The final countdown for Aberdeen’s ancient woodland…

 The long wait is now over for those involved in the legal challenge against the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR), and we’re sorry to tell you but it isn’t good news. The judge, Lord Tyre, came down on the side of the Scottish Ministers, rejecting the argument of local campaign group Roadsense that the process for consulting the public on the scheme had been flawed.
The locally known 'Shrimp Tree' in Cleanhill Wood , which will be affected by the AWPR.

The locally known 'Shrimp Tree' in Cleanhill Wood, which would be affected by the AWPR.

The judgement states that “sufficient opportunities had been given prior to the commencement of the inquiry for public representations to be made regarding the need for the AWPR, and that the decision of Scottish Ministers to proceed with a “hybrid” of two previous potential routes did not require them to open up the need for the Fastlink to scrutiny at the inquiry”.  The Scottish Ministers were therefore entitled to restrict the scope of the inquiry to technical and environmental issues connected with the particular line which was proposed for the road to follow.

What does this mean for the AWPR now? Well the road scheme has had permission to go ahead since March 2010 following the end of the public inquiry, but was delayed by the legal challenge. However the cost of the scheme was estimated at £300 to 400 million more than five years ago and has not been publically looked at again. Most of this cost will be borne by Transport Scotland, but a substantial portion has to come from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Councils. We can only hope that when they get the calculator out again the astronomical number that comes out makes them think again!

Geotechnical drilling in Cleanhill Wood (2009). Testing the type of rock which would be under the road.

Geotechnical drilling in Cleanhill Wood (2009). Testing the type of rock which would be under the road.

It is amazing to look back over everything that has happened and see quite how old-fashioned this whole situation is: building a massive carbuncle of a road through stunning countryside and ancient woodland instead of improving public transport in your town centre; writing a shoddy environmental assessment and expecting no-one to notice; and trying to stifle public concerns at every opportunity. What happened to the principle of sustainable development?

Do I sound a little angry? Well personally I’m furious. Having spent the last few years visiting the area because of the AWPR I know there is a problem with the traffic in Aberdeen centre – no one can deny that. However I’ve also walked in the countryside that is going to be destroyed, not just through the road, but with all the urban sprawl it will bring. It’s fantastic, it’s beautiful, and it’s going to be trashed because of a bad idea.

This is not the way genuine sustainable development and environmental protection should be carried out and it is disappointing that another destructive planning decision has been given the go ahead.

Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route – back catalogue

Christina Byrne – Case officer, Woods under Threat

About Alice Farr

Senior Campaigner - ancient woodland
This entry was posted in AWPR, Roads, Scotland, Woods Under Threat, WoodWatch and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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