A decision on controversial plans to amend flightpaths at Edinburgh Airport has taken a step closer today following the deadline of an extended consultation.
Airport chiefs have submitted plans which will see aircraft taking off out of the Capital fly over the west of Cramond and then turning sharply west along the Firth of Forth.
They say the E7a route will allow the airport to be more flexible with flights while building increased capacity for future growth.
The “reset” 28-day call-in window for the proposal closes today at 5pm, which allows all stakeholders to consider whether the change meets the call-in criteria that could lead to the Secretary of State, rather than industry regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), making the final decision.
An assessment from the CAA is expected to be released in due course.
Residents in Fife communities that border the Firth of Forth have raised concerns that the changes will increase noise pollution in their area and claimed the airport had not listened to their concerns.
Helena Paul, from Edinburgh Airport Watch, has urged the CAA to reject the new proposals insisting the airport needs to scrap the plans and start again.
She added: “The airport needs to engage meaningfully with communities. The airport’s three flawed consultation processes have been comprehensively rejected by the people who will bear the brunt of changes.
“Alternatives have been suggested, particularly a right turn on departure off the end of the runway towards Cramond to use the wider part of the Forth to gain height before flying over people’s homes.
“The airport has refused to consider this.”
The CAA confirmed it is looking at points raised about noise generated by proposed flight path changes at Edinburgh Airport.
It said it had received correspondence from a number of parties raising questions about the noise analysis used for the airspace change proposal and will respond once it has completed its assessment.
The airport, which recorded its busiest-ever September this year, undertook a consultation on the changes to its initial proposal between May and June with 89 per cent of the 1167 participating in opposition to the new flightpath.
Under the revised plan, aircraft taking off eastwards would make a 20 degree turn – a five degree increase on the original proposal.
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “Our proposals are based on many months of engagement with communities, politicians, airlines, and many others.
“We believe they strike the right balance of all of the competing agendas and we look forward to the CAA’s assessment in due course.”