Responding to news that the attempt by Molly Forbes to challenge the decision to allow the Trump Organisation to develop land at Menie Estate has been rejected, Juliet Swann, Head of Campaigns, Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:
"It is a poor reflection on the Scottish legal system, and the limitations of legal aid, that Molly Forbes' attempt to challenge the Trump organisation is thwarted at every turn by the legal system.
"A European convention states that the public have the right to challenge decisions that have an impact on their environment, and to do so without prohibitive cost. Mrs Forbes's right to make that challenge has clearly been breached.
"Friends of the Earth Scotland is fighting for improved access to justice in line with this convention. Developers and Public Bodies should not be able to act without expecting to have regard for the views of communities and the impacts on their environment. Individuals and communities should be able to stand up for their environment without fear of excessive cost or being turned away before their case is even heard.
"Some kind of guarantee that challenging a decision will not result in an individual being responsible for anything more than their own legal costs is essential if communities are to have confidence in challenging damaging decisions. Equally, the restrictive rules on who can make a challenge must be revised.
"It is ironic that Mrs Forbes' application for legal aid has been refused in the same week that Robert Gordon University's decision to grant Mr Trump an honorary doctorate has received such wide media coverage. Clearly money really can buy everything."
For media enquiries please contact: Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland t: 0131 243 2719
The "Aarhus Convention" - The UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters was adopted on 25th June 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus at the Fourth Ministerial Conference in the 'Environment for Europe' process. www.unece.org/env/pp/welcome.html
Friends of the Earth Scotland exists to help people in Scotland look after the planet for everyone's future. We think globally and act locally in Scotland, delivering solutions to climate change by enabling and empowering people to take both individual and collective action. We offer help to people with the big things in life – helping to sustain a healthy society and environment. We believe that all of our children’s futures will be better because of what we do. www.foe-scotland.org.uk