Controversial new access route plans for Edinburgh Airport set to be refused by city council

Controversial plans for a new Edinburgh Airport access route are set to be refused by council planning chiefs.
Bosses had pushed for a new access route to the airport.Bosses had pushed for a new access route to the airport.
Bosses had pushed for a new access route to the airport.

In January, Edinburgh Airport applied to Edinburgh City Council’s planning department for permission to construct a new access road and ‘active travel route’ running north-west to south-east between terminal one and the Gogar Roundabout on the A8 dual carriageway.

The current access road to the airport is in poor condition, and pre-pandemic the route was frequently congested with heavy traffic at peak times.

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First discussed several years ago, the proposed new road was intended to to reduce congestion on the current airport road and be fully “accessible to general traffic”.

A planning statement, submitted by George Street-based planning consultants, Lichfields, reads: “This preferred alignment removes the need for a substantial amount of dual carriageway road and is significantly less environmentally sensitive as a result of both this reduced carriageway size requirement and location away from the site’s most sensitive receptors – Gogar Burn, Gogar Mains and Gogar Castle.

“Under this option only the small section of road from the southern junction where a connection would be made for International Business Gateway (IBG) traffic would need to be dualled (approximately 0.25km).

“A further advantage of splitting the airport traffic from IBG traffic earlier is that the road to the airport will require less junctions and bus stops and therefore the journey times to the Eastern Terminus will be as short as possible for public and private transport.

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“This is important if users are to be persuaded that it is worthwhile taking this route to the airport rather than continuing to use Eastfield Road.”

However, the plans split public opinion, with the council receiving 57 objections and 74 letters of support from Edinburgh residents.

Objections have focussed largely on the environmental impact – with air quality in the vicinity of the route a major concern for objectors – while supporters say the road will reduce congestion and ease commuting for airport workers.

Now, planners are set to reject the proposals as council mandarins say they conflict with the local authority’s plans for a Gogar link road – despite the council’s local development plans being supportive of another airport access route.

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A report, sent to councillors head of a crunch meeting of the development management committee on Wednesday August 18, reads: “The principle of a new access road serving the airport is supported by the local development plan (LDP).

“However, this route is intended to be multi-purpose and support the long-term sustainable development of West Edinburgh.

“The proposed route is not consistent with the West Edinburgh Strategic Design Framework (WESDF) and LDP Proposal T9, which safeguards the Gogar Link Road, a route which was subject to comprehensive analysis as part of WETA (West Edinburgh Transport Appraisal) Refresh Study 2016.

“The proposal would not achieve coordinated development, the route alignment would be prejudicial to the delivery of the Gogar Link Road and potentially require the delivery of a second route to achieve the objectives of the LDP.”

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