NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeen bypass set to proceed after Supreme Court appeal rejected

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Media captionThe Aberdeen bypass was given the go-ahead in 2009

The Aberdeen bypass is set to finally proceed after campaigners lost their appeal to the UK's Supreme Court.

The 28-mile road was given the green light by Scottish ministers back in 2009.

However, campaigners challenged the decision, ending with a hearing at the court in London earlier this year.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: "The decision is a just ruling for the vast majority of people who are behind this ambitious project."

Spring 2018 is the new planned completion date.

Business leaders and several politicians have been critical of legal delays to the road, arguing it is vital for the north east of Scotland's economy.

The defeat in this latest appeal - delivered by Lord Reed shortly before 10:00 - is expected to finally allow the planned £400m route to go ahead.

Campaign group RoadSense's spokesman William Walton said: "Obviously this is not what I had hoped for, or expected.

"I have always maintained that the route selection process was flawed.

"Clearly the Court has come to a different view."

A RoadSense spokesperson said: "Subject to advice from our lawyers, this would seem to bring to an end our attempts to overthrow the Minister's decision to approve the AWPR through the courts."

Mr Salmond said: "Quite clearly, these unwanted delays will result in a substantial increase in the overall cost of this project, but its value to the north east and wider Scottish economy is such that it must go ahead.

"Work will now begin to quantify the total project costs and we will update Parliament with revised figures as soon as possible."

Aberdeen City Council welcomed the ruling by the Supreme Court.

Council leader Barney Crockett said: "Today's announcement marks the end of a long, drawn-out and very frustrating process for the people and businesses of Aberdeen, the north east and indeed most of Scotland.

"I think most people in the region will join me in celebrating this victory for common sense.

"We have waited many years to finally get to this stage and, as a small number of objectors have finally exhausted the legal process, we can now concentrate on getting this crucial road built."

'Quickly as possible'

Aberdeenshire Council also hailed the news.

Leader Jim Gifford said: "It's the decision that we've all been waiting for and I'm delighted that after a decade of planning, enquiries and legal proceedings, we finally have the green light to move ahead with this project.

"Today marks the beginning of the delivery of the most significant piece of major infrastructure in the north east of Scotland since the discovery of oil in the North Sea in the 1960s.

"Of course, the road won't be built next week. We now move into a phase of land purchasing and procurement, but at last we can set realistic timescales, develop project plans and move forwards with identifying funding streams for this work.

"Aberdeenshire Council is committed to working with Aberdeen City Council and Transport Scotland to see the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route become reality as quickly as possible."

'Yet more traffic'

However, WWF Scotland expressed disappointment.

Dan Barlow, head of policy, said: "Miles more expensive tarmac around Aberdeen will do little to help the ordinary citizen and will soon generate yet more traffic to fill it up.

"The £400m budget for this 30-mile road would be much better spent improving walking, cycling and public transport around the north east, helping deal with chronic air pollution problems as well as reducing climate change emissions."

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