THE preferred options for Edinburgh Airport's new flight paths provide a "double whammy" for south Fife, according to a Conservative councillor.
Dave Dempsey, who represents Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay, said the plans present a threat for his ward.
"The object of the exercise is to use newer technology to get planes in and out more frequently," he explained. "In part, this is achieved by tighter turns so that aircraft can end up passing over the Fife coast sooner after take-off. Sooner means lower; lower means noisier.
"The ward I represent is impacted by three of the eight preferred routes. One, labelled E6, takes off eastward and turns sharp left, notionally overflying North Queensferry but likely to affect Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay.
"Another preferred route, F2a, turns left sharply but then comes straight over Dalgety Bay and on northwards. It’s preferred to routes that cross the coast further out – and therefore higher up – because those alternatives don’t allow short enough gaps between planes.
"Those are eastbound take-offs, used when the wind is from the east. That’s only supposed to cover 21 per cent of the time though last year that it was considerably higher.
"Then comes the second whammy – the sting in the tail – in the form of route D0. This is a westbound take-off that swings sharp right and again overflies North Queensferry. The village, next to a World Heritage site, looks to be the only place sitting under a preferred path 365 days a year."
Labour councillor Lesley Laird shared Cllr Dempsey's concerns and was keen to raise awareness of potential impacts on residents.
"I think the real concerns here are we need to understand some of the environmental impacts," she said. "I have asked our transportation and environmental protection teams to look at what these environmental impacts might be.
"The concerns residents have been raising with me are particularly in the Dalgety Bay area where there is going to be a significant increase in flight activity.
"Buying a house and living where there is already a flight path is one thing but the environment totally changes if the volume of flights changes after.
"The first consultation was quite difficult for people to comment because it was a very broad outline of what may or may not happen. Now people are being presented with more of the specifics and what could happen and people can start to quantify what that means for them their families
"I would want to urge people to look at the implications for them and make sure they have their say."
SNP councillor Alice McGarry said the consultation process lacked detailed information.
"There are calls for the consultation to be re-run and that folk should have the chance to hear what the routes would be like and having test flights over the affected areas," she said.
"It is a complex issue as we are dealing with the unknown. They are saying paths may go this way or that way and there is no indication of what is going to be optimum height."
Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, told the Press last month: “Our runway has the capacity to launch flights every minute but existing airspace only allows every two minutes so the constraint is airspace.
“Businesses will not want to launch more flights before 7am and if flights begin earlier then this will impact communities more.
“Our data is based on analysis of the 2021 population and our main concern are the residents who already live here. The people who move into these areas will have to be made aware of the flight path routes when they are buying a property.
"Our justification for the preferred flight plan will come from the regulator, not us.
"In terms of the number of flights, these questions are asking about routes which we have no forecast for but we do know that aviation demands are going up all the time. Our growth is 10 per cent year on year.”
Any airspace change must be approved by the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, and the very earliest that new flight plans could come into force is Spring 2018.
Residents can have their say on the proposals by visiting http://www.letsgofurther.com.