Bid to halt consultation on airport flightpath changes

Several politicians and community councils have signed a letter condemning the 'flawed' flightpath consultation. Picture: contributed
Several politicians and community councils have signed a letter condemning the 'flawed' flightpath consultation. Picture: contributed
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A CALL to halt public consultation on planned flightpath changes at Edinburgh Airport has been backed by residents’ groups, campaigners and Labour and Green politicians.

Writing to the Civil Aviation Authority, opponents labelled the process bulky, misleading and incomplete and called on the regulator to step in.

But airport bosses hit back, saying they have gone “over and above” consultation regulation, fully briefed the public and already received thousands of responses.

Flightpath changes are being considered to increase capacity at peak times, with the deadline for responses extended to this Sunday.

Helena Paul, co-founder of campaign group and letter signatories, Edinburgh Airport Watch, called the consultation “shambolic” for what amounted to a “new motorway in the sky.”

She added: “The human impact will be substantial – it will be life-changing.

“We’re still speaking to people who will be affected who don’t realise they will be. Those that feel they are aware don’t want what’s coming.”

The letter accused the airport of “driving through” consultation before revised CAA guidelines are published and slams accompanying documents as “long and jargon-heavy”.

It said airport bosses left out key information on projected flight numbers and noise impact and failing to justify the need for changes.

Labelling the survey “biased and divisive” it signed off: “We are concerned the impact the airspace change will have on health, wellbeing and economy due to increased noise and 
other pollution.”

But airport bosses said the consultation contained “all key information”, had been open for three months and said they had approached relevant parties.

They reaffirmed the figures of 25,000 fewer people being overflown, stated questions were approved by the regulator and that the need to “modernise” is repeated throughout the survey.

A full impact assessment on health and environmental issues of any proposed changes will be submitted to the CAA in due course, they added.

A spokesperson for Edinburgh Airport said: “This letter does not reflect reality.

“It is not representative of the responses we have received and fails to accurately reflect the Airspace Change Programme document or the mass public consultation process that we have been engaged in during the past three months.

“All consultation responses received before midnight on Sunday will be used in our findings report and taken into consideration as we work on our proposed new flightpaths which will be submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority in the summer.”

A CAA spokesperson said: “The results and conduct of this consultation will be assessed by the CAA as part of the regulatory decision-making phase of the Airspace Change Process, if and when a formal proposal is submitted by Edinburgh International Airport.”

andy.shipley@jpress.co.uk