A council election candidate has highlighted what he describes as “the double whammy” facing South Fife from Edinburgh Airport’s preferred options for new flight paths.
Dave Dempsey, who is seeking re-election for the Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay ward, said the 160-page consultation document on the flight path plans showed a “threat” to South Fife.
Mr Dempsey said: “There’s a vast amount of detail in the 160 page consultation document but once you’ve waded through it the threat to the South Fife emerges.
“The object of the exercise is to use newer technology to get planes in and out more frequently. In part, this is achieved by tighter turns so that aircraft can end up passing over the Fife coast sooner after take-off. Sooner means lower – lower means noisier.
“The ward I represent is impacted by three of the eight preferred routes. One, labelled E6, takes off eastward and turns sharp left, notionally overflying North Queensferry but likely to affect Inverkeithing & Dalgety Bay.
“Another preferred route, F2a, turns left sharply but then comes straight over Dalgety Bay and on northwards. It’s preferred to routes that cross the coast further out (and therefore higher up) because those alternatives don’t allow short enough gaps between planes.
“Those are eastbound take-offs, used when the wind is from the east. That’s only supposed to cover 21% of the time though last year that it was considerably higher.
“Then comes the second whammy – the sting in the tail – in the form of route D0. This is a westbound take-off that swings sharp right and again overflies North Queensferry. The village, a World Heritage site, looks to be the only place sitting under a preferred path 365 days a year.
“Or so it would be if all the planes kept exactly to the lines the map. They won’t. The standard says that 95% of them should be within a mile of it, 95% of the time. And those that are furthest off track are likely to be on the outside of the turns – the Fife side.
“Incidentally, the document treats Inverkeithing & Dalgety Bay as one place and doesn’t mention North Queensferry at all, though Blackness (population 135) does register.
“One option would be to use a selection of the routes to at least spread the pain but apparently that’s too complicated. In this day of computer control when it’s possible to land space rockets on boats, that seems a bit lame but there we are.
“I’ve attended three public meetings on this and my feeling is that the Airport are consulting but don’t think there are any alternatives. However, they don’t make the final decision. That lies with the Civil Aviation Authority, a UK body answerable to MPs. Lobbying our MPs might be a good idea.”
Residents have until the end of April to take part in the consultation.
Visit www.letsgofurther.com to take part and to find out further information.