EDINBURGH Airport has appointed a full-time noise adviser and announced plans for a noise management board to work with neighbouring communities.
The move comes after the trial of a new flight path had to be called off last year due to the volume of complaints and amid continuing concerns over nuisance to nearby residents.
The airport said June McClung, an associate member of the Institute of Acoustics and formerly environmental health technical officer at Falkirk Council, had been recruited as environmental noise adviser and would be responsible for handling noise complaints, reviewing noise policy, proactive liaison with communities and noise groups and the creation of an independent noise management board.
It said the board – expected to have around 14 members, including local councillors and representatives from community councils – would “ensure communities are involved, engaged and informed through open dialogue and clear data”.
Airport communications director Gordon Robertson said the board would be a key part of the airport’s wider engagement with its neighbours and partners.
He said: “We care deeply about our local relationships as we are local ourselves – a great number of the people who benefit from the 23,000 jobs that Edinburgh Airport supports live near the airport.
“As we continue to grow by offering greater direct international connectivity to and from Scotland we are committed to doing all we can to be transparent and collaborative with the communities impacted on the airport.”
Livingston SNP MP Hannah Bardell, who has campaigned for better consultation by the airport, said the announcement was “excellent news”.
She said: “The proof will be in the pudding, of course, in terms of how the engagement works. But all the signs are that they have learned their lesson from the flightpath trial and this is a strong indication they are serious about it.
“The fact they have appointed a dedicated member of staff is extremely positive.”
But Helena Paul, of campaign group Edinburgh Airport Watch, said she feared a “whitewash”.
“They will say they are listening to communities but they won’t do anything about it,” she said.
“The number of complaints to Edinburgh Airport is rocketing. Before 2015 they got nine or ten complaints per quarter.
“During the trial they got 8000 complaints over four months, which is partly why it had to stop early.
“But in quarter two of 2016 there were 420 complaints and in quarter three there were 608.
“They say it’s because people are more aware of how to complain, but it’s because they are more exposed to noise.
“People don’t want a noise board, they want their peace and quiet back.
“I’m concerned about the remit of this board and whether they will have teeth really to hold the airport to account on the noise problem it is creating.”