Edinburgh Airport has announced a second phase of consultation on proposed new flight paths, saying their plans could reduce noise for thousands of residents.
The airport’s operators said its preferred routes would result in 25,000 fewer people living directly under approach and take-off routes.
But critics have hit out at the plans amid claims the airport had ignored complaints from those impacted by planes flying over their homes.
The announcement comes after more than 5000 people responded to the airport’s first round of consultation, which drew to a close in September last year.
Airport officials said changes to flight routes would also help reduce their carbon footprint.
But campaign group Edinburgh Airport Watch said residents had already voiced an “emphatic judgment” against the proposals in the first phase of consultation.
A spokesman said: “Many people have no idea the impact on them of noisy jet aircraft flying over their homes, businesses and schools.
“The cost of unfettered aviation expanse is poorer air quality, traffic chaos on the roads around the airport, more noise misery for neighbours – some of them now live 20 miles from the runway – and a worsening of Scotland’s already enormous tourism deficit as people take their money out of our economy and spend it elsewhere.
“It is difficult to see what sustainable benefit there can be to Scotland or the local area from allowing this airport to expand any further.”
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, branded the consultation “pointless” and called for a different approach.
She said: “At no point has the option of not expanding been considered. This latest so-called consultation is pointless as it wrongly assumes that more air travel in and out of Edinburgh is a good thing.
“Expansion will clearly have a region-wide impact on people and wildlife from aircraft noise and air pollution, and a national impact from increased climate change emissions. We need a wider conversation about alternatives.”
The airport responded that it had written to over 640,000 residents and “worked closely” with over 1000 stakeholders.
Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport’s chief executive, said: “Edinburgh Airport and the aviation sector in general are strongly growing parts of a still sluggish Scottish economy – and we have get this right for the sake of jobs in Scotland and environmental considerations.
“At the very heart of our proposals are the findings of the initial consultation – we have listened to the public in finding a solution. The bottom line is that our proposed changes would mean a reduction in noise for nearly 25,000 people.
“As with all major infrastructure expansion plans, we know that not everyone will agree with our proposals; therefore we are committed – where people are adversely impacted by changes – to mitigation and compensation measures.”
Any changes to flight paths would need approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).