NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeen bypass legal challenge begins

Road Sense campaigners outside the Court of Session
Image caption Campaigners are challenging the lawfulness of approving the bypass

A campaign group's legal challenge against Aberdeen's controversial bypass has begun.

The £400m road was given the go-ahead by Scottish ministers in December 2009 following a lengthy public inquiry.

However, the start of work was delayed when legal objections were lodged at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Opponents criticise the cost and environmental impact of the plan, which is aimed at creating a fast link to the north, west and south of Aberdeen.

Many business leaders support the project.

Campaign group Road Sense challenged the lawfulness of approving the bypass.

It was agreed at the start of the case that it will continue in the name of one man, Road Sense chairman William Walton.

The campaigners secured a court victory over costs in the case last month.

A judge limited to £40,000 the contribution Road Sense could be asked to pay Scottish government lawyers if the case goes against them.

The group had argued that rules governing public participation in such decision-making gave them the right to pursue their objections without risking financial ruin.

The court agreed on Tuesday that the Protective Expense Order would apply to Mr Walton himself.

The Aberdeen City and Shire's Strategic Development Planning Authority (SDPA) previously called for a swift conclusion to the legal action.

The SDPA said other improvements to the road network were dependent on the bypass moving ahead.

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