Councillors are set to relax planning restrictions on housing developments close to the Army base at Kinloss to reflect the new status of the area.
Prospective and existing development plans close to the former RAF base have been subjected to a need for Noise Impact Assessments (NIA) to mitigate against aircraft noise.
Members of the planning and regulatory services committee will be told on Tuesday that changes in the use of the base and advice received from the MoD means that a relaxation of existing zones where NIA’s are required would be appropriate.
However, recognising that some aircraft noise will still exist at the base the requirement for NIA’s will not be completely removed. As an interim measure officials will recommend that previously used ‘contours’ around the base dating back to 1984 will be reintroduced as a guideline – this “effectively reduces the need to carry out NIA’s within the settlements of Findhorn and Kinloss and is restricted to a much less widespread area…”
The move follows advice from MoD that noted continued flying operations around Kinloss, MoD advice to the council is saying that while flying ceased in July 2011: “….there remains a current Defence requirement for the airfield to act as a Relief Landing Ground (emergency only) for RAF Lossiemouth Tornado GR4 and soon Typhoon aircraft.
“While fast jet aircraft will not routinely use the airfield at Kinloss Barracks the airspace will continue to be used as part of a standard circuit. This involves RAF Lossiemouth fast jet aircraft flying above the unit at a height of 1000feet.”
“Use of the airfield for circuit work will still mean that the area will be exposed to noise
which may be considered disturbing by residents.”
Should Councillors agree to the new arrangements officials admit that it could lead to a number of housing applications being made to remove current restrictions. The report says: “A number of planning applications have been approved with conditions imposed on them and it is therefore likely that there will be a number of applications submitted to remove these conditions in light of the interim position now being proposed.
“These applications to vary/remove conditions would only apply to live consents issued in the preceding three years.”
Agreement on the relaxation of an NIA requirement will not apply to areas around RAF Lossiemouth.