Conservationists and industry figures have condemned Donald Trump's plans to escalate his attack on the Scottish Government's energy policy as bullying interference in Scotland's democratic process.

It follows The Herald's revelation yesterday that the American billionaire is to throw the full might of the Trump organisation behind those campaigning against the spread of wind farms on land and offshore.

The tycoon's staff at Trump Towers on New York's Fifth Avenue are to work on a daily basis with the Communities Against Turbines Scotland (Cats) group, helping with marketing and PR.

The group will also receive financial assistance from Mr Trump as part of his promised international campaign against what he calls Alex Salmond's plans to imprison Scotland behind turbines round the coastline.

Senior officials of the Trump organisation will meet representatives of Cats next week and join them at a conference in St Andrews entitled Is Wind the Answer, an event organised by the local Cameron Community Council.

Dr Dan Barlow, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said it was a troubling development. He said: "Given the urgent need to tackle climate change it is deeply depressing to hear in detail how Donald Trump intends using his vast wealth to try to kill-off one of the clean, green solutions available to the people of Scotland.

"Along with energy efficiency and other forms of renewables, wind power is helping to reduce emissions, create jobs and export opportunities. Donald Trump's efforts to undermine Scotland's renewables ambitions are misguided."

Mr Trump is particularly exercised by the prospect of the 11 turbine European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre being given permission off the Aberdeenshire coast.

He is convinced it would ruin the view from his £750 million golf resort at Balmedie, north of Aberdeen, and will not start work on the planned hotel element until consent is refused.

But Niall Stuart, chief executive of industry body Scottish Renewables, said decisions over Scotland's energy and economic policy were for the democratically-elected Government of Scotland "not billionaire American businessmen sitting in New York".

He added: "Donald Trump's attempts to interfere in those decisions appears to be no more than an attempt to bully the Scottish Government.

"He said decisions over individual projects were for the relevant planning authority, accountable to local people, and supported by experts in organisations such as Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

"This is all appears so unnecessary as there is no reason why his proposed golf development and offshore wind projects around our coast cannot both proceed, so it is unclear why his organisation is making such a fuss about this issue."

Stan Blackley, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said he thought Mr Trump's real motivation was to find an excuse to walk away from the Balmedie development because of changed economic conditions.

He added: "While Donald Trump's involvement in any campaign might boost its coffers, it will also certainly damage its credibility as well. Any campaign group should be very careful about engaging with Donald Trump at this time."

David Milne, who lives beside the Balmedie development and has had disagreements with Mr Trump and his employees, had a similar message: "All I can say is that I hope for Cats' sake that Mr Trump's support does not have the same effect as his endorsement of the Republican candidate Mitt Romney had in Nevada where a poll showed that 9.6% said Trump's backing had a positive effect and 41.4% said it was negative."

The Cats group said: "We may not agree with everything that the Trump organisation stands for, but we are singing from the same hymn sheet on wind turbines."

Cats started as a small group concerned by the expansion of wind farms in south-west Scotland and has been backed by Tory MEP Struan Stevenson.

It held a public meeting in Ballantrae in August when more than 100 attended. Then it organised Scotland's first national wind farm conference in Ayr with almost 300 campaigners coming from across Scotland.