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Trump in fresh call for inquiry into wind farm plan

DONALD Trump last night played the independence card in an attempt to win a public inquiry into a £150 million offshore wind farm that he claims would spoil the views from his luxury Scottish golf resort.

The US tycoon said the Scottish Government should be protecting its coastline and historic sites if it is serious about the country going it alone after the referendum in 2014.

It came after Aberdeenshire Council yesterday decided not to object to the plan for Aberdeen Bay.

A consortium is hoping to build 11 turbines in the North Sea, opposite the £750m Trump International Golf Course at Balmedie.

Trump has halted work on the resort prior to a final decision on the offshore project from the Holyrood ministers.

The billionaire, below, said: "If Scotland is going to be independent, it needs to protect its greatest national treasure, the coastline. 

"Frankly, I don't understand how they are even considering it."

The final verdict is expected from ministers within the next four months. However, Trump has vowed not to allow any more work on his controversial golf resort north of Aberdeen until the Scottish Government decides on the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).

He still has a hotel, 950 holiday homes and 500 houses, and another course planned for the site.

The backers of the EOWDC want to build 640ft high turbines one and a half miles offshore.

While the final decision on the wind farm was always going to rest with ministers because of its size, Aberdeenshire, as the neighbouring local authority, had to be consulted. Had it formally objected, there would have been a statutory requirement for a public inquiry.

However, the council's infrastructure services committee said it neither supported nor opposed the plans. It requested that the Scottish Government's Marine Scotland agency take a number of issues into account when making recommendations to ministers. These include the impact on shipping, noise levels, visual impact and environmental issues.

In 2007 the committee refused Mr Trump planning permission for his course. The plans were then called in by the Scottish Government, which approved the development.

David Rodger, EOWDC project spokesman, said it welcomed the fact that councillors had acknowledged the important role it could play in the diversification of the area. 

He said: "We also welcome that broadly positive views received from both Formartine and Buchan councillors who represent areas close to the proposed scheme will be passed to Marine Scotland."

The Scottish Government has pledged to make the country produce the equivalent of 100% of the country's electricity needs from renewable energy by 2020. A spokeswoman said the application would be decided within Section 36 of the Electricity Act. She added it aimed to make a decision within nine months of a planning application being lodged. The EOWDC application was submitted on August 1 last year.

She said ministers' decisions were final, although any of the parties could seek judicial review of the process in the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

"But ministers could still call a public inquiry if they feel the evidence presented to them is insufficient," she added.

Last year, Trump wrote to First Minister Alex Salmond describing the planned turbines as "disastrous and environmentally irresponsible".

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