The return to Libya of a man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing is expected to improve business for British construction firms in the north African country

A senior source at a cost consultant that works in Libya said Scotland’s decision to release Abdelbaset al-Megrahi removed “the last remaining obstacle to the Libyan market opening up to British firms”.

Although growing numbers of UK firms are working in Libya, the source said there had been “some reticence” on both sides while he was imprisoned: “The situation caused embarrassment. Once the hubbub dies down this should make doing deals with the Libyans easier.”

Libya is to spend at least £30bn on public building works, particularly housing and infrastructure, by 2012. Firms already operating in the country include: Atkins, Aecom, Buro Happold, Davis Langdon, Hill International, LCE Architects, Ramboll, Skanska and WSP.

A source at a British project manager based in Tripoli said: “Everyone thinks al-Megrahi’s release will make life easier for UK firms.”

A source close to one of the main government clients in Libya denied, however, that UK firms would get “special treatment” as a result of the move.