Controversial new flightpaths in and out of the Capital are all about “fattening up” Edinburgh Airport to be sold off, an MSP has claimed.
Thousands of people who would be affected by the new routes have objected to the proposals by the airport.
In a debate at Holyrood, Lothian Labour MSP Neil Findlay claimed there was no evidence base for expansion of the airport, which he said was operating below 2007 levels.
And he condemned the consultation on the changes as “shambolic and flawed”.
He said it was based on the 2011 census and failed to take into account the huge number of new houses built in East Calder, Winchburgh, Kirkliston and other areas.
He said: “I have spoken to a number of residents who bought houses in new developments on the basis of their belief that they would not be affected, only to find out that they will be.
“I am more convinced than ever that the plan for more routes and flightpaths is about one thing only, which is fattening up Edinburgh Airport for a future sale at an inflated profit. The consultation is as fundamentally flawed as the airport’s expansion plan, and both should be scrapped.” [
Lothian Green MSP Andy Wightman echoed many of Mr Findlay’s concerns.
He said: “The consultation has been seriously flawed and the airport operators have misled the public and displayed arrogance and a contempt for public opinion.”
And he demanded: “Are the proposals in the public interest or are they designed to boost the asset value of a company that is to be sold off at profit in the years ahead by a bunch of faceless offshore speculators?”
Mr Wightman added: “I cannot help but think of Renton in Trainspotting, who said ‘It’s a sh*** state of affairs to be in”.
Edinburgh Western Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said people in South Queensferry had been told in the first phase of consultation they would not be affected and so had not objected, but when the phase two options were published one of the preferred routes was over Echline and the west side of South Queensferry.
He said: “I urge the airport to think again, to act as the responsible neighbour it needs to be.”
A spokesman for the airport said the flightpath changes were being proposed by the local management, who had no control over whether the airport was sold or not.
He said the airport continued to grow and flightpath changes were about planning for the future.
He added: “We recognise that feelings are running high and we are continuing to listen to feedback from our neighbouring communities.
“Edinburgh Airport has been in engaged in the largest airport public consultation ever undertaken in Scotland – and we have extended the period that we are accepting responses from the public to Sunday, May 7.
“We would encourage everyone to submit to the consultation.”