Green light for Aberdeen bypass
The Scottish Government has decided to proceed with the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) after considering the findings and recommendations of the public local inquiry.
The 28-mile bypass will provide a fast link between towns in the North, South and West of Aberdeen, bringing significant benefits not just to the city of Aberdeen but to the whole of the North-east.
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney said:
"This has been a complex issue in which there has been a wide range of issues to consider. There has also been significant public interest in the proposed route, with clear arguments on both sides. Having given careful consideration to the issues and arguments, I agree with the Reporters' findings and reasoning, and with their recommendation to proceed with the bypass.
"The AWPR is one of the most important infrastructure projects in the North East, bringing a range of substantial benefits to the region. The route will provide a much needed bypass around Aberdeen linking existing major roads and key locations such as the airport, park and ride sites and the major industrial estates around the city. The bypass will reduce congestion in the heart of the city as well as remove thousands of vehicles from the area's rural roads which are unsuitable for such high volumes of traffic.
"Subject to completing the necessary statutory process, it is hoped to seek suitably qualified contractors in 2010-11. However, the Orders need to be approved by Parliament and assuming that is given, we would need to review the remaining stages of the project, including procurement, before issuing a definitive timetable."
The Cabinet Secretary's consideration of the key issues is as follows:
- First, Ministers are satisfied that the remit of the inquiry was appropriate. The need for the scheme was well established in principle and justified in policy and strategy terms, and the processes involved were fully open and transparent
- Secondly, on the question of the EU Habitats Directive, Ministers are satisfied the issues have been addressed by the undertaking of an appropriate assessment, endorsed by Scottish Natural Heritage
- Thirdly, on the question of Compliance with the Wildlife and Countryside Act, that the requirement that an appropriate obligation is placed on the promoter (Scottish Ministers) to ensure the necessary legislative arrangements are in place addresses this issue. Ministers consider that the details of the decision letter provide the necessary conditions for ensuring arrangements can be put in place to protect affected wildlife
- Fourthly, Ministers are satisfied that the compulsory acquisition of the land/properties is justified and that a fair balance has been struck between the rights of the individual and general interest including the provision of compensation
- Fifthly, Ministers have concluded that in view of the considerable information provided over a number of years to local residents and other interested parties, involving public consultations and meetings and the availability of documentation, the requirements of the Aarhus Convention have been met