Cross Tay Link Road opponents claim they were not given a “fair chance” to challenge the project’s impact on the environment.
Pressure group Perth Area Living Streets (PALS) is urging communities to write to their MSPs in protest at the handling of the £118 million scheme.
They say the project is already wreaking “ecological devastation” on the Perthshire countryside.
Objectors ‘never stood a chance’
PALS claim objectors “never really stood a fair chance” of having their say about the project.
But Perth and Kinross Council (PKC) robustly defended its planning process.
The route will include a road bridge over the River Tay connecting to the north of Scone.
It will cut through swathes of countryside.
Councillors expect the link road to generate nearly £1 billion in private sector investment as it will allow the development of around 12,000 new homes and open up land for business use.
Contractors for the construction project are expected to be appointed soon.
Council ‘both applicant and judge’
Felicity Graham of PALS said: “PKC were both applicant and judge on the CTLR (Cross Tay Link Road) planning application.
“We urge people to write to their MSP highlighting that in these circumstances objectors never really stood a fair chance.”
The Scottish Government is backing the controversial route with £40 million.
Ms Graham questioned why government funded organisations made no objections.
She highlighted the fact NatureScot had withdrawn its concerns.
NatureScot is the public body responsible for Scotland’s natural heritage.
A spokesperson said funding sources were “not a consideration”.
She added: “NatureScot provides advice on the natural heritage impacts of proposed developments.
“We aim to give our advice at an early stage and throughout the development phase of a project.”
Project managers had “overcome” some of the important issues the body had previously raised, she added.
Ms Graham fears the addition of a fast road and changes to footpaths will put people off using the countryside.
And she said the CTLR was “already causing ecological devastation”.
“Anyone passing Bertha Park on the A9 can see this in the felling of the mature mixed woodland there,” she said.
“The road also means that what paths are left will be in no way in the same countryside environment that they are today.”
CTLR will have 50mph limit
If roads alongside active travel routes are fast, noisy and intimidating, they will be less used.”
Felicity Graham, PALS.
The council recently confirmed there will be a 50mph speed limit along the length of the link from Scone to Luncarty.
PALS had called for a 40mph limit, reduced to 30pmh where the CTLR meets the popular Highfield walking route.
Ms Graham said they did this because the off-road cycle path being built alongside the carriageway would be less popular next to a “noisy and intimidating” road.
She said: “Pedestrians and cyclists are the Scottish Government’s stated priority in their sustainable travel hierarchy.
“If roads alongside active travel routes are fast, noisy and intimidating, they will be less used.”
She added that the local authority had also rejected their call for a 30mph speed limit at Highfield.
CTLR will ‘improve air quality’
Government agency Transport Scotland said the link would enable PKC to deliver its “vision for the future” for the city.
This is to promote Perth as a sustainable place to live, work and study.
“The council believe that the CTLR project will reduce traffic congestion in and around Perth,” said a Transport Scotland spokesperson.
He said the council also believed it would “improve air quality in the city centre and Bridgend”.
Transport Scotland highlighted the Scottish Government’s £15m investment in a public transport interchange at Perth and £3.5m towards an active travel hub.
Council ‘followed national planning legislation’
A Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson said: “Perth and Kinross Council followed national planning legislation and process in regards to the planning application for the Cross Tay Link Road.
“Elected members determined the planning application after considering all of the facts.”