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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Perth & Kinross

Perth Airport can have bright future with right support, says report

February 24 2018

Perth Airport has the potential to inject more than £100 million into the local economy over the next two decades, a new study has revealed. Jointly commissioned by the Morris Leslie Group and Perth and Kinross Council’s investment arm Invest in Perth, it sets out a range of alternative futures for the airport. Consultants Ekos prepared the 40-page report in anticipation of the forthcoming £1.84bn Tay Cities Deal and the projected £113m Cross Tay Link Road. The proposed 6km Perth bypass will connect the A9 to the A94 close to the airport. Due for completion in 2023 the new road and new Tay crossing will allow traffic to bypass Perth’s Bridgend district by connecting north of the city, opening up new economic opportunities for the area which are explored in the report. Joyce Leslie, a director of the family-owned Morris Leslie Group, said: “This new study considers all options for the future, including our preferred course of developing the site to meet new opportunities that arise. "The Ekos report clarifies the increasingly high maintenance costs for which the airport will be liable, which means a new business model is needed if we are to avoid managed decline. That is not the future we envisage for Perth Airport." The airport's owners have submitted comments to the local development plan asking that the airport’s restrictive "employment safeguarding" zoning be removed to allow for a mix of uses, including housing. The company believes that incorporating 230 residential units over the next 20 years would allow more flexibility in finding a sustainable future for the airport. Perth Airport covers a 45-acre site outside Scone and currently supports 160 jobs. Its flight operations are managed by ACS, and it is home to the Scottish Aero Club, Alba Airsports, and Scotland's only charity air ambulance. The adjacent buildings, many of which date back to the airport’s Second World War origins, are currently in residential, hospitality and industrial uses, including business incubators, generating an annual £5.9m to the local economy.


Concern over Fife flight paths

July 29 2016

An increase in the number of aeroplanes over the coast of Fife has fuelled concerns about the potential impact of new flight paths. Edinburgh Airport is to introduce new, narrower paths designed to take advantage of improved navigational capabilities. These will see fewer homes overflown but an increase in passing flights for those underneath. Large swathes of Fife have been mapped out as possible routes and thousands of Fifers have taken part in consultation on them. Many living along the Forth have already seen and heard more aircraft this year, which Edinburgh Airport said was down to a prolonged period of easterly wind and more flights to Scandinavia and North America. Among the towns and villages affected is Kinghorn, where there are worries that noisy planes may become a problem if they are a more frequent feature of daily life. Kinghorn Community Council chairman Alan McIlravie said: “I believe there are more flights over Kinghorn than I ever remember, and I grew up here.” Perception, he said, may have been heightened by awareness of the airport’s consultation but he said there was an undercurrent of concern about the future impact. He said: “While I don’t think the number of flights at the moment is to the detriment of the life here in Kinghorn, the worry is if this is what we have now and we become an established flight path with an increasing number of flights, where will we be in a few years’ time?” Noise may become more of an issue, he said, if the village sees more departing aircraft and larger planes. He is also worried about the impact on tourism, particularly with the hope that walkers on the Fife Pilgrims Way will be drawn to Inchcolm Abbey, in the Forth, and along Fife Coastal Path. He said: “If we are to be underneath an established flight path we wonder if that could have a negative impact on our ability to attract tourists to the coastal path.” The community council is to discuss the consultation at its next meeting on August 18. Mr McIlravie said: “From the brief discussions we have had already, we will be duty bound to raise our concerns but we will decide whether that is by submitting an objection or raising serious concerns.” Kinghorn residents Terry and Jennifer Combes moved to the village two years ago from Livingston to escape the continual noise of aircraft. Jennifer said: “When we bought our house there were no aircraft flying over. “There seems to have been an exceptional increase of late. “Some days we don’t hear any but other days there’s a constant number of aircraft flying over. “This is a very quiet, small coastal town that is being spoilt by this increased noise level.” The airport is continually growing and had its busiest ever start to the summer season, with 1.17 million passengers in June, but said it was flying less planes now than in 2007. Usually only a fifth of flights use the easterly runway taking them over the Forth but during April, May and June it was used for the the majority of take-offs, more than 17,600 compared to just over 6,200 in the first three months of the year. An airport spokesman said: “The direction of departures at Edinburgh Airport  is directed by the direction of the wind. “As the figures show, there was a marked increase in departures eastward over Fife in late spring and early summer which would account for the perception that there are more flights. “Certainly, some routes are busier, but there have been no changes to the flight paths.” The first stage of the airport’s consultation runs until September 12 and the second stage will begin in December with the publication of precise route options. New flight paths are likely to come into use in 2018.

UK & World

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km


Edinburgh Airport concerns lead committee to reject Outh Muir windfarm

March 31 2014

Plans for five 360ft-high wind turbines near Knockhill have been rejected after concerns they could be mistaken for low flying aircraft on Edinburgh Airport’s radar. Fife Council’s west planning committee unanimously refused the planning application for a windfarm at Outh Muir, Cleish Hills. A total of 615 letters of objection were received as well as complaints from Muckhart, Blairadam and Fossoway and District community councils that the turbines would have a negative visual impact on the area. Knockhill Racing Circuit bosses voiced their objections, saying the five rotors would be a huge distraction to the users of the race track. Historic Scotland also objected due to the significant impact on the setting of Dumglow Hill fort and cairn, a scheduled ancient monument of national importance just metres from the proposed site. Furthermore, the proposed turbines would be visible to the radar at Edinburgh Airport, increasing the risk of masking or misidentifying air traffic due to clutter created by the movement of the turbine blades. Cowdenbeath councillor Ally Bain said: “The reason Edinburgh Airport refused is that it could have an effect on clutter on their radar. “Single aircraft don’t fly at that height, especially not 26 miles away from an airport.” Fife Council service manager and committee lead officer Mary Stewart replied: “It’s fair to say that in some circumstances there are technical solutions which can be arrived at but in this case, we have no technical solution in place.” Stop Proliferation Of Turbines (Spot) Fife chairman Andrew Turner welcomed the decision by councillors, saying: “We are absolutely delighted that both the planning department and councillors on the committee agreed this windfarm would cause serious harm to Fife’s landscapes and refused planning permission. “People living nearby have had the threat of living with the noise, shadow flicker and overbearing visual impact this wind farm would have brought. Now they just want to get on with their lives without the threat of an appeal.” A recently submitted application for turbines at neighbouring Blairadam has, to date, attracted 450 objections.


East Fife 1 Ayr 4: Fifers boss puzzled by capitulation

October 14 2013

East Fife boss Willie Aitchison was left scratching his head by his side’s poor showing in their home defeat by Ayr. Aitchison watched his side ship goals to Michael Moffat and Scott McLaughlin while Michael Donald bagged a brace. Liam Buchanan’s penalty was the Fifers’ consolation. It was a frustrating 90 minutes for Aitchison who said he was left puzzled by the performance. He said: “We can’t go on the pitch for them, all we can do is coach them. The coaching and preparation for the game had been absolutely fantastic. “The boys were up for it but the simple fact is they just didn’t produce it on the day.” Craig Johnstone had fired inches wide for East Fife as the home side looked to make a positive start to the game. Ayr took the lead, though, when the Fifers gave the ball away just outside their own area and were punished by Donald who fired past Greg Paterson. East Fife struggled to get back into the game and it was soon 2-0 with the Methil men again guilty of slack defending. Moffat was allowed far too much time on the edge of the box and he punished Aitchison’s men by firing into the top corner. Bottom-of-the-table East Fife were gifted a chance to get back into the game on the stroke of half-time when Buchanan was bundled over inside the box by Martin Campbell, giving referee Iain Brines little option but to point to the spot. Buchanan stepped up to take the penalty and sent David Hutton the wrong way. Any hopes the Fifers had of getting themselves on level terms were dashed early in the second half when McLaughlin’s fine header looped over the head of Paterson. The game was wrapped up in the dying minutes when Donald tapped home from close range to complete the home side’s misery.


Glasgow Airport given top marks for safety

June 4 2013

Glasgow Airport has become the first in the UK to be awarded top marks by the British Safety Council. It achieved the maximum five stars after a four-day assessment. The audit was based on interviews with staff, site tours, inspections and a review of the airport’s safety management. Alex Botha, chief executive of the British Safety Council, said: “Managing one of the UK’s major airports, and all the risks that entails, is immensely challenging. “Everyone concerned should derive tremendous satisfaction from their achievement. “The auditors identified many strengths in Glasgow Airport’s management of risk in its operation, including the role played by senior management in providing leadership and direction and the role of the wider workforce in ensuring the airport is kept safe and secure.” Gillies Crichton, who is Glasgow Airport’s head of assurance, said: “The safety of our passengers and staff is our number one priority at all times and to be the first UK airport to achieve five stars in this audit is a fantastic achievement, particularly at the first attempt. “It reflects the hard work which has taken place across the campus to reach this level.”


Advertising feature: Check in and check yourself out

May 27 2013

There’s so much to say about your holiday wardrobe from last minute shopping, to trying to find perfect clothing for both the beach and those nights out, not to mention the nuisance of baggage allowance; in fact prepping for holiday wardrobe can take more time than the holiday itself! Still, there’s one element of holiday attire that seems to be overlooked: unisex airport fashion.Departure lounge dudes and dudettesUsually, when your alarm sounds at an unearthly hour it’s the last thing you want to hear, but when you’re getting up to go on holiday nothing beats it. Well, not quite. But somehow you don’t mind it. Reminiscent of the opening credits to ‘Love Actually’, there’s no doubt that airports are buzzing with excitement and anticipation. A great place for people watching, the airport is rife with opportunity to borrow fashion tips and ideas, so if you want to be the first class fashionista this summer, then follow these pointers. It’s all about looking effortlessly cool and sophisticated even if you’re not flying first class. But what you want to avoid is sitting rigid and uncomfortable for the duration of the flight because you chose tight men’s chinos and a fitted suit jacket. What you need is harmony between classy and casual. Ladies, try a pair of black leggings teamed with a simple tee. Then, jazz up this outfit with a nautical striped cotton blazer. Finish with pumps for an effortlessly chic airport look. Guys, your comfiest pair of denims plus a graphic, printed tee will work wonders it’s simple and oozes style.Homeward boundWe’ve all had visions of ourselves bursting through the arrival gates with our sunglasses on and being swooned over like a celebrity, but in reality the arrivals gate is a lot less glam. And definitely not as warm as it was in the country you were in four hours ago. As tempting as it may be to keep your sunglasses firmly in place, if you’re flying at night then it’s just not a great look! If you’re flying from a hot country, and will be on the plane for more than a few hours then you should opt for lightweight, comfortable clothes. Tapered harem pants are a great option as they’re trendy and comfortable, and ooze that holiday feeling. Team this with a bold print vest and a neutral coloured cotton cardi (white will accentuate your tan) and you’re good to go. Lads it’s fine here to don your lounge jogging bottoms. It’s no use pretending you won’t be absolutely wrecked, so pull out your lazy pants and have a good snooze on the plane (NB: regrettable tattoos are optional here)..!

Readers' letters

What a price we pay for “democracy”

October 23 2014

Sir, It is not every Tuesday that some of us find ourselves in agreement with every word written by Jim Crumley, but this week he excelled in his article. The ruination of much of Britain, in particular Scotland, is quite appalling and his thin-edge-of-the-wedge argument over the ruination of Beauly is quite correct. Once the power line was allowed, against enormous opposition and a considerable number of accurate prophecies that this was only the beginning, we were doomed. Any sentient person is aware that Britain is going to run out of steam. The blatant refusal to think two decades ahead indicates the fatuousness of most political leaders. In the field of energy it will lead to disaster. The love of selling off the family silver to anybody, as long as they dwell and pay taxes abroad, has already wreaked irreparable damage to our economy. When any opposition to public vandalism is allowed to be heard, then it is dismissed as nimbyism. This is grossly unfair as the objections, all over Britain, are often very soundly based. When a local council dares to suggest the objectors may have a point and proceed to refuse planning applications it is almost invariably overruled by unelected officials in London or Edinburgh. What a price we pay for “democracy”! We have all the fuels for not only being self-sufficient in energy but having the ability to export it. The trouble is that the energy in question is carbon-based, but any exploration of this is thought by many to be even worse than questioning immigration policy. However, the technology is available, not only to use the carbon fuels but also to extract the toxics that are more than a potential worry. Oil companies ally with power suppliers to deny this. The Greens and other do-gooders loudly applaud from the sides. Again, the majority of us, who are not terribly rich, subsidise, through our taxes, the very, very rich, both at home and abroad. The current popularity of the SNP would suggest that whichever way we might have voted in the referendum most of us in Scotland are in one mind on the subject of preserving our heritage. Oh that a little sense and independent thinking might be found in more of our politicians. Robert Lightband. Clepington Court, Dundee. Looks like case of double standards Sir, What a difference a few months make. Last summer, Jose Manuel Barroso, the outgoing president of the European Commission, was hailed by unionists as the authoritative voice on an independent Scotland’s position in the EU. His word was gospel and unionists were quick to cite his opposition to an indepen-dent Scotland’s EU member-ship, as the final word. Fast forward a few months and Mr Barroso is now Johnny Foreigner, a jumped-up EU bureaucrat sticking his nose in the UK’s affairs. Unionists had the bare- faced cheek to cry fear and uncertainty over an indepen-dent Scotland, and now not a cheep from them over the uncertainty of the UK’s EU membership and all the risks to jobs and trade it will entail. Double standards springs to mind. RMF Brown. Markinch, Fife. It’s just money down the drain Sir, The SNP-dominated Scottish Government bought Prestwick Airport for £1 to save it from closure and pledged to invest £10 million into the airport, despite the previous owners losing £7 million a year. It is telling that no other companies were interested in buying it. In June, Nicola Sturgeon, then Deputy First Minister, announced a £7 million investment for repairs and improvements. Now Prestwick Airport is to be “loaned” another £10 million. Wait a minute, “loaned”, but the taxpayers already own this airport so when the plug is pulled then it is taxpayers’ money down the drain. Passenger flights at Prestwick Airport are as few as one a day so the airport has no future. By comparison the highly successful Glasgow Airport has 100 flights a day. I trust no more money will be ploughed into this politically motivated “white elephant”. The Prestwick Airport slogan “pure dead brilliant” was one-third correct the middle word. Clark Cross. 138 Springfield Road, Linlithgow. Nicola to head for Scone? Sir, Does the news that Nicola Sturgeon is to be endorsed as Alex Salmond’s successor at the SNP conference in Perth next month mean she will be nipping up the road to Scone to be crowned Queen Nicola? Robert T Smith. 30 Braeside Terrace, Aberdeen. Off the agenda? Oh really! Sir, In his letter, Time to face reality (Monday October 20), Dr John Cameron is being very presumptuous in suggesting “independence is off the agenda”. Presumably Dr Cameron was able to read the excellent accompanying letter from Ken Clark relating to last week’s Westminster debate on further powers for Scotland and suggesting that Scotland has perhaps been sold a “pig in a poke” by Messrs Brown et al. Whilst it is still early days, there is a groundswell of opinion suggesting that Westminster better deliver on its promises, in a realistic timescale, without conditions. If not, many who were borderline “no” voters, plus those who were persuaded by the late promises of more autonomy, may well become very disillusioned and start beating the drum again. As Tommy Sheridan said in his post referendum interview on BBC News: “The powerless realised they have power, we ain’t going back into the box.” Notwithstanding Mr Sheridan’s politics, his underlying sentiment will have struck a chord with many and those charged with delivering on their promises for the country should take note. Dr Cameron says: “It is time to face reality that independence is off the agenda.” Oh really! Keith Richardson. Melgund Burn, Aberlemno. Bags not the only problem Sir, Yes, one has to agree that plastic bags are a problem, but in the bigger picture just a “drop in the ocean”. When you look at the litter pollution problem where do they rate? When I cycle around the country roads there are more empty juice bottles, discarded coke tins, fag packets etc than plastic bags. Once again the establish-ment/politicians/do-gooders have come up with this “plastic bag drivel” and people are following like lambs to the slaughter and no doubt all giving praise and claiming to be nice people as they roll along in their carbon-fuel-guzzling pollution machines. Roy McIntosh. 9 Bankwell Road, Anstruther. The beach was left spotless Sir, An article and photograph in Monday’s Courier described the work of volunteers cleaning litter from the St Andrews beaches part of a UK-wide campaign to address this growing problem. I applaud the work done but I am saddened and appalled at the need for it. I holidayed recently at a French seaside resort with over a mile of sandy beaches. On Sunday the beach was packed with family picnickers etc. We did notice provision of showers, toilets and bins but in the evening expected to find the beach covered with litter and over- flowing bins. The beach and esplanade were spotless. Bins were full but covered and not spilling out. We found that people meticulously “binned” all their litter and cleaned up promptly after the many dogs exercised on the prom. What is wrong with people here that they can’t do likewise? Elizabeth Picton. 76 Hepburn Gardens, St Andrews.