Storage plans given go-ahead at Longside Airfield

Aircraft arriving at Longside Airfield
Aircraft arriving at Longside Airfield

Plans to install industrial storage at Longside Airfield have been backed by councillors despite concerns about health and safety.

Councillors of the Buchan Area Committee had previously discussed the plans and arranged a site visit to see for themselves the impact storage would have on the airfield and pilots using the runway.

However the proposals by Independent Oilfield Services Ltd, Aberdeen were given the go-ahead on Tuesday.

North East Aviators flying club lease the airstrip and maintain the storage facility would encroach onto the line of the former World War II runway - albeit disused at this time - as the location for pipe storage is in the centre of the flight path to and from the airfield.

In a letter to planners, North East Aviators chairman Don Jack stated the club wished to retain the historic and cultural elements of the site for future use and added: “I’m sure that you will appreciate the enormous safety implications to any airfield operation that this presents, even in good weather conditions, and Longside is no different.

“With the amount of lorries that would be delivering pipes, and the only way to load and unload these is by crane, which in itself poses and unacceptable risk to aviation given the unpredicted nature of this type of operation, and which is clearly outwith all the various CAA safety guidelines that we have strove in the past to make clear to everyone involved in this process.”

The active Longside Airfield is used by Buchan Aero Club and is used by businesses for various training exercises.

At the committee meeting on Tuesday, councillor Norman Smith said: “The site visit was of great advantage to members as we could see both sides of the issue.”

Follow councillor Jim Ingram said: “I support the development as it will help to bring work and prosperity to the area but I still have reservations about health and safety concerns.

“Good communication between both parties will ensure safe operations at the site.”

The plans will see an area of nearly four hectares, located at the western end of the runway, designated for conveyor racks and pipe storage set in rows of between 70-170 metres up to a maximum height of 5m.

An agent for Independent Oilfield Services previously told planners that the area will be used for long term storage of pipes and once filled there will be little activity within the site.

They also said that the height of the storage area will not exceed 5m and is not considered to adversely impact upon airfield operations.