Council to buy new fire engine for airport
Members have agreed the purchase of a new purpose-built fire engine for the Airport at an estimated cost of £255,000.
Speaking at the Full Council meeting on June 22nd, Senior Manager for Infrastructure Craig Dryden said that the implications of not purchasing the vehicle could be "catastrophic for the airport".
He told Members: "There's an absolutely urgent requirement to procure a new fire and rescue appliance at the airport to replace the MK 10 appliance due to its age and condition... It is 27 years old. It's really important that we meet the specific regulatory requirements set not just through the international aviation authority but also the Civil Aviation Authority... and ensure the airport continues to operate and function safely as a Category 3 airport."
An options analysis to determine most cost-effective and resilient long-term solution to the need for a replacement appliance concluded that purchasing a new purpose-built vehicle was a preferred option to leasing a purpose-built vehicle or purchasing a second-hand one. The purchase will be funded through borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board repaid over a less than 10 year period.
Cllr Steve Sims asked Craig to make clear the implications of not purchasing the vehicle, to which Craig replied: "The implications could be absolutely catastrophic for the airport."
Council chairman Ted Moulson said: "I have been underneath both of the fire appliances with the engineer and I had a detailed report from him verbally. There is no problem with the structure of them; however, some of the pumping equipment on them is getting to the stage where spares are no longer available if they fail. We're in a situation where Dave Parr is manufacturing bits and pieces at the moment; however, that can be beyond his remit with some of the parts. And if they fail catastrophically we could be without a fire engine."
Explaining why the issue had taken so long to reach Councillors, Craig said: "The problem we've had is that we have been looking for a second-hand vehicle to tide us over but it's proved completely fruitless and I have to say we have wasted a fair bit of time trying to purchase a second-hand vehicle. Had we known 18 months ago how difficult that process would have been, this report would have been with Members 18 months ago, that's how urgent it is."
Cllr Moulson added: "This is a one-off engine that is not off the shelf so it has to be started from scratch... It's got to be smaller than the standard ones for our airport and our narrow lanes so has to be custom built, there is no other option."
The procurement and purchase is estimated to cost around £250,000 for the appliance, plus £5,000 for project management (staff).
Of the implications of not having an adequate rescue service at the airport, Craig wrote in his report that it would compromise safety "to the extent that it could lead to its closure, restrict hours of operation or result in the reclassification of the aerodrome to a Category 2, which would mean that Twin Otter would no longer be able to access the Airport".
He went on: "All of these scenarios would compromise the long-term future and ability to operate effectively and safely in compliance with CAA requirements and International and European Aviation Authority legislation and have a significant impact on the economic and social wellbeing of the islands by compromising transport links to the mainland, particularly in the winter."