Edinburgh Airport is to trial a new flight path that could see a plane taking off every minute, raising fears of increased aircraft noise and pollution.
The route, which will be tested for six months from June 25, will see southbound planes take off over Broxburn and Uphall, before turning east over the Forth, then south over East Lothian.
And it will cut the minimum interval between take-offs from two minutes to one minute, doubling the potential number of flights by large planes from the hub and increasing the total number of flights in and out of the Capital by 20 per cent to around 120,000 every year.
Not every flight will use the new route, which will increase the total number of take-offs and landings possible per hour from 42 to 50 by 2017, if the trial is rolled out permanently.
But as a result of the change residents in West Lothian are being told to expect increased aircraft noise, with some flights being routed directly over houses. Noise levels will be between 80-90 decibels, the same as standing five metres away from a busy road.
Uphall community councillor Fraser Graham, who lives under the flight path, said: “This could cause people some problems. I will be raising this at our next meeting.”
However, the airport said only quieter modern aircraft will use the new corridor, which will see planes climb rapidly on take-off. The route has been designed for larger aircraft, such as the Boeing 737 and 787 Dreamliner, and Airbus A319, A320, A321, and A330.
There were also concerns that increased flight capacity would add to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
David Wilson, chief operating officer of Edinburgh
Airport, said: “At the moment, Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network that was designed in the 1970s. What we’re aiming to do is begin upgrading the airspace above Edinburgh Airport and bring it into the 21st century.”
Flights set to use the new corridor include busy international routes to Amsterdam, Brussels, Poland and Italy, as well as new medium-haul routes to the Middle East.
Residents can check the route themselves and offer feedback on the level of disturbance via a dedicated website set up by Edinburgh Airport.
Mr Wilson continued: “We’ve taken great care to design this new route with the utmost consideration for our neighbours. The route passes over very few populated areas and flies over the river for the bulk of its flight path.
“We’ve contacted community councils, groups and politicians and will continue to do this to ensure people understand why we’re doing this and to find out how the new route is impacting on them. We’ll be placing noise monitors along the flight path so we can collect data.”
Sandy Legget, general manager of air traffic controller NATS at Edinburgh, said the new route would help the airport expand.
She said: “NATS has supported the airport in preparing for this trial, ensuring the design delivers benefits for the airport and airlines and is mindful of the airport’s commitment to local communities.
“A new departure route would enable sustainable and safe growth at Edinburgh Airport.”
Colin Keir, MSP for Edinburgh Western and convener of the Cross Party Group on Aviation, said: “I welcome this trial and hope it proves
More details on the proposed route are trial can be found at http://sid.edinburghairport.com/