Edinburgh Airport flight path row set for Westminster

A plane takes off from Edinburgh Airport. Picture: ian Georgeson
A plane takes off from Edinburgh Airport. Picture: ian Georgeson
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THE lack of consultation over the controversial new flight path being trialled by Edinburgh Airport is to be raised in the House of Commons.

Hannah Bardell, the new MP for Livingston, has submitted an Early Day Motion demanding that the government requires airports to undertake public consultation before any future new flight paths are trialled.

Her motion also asks that a maximum timescale for similar trials should be introduced and that a previously recommended Independent Noise Commission be established.

And it raises a concern that the Scottish Government does not have “sufficient oversight” of the Civil Aviation Authority, the organisation which governs the rules on flight paths.

The MP said: “Having been approached by many constituents with concerns about the new flight path I and my staff have undertaken some detailed research on the CAA and flight paths in general.

“Having listened to many constituents about the level of noise and frequency of the flights I have my concerns about the way the trial has been conducted, including lack of engagement and that many flights are not sticking to the stipulated path.”

Ms Bardell’s motion comes just days after the controversy over the flight path was debated in the Scottish Parliament.

Transport Minister Derek Mackay agreed to ask the airport to shorten the trial period but also highlighted the lack of powers the Scottish Government has over aviation policies. However, Edinburgh Airport has said it has gone further than CAA guidelines – which state no consultation is required until after trial evidence on a flight path’s viability is collected – by alerting politicians and a number of community councils to the trial before it began in June.

A spokesman for the airport said: “Edinburgh Airport is conducting this trial under full compliance with the CAA guidelines on airspace change. What those guidelines recommend as best practice is a matter for the CAA and the government.”

There are currently three flight paths which head west from Edinburgh Airport, but demand by the majority of airlines to take off at the same times in the morning has reportedly seen the runway congested and departure delays. The airport also claims there is growing demand for new routes which would put further pressure on departure times. As a result it is trialling a further westward route which would enable planes to take off every minute. However, the aircraft are now flying over residential areas previously unaffected by the original flight paths which have been used since 1977 – provoking outrage among those affected by noise.

The trial, which began in June is due to last six months until December 24. Already more than 2000 complaints have been registered by Edinburgh Airport about noise and planes not adhering to the new route.