Environmentally critical coastal sand dunes on Donald Trump’s Scottish golf course in Aberdeenshire have been destroyed despite Trump pledging to protect them.
The dunes “will be there forever,” Trump promised in 2008 to allay concerns about his new course. “That’ll be more environmentally friendly after [the course] is built than before. “
But late last year officials announced that the dunes had lost their protected environmental status because they were partially destroyed.
Following the construction of the Trump International Golf Link north of Aberdeen, “the dunes no longer deserve to be preserved as part of the Area of Special Scientific Interest,” said Scotland’s conservation agency NatureScot.
“There is no longer any need to protect the dunes as they do not contain enough of the unique natural features for which they are intended,” the agency said.
The drastic change could already be seen clearly in 2019 on the overhead photos of the Foveran Links dunes (see clip above).
It’s even more dramatic in the before and after photos of the dunes from 2010 and 2021 that Business Insider received and that can be seen here.
NatureScot once called the dunes “a very high quality example of a sand dune system that is characteristic of north-east Scotland and of exceptional importance for the wide variety of coastal landscape forms and processes”.
When the dunes lost their special name, Bob Ward, director of politics and communications at the London School of Economics’ Climate Change Research Institute, told The Guardian: “This is a bitterly disappointing decision that shows that golf is still the environment trumps when it comes to Scotland’s natural heritage. “
Trump claimed he was “stabilizing” the dunes, which apparently meant building on them. But that stopped the natural movement of the dunes, which responded to environmental fluctuations, Ward told Business Insider. “Essentially, they killed it as a natural environment,” he said.
Trump’s vow that his course in Aberdeenshire and a second in Turnberry would bring welcome economic benefits to the region has also failed.
2019 filings did not yet reflect the business downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the losses, the Trump Organization has reported massive real estate spending over the years. It has also received approval to build a 500-unit housing estate next to the club in Aberdeenshire at a cost of $ 185 million, which was intended according to the latest filing.
The resort’s losses are so astronomical that the operations have raised suspicions of money laundering. These suspicions have put prices at the center of an ongoing Scottish litigation.
Global activist organization Avaaz has filed a lawsuit to urge the Scottish government to use its well-known “McMafia” law to force Trump to reveal the mysterious sources for his cash-only purchases and the development of his Scottish golf resorts. At the time of Trump’s purchases, he was deeply in debt and the banks refused to lend him any money.
Accounting for the President’s Scottish resorts is unusual as Trump is the creditor of his own businesses, which means that payment for many of the resorts’ costs goes to the Trump organization.
The money cycle in Trump firms offers an opportunity for money laundering, suggested New York business journalist Adam Davidson. He called the resorts “money disappearing” operations.
Trump “owns the asset, borrows the money, owes the money, owes the money,” Davidson said. “Trump borrows millions every year, spends all that money on something, and claims the asset is worth all of the money he’s spent.”
Trump Organization officials were not immediately available for comment.