THE UK government has announced plans for a new national body to curb aviation noise following calls sparked by the controversial flight path trial at Edinburgh Airport.
Livingston SNP MP Hannah Bardell has been campaigning for an independent aviation noise authority since the trial had to be called off in 2015 due to the volume of complaints and amid continuing concerns over nuisance to nearby residents.
And now UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has launched a consultation on noise from airports, which proposes the establishment of the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN).
Ms Bardell said the move was “a big win” for the SNP at Westminster and showed their lobbying had been effective.
She said: “Residents in my constituency were the first people in the UK in over 40 years to be subject to a flight path trial and the lack of structure for engagement with local communities meant many people did not feel they were properly consulted with.
“As the UK develops its new airspace plans it is vital that an independent body is created to ensure local communities like mine can effectively engage and have their voices heard.
“Equally, it’s vital that airports understand what is expected of them and have a proper framework to work within.”
Last year Ms Bardell sponsored a debate at Westminster on the establishment of an independent noise authority has since been lobbying UK ministers to create such a body.
She said: “It is excellent news that the UK government has listened to my calls for an independent aviation noise authority and plans to consult on its establishment.
“The proof of course will come with a proper authority with real powers and investment being set up.”
She said she would be putting in a formal submission to the consultation and seeking another meeting with ministers to press the government on what powers the new body would have and when it would be brought into operation.
The consultation paper said ICCAN should work with those proposing airspace changes to develop local design principles.
“Principles might include, for example, suggestions about flight paths avoiding specific populations or avoiding designated land such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and national parks, where possible.”
The document said ICCAN could also provide best practice guidance on noise management and compensation and assess how well noise mitigation measures work.
Edinburgh Airport said it had backed Ms Bardell’s calls and had already taken the initiative on a local noise body.
A spokesman said: “We have already been consulting with community councils and others about creating an independent noise group of Edinburgh Airport. That closed at the end of January and we are now reviewing the findings.”