DONALD Trump reportedly urged Nigel Farage to campaign against “ugly” offshore wind farms when the two met in New York shortly after the tycoon’s US presidential election win.
Trump has long been a critic of such developments, and fought against one project near his golf resort at Menie, Aberdeenshire.
According to Andy Wigmore, who was head of communications for Leave EU and who was present at the meeting, Trump suggested that Farage – interim boss of Ukip – mount a campaign against offshore wind farm developments.
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Wigmore said: “We covered a lot of ground during the hour-long meeting we had. But one thing Mr Trump kept returning to was the issue of wind farms. He is a complete Anglophile and absolutely adores Scotland which he thinks is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
“But he is dismayed that his beloved Scotland has become overrun with ugly wind farms which he believes are a blight on the stunning landscape.”
Last December the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s challenge to an offshore wind farm project near his Aberdeenshire resort.
His Trump Organisation previously lost two legal bids in the Scottish courts after ministers approved plans for an 11-turbine scheme which Trump said would spoil the view from his course at Menie estate. He took his case to the Supreme Court, where justices unanimously dismissed his appeal.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “One would have thought Mr Trump would have far more important issues to be dealing with.
“The reality is that offshore wind turbines are already making a significant contribution to the UK’s power supply. And, given that Scotland is home to a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource, we should be aiming to make the most of this clean power source.”
Asked for the Prime Minister’s reaction to Trump’s reported comments, a Downing Street spokesman would say only that “wind farms in Scotland are a devolved matter for Scotland”.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has rejected plans for a 17-turbine wind farm in East Ayrshire.
Ministers ruled the proposed Keirs Hill development at Patna was not acceptable because of the height of the turbines, its proximity to historic sites such as the Waterside ironworks, and the impact it would have on local houses.
Developers submitted plans around three years ago and said the turbines would have a maximum height of 149 metres (490ft) to the tip of the blade.
They had stressed the local benefits such as an electricity discount scheme in the area and business for contractors in the building and maintenance of the site.
However, the Scottish Government said it did not believe Keirs Hill would have “any wider benefit in respect of energy generation and climate change mitigation”.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown refused consent and said the impacts outweighed the benefits.
“The Scottish Government’s policy on wind farms strikes a careful balance between maximising Scotland’s huge green energy potential and protecting some of our most scenic landscape and wild land area,” he said.
“We have been clear that wind farms can only be built in the right places and Scottish planning policy sets out rigorous steps to ensure wind farms are sited appropriately and sensitively.
“I have considered this application fully and recognise the efforts made by the applicant to mitigate the potential impacts of the development.
“However, I have refused permission due to the landscape and visual impact the project would have.”