Call to stop Edinburgh Airport flight path trial

A plane takes off on the new fllight path. Picture: Ian Georgeson
A plane takes off on the new fllight path. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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DEMANDS are growing for the trial of a new flight path from Edinburgh Airport to be halted.

And airport bosses have been accused of being “indifferent” to the lives of people living under the new route.

MSP Neil Findlay, who has lodged a motion at the Scottish Parliament calling for the trial be stopped, said that the lack of consultation with affected communities was “appalling”.

He said he had been inundated with complaints about the flight path which routes commercial aircraft over densely residential parts of West Lothian before the planes turn to head south. The trial of the new route began in June.

Today the Lothians MSP said: “I have been overwhelmed with complaints from people in the Broxburn and Uphall area – and further into West Lothian. They are very angry about the increase in planes, noise pollution and sleep disruption as many of these flights are very early. But they’re also rightly angry at the way the whole thing has been done – there’s been zero public consultation.

“The authorities say they don’t need to consult because it’s a trial – well stuff that. They have been completely indifferent to the rights of the people living under this flight path.”

There are currently already three existing flight routes to the west but Edinburgh Airport launched the six-month trial to establish if it could increase its take-off capacity by cutting the departure interval between flights from two minutes to one.

This could double the 
potential number of flights of large planes, and increase the total number of flights in and out to around 120,000 a year. Yet campaigners against the new route point to figures showing the airport reached a peak of 128,000 flights in 2007 without it.

The airport has said it carried out “extensive consultation” and also installed noise monitors along the route, which sees southbound planes take off over Broxburn, Uphall and Dechmont before turning east at Blackness and then over the Forth heading south. All feedback will be reviewed by the Civil Aviation Authority.

However community councils in Uphall and Dechmont said they had not been consulted, and other local MSPs, including culture secretary Fiona Hyslop, have also queried the lack of information.

A campaign group against the trial flight path has been set up by affected residents, many of whom are monitoring the noise which they claim is “hugely disruptive” as flights start from 6am.

One of the campaigners, 41-year-old IT developer George Woods of Badger Park, Broxburn said: “The noise is unbearable. My two-year-old daughter Hailey is being woken around 6am every day by the noise, sometimes screaming in fright. The planes are very low over the houses and for the people in the areas where they turn east the noise is even worse.”

Edinburgh Airport said the trial was the best way to meet criteria set out by the CAA.

They said: “Scottish aircraft are currently flying on a network designed in the 1970s. This trial is aiming to develop a network that will support Edinburgh Airport’s growth.

“We are monitoring flights and noise on the new flight path, and recording feedback from the communities affected.

“During the six-month trial period, Edinburgh Airport is not required to carry out a full consultation.”