Buchan pilots’ fears over oil pipeline storage plans

Aircraft arrive at Longside Airfield
Aircraft arrive at Longside Airfield

Plans to create a long-term oil pipeline storage yard at Longside Airfield could be shot down by local pilots.

North East Aviators have objected to the proposed development by Independent Oilfield Service Ltd claiming it could create serious safety issues for pilots.

The pipeline storage facility as it looks today

The pipeline storage facility as it looks today

The club says 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.

That raises safety implications for users of the airfield and as such the operators consider this a development too far in the context of developments at the airfield.

Ina report to go before Aberdeenshire Council’s Buchan Area Committee on Tuesday, the head of the local authority’s infrastructure services department is recommending refusal of the application on just such safety grounds.

Stephen Archer will tell councillors that the applicants have not yet satisfactorily demonstrated that the development would not result in a detrimental impact upon the safety of the aviation activities.

The application would see an area of nearly four hectares designated for conveyor racks and pipe storage set in rows of between 70-170 metres up to a maximum height of 5m.

The site is currently in use for this purpose at this time although no permission exists for this area to be used for storage.

In his report Mr Archer states: “As previously with other applications for development in the vicinity of the airfield the objections of the airfield operator are a key planning consideration, with CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) advice highlighting that the views of the operator of an unlicensed aerodrome are important.

“This service is not in a technical position to overrule these views and recommend approval.

“Consequently in these circumstances it is considered that, as it has not been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the local operator that the proposed storage of pipes within the flight path of the active runway will not impact adversely on the safety of present or possible future operations at the airfield, the application fails to comply with planning policy.

“Refusal is therefore recommended for this reason.”