Ambitious plans to boost the Tayside and Fife economy by bringing international flights to Dundee could be blocked by West End residents.
On Friday it was announced proposals are being drawn up to extend Dundee Airport’s runway and replace the terminal building as part of the Tay Cities Deal, with a view to attracting a tourism boom to the city and other local authority areas.
However, while strong support has been expressed from the business community, Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce and representatives of the V&A project, concerns have now been voiced by West End Lib Demcouncillor Fraser Macpherson and his constituents over increased noise for nearby residents.
Mr Macpherson has also slammed the “total lack of transparency” in the negotiations for a Tay Cities Deal and has contacted the airport manager, as well as the council’s director of city development for clarity.
He said: “It is very worrying that there are reports in The Courier about discussions to increase the airport runway size that would result in larger planes and greatly increased noise and pollution for people in the West End.
“It is totally unacceptable that this could be considered when there has been no discussion with all members of the Airport Consultative Committee.
“At this stage we need some clarification on the exact status of the plans, but I would be strongly against any expansion of the runway that impacts residents.
“Residents have been very supportive of the increased number of flights to Amsterdam but that is completely different from expanding the runway, and my constituents are concerned about this.
“There would also be concerns about the nearby Riverside Nature Park, which is home to a range of wildlife that would be impacted by these plans.”
Mr Macpherson also hit out at Chris Law MP and Joe FitzPatrick MSP, both SNP, claiming that they “should be standing up for their constituents rather than rushing out statements in support of the airport plans”.
A spokesman for Mr Law yesterday said the pair had not specifically backed an airport revamp when the news broke, but instead expressed support for getting a good deal for Dundee in general.
Their previously issued joint statement said: “We are aware that Dundee airport is very much part of the discussion around the Tay Cities Deal.
“Any ideas around the detail of what that might involve are at a very high level and there is a lot more work to be done there regarding the feasibility of what may be possible.
“There is an Airport Consultative Group which meets regularly and we are both involved in these meetings.
“We will continue to support plans to get the best deal possible for Dundee.”
Meanwhile, Arbroath councillor David Fairweather said that this project was important not just for Dundee but for the rest of Tayside and Fife.
He added: “I can understand the concerns of local constituents in the West End of Dundee but let us look at the bigger picture here.
“This is an airport to benefit not just Dundee but Angus, Fife and Perthshire, a host of local businesses and the tourism trade.
“If you look at Edinburgh and Glasgow there are areas with flight paths and in the scheme of things it has very little impact.
“Certainly if Arbroath was to be getting investment on this sort of scale it would be something I would be welcoming.”