NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeen bypass: Judge rules against legal challenge

Aberdeen bypass map
Image caption The bypass is aimed at creating a fast link to the north, west and south of Aberdeen

A judge has ruled against campaigners who are trying to block the building of a bypass around Aberdeen.

They argued that a public inquiry into the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) had been flawed.

Lord Tyre rejected the appeal on the grounds there had been sufficient opportunities before the hearing for public representations to be made.

The £400m project had been delayed by the court proceedings at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Lord Tyre ruled against two appeals heard together:

  • one brought by William Walton on behalf of anti Aberdeen bypass group, Roadsense
  • the other from John Weir Fraser and Mrs Maggie Fraser

Both appeals argued that the procedure had been unfair because the inquiry held in 2008 was given an unreasonably restricted remit.

There were also two separate challenges, based upon obligations of Scottish ministers under the Habitats Directive.

One related to the impact of the scheme on the River Dee Special Area of Conservation (SAC), the other to the disturbance of European protected species (otters and five species of bat).

Again the court rejected these arguments and found that Scottish ministers did sufficiently address all of the relevant requirements.

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.

Infrastructure link

The bypass was originally given the go-ahead by Scottish ministers in December 2009 following a lengthy public inquiry.

Many business leaders in the area support the project.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "We welcome today's Court of Session judgment in relation to the appeals against the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.

"The Scottish government remain totally committed to the AWPR being completed as soon as possible and we are pleased we can now move forward with this project which is vital to the future prosperity of the North-east and Scotland as a whole.

"Getting the go-ahead for this road will boost the economy, cut congestion and improve links across the region."

But anti-bypass campaigner, Sheona Warnock, from Roadsense, said: "We are hugely disappointed. It's been a very long and hard fought campaign.

"We thought we made some very good points.

"We will need sometime to consider his judgement.

"We haven't got to the point of considering an appeal."

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