Trump, who has a series of luxury golf courses worldwide, has recently been in Scotland, explaining his project and the impact it will have upon locals and the environment.
Trump’s Scottish campaign is, however, mired in contradictions. His lawyer, Colin Boyd QC, seeking to dampen the impact the luxury complex will have on the area, recently claimed that despite the “significant adverse effects ” of the Trump golf course scheme to the local area, the region will see a huge boost to the economy through new jobs, housing and tourism. Locals and environmental groups wanted to know what exactly the extent of the predicted environmental damage would be, and whether the local population would genuinely see long-term benefits from the scheme or not.
The scope for environmental damage is, as Boyd states, huge: the area the luxury golf course is to be built on, at Menie in Aberdeenshire, happens to not just be an area of unspoilt natural beauty, but also part of a SSSI – a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
However Trump, who told The Times newspaper that he considers himself to be “an environmentalist in the true sense of the word”, claims that the golf course will actually help to preserve the area and retain its natural beauty. Several environment groups have obvious qualms about the scheme and its damaging effect on wildlife in the region, including the RSPB, which is concerned about the “devastating and needless environmental damage that will be inflicted.” Yet Trump claims that he will be in reality helping the local flora and fauna, particularly avian wildlife, which will benefit as his golf course will ensure an absence of shooting and hunting in the area.
With regard to the jobs created by the scheme, further suspicions have been raised about the viability of the claims made by Trump’s team. Although around 1,200 jobs will be created during construction and development of the project, locals against the American tycoon fail to see where this supposed long-term mass-employment from the luxury golf complex would come from. The flood of tourists to the projected 1,000 holiday homes and five-star luxury hotel would certainly bring revenue to the local commercial sector, but this influx could potentially destroy the natural surroundings and compromise the region’s status as an area of outstanding natural beauty.
The debate is set to continue between Trump, the Aberdeenshire locals and environment groups. Those in favour of the development, if they are to believe the benefits it may bring, can expect booming business in the future and those against it worry about the needless destruction of the nationally protected Site of Special Scientific Interest. These differences of opinion that have arisen with the development of the idea are simply a result of the evident contrast in the Trump camp, as no-one feels they know the full extent of what they will be getting. Trump and his team await the results of the public inquiry, which ended July 4th.
Article updated 14/07/2008
This article first appeared in the Ecologist July 2008