Residents living in the shadow of a proposed motorway service station to be built on green belt land in Solihull have branded a ten-year wait for a decision on the plans as "scandalous".
The concerns were raised after the Government finally announced that a second public inquiry will be held into the proposals in June.
A campaign group opposed to the M42 services also questioned the cost of the fresh inquiry, which has been estimated at more than #500,000.
The new inquiry will examine two separate proposals for services – one between junction 5 and 6 of the M42, close to the village of Catherine-de-Barnes, and the second at junction 4.
The first inquiry, which began in 1999, ended with the Secretary of State announcing that he was "minded to approve" the Catherine-de-Barnes application. But the final go-ahead for development, which would swallow an ancient woodland, a Grade ll listed farmhouse and 65 acres of green belt in the Meriden Gap, was never given.
Environmental campaigners have been given fresh hope by the announcement that the new inquiry will consider whether service stations between junction 5 and 6 and at junction 4 would interfere with the planned runway extension at Birmingham International Airport and the construction of a second runway.
Solihull Council, which has opposed planning permission for the service stations, warned the sites could conflict with the development of BIA as "the West Midlands' principal international airport".
Katherine Kerswell, Solihull Council chief executive, said: "The Secretary of State has decided that, in the light of the material changes in circumstances since the original inquiry, a fair way to proceed to a decision in order to serve the requirements of natural justice would be to re-open the inquiry."
Mrs Kerswell said the Government was particularly keen that the new inquiry should examine the extent to which a service station at Catherine-de-Barnes would be prejudicial to the expansion of Birmingham Airport.
Residents of Catherine-de-Barnes may have to wait for up to two years before the result of the latest inquiry is announced.
A final decision is unlikely to be made until BIA's expansion plans are clear. However, airport officials say they will not publish a master plan until the result of a public inquiry into the expansion of Coventry Airport is known, which may not be until the end of 2007.
Maggie Throup, who heads the Campaign Against Service Stations and is the prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate for Solihull, said the plans were first mooted almost ten years ago.