Edinburgh Airport flight path row goes to parliament

MSPs will debate the new flight path. Picture: Ian Georgeson
MSPs will debate the new flight path. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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EDINBURGH Airport’s controversial trial flight path is to be debated in the Scottish Parliament as pressure mounts for the route to be scrapped.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay has secured parliamentary time to discuss take-offs heading over West Lothian, which began three months ago without consultation with affected residents.

The debate comes as Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop and new Livingston SNP MP Hannah Bardell launch their own survey to discover how badly people have been affected by the noise.

And even Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People has asked the airport to explain how children’s best interests were taken into account.

Mr Findlay’s motion, which calls for the trial to be halted while consultation is carried out by the airport, has received the backing of nine MSPs from Labour, SNP and the Greens.

“I’m really pleased to have secured cross-party support for this debate as it will allow all the issues raised by residents to be aired in public,” said Mr Findlay. “People affected feel they have been ignored by the airport and this at least will allow them to have their concerns heard after First Minister’s Questions next Thursday.”

He added: “And I have also secured a public meeting with airport authorities so people can ask them questions and let them know how badly they have been affected by disrupted nights and noise pollution.”

Lothians Green MSP Alison Johnstone, who has signed the motion, said: “I really welcome this debate as I receive several e-mails on this issue every day.

“People are really upset about the negative impact this is having on their health and lives and are angry at the complete lack of consultation.”

Linlithgow MSP Ms Hyslop also said she had received complaints from across West Lothian and would be meeting with the airport’s chief executive Gordon Dewar.

“There are clear issues around why they need the trial flight path in the first place, why this particular route and whether planes are sticking to it,” she said. “I am distributing a survey to affected parts of my constituency, encouraging residents to get in touch so that I can actively take up this issue with the chief executive.”

Tam Baillie, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, has written to Mr Dewar asking for “information about how children and young people’s rights, views and best interests were taken into account when the decision was taken to trial the new flight path”.

An airport spokesman said it had received the letter and would respond directly. He added: “Clearly there are some issues for MSPs to listen to from their local communities and they are within their right to debate these issues in parliament.

“We have been in discussions with MSPs regarding the purpose of the trial and what is required from the Civil Aviation Authority, from the weeks and months before the trial and continuing throughout its operation.

“We know Fiona Hyslop has received a number of complaints and note that she has launched a survey to her constituents. We would be interested in hearing the feedback Fiona collects and using this to inform our 
decisions on the trial.”