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Donald Trump to Scotland: Abandon 'monstrous' wind farm plans

Donald Trump, who built a golf resort along the coast of Scotland wants to stop a wind farm of turbines from being built off shore. ITN's Lewis Vaughan Jones reports.

 

Donald Trump swept into Scotland's parliament on Wednesday to demand the country end plans for an offshore wind farm he fears will spoil the view at his exclusive new $1.2-billion golf resort.

In a typically blunt display, the property tycoon told an inquiry into renewable energy to stop the wind power efforts in the country's north.


"Scotland, if you pursue this policy of these monstrous turbines, Scotland will go broke," he said. "They are ugly, they are noisy and they are dangerous. If Scotland does this, Scotland will be in serious trouble and will lose tourism to places like Ireland, and they are laughing at us."

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Donald Trump speaks to members of public following his address to the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.

Members of the committee are looking at how achievable the Scottish government's green targets for 2020 are. The plans for 11 200-foot tall wind turbines are part of the government's goal of positioning itself as a leader in renewable energy.

When challenged to produce hard evidence about his claims on the negative impact of turbines, Trump said: "I am the evidence, I am a world-class expert in tourism."

The public gallery burst into laughter.

'They wanted my money'
Trump claimed Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond and his predecessor Jack McConnell gave him verbal assurances a wind farm would not be built off the coast of his resort.

"They wanted my money," Trump said. "I was lured into buying the site, after I had spent my money they came and announced the plan. At the time I bought the land I felt confident the wind farm was not going to happen."

Filmmaker Anthony Baxter talks about real estate mogul Donald Trump's plan to build a billion-dollar golf course on a stretch of coastline in Scotland and the ensuing battle with local residents.

The inquiry, recorded by broadcaster BBC Scotland, heard that Trump paid $7.2 million for the majority of the land eight miles north of Aberdeen in January 2006. The resort is due to open on July 10.

There was an irony to Trump's complaints: When Salmond backed Trump's plans for the resort, he was hailed a "great man" by the tycoon.

Only four years ago, the two men appeared to be the best of golfing friends, when Mr Trump invited Salmond and actor Sir Sean Connery – who endorses Salmond’s pro-independence political party -- to join him on the first tee at the opening of the resort.

But Trump turned on the leader over plans to put the wind farm off the coast and within view of the golf course. He claims the turbines will ruin the environment and will be bad for tourism.

In February, Trump wrote a public letter to Salmond announcing an international crusade against wind farm developments around Scotland’s coast, The Scotsman reported.

In a furious attack, Trump accused Salmond of being “hell-bent on destroying Scotland’s coastline and therefore Scotland itself.”

He wrote: “You will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history!”

The course was built on sand dunes despite protests from locals and environmentalists. The dunes, which were home to rare wading birds, were bulldozed to make way for the fairways in 2009 and 2010.

Donald Trump will start construction on a billion-dollar resort in northeast Scotland despite the objections of local homeowner Michael Forbes. Now environmentalists, activists, and scientists are joining the fight. NBC's Stephanie Gosk reports.

Scotland's tourism agency said its own research shows 83 percent of UK visitors will not be turned off by turbines.

"We are both reassured and encouraged by the findings of our survey which suggest that, at the current time, the overwhelming majority of consumers do not feel wind farms spoil the look of the countryside," said VisitScotland chief Malcolm Roughead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.