Donald Trump loses land battle to Scottish wind farm

The Takeaway

Balmedie Beach, March 29, 2009, is part of the view Trump worries will be blocked by the wind farm. (Photo by Bill Harrison via Wikimedia Commons.)

Real estate mogul Donald Trump is a character who is hard to ignore.

Residents in the Scottish city of Aberdeen are locked in an ongoing battle with Trump, who wants to build a pristine golf resort near their community.

On Tuesday, the Scottish government approved the community's plan to build a huge wind farm next to the golf resort, called the European Offshore Wind Centre. Reuters reports the wind farm will be able to generate enough energy to power almost half of the homes in Aberdeen.

Trump is infuriated by the project and has threatened to stop building his golf resort because, he says, the wind farm will spoil the view of the North Sea, a key selling point for his resort.

For years, Trump's project has been met with criticism from environmentalists who say the area is of special scientific interest, and by local landowners who refuse to leave under pressure from developers.

Anthony Baxter, director of the BBC documentary "You've Been Trumped," says Trump's plan was to build two golf courses, a multilevel hotel, and 15,000 homes, but so far Trump has only built one golf course.

Baxter's documentary came out in 2011 and follows the local communities opposition to the construction of the first golf course. 

"There were some people in favor of the golf course who though it was going to bring all of this economic prosperity. But the people I follow in the documentary are the local residents who are in the foot print of a golf course because Donald Trump tried to buy them out, but they didn't want to go," Baxter said.

Before Trump came to Aberdeen, Baxter says Trump's story was portrayed in local newspapers as a celebrity billionaire developer coming to Aberdeen with money out of his own pocket to build this golf resort and create jobs.

"Everybody was saying this was going to be a great thing for the economy, it was going to bring all these jobs," he said. "The promise was it would bring 6,000 jobs to the local community, even though that part of Scotland has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe."

But if anybody objected to Trump moving in, Baxter says, they were considered a traitor against the idea of economic prosperity.

After showing his documentary around the world, Baxter says, he found that the story resonated with communities everywhere.

"In Michigan for example, a developer comes in and says we're going to bring all this prosperity. But when you actually nail down what is being promised and what is actually delivered, it's so far from the truth and I think that's the thing that is resonating with communities around the world," he said.

Farmers and locals who chose not to sell their homes to the Trump Organization had large banks of earth built around them so the golfers would not see the houses, Baxter says. But now that the Scottish government has approved the building of this wind farm, Trump says he will no longer build the hotel and the housing, preventing the creation of jobs, if the wind farm moves forward. 

Trump says he plans to sue, but Baxter says it will be difficult for any lawyer to stop the Scottish government from building the wind farm, and it's unlikely that Trump and his lawyers will be able to stop the government's plan from moving forward.