Date set for bypass appeal

The latest legal challenge to the planned Aberdeen bypass will be heard at UK’s highest court in July.

Campaign group RoadSense’s appeal will take place at the Supreme Court in London on July 9 and 10.

RoadSense chairman William Walton’s challenge to the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) has been refused twice by the Scottish courts, the most recent by three senior judges at the Court of Session in March.

Lord Clarke, Bonomy and Philip ruled that the appeal was flawed from the outset because of a technicality, and the basis of Mr Walton’s case was “misconceived”.

The judgment was scrutined by the group’s legal team and it was later announced that the case would be taken to the Supreme Court.

The move was criticised in many quarters with fears being voiced that it could delay work for several months and hold up other major roads projects in the area, including the dualling of the Balmedie-Tipperty section of the A90, and long-awaited improvements to the notorious Haudigan roundabout in Aberdeen.

Both the Government and its agency Transport Scotland had previously indicated their intention to request an expedited hearing in a bid to speed up the process.

Transport minister Keith Brown said that while the latest attempt to delay the project was disappointing, they had taken steps to try and make the latest legal process as prompt as possible.

He added: “I would like to stress to all in the north east that we are doing everything in our power to progress the appeal hearing and welcome the decision to hold the next stage of the process in July. The AWPR is important for the future prosperity of the north east and Scotland as a whole.

“It will provide substantial benefits to the economy, increase business and tourism opportunities, improve safety, cut congestion and increase opportunities for improvements in public transport facilities.”

The £400 million bypass project was given the go-ahead by ministers in 2009.