Support for windfarm near Trump course

An offshore windfarm opposed by US billionaire Donald Trump has attracted more than 400 letters of support.

Proposals for the 11-turbine development off Aberdeen bay were submitted to Marine Scotland earlier this year – prompting an angry response from Mr Trump, whose £750million golf resort is being built nearby.

The structures would be up to 639ft and would be built about a mile-and-a-half from the shoreline.

On Tuesday, members of the Formartine area committee will be first to have their say on the plans, which have attracted 406 letters of support. Just 14 objectors have lodged their views with Marine Scotland, according to a report for councillors.

Local members could now be next to support the scheme, after head of planning and building standards Robert Gray said the possible visual impact of the development on the coastline might not be enough to block the scheme.

Mr Gray said: “The main issues that Aberdeenshire Council should be assessing in relation to this proposal are the impact of the turbines on the character of the area. It must be emphasised that, due to the size of the turbines proposed, they will be visible from some distance from coastal locations throughout the east coast of Aberdeenshire.

“In recent years Aberdeenshire has become an area where onshore turbines of varying scales have become more common onshore.

“Notwithstanding this it is unclear as to whether the proposed change in the character of the coastal area is sufficient to justify a recommendation of refusal of the application.”

Noise assessments have been carried out in the area, but planning chiefs want to see more done.

The 11 turbines would be built between Balmedie and Blackdog. The nearest commercial turbines are at Hill of Fiddes, near Cultercullen, which are 50% smaller than the proposed offshore structures – limiting the “cumulative impact” of the development, Mr Gray said.

However, they would be visible from the Menie Estate, where Mr Trump has built his championship links.

The American previously told First Minister Alex Salmond the turbines are “disastrous and environmentally irresponsible” and has warned he may reconsider the rest of the resort – a £250million hotel, 950 holiday homes and 500 houses – if the project goes ahead.

The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre is a £150million joint venture by utility company Vattenfall, engineering firm Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group.

Councillors in Buchan will also be consulted on the plans, before Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee forward their views to Marine Scotland, who have the final say.