THE Supreme Court in London has rejected the RoadSense appeal against the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.
The judgement, which came at 10am on Wednesday morning, could finally clear the way for the Scottish Government to construct the road.
The £400 million project, given the green light by ministers in 2009, has been repeatedly delayed by the efforts of pressure group RoadSense, who argued that the consultation was not carried out properly.
The project has previously been subject to two appeals by RoadSense to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, before going to the Supreme Court for consideration. The ruling on Wednesday should - effectively - end the appeals.
Gordon MP Malcolm Bruce welcomed the news, saying: “The Scottish Government now needs to proceed to construct this vital route as soon as possible and stop needlessly delaying the Balmedie-Tipperty A90 upgrade. The by-pass is essential for the development of the Gordon constituency but it is only part of the transport plan for the North East.
“It is clear that our local road infrastructure does not meet the needs of our expanding local communities and businesses. The AWPR, alongside the Third Don Crossing and improvements to the Haudagain, will help relieve the congestion problems that blight Aberdeen.”
Aberdeenshire Council leader Jim Gifford also welcomed the judgement, saying: “It’s the decision that we’ve all been waiting for and I’m delighted that after a decade of planning, enquiries and legal proceedings, we finally have the green light to move ahead with this project.
“The majority of residents and businesses in the North East of Scotland have been waiting for progress on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route for far too long. I’m delighted that at last we can get on with this project which is seen very much as the key to unlocking the full potential of Aberdeenshire.
“Of course, the road won’t be built next week. We now move into a phase of land purchasing and procurement, but at last we can set realistic timescales, develop project plans and move forwards with identifying funding streams for this work.
Other local councillors echoed his sentiments. Cllr Isobel Davidson told the Times: “I am delighted that the road is now to go ahead. This is a much needed piece of infrastructure and crucially also means that the dualling of the Tipperty to Balmedie road can now get going. I very much hope that there will be no further delays and the objectors will make no attempt to take this any further. The economic prosperity of the North East depends on this road.”
Cllr Rob Merson said that the decision would pave the way for work to begin.
He said: “This project is one which is long overdue and I’m very pleased that the Supreme Court has upheld the earlier substance of the judgements of the Scottish Courts. Businesses and commuters in the North East have been crying out for this road for years, which will transform travel times not just around Aberdeen City and Shire, but between the North of Scotland and the Central Belt. With faster and more predictable journey times, the North East will be able to compete on an equal footing for the first time with the rest of the country.”
Ellon & District SNP Councillor Richard Thomson also welcomed the decision.
He said: “I think this is a decision which will surprise no-one, except perhaps some of the anti-bypass campaigners, who, despite earlier devastating court judgements against their case, were convinced that their arguments retained legal merit. This project is much needed and much desired across all sections of North East society. This really must be the end of the road for objectors - it’s time to get building.”