AWPR/B-T Road Project – the long wait is now over!

April 18, 2019
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The events for the delivery of the AWPR/B-T roads project over the course of the last 16 years read as a saga but, nonetheless, we now have a fully operational dual-carriageway system around the City.  Even in the few weeks that the AWPR/B-T has been fully functional, we have already begun to see its positive impacts in terms of much-reduced journey times and much less congested and polluted roads.  The economic benefits that will derive from this major public work are likely to be felt for the next 30 years as it is estimated that this project will generate up to £6 Billion of additional income for the north-east of Scotland and create over 14,000 jobs. Accordingly, it is a project worthy of Europe’s Energy Capital.

It can be appreciated that a considerable number of properties and land were required to be compulsorily purchased in order to ensure that this project went ahead.  Indeed, some 400 property interests were acquired and FG Burnett is involved in the assessment and negotiation of many of these claims, most of which can only now be negotiated on the basis that this road project is now fully operational.

However, it should also be borne in mind that there is an entitlement to compensation for the depreciation in the value of properties even though no land was compulsory acquired from them.  This falls under Part 1, Land Compensation (Scotland) Act 1973 which covers the situation whereby the owners of properties located adjacent or close to a public work are able to claim compensation for some of the depreciation in value therein as a consequence of its operation.  The earliest such a claim can be made is one year after the public work becomes operational.  This project has become operational in five phases with the first phase being the Craibstone Roundabout and Dyce Drive Junction which first opened for use for public traffic in August 2016 through to the fifth and final phase of the opening of the stretch between the Craibstone and Parkhill Junctions in February 2019.

The compensation claims are assessed as at the “relevant date” which is the first day of the operation of the public work and thus the above dates span a three-year period: any claim requires to be submitted within five years of the “relevant date”.   Compensation for the reduction in the value of a property is determined relative to the adverse effects of one or more of the seven physical factors as contained within the 1973 Act e.g. noise, vibration, artificial light and fumes.   Thus, whilst the legislation allows for compensation to be reflective of the decline in the general amenity of an area immediately adjacent to a public work, compensation is, unfortunately, not payable for loss of privacy or views.

All compensation claims are complex and regulated by legislation and relevant case law.  It has long been recognised that claimants are entitled to appropriate professional advice and that the fee incurred is payable over and above the compensation that is negotiated so that the claimant is not out-of-pocket.   At present, FG Burnett has already received instructions to deal with over 30 such compensation claims and, due to the magnitude of this public work, it is considered that there will be a substantial number of claims.

Further information and advice in respect of this type of compensation can be obtained by contacting Keith Petrie at keith.petrie@fgburnett.co.uk

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