We were delighted to find out on Thursday (the 20th of Jan) that Road Sense, the local group campaigning against the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) have been granted a Protected Expenses Order for their legal challenge to Scottish Ministers’ decision to grant approval for the AWPR.
This decision means that, should they lose their legal challenge against the AWPR, the portion they will have to pay of the Government’s costs will be capped at £40,000 (on top of their own costs), which ensures that they can take forward their case.
The Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route is a new dual carriageway, which is to be built on the west side of Aberdeen. The route planned passes through 24 woods, 15 of which are on the Ancient Woodland Inventory. The Woodland Trust objected strongly to the proposals at the time and even appeared to give evidence at the public inquiry was held in late 2008.
To date only one Protected Expenses Order has been granted by a Court in Scotland. This was awarded to Marco McGinty, who is challenging the Scottish Government over their plans for a new Coal Fired Power Station Hunterston.
Although good news, the costs involved are still not insignificant, highlighting the vital issue of whether local groups really have full access to justice in Scotland. In this case we fully support Road Sense and their environmental concerns about the AWPR.
The Judicial Review of the AWPR project is expected to take place in late February 2011.