Donald Trump accused of bullying Scottish government

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Media captionDonald Trump has been accused of trying to buy Scottish politics, after announcing he is to fund an anti-wind turbine group

American billionaire Donald Trump has been accused of attempting to bully the Scottish government.

Mr Trump has offered to bankroll protesters campaigning against wind farms.

However, Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said decisions on energy and economic policy were for the Scottish government.

Mr Trump's spokesman George Sorial dismissed the bullying allegations as "absurd".

Mr Stuart said: "Decisions over Scotland's energy and economic policy are for the democratically-elected government of Scotland, not billionaire American businessmen sitting in New York," he said.

"Donald Trump's attempts to interfere in those decisions appear to be no more than an attempt to bully the Scottish government."

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

'So unnecessary'

"All renewables developments - like all new buildings or infrastructure - are quite rightly subject to a rigorous planning process which assesses their economic benefit and environmental impact," he added.

"If Donald Trump was genuinely concerned about Scotland's future he would recognise the value of positioning ourselves as a world-class destination for investment, research, design, manufacturing and deployment of offshore wind, not endangering the future of the sector."

Responding to the allegations, Mr Sorial told BBC Scotland: "It's absurd that anyone can even insinuate that a private company is capable of bullying the government.

"Make no mistake about it, this is a fight.

"If the government is so secure and confident in their proposals they should be able to stand up to a challenge.

"That's what we are doing. We are challenging, we are putting the facts out. That's not bullying."

Mr Trump is fiercely opposed to proposals for wind turbines off the Aberdeenshire coast, near the location of his planned golf resort on the Menie Estate.

He has recently launched high-profile attacks over the plans.

Mr Stuart added: "This is all appears so unnecessary as there is no reason why his [Trump's] 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."

Leaders of Communities Against Turbines Scotland are to meet representatives of the Trump Organisation next week.

However, it is not yet clear how much money Mr Trump will give to Communities Against Turbines Scotland.

Committee evidence

Dr Dan Barlow, head of policy at WWF Scotland 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."

On Wednesday it emerged that the US tycoon could be asked to give evidence about wind farms to a Scottish Parliament committee.

The Scottish Parliament's economy, energy and tourism committee will decide next month whether to invite him to give evidence.

Its inquiry is into Scotland's renewable energy targets.

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