Edinburgh Airport flight paths consultation sparks '˜horror'

RESIDENTS fear their homes will be permanently affected by noise from planes after Edinburgh Airport announced a consultation on altering flight paths.

Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 5:14 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 6:27 am
Edinburgh Gin managing director Alex Nicol and airport chief executive Gordon Dewar launch the flight path consultation. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Airport bosses said the move had been driven by rapid growth in demand, with 11.1 million passengers passing through the transport hub’s gates last year.

The first stage of the consultation process – which launched yesterday and is due to run until September 12 – will aim to gather views from the public.

Results will guide the design of future flight-path options, to be presented in a second consultation scheduled to commence on December 16.

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The development comes after the airport launched a six-month trial on a new route named TUTUR last June – sparking accusations that its managers had failed to communicate openly and transparently with local people.

Community representatives said the latest plan had left them deeply worried.

Helena Paul, founder-member of Edinburgh Airport Watch, an organisation of residents concerned about noise from the airport, said: “We have heard about the consultation and we are greeting the news with horror.

“What they are saying is that they’re going to consult on flying just about anywhere within a 20-mile radius of the airport. The noise shadow on areas that are going to be affected will grow immensely. Areas that were previously tranquil could now be overflown.”

Ms Paul said the airport could address the issue of soaring passenger numbers through more efficient scheduling of flights.

“They do not need new flight paths to move more passengers,” she said. “There should be enough capacity at the airport to do that.”

Neil Findlay, Labour MSP for Lothian, said: “There are many communities across the Lothians where there will be concern about this consultation, particularly those communities that have experienced increased noise and disturbance as a result of the new flight-path trial.

“However, there are other residents in villages such as Pumpherston who will now have the opportunity to raise concerns about the disturbance that they have experienced over the years. The consultation must be genuine and not simply a tick-box exercise or sham.”

Edinburgh Airport leaders said they were committed to delivering a robust consultation.

Chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “This time last year we were – justifiably in some cases – criticised for not engaging thoroughly enough with our neighbouring communities before running a flight path trial.

“We’ve learned our lessons and this time round will do all that we reasonably can to ensure that everyone has their say on the future growth of Edinburgh Airport.”