The pressure group Road Sense has lost its appeal against the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR), a new £400 million road designed to bypass congested roads in Aberdeen by routing through traffic to the west of the city.
The group had argued that local people were not given the opportunity to challenge the plans during the public enquiry and raised concerns about the environmental impact of the new road. However on Wednesday the Court of Session in Edinburgh rejected the appeal, allowing the development to go ahead.
The Scottish government had approved the new route in 2009, despite vocal objections from some local residents and environmental groups. William Walton, from the protest group Road Sense, took his fight to the courts last year, but his case was rejected by judges. Mr Walton then appealed to the Court of Session.
Rejecting the appeal, Lord Clarke of the Court of Session stated in a written judgement: “It seems to us that, on the basis of the information before the court, the reclaimer [Mr Watson] has been an implacable opponent to the AWPR from its inception and by himself, and previously also through the agency of an organisation with which he was closely connected, has sought to resist it at every opportunity and on whatever ground appeared to be open to be argued.”
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “We welcome today’s Court of Session judgment in relation to the further appeal against the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route. The Scottish Government remain totally committed to the AWPR being built as soon as possible and we are pleased that we can now move forward with this project which is vital to the future prosperity of the north east and Scotland as a whole.
“In August 2011, Lord Tyre refused the challenges against the AWPR and now yet again the Court of Session has refused the subsequent appeal. It is hoped that the small number of objectors opposed to the AWPR will be willing to accept the decision of the Court of Session, so that we can get on and build the road.”
Anne Robertson, leader of Aberdeenshire Council, said: “I am delighted with today’s decision. The AWPR is of major strategic importance to the north-east and we are keen to see the project progress as quickly as possible. We are conscious that further routes of appeal remain, however, and we will await the outcome of the statutory processes.”
Local MSP Maureen Watt also welcomed the decision of the Court of Session. Ms Watt, the SNP MSP for Aberdeen South and Kincardine, said:
“The majority of people in the North East will welcome this decision today, which brings the construction of the AWPR that bit closer.
“This important infrastructure project for Aberdeen was given the go-ahead in 2009 and the legitimacy of that decision has now been scrutinised and tested thoroughly in the courts. I hope that the objectors to the scheme will accept today’s outcome at the Court of Session and allow construction to go ahead as soon as possible.
“The AWPR is an essential link in the transport infrastructure of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, which will help to maximise our growth potential and future economic success. I look forward to seeing work on this vital project begin soon.”