Re­ports: Trump golf course dam­aged dunes in Scot­land

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Money - By Dan­ica Kirka As­so­ci­ated Press

LON­DON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s fam­ily busi­ness par­tially de­stroyed legally pro­tected sand dunes in Scot­land when it built a golf course north of Aberdeen, ac­cord­ing to govern­ment re­ports re­leased in re­sponse to a free­dom of in­for­ma­tion re­quest.

Scot­tish Nat­u­ral Her­itage, which mon­i­tors the coun­try’s sen­si­tive and sci­en­tif­i­cally im­por­tant sites, said that con­struc­tion of Trump In­ter­na­tional Golf Links Scot­land “led to the di­rect loss” of up to 168 acres of the 506.6-acre Foveran Links site.

The dam­aged and de­stroyed drifts, one of the best ex­am­ples of mov­ing sand dunes in Bri­tain, de­vel­oped over 4,000 years, ac­cord­ing to the agency.

“The con­struc­tion has re­moved the vast ma­jor­ity of the ge­o­mor­pho­log­i­cal in­ter­est within the vicin­ity of the golf course,” Scot­tish Nat­u­ral Her­itage said in the doc­u­ments.

The doc­u­ments were re­leased fol­low­ing a pub­lic records re­quest made by Bob Ward, pol­icy di­rec­tor of the Gran­tham Re­search In­sti­tute on Cli­mate Change and the En­vi­ron­ment at the Lon­don School of Eco­nom­ics. Bri­tain’s Ob­server news­pa­per first re­ported the stud­ies.

Trump In­ter­na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent Sarah Malone said the com­pany owned less than 5 per­cent of the site of spe­cial sci­en­tific in­ter­est, or SSSI, most of which re­mains un­touched.

“As for the small por­tion that we do own, no other SSSI site in the land has seen more en­vi­ron­men­tal care or in­vest­ment,” Malone said in a state­ment. “The site was ig­nored un­til Trump took own­er­ship, and is now cel­e­brated and en­joyed by many.”

As for the land de­vel­oped for the golf course, “it has changed in parts be­cause we have sown grass, but our en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tants and (Scot­tish Nat­u­ral Her­itage) can con­firm that many of the spe­cial at­tributes of the land re­mains and the wildlife is flour­ish­ing.”

The golf course was com­pleted in 2012 and is part of what the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion en­vi­sions as a larger project that could in­clude two golf cour­ses, a 450-room ho­tel and as many as 1,500 homes.

Scot­tish au­thor­i­ties ap­proved the out­lines of the project in 2008, though each phase will re­quire ad­di­tional re­view. The com­pany last week unveiled plans to in­vest $196 mil­lion in the sec­ond phase of development.

Dur­ing the orig­i­nal ap­proval process, Trump promised to min­i­mize any en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age, say­ing he was “fully com­mit­ted to mit­i­gat­ing the ef­fects of the course on the en­vi­ron­ment.”

Ward said the Scot­tish govern­ment should con­sider Trump’s fail­ure to live up to the com­mit­ment when it re­views fu­ture build­ing plans for the site.

“I think the prob­lem here is the dis­re­gard they’ve shown and the way in which they made prom­ises which he has not kept,” Ward said.

“I think per­son­ally that the Scot­tish govern­ment here has not been as strong as it should have been in hold­ing Mr. Trump to ac­count,” he said. “I hope that they will now see the need to do that.”

Crit­ics in Scot­land pre­vi­ously ac­cused the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion of fail­ing to de­liver the jobs and in­vest­ment it promised when the project first came up for re­view.

The Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion says it has al­ready in­vested

$131 mil­lion in what is ex­pected to be a “multi-phased development” cost­ing $983 mil­lion.

The proposed sec­ond phase will sup­port nearly

2,000 jobs dur­ing con­struc­tion and some 300 per­ma­nent jobs af­ter it is com­pleted, the com­pany said last week. Les­lie Moonves dis­closed the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion to CBS board mem­bers months ago.

JOR­DAN STRAUSS/INVISION/AP

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