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Trump forced to pay £225,000 to Scottish government after losing fight over wind farm

Stephen Mahon
Donald Trump plays a round of golf after the opening of his Scottish course: Getty

Donald Trump’s golf course company has been ordered to pay almost £250,000 to the Scottish government following a bitter dispute over a wind farm.

The US president mounted a lengthy challenge against plans for an 11-turbine scheme off the Aberdeenshire coast, claiming it would spoil the view from his Balmedie golf course.

Now, almost four years after his case was dismissed at the UK Supreme Court, Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd has been told to pay £225,000 in legal fees to Scottish ministers.

A Scottish government spokesman said: “We can confirm that settlement has now been reached – and this has removed the need for the expenses to be determined by the auditor of the Court of Session.

“Expenses amounting to £225,000 will now be paid to Scottish ministers by the petitioners.”

President Trump has often criticised wind power in his political speeches. Trump has said windmills cause cancer, kill birds and prevent people from watching television when the wind is not blowing.

The wind farm in Aberdeen Bay began operating last summer and is clearly visible from the fairways and greens of the Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, outside the northeastern city of Aberdeen.

During the planning process for the wind farm, the Trump Organisation sued the Scottish government to block it.

Trump was angry at what he called a “monstrous” project and said the turbines would destroy the view of “perhaps the greatest golf course anywhere in the world.”

Mr Trump launched the legal challenge against Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, which began operating this summer after the Scottish Government granted planning approval in 2013.

(REUTERS) Trump's love of spending time playing golf is well known

He appealed to the UK’s highest court after twice losing fights in Scottish courts, but judges there unanimously dismissed the case.

His wind farm opposition led to him giving evidence at the Scottish Parliament as a witness at a committee inquiry into the Scottish government’s renewable energy targets.

Asked to point to evidence wind farms will destroy tourism, Mr Trump said: “I am the evidence.

“I am an expert in tourism, I am considered a world-class expert in tourism so when you say ‘Where is the evidence?’ – I am the evidence.”

Trump wrote in a 2013 op-ed in the Scottish Mail on Sunday that he had instructed his lawyers to launch an “all-out challenge” to “Mad Alex,” as he called Salmond, to fight the wind farm in the country where Trump’s mother was born.

“I am going to fight him for as long as it takes — to hell if I have to — and spend as much as it takes to block this useless and grotesque blot on our heritage.”

Additional reporting by PA