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Tycoon tries to gatecrash Viking appeal

Donald Trump

CONTROVERSIAL US tycoon Donald Trump wants to gatecrash the legal battle over Shetland’s Viking Energy wind farm to further his own fight against an offshore windfarm near his Balmedie golf course and resort close to Aberdeen.

At the end of February Scottish ministers will appeal September’s ruling by Lady Clark of Calton that quashed the consent they granted the £750 million Viking wind farm last year.

Anti-Viking campaign group Sustainable Shetland, who raised the judicial review, are now raising funds to pay for legal counsel to represent them at the appeal.

The group can only afford to argue one of the two issues on which Lady Clark ruled, that the government had failed to give due consideration to the European wild birds directive concerning the impact Viking would have on the rare whimbrel.

Trump wants to intervene on the second issue, that consent could not be granted because the Viking Energy Partnership did not hold an electricity generating licence when it applied for consent to build the 103 turbine wind farm in central Shetland.

Trump wants to appoint a contradictor to argue the case against Scottish ministers, which the voluntary group Sustainable Shetland cannot afford.

However vice chairman James Mackenzie said the group wanted nothing to do with Trump, who represents the kind of corporate power that they oppose because of the way he overrode local interests to build his golf course.

“His aims and ends are completely at odds with our own as far as we are concerned,” Mackenzie said.

“He has no interest in Shetland or the Viking wind farm, his only interest is his golf course.”

He said the group hopes the court will appoint an independent senior counsel to act as a contradictor on their behalf.

On Wednesday Lord Menzies said that Trump’s lawyers could make their case at a three judge hearing on 3 December.

On the same day three judges will also decide whether to allow the bird charity RSPB to offer advice on the birds directive in court, and more importantly for Sustainable Shetland, whether to grant them a protective expenses order that will restrict their legal costs.

Trump has already had a judicial review of the Aberdeen Bay wind farm to which he objects, which ended last week before Lord Doherty, whose verdict is awaited.

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Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021