Obama-bashing billionaire Donald Trump has vowed by “using any legal means” to prevent an offshore wind farm being built near the site of his luxury golf resort in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Trump bought the 1,400-acre stretch of land in 2005 and was given the go-ahead to build the £750m resort by the Scottish government in 2008.
In an amazing display of hypocrisy Trump’s gripe is that the wind farm would be “visually destructive” to the area, spoiling the viewing pleasure of his resort’s wealthy patrons.
The proposed wind farm has already been cut back from 33 turbines to just 11. However this is still too much for Donald who, describing himself as “an environmentalist” has decided to build his development on the 4000 year-old dunes which are home to a variety of wildlife including, skylarks, kittiwakes, badgers and otters and have been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
In MB’s opinion it would seem that an eight story tall hotel rising above the ancient dunes and noticeable from over 10 miles away is far more visually destructive than a few gently rotating wind turbines out at sea. In fact, if anything Donald could possibly turn the turbines to his advantage as in Atlantic City where the Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm has become a tourist attraction with hotel guests requesting rooms with a turbine view - You can have that one for free Donald.
Sadly it appears that Trump’s solution to the energy crisis is not to be found in low carbon alternatives but to steal oil from Iraq, or as he put it in a recent interview with Good Morning America’s anchorman George Stephanopoulos, to “reimburse” America for the $1.5 trillion it has spent on military actions in the Middle East. Oh dear.
With a remarkable, but unsurprising, lack of modesty Trump appears to think that he can improve on Mother Nature and the splendor of this unique stretch of Scottish coastline. In an interview on the Letterman show he said, “It’s beautiful, but when I finish it’ll be far more beautiful.”
There’ll be no more roaming in the gloaming once Trump gets his way. Currently under Scottish law, anyone has the freedom to roam, provided they behave responsibly. The Scots have always exercised their right to the ancient tradition of universal access to the land and, until now, the local people of Balmedie have enjoyed the dunes and grasslands of the Sands of Forvie, which has the fifth largest sand dune system in Britain.
Golf courses, on the other hand, are treated differently - although people have a right of access they do not have the freedom to roam. Trump has made it clear that this will apply to the development and access will be restricted.
It is with a sense of shame that this blogger, as a Scot, has to share an ethnic connection with the Trump. His mother emigrated from Scotland at the age of 20, making him half Scottish and Donald has trumpeted (pun intended) his Scots heritage on the Trump International Golf Links website. Maybe someone should check his birth certificate just to make sure?
For a more in-depth look at the man and his plan you can check out Anthony Baxter’s documentary You’ve Been Trumped where the Aberdeenshire locals and Trump come face-to-face in a fascinating showdown between a rural community and big business.
It’s all go for cyclists in London at the moment, what with the first two cycle superhighways opened for business, and a total of 12 intended to be fully operational by the end of 2015 and the London Bike hire scheme due to open next week.
It seems that Boris Johnson is pulling out all the stops to make London a more cycle friendly place, hopeful that “London will acquire an ever greater reputation as the best big city on earth to live in.”
Both schemes have been funded by Barclays at a reported cost of £25m, and the idea with the superhighways is that it provides a designated cycle route that connects various boroughs in London, without battling for the road with cars, buses and lorries. However, not everyone sees it quite like that. Cyclist Rob Ainsley felt that nothing had particularly changed saying “It’s just blue paint on the road.”
It’ll be interesting to see how the cycle hire scheme will pan out. It’s been a ravenous success in Paris, which Parisians effectionately refer to as ‘Velib’, a catchy conglomeration of velo (bike) and liberte (freedom). With each of the 6,000 proposed bikes in London, plastered with the Barclays logo, it’s difficult to see that the slightly less snappy ’Barclays Cycle Hire scheme’ will be quite so taken to people’s hearts. Never-the-less, we feel quite confident, that before long some kind of snazzy moniker will be universally adopted.
The first month will see the bikes only available to pre-registered members, with every other Tom, Dick and Harry being able to get their hands on them at the end of August. It would seem that this drip feed introductory period is to allow the organisers of the scheme to spot and iron out any problems before getting in too deep. The pricing structure also encourages shorter journeys with the first half hour being free, £1 for an hour, £6 for two hours and £35 for 6 hours. It would seem that the idea is that the bikes are intended to replace shortish cab journeys and tube journeys of 2 or 3 stops, although, unlike the Velib scheme, the London bikes don’t come with either a basket or a lock. The basket isn’t quite so necessary, but the lack of lock (unless you get your own) will mean that you’re limited to cycling from one docking station to another. If you do however risk nipping into a shop and the bike disappears, then you’ll find that Boris will take £300 out of your bank account (bank details are provided as a deposit) by way of compensation.
Anyway, these are exciting cycling times and MB looks forward to seeing how integrated and accepted into daily London life both of these schemes become.
Have you ever wondered who decided that your slightly dopey Canis lupis familiaris would be known universally as a dog, or the cascading Salix babylonica in your back garden would probably trip off the tongue better if we just called it a Weeping Willow, or that we might as well call a Coccinellidae a Ladybird?
No? Well neither had we.
Most people don’t really give a thought to the Latin based scientific names of the plants, animals, insects and general life forms with whom we share this world … except for the scientists of course, but believe it or not, it’s thought that about 55,000 species exist in Britain alone. That’s a whole lot of Latin.
The vast majority of these don’t actually have common names; mainly for the reason that they’re not that common, and known only to a handful of experts. These experts have also taken the liberty of noticing that a large number of these species are in decline. You obviously don’t need us to tell you, but we’re talking obviously about things like the Nomada armata, the Lucernariopsis cruxmelitensis, or perhaps that four-spotted ground beetle, Philorhizus quadrisignatus.
Working on the premise that common names of our native species can help raise the profile of animals or plants that would otherwise go unnoticed, Oxford University Museum of Natural History have teamed up with Natural England and the Guardian newspaper to do something about it.
To mark what is apparently ‘International Year for Biodiversity’, they’ve put together a list of 10 species that are recognised as endangered or threatened, but play an important role in our ecosystem. The list includes beetles, a bee, a couple of jellyfish, a shrimp and two lichen. They’ve then asked the public to come up with suitable names which will be entered into a competition, with the most appropriate / best names being chosen by a panel of expert judges.
If you go to the Guardian website, you can read up about each particular species and have a look at a picture, to help inspire you. They’ve also added some helpful naming tips, and things to consider before choosing your names.
So get thinking, and you never know, the next time you’re sitting in the pub with a few fellow Homo sapiens you can tell them that you were responsible for naming the extremely rare leaf beetle, Cryptocephalus punctiger.