battle over offshore wind farm

The US businessman believes the wind farm will spoil his Aberdeenshire golf course.

Trump Arrives: Donald Trump arrives in Aberdeen.
© STV

Billionaire Donald Trump has lost his latest legal battle over an offshore wind farm which he claims would ruin his Aberdeenshire golf course.

Plans for the 11-turbine scheme in Aberdeen Bay were approved by the Scottish Government in 2013.

The US businessman wanted Court of Session judges to review the decision, arguing that the move was illegal.

But on Friday, lord Gill ruled that the decision was legal.

In a written judgment, lord Gill said Mr Trump's lawyers argued that the Scottish Government did not properly consider the matter.

However, lord Gill said he did not think there was enough evidence to prove that the Scottish ministers acted illegally.

He wrote: “The petitioners' case on this point is based on an account by the American writer of A Travel Golf Blog of an incident in August 2012.

“The mise en scene was a hospitality tent at the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart in which the First Minister and other guests were having, according to this account, 'an amazing lunch'.

“The writer reports that his American colleague asked the First Minister whether the wind farm would ever be built to which the First Minister replied 'absolutely’, and remarked that he would not have his energy policy 'dictated by Mr Trump'.

“All of this occurred on a social occasion no doubt dedicated to the appreciation of golf.

“It is difficult to take a remark of that kind, if it was made, as a considered statement of the Scottish ministers intentions, especially as the decision was one that would be made by the Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism in light of detailed technical advice."

Judges lord Menzies and lord Malcolm also agreed with lord Gill's judgment.

Mr Trump said he would launch an appeal with the UK Supreme Court.

He said: "Today’s written judgment is no surprise – it’s impossible to have a fair hearing challenging wind farm applications in Scotland.

"We have already instructed our legal team to commence an appeal before both the Supreme Court of the UK and the European Courts.

"The proposal has now languished in the planning system for more than ten 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."

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said the result was "good for Scotland".

He added: "This result is good news for Scotland and for all those interested in cutting carbon emissions and creating jobs.

"Once again the courts have seen through Trump's flimsy, misguided attempts to frustrate Scotland's ambition to create clean power and green jobs. It's now time for Mr Trump to stop wasting any more time and money on this case.

"Once up and running, this test facility will be ideally placed to help test the technologies needed to harness the huge offshore renewables potential, ensuring learning by industry, and playing an important role in helping to drive down costs."

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