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!
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