Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 16:05 UK

Wildlife concerns halt bus plan

The disused railway line between Fareham and Gosport
Campaigners argue the project will cut through a green area

Work on a controversial £20m bus scheme has been halted after environmentalists claimed badgers and bats may be at risk from the plans.

The Bus Rapid Transit scheme would see services run from Fareham and Gosport, partly using an old railway line.

But campaigners say it also cuts through wildlife habitat and the local council failed to take this properly into account.

An injunction has stopped the work before the issue is decided by a judge.

The court order follows a judicial review application alleging European law was broken.

The application alleges Hampshire County Council "acted unlawfully in failing to comply with its obligations under European law in respect of the Habitats Directive and the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive" .

The court is also being asked to quash the planning decision which gave the plan the go-ahead.

Councillor Ken Thornber, leader of county council, said: "Hampshire County Council will be vigorously opposing the application for judicial review and is taking immediate action to get the injunction discharged at the earliest opportunity.

"As a responsible public authority we will, of course, abide by the legal processes, and have therefore temporarily halted works. "

Campaigners also argue the project is an eyesore.

But the authority has said it had a 70% backing from residents during a consultation.

The bus scheme is due for completion in March 2011.

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