Today we have the news that Trump has lost his appeal to the UK's Supreme Court in his attempt to halt the development of the Aberdeen Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. Good. This development, held up by over two years by Trump's legal games, is not merely an offshore wind farm producing renewable energy but 'will allow offshore wind farm developers and associated supply chain companies to test new designs, prove existing products and receive independent validation and accreditation before commercial deployment.' (Note 1). This is an important part of the transition of Aberdeen from Oil City to Energy City.
But apart from my natural joy in a defeat to Trump, I want to talk about his hypocrisy. The Supreme Court judgement says
'TIGC does not dispute that (subject to an argument about the final words of the condition, which I discuss below) condition 7 requires that the development be constructed and operated in accordance with,among others, the environmental statement and the supplementary environmental information statement.' (Note 2)
|Trump style sensitive development
One is in regard to a monitoring group supposed to oversee the development as a whole - known as MEMAG (Menie Environmental Management Advisory Group). 'Aberdeenshire councillors Paul Johnston and Martin Ford have been advised that the Menie Environmental Management Advisory Group (MEMAG) is still not operating, though it is a requirement of the legal agreement associated with the planning permission for a golf resort on the Menie estate.' (Note 3)
The operation of MEMAG is not just a planning condition; it is part of the legal agreement underpinning the development at Menie. (Note 4)
But here's the rub :
1. Trump has demonstrated that his deep pockets means he is willing to take spurious arguments all the way to the Supreme Court and frankly Aberdeenshire Council hasn't such deep pockets.
2. Aberdeenshire Council must have known that MEMAG wasn't operating : I've correspondance from mid 2012 when it still existed and more from mid 2013 when it wasn't. And they have a representative on MEMAG.
Well over two years to spot there is a problem is not exactly careful monitoring of this sensitive development.
Note 1: http://corporate.vattenfall.co.uk/projects/wind-energy-projects/european-offshore-wind-deployment-centre/
Note 2: https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2015-0160-judgment.pdf
Note 3: http://aberdeengreens.org.uk/news/advisory-group-lost-in-the-rough
Note 4: Extract from Legal Agreement between Aberdeenshire Council and Trump:
7.1 Prior to the carrying out of the masterplanning exercise required in terms of Condition 3(i) of the Planning Permission, the Developer shall establish MEMAG in consultation with the Council.
7.2 The remit of MEMAG shall be to provide advice to the Developer and the Council in respect of:
a) "best practice" environmental management and operation;
b) monitoring of the environment including ecology;
c) the minimisation of unanticipated adverse changes in addition to those already recognised in the Environmental Impact Assessment;
d) Full compliance with the relevant conditions attached to the Planning Permission and related reserved matters approvals.
7.3 The membership and structure of MEMAG shall be as set out in Appendix 6-6 of the Environmental Statement, the terms of which are set out in Schedule 3 of this Agreement.
7.4 The policy committee of MEMAG shall agree the locus and maximum estimated costs of their operations and activities, including the cost of administrative and secretarial support on a three year rolling basis.
7.5 For the avoidance of doubt, MEMAG shall operate as an advisory body only and shall not have the power to veto any proposal or action proposed by the Developer or the Council;
7.6 The Council, as planning authority, shall remain responsible for the statutory development management of the Site
7.7 The Developer shall be responsible for the total costs of MEMAG's operations and activities including the cost of administrative support and any professional or other fees and outlays incurred by MEMAG.