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Open for business?

Baxter, Graeme


Graeme Baxter


This paper compares public access to information about two controversial coastal developments in North-east Scotland: the construction of a gas terminal by the British Gas Council and Total in the 1970s, and the current development of 'the world's greatest golf course' by the tycoon Donald Trump. Method. Data has been collected from a range of sources, including: the records of local and national government, the developers, and environmental interest groups; academic and other literature; the press; and interviews and correspondence with key figures involved in the two developments. Analysis. The content of these sources was analysed in order to identify what information was, and was not, made publicly available during the two projects, and to explore what impact this may have had on citizens' engagement in the planning and decision-making processes. Results. The provision of information, and of opportunities for participation, has been more extensive in the case of the golf course, where freedom of information legislation has also played an important role. Regional newspaper coverage of the Trump course has been less balanced than that of the gas terminal. Conclusions. While the Trump development has been responsible for more voluminous information, questions remain over its comprehensiveness and reliability.


BAXTER, G. 2014. Open for business? An historical comparative study of public access to information about two controversial coastal developments in North-east Scotland. Information research [online], 19(1), paper 603. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 31, 2014
Online Publication Date Mar 31, 2014
Publication Date Mar 31, 2014
Deposit Date Mar 20, 2014
Publicly Available Date Mar 20, 2014
Journal Information research
Electronic ISSN 1368-1613
Publisher University of Borås, Information Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 1
Article Number 603
Keywords Loch of Strathbeg; Menie Estate; St Fergus Gas Plant; Trump International Golf Links
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