At Ran­dom

The Oban Times - - NEWS - MARTIN LAING mlaing@oban­times.co.uk

Re­duc­ing air­port se­cu­rity is a mis­take

THERE has been both rapid con­dem­na­tion and praise for plans to scale down the se­cu­rity checks at a num­ber of air­ports, in­clud­ing those pro­vid­ing flights to Glas­gow from Barra, Tiree and Camp­bel­town.

It is a sub­ject wor­thy of con­cern and it prompted im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion from lo­cal MPs Bren­dan O’Hara, mem­ber for Ar­gyll and Bute, and An­gus MacNeil, who rep­re­sents Na h-Eileanan an Iar.

The de­ci­sion by High­lands and Is­lands Air­ports Ltd de­ci­sion was taken in as­so­ci­a­tion with Trans­port Scot­land, the Depart­ment for Trans­port at Westminster, the Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity and Lo­ganair.

While it will ‘stream­line’ the check-in process at the small air­ports, it is a wor­ry­ing de­vel­op­ment on a num­ber of lev­els.

HIAL is quick to point out that pas­sen­gers fly­ing into Glas­gow to catch con­nect­ing flights will have to re­claim their luggage and then pro­ceed through nor­mal se­cu­rity pro­ce­dures.

But what about those peo­ple sim­ply fly­ing into Glas­gow? As it stands, they will not have to go through any se­cu­rity checks.

This has ob­vi­ous short­com­ings, not the least of which is mak­ing these air­ports at­trac­tive to crim­i­nals, in­clud­ing drug deal­ers.

Then there is the ever-present threat of ter­ror­ism. The air­port work­ers’ union Prospect is cor­rect to con­demn the move as it be­lieves the new mea­sures will com­pro­mise the safety of both staff and pas­sen­gers. A spokesman was also right to flag up the fact that the flight path into Glas­gow passes over a num­ber of po­ten­tial tar­gets.

While Prospect has an ob­vi­ous agenda be­cause there are fears for the num­ber of jobs that could be lost as a re­sult of the cut­backs, I fully en­dorse the com­ments made by its ne­go­tia­tor, David Avery.

He said that se­cu­rity staff still reg­u­larly find pro­hib­ited liq­uids, small knives and firearms am­mu­ni­tion. He added that the flight path ‘is close to nu­clear power fa­cil­i­ties at Hun­ter­ston, the large oil ter­mi­nal and fa­cil­i­ties at Fin­nart on Loch Long, and Min­istry of De­fence es­tab­lish­ments at Coul­port, Faslane and Glen Dou­glas’.

The safety of pas­sen­gers and air crew is ab­so­lutely para­mount and should not be com­pro­mised by moves such as this.

Er­rors or pedantry?

I WAS up­braided the other day by a mem­ber of Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil’s press team for ‘mis­takes’ in last week’s col­umn.

The coun­cil of­fi­cer com­plained about a num­ber of is­sues, in­clud­ing my ‘sub­jec­tive’ use of lan­guage in con­demn­ing the ap­proval given to lo­cate an oil de­pot next to the trav­el­ling peo­ple’s site close to Oban air­port. I was be­rated for say­ing the oil stor­age would be ‘ yards’ from peo­ple’s homes. ‘It’s not yards away – it’s 30 me­tres,’ I was rep­ri­manded.

And ap­par­ently the kerosene to be stored there is not ‘highly flammable’. My Chambers dic­tionary de­fines it thus: ‘Kerosene, noun: a com­bustible oily mix­ture of hy­dro­car­bons ob­tained mainly by dis­til­la­tion of pe­tro­leum, used as a fuel for jet air­craft.’ Not flammable?

I was also chided for crit­i­cis­ing the plan­ning com­mit­tee for fail­ing to act over the de­ci­sion to al­low homes to be built too close to Ann Colthart’s house in Con­nel, con­trary to plan­ning rules. ‘They’re not rules – they are guide­lines,’ I was scolded.

Pedantry? You de­cide.

Great news for vil­lage

IT’S great to see the new af­ford­able homes at Ulva Ferry on Mull near­ing com­ple­tion.

At a time of pop­u­la­tion de­cline in our re­mote com­mu­ni­ties, this ex­cel­lent de­vel­op­ment will help to re­verse that trend and bring new fam­i­lies to the vil­lage.

Ap­pli­ca­tions are be­ing asked for from peo­ple who might want to move to Ulva Ferry. Given the lo­ca­tion of the new houses close to the pri­mary school, these homes should be very pop­u­lar.

What do you think?

Write to The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB, or by email to mlaing@oban­times.co.uk.

Se­cu­rity is to be ‘stream­lined’ at Barra, as well as two other air­ports.

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