Almost three years earlier, BNRR
had started what turned out to be a long and expensive process of modifying indenture provisions on bonds issued in 1896 by Northern Pacific Railroad as it was being reorganized.
A spokesman for the Alliance Against the BNRR
said: "Our opposition has been shown to be completely justified.
Friends of the Earth spokeswoman Karen Leach added: "The BNRR
will be bad for Abbey National and will affect the dividend for shareholders.
The change of heart infuriated the collection of environmental groups, including Friends of the Earth and the CPRE, which had come together under the umbrella group Alliance against the BNRR
A spokesman for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, said road- building schemes, including the BNRR
, were vital to the country's infrastructure.
Construction work on the pounds 500 million BNRR
is due to start in the autumn of 2000 and will take three years.
Further alterations to route 1994: Public inquiry starts 1995: Public inquiry ends 1997: Final go-ahead from Government 1997: Alliance Against BNRR
campaign group challenges the scheme 1999: Challenge fails 2000: Tenders sought for design and build contract 2000: MEL signs contract with CAMBBA for design and construction 2000: MEL signs contract for financing.
Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield, said: "I can sympathise with the police - I know the BNRR
has left Staffordshire police with huge difficulties.
Well let's just hope that a good proportion of this freight will desert the BNRR
and the M6 and go by rail instead.
Hazel Barnes, of the Alliance Against the BNRR
, said: "This is breath of fresh air for people living along the route and it gives us hope.
The 27-mile BNRR
- linking the M42 at Coleshill and the M6 at Cannock - is designed to ease congestion on the M6, a proposal which has infuriated local residents and environmentalists, angry about it eating up green belt land.
With some restrictions in place in terms of future development along the route of BNRR
- now named M6 Toll and the UK's first toll motorway - existing developments within the vicinity of the 27-mile route, are attracting high levels of interest.