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Green challenge set to delay M74 extension

News

CONSTRUCTION OF Glasgow's long-awaited M74 extension faced a two year delay this week after environmental groups lodged a legal challenge.

The £500M scheme was given the go-ahead by Scottish Executive transport minister Nicol Stephen in March when he over-ruled the recommendation of the public inquiry.

This week Friends of the Earth Scotland and pressure group JAM74 lodged an appeal, citing the failure of ministers to give adequate reasons for dis greeing with the Inquiry's conclusions.

The 7.5km extension would be a six lane mainly elevated motorway across southern Glasgow (NCE 18 March 2004).

The Inquiry concluded that the effect on communities along the route outweighed the long-term benefits of reduced congestion.

No date has yet been set for the appeal, which will be heard by a panel of three judges. But it is likely to take up to two years.

The Scottish Executive had hoped to award contracts this spring, with work starting in the autumn. Completion was scheduled for 2008.

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said the detail of the appeal would have to be considered 'before assessing the implications for the timetable of the scheme'.

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