New road could face further delays

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PLANS to build the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route could face further delay after it was revealed that the group Road Sense are planning to take their case to the UK Supreme Court.

Opponents said they were “disappointed” at the earlier decision of Scottish judges to refuse their appeal.

Road Sense revealed it would now go to the Supreme Court in London, despite bypass supporters calling on the organisation to stop blocking progress.

The Scottish government said the news was “desperately disappointing”.

It is understood the process could take several months.

The 28-mile road was given the go-ahead by Scottish ministers in 2009.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “The Scottish government has an iron will to proceed with this vital project 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.

“Any further delay will simply cost the people of Scotland money and subject the people of the Aberdeen area to more years of congestion.

“I strongly believe that the vast majority of people in the north east are running out of patience and, like us, want this vital road built as quickly as possible.”

Road Sense’s bypass challenge has been rejected twice by Scottish courts- the last time by three top judges.

The judges described the group’s last attempt as flawed and said the legal move had been destined to fail from the start because of a technicality. The new appeal will only go-ahead if the group can secure an expenses order which would shield the group from paying the Scottish government’s legal bill, which could be as much as £80,000.

Tom Smith, chairman of development body Aberdeen City and Shire Economic future, said: “Given that the public local inquiry and two separate legal processes have thrown out the challenge, a new bid by a small number of objectors to go to the Supreme court is unlikely to stop the route but it will cause further delays which we can ill afford.”