Donald Trump said he might leave the US if he loses the White House to Joe Biden next month. If so, he was given the perfect place to release his last day – by playing golf on a new course in Aberdeenshire, his second in the area.
If Trump chooses such an option, he can expect a strong reception from conservationists, however. They said last week the Aberdeenshire council planners̵7; decision to approve the course could have a detrimental effect on the area’s delicate environment.
Trump International Golf Links Scotland built a course on the Menie estate, north of Aberdeen, in 2012, and its construction is blamed for the massive destruction of the spectacular dunes system at nearby Foveran Links, an official area of special scientific interest (SSSI).
As a result, conservation experts urged the Aberdeenshire council to suspend planning permission for the second golf course in Menie that Trump asked to build. But in September last year, local councilors ignored their warnings and recommended the proposal be given forward.
Since then, campaigners have pressed the Aberdeenshire council planning service to overturn that decision but on Friday it announced it had decided to move on and give full planning permission for the new course. It claimed the new course “would contribute towards significant social and economic benefits expected to be delivered by broader development measures within the Menie estate”.
This optimism is not shared by conservationists. They said the decision meant Foveran’s SSSI status – given due to the unusual sand dunes and diverse plant life – should be completely eliminated in the coming months.
“This decision gives a green light to the Trump organization to further destroy and destroy Scotland’s natural heritage,” said Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. The Aberdeenshire council and the Scottish government have ignored Scottish Natural Heritage objections about the potential for further damage to world-famous sand dunes protected as a Special Scientific Interest Area, but which were partially destroyed of building the first golf course. “
The new 18-hole course will be known as the MacLeod course after Mr. Trump’s mother Mary Anne MacLeod, who was born and raised on the Hebrew island of Lewis before moving to New York. The course will be built south and west of the original.
Trump originally won approval for his “Trump estate” covering protected sand dunes because he promised to create up to 6,000 jobs by building a five-star hotel with 450 rooms , shops, a sports complex, timeshare flats, two golf courses and estate estates. So far, however, he has only built an 18-hole course, which is open seven months a year, a training range, and a small clubhouse with a restaurant and shop; he also renovated Menie’s manor house in a b Boutique hotel with 16 rooms.
In just a couple of weeks until election day, the chances of spending more time on his golf courses seem to be growing. His Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, led by 17 points in the latest Opinium Research /Guardian polls More than 18 million votes were cast.
As well as leading the national opinion polls, Biden is also consistently ahead in a series of critical swing states. Last week he still won the war on ratings – more Americans tuned in to see his Q&A session on ABC than Trump’s version on NBC.
Aberdeenshire residents can see Trump soon, win or lose. According to www.trumpgolfcount.com, Trump has played more golf rounds as president than any other White House resident. He visited his golf clubs 280 times during his presidency, playing on 140 occasions.