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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 January 2008, 11:01 GMT
Questioning Trump's green credentials
As Donald Trump defends his plans for a golfing resort, David Milne, a campaigner for Sustainable Aberdeenshire, which is against the move, tells the BBC Scotland news website why he remains opposed to the proposals.

The site of the proposed development
The site in Menie is in an area of "undeveloped coast"

There have been numerous claims made about how environmentally-friendly this place is going to be.

However, the moving of 600,000 cubic metres of earth - along with the carbon footprint of 500 homes, almost 1,000 Benidorm-type timeshare flats, an inappropriately massive hotel one third the length of Union Street, and all the ancillary buildings - far outweighs the two environmental awards that are mentioned on the Trump website.

One is for a 45-acre paddock and one is from a golf body that is difficult to gain any information on. Hardly convincing.

"What about the huge investment - 1bn?" I hear you cry.

Well that is quite simple. This development has gone from about 250m in early 2006, when I first heard of it, to 1,000m with no change in scale.

'Blinded by bling'

The Ury development at Stonehaven under Jack Nicklaus has a price tag of approximately 32m for half the size of development, so double it, even be generous, increase it to 100m - that is a lot nearer the investment level.

I do not believe 1,000m exists in this development. Many people have been "blinded by the bling".

"What about the houses? We need houses."

Yes, we do need houses in the area - family homes, starter homes and affordable housing. None of which is included in the plans here.

David Milne
Mr Milne said the environmental arguments were flawed

The proposed plans for the district require 1,500 homes over a 10-year period.

So why should one particular developer get a head start by picking up 500 top-of-the-market houses before anyone else even gets a look-in.

Specifically, in a location where there is no planned development, it is classified as "undeveloped coast" - which means there should be no development.

It has been claimed that all the houses are necessary to pay for the environmental works on the golf course.

The same golf course that was originally described as "crafted by the hand of God" and would only need to have a few tees and greens built to complete it.

"Jobs, thousands of jobs," is one comment I have received.

The Trump Organisation's own figures state a total of 1,250 jobs, of which 70 would be external in the community, caused by the overspill and not employed by the development.

At the moment, Aberdeenshire has a total of 1,034 unemployed people. This is not nationally or locally significant.

'Sour grapes'

"What about tourism?"

VisitScotland recently released its 2006 figures showing that only 3% of all tourists to Scotland were golf tourists and a minimum of 73% were involved in other outdoor activities that could be performed at Menie.

So to satisfy 3% of tourists, we would lose 73% of tourists. Not a good trade.

"It shows Aberdeenshire is not a place to do big business."

This comment is simply sour grapes from an organisation that is not willing to compromise here, as they did at other sites in the US previously.

The decision of Aberdeenshire Council's infrastructure and services committee in November showed a strong and forward-looking council ready for the 21st, maybe even the 22nd Century.

It was looking for strong, sustainable and environmentally-responsible development that the world needs to take us to the next level; away from the conspicuous consumption of the past and forward to a mutually beneficial future for the country and the planet.


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