After more than sixty years on the drawing board the building of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route could finally go ahead following a ruling by the Supreme Court.
Campaigner group RoadSense has been fighting to stop the £400m bypass which would join the A90 from Blackdog to Stonehaven.
The near 30-mile planned road was given approval by Scottish ministers in 2009 following a public consultation which RoadSense claimed was flawed.
Two appeals against the final route by the group have already been thrown out by judges in Scotland. The defeat in this latest appeal - delivered by Lord Reed shortly before 10am on Wednesday - could finally allow the £400m route to go ahead.
Politicians have welcomed the courts decision.
MSP Alex Johnstone said: “I welcome this decision which will bring to an end the futile opposition to this vital new road. This is a project which should have been nearing completion by now, not languishing in the courts, tied up in legal process.
“Through his self-indulgence, William Walton may well have already cost taxpayers several £100 Million in additional project costs as well as causing incalculable damage to the economy.
“The only positive thing Walton has achieved is demonstrating that the planning process which he has challenged so successfully, is not fit for purpose.
“It is worth noting that the Scottish Government could, had they decided to do so, have progressed several parts of this project including the whole Northern leg without waiting for this decision but have chosen, for their own reasons, not to do so.
“The Scottish Government must now take this project forward without further delay. They must also learn the lessons of this case and consider changing the law to protect our future prosperity and limit the rights of litigious individuals who pursue such cases to the bitter end simply for their own entertainment.
“It would indeed be the supreme irony if the lasting legacy of Mr Walton’s action was that the extensive right to appeal which he has made use of, was to be limited or removed.”
MSP Alison McInnes said: “I welcome the Supreme Court’s judgement and sincerely hope that Mr Walton will accept it and allow this vital project to proceed without further delay.
“The Scottish Government must now act quickly to drive this project forward. It has had months to finalise its plans while awaiting this latest appeal.
“It needs to finally provide a concrete timetable, details of the construction costs and explain how it will fund the project. It can no longer blame legal gridlock for its inaction.”