Aberdeen bypass objectors cost taxpayer £1/4 million in legal fees

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By Martin Kelly  

The Scottish taxpayer has had to cough up almost £250,000 in legal fees as a result of objections to the Aberdeen Bypass.
 
A Freedom of Information request has revealed the total for legal fees caused by objections to the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route is currently £244,080.

Official documents show £161,160 was incurred from defending the initial action and £82,920 for the appeal.

The SNP has now called on objectors to the development work to respect the will of the courts and the will of the people instead of continuing with their legal battle.

Kevin Stewart, SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central, said:

“These revelations lay bare the cost to the people of Scotland because a small number of objectors still refuse to accept the decision of the courts.

“The FoI shows the people of Scotland need to stump up £244,080 as a result of the legal costs from defending the initial court case and the subsequent appeal.”

Following the failure of their appeal in the Court of Session the objectors have taken their case to the UK Supreme Court which was set up to hear cases involving alleged breach of human rights.  The case is expected to be heard this week.

Mr Stewart added:

“How much more money is going to be spent because of the actions of a minority who refuse to accept not only the will of the courts but the will of the people.

“Work on the AWPR must be allowed to get underway as soon as possible.  This project is vital for safeguarding and creating jobs, the economy and transport infrastructure of Aberdeen and the whole of the North East.

“The majority of people in the North East want this road built as soon as possible.

“This project was given the go-ahead in 2009 and the legitimacy of that decision was scrutinised and tested thoroughly in the courts. The attempts to block it have been repeatedly rejected by the court system.

“It is regrettable the objectors have not accepted these previous decisions.”

Speaking after the refusal of the objector’s to drop their campaign after losing their appeal Transport Minister Keith Brown accused them of disregarding the wishes of the majority of people in the north east.

Mr Brown said: “The Scottish Government has an iron will to proceed with the AWPR as soon as the legal process is concluded. There has now been a parliamentary process, a public local inquiry and two clear and comprehensive court verdicts giving the green light to the road.

“This further delay will simply cost the people of Scotland money and subject the people of the Aberdeen area to congestion.”

The case was originally brought by pressure group Road Sense but following the loss of the appeal its chairman William Walton decided to continue the action in his own name.

The Scottish Government spent £1.1million of taxpayers’ cash defending his initial challenge which was dismissed by Lord Tyre.  A subsequent appeal was rejected in February.

Following legal advice Mr Walton decided to take the case to the UK Supreme Court.