Edinburgh Airport pledges action on night flights
AIRPORT bosses have pledged to tackle the problem of night flights in and out of the Capital amid growing complaints from residents.
People living near Edinburgh Airport or under the flight path say planes leaving and arriving late at night or in the early hours of the morning are disturbing their sleep.
The airport has admitted the noise nuisance from night flights was an issue.
After meeting airport bosses Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said she had received assurances that they would be taking action to reduce night-time flights.
She said: “There has been a marked effort by the airport to engage with the public and I am glad they are taking positive steps. Night flights and the disturbance they cause are an issue frequently brought to me by constituents. I look forward to seeing the package of measures the airport propose.”
Ms Jardine conducted a survey earlier this year, which showed 295 out of 710 people who responded said they were affected by night flights and 449 said they would support restrictions on further night flights. She said: “I am delighted the airport has taken on board the findings of my survey and the complaints of those who live near the airport and under the flight paths.
Helena Paul, of campaign group Edinburgh Airport Watch, pointed out the new flights to and from Beijing, which started last month, were effectively night flights, leaving from Edinburgh at 11.10pm and arriving from Beijing at 5am.
She said: “Edinburgh is unusual as an airport in that it doesn’t have any operating hours restrictions. There are multiple flights taking off and landing between 11pm and 7am. Many of them are charter flights because it’s normally cheaper at these times. And a lot of cargo goes out at night.
“People are being wakened up at 4.30am and once your sleep in interrupted that’s it.”
She claimed a majority of residents would support a ban on flights during the night.
“If Edinburgh Airport is serious about listening to the community they would listen to that. They could choose to operate their airport slightly differently and not disturb people at night.”
A comparison of statistics on the number of night flights now and four years ago shows a steep increase in their frequency.
The figures show a total of 138 take-offs and landings at Edinburgh between 11pm and 6am - the airport’s definition of night flights - during one week in July 2014.
The equivalent week this month saw a total of 191 such movements between these times.
An airport spokesman said: “We welcome Christine Jardine’s support as we examine how best to deal with community feedback on night noise.
“Edinburgh Airport consulted on the impacts of noise earlier this year as part of the updating of its five-year Noise Action Plan.
“It was clear that noise at night is an area of concern in some local communities and we’re working with our airlines to explore how best to mitigate any impacts.
“We should be in a position to discuss plans in more depth later this year.”