The Iranian government has announced that budget shortfalls caused by collapsing oil prices will prevent it from removing the transit road passing through Golestan National Park.

Saeed Namaki, a Department of the Environment representative, said on Monday January 5 that the government plans to replace the road with an alternate route, which requires a large budget and has to be delayed because the decline in oil revenues has reduced the resources available to the administration.

IRNA reports that the plan has not been rejected, merely shelved until the appropriate budget can be allotted.

He added that the proposed replacement road needs to be constructed through very difficult terrain and will take three to five years to complete.

Environmental activists have protested for years against the Tehran-Mashhad road that runs through Golestan forest due to its adverse effects on wildlife and the ecological balance of the area.