Scottish MSPs call for the Edinburgh flight path trial, that is reducing people to tears, to be ended early
Date added: September 11, 2015
Edinburgh Airport started a trial of a new flight path in June, due to continue till 24th December. The purpose of the route is to enable the airport to have take-offs every minute, rather than every two minutes. It has resulted in a narrow, concentrated flight path over areas that did not have much plane noise before, and this has caused real distress. People are especially infuriated because the CAA allows NATS to run trials with no consultation of the public. This consultation is currently only needed once the trial has been done (and it pretty much a fait accompli). Campaigners of SEAT (Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial) launched a petition against the trial and have won the support of cross-party Lothian MSPs, including Labour’s Neil Findlay who yesterday led the debate. Four MSPs spoke up in a debate at Hollyrood, saying it is not acceptable that people now badly affected by noise were not consulted, and they want the trial ended early. Alison Johnstone (Green Party Scotland) said the relentless noise, often from 5am all day through till midnight, had reduced people to tears due to stress and sleep deprivation. She added, re. the CAA: “Just because you don’t have to consult, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.”
Call to halt Edinburgh Airport’s trial flight path
An MSP has called for the trial of a new flight path from Edinburgh Airport to be halted saying the community was not consulted on the plan.
Labour MSP Neil Findlay said there was “widespread concern” from communities in the trial flight path, which now has planes travelling over West Lothian.
He said residents were experiencing sleep disruption and noise pollution.
An airport spokesman said: “We note Mr Findlay’s and the community’s concerns regarding the trial.”
He added: “It was always our intention, and it remains so, that in the event the route is technically viable – and it is important to establish that through the trial process – we will undertake a full and thorough consultation with local communities and affected stakeholders.
“All the feedback we receive during the trial phase will be presented to the CAA as part of our trial findings.”
The Labour MSP called for the airport’s management to halt the trial and to carry out a full consultation with all of the communities affected.
The trial, which started on 25 June, is due to end on 24 December.
There are 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.
Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone said there was no advance notice of the trial flight path.
She said: “Residents found out about it when flights roared overhead, so low that they can clearly read the livery.”
It shows the universal criticism from MSPs about lack of consultation on the introduction of the trial, and the MSPs highlighting the similarities of what happened at Gatwick and London City Airport, all airports being owned by the same company, GIP. The proposer of the motion Neil Findlay (Labour) lamented, on climate change grounds, the Scottish Government’s desire to get rid of APD and the increased leisure flights that could cause. The residents in the Public Gallery were not stopped applauding the speeches they liked!
Calls for Edinburgh Airport to halt flightpath trial early as noise drives residents “to tears”
THOUSANDS of residents have demanded Edinburgh Airport abandons trials of a new flight path because because of problems with noise pollution.
Householders living beneath the trial route, which passes over communities including Bo’ness and Blackness and cuts between Prestonpans and Musselburgh, say they are suffering from sleep deprivation and stress as a result of low-flying aircraft passing overhead from around 5am until midnight.
Some of the planes are also flying into Edinburgh Airport during the night at times including 2.30am.
The six-month trial, which launched in June, is aimed at reducing congestion at Scotland’s busiest airport by offering aircraft an alternative flightpath to and from the hub and reducing delays for passengers. [That amounts to making more money for the airport and the airlines, from cost savings].
It is scheduled to end on Christmas Eve, but there are now calls for it to be cut short.
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for the Lothians, said some of her constituents had been “reduced to tears” by noise and lack of sleep since it began, and criticised the airport and its owners, Global Infrastructure Partners, for not doing more to consult with the public prior to the launch.
She said: “My constituents have found themselves on the receiving end of an experiment, effectively a surprise trial, which the first they knew of was when planes roared over their houses so low you could read the livery. Just because you don’t have to consult, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.”
Transport Minister Derek Mackay told parliament he will write to Edinburgh Airport to ask them to consider ending the flight path trial early, if they have have enough data to carry out a full evaluation of the trial.
He added: “The trial period, if it can be truncated, should be truncated.”
The trial is supported by air traffic controller, NATS, and is in line with Civil Aviation Authority guidelines which do not require UK airports to undertake a full public consultation prior to trialling a new flightpath. Airspace regulation is reserved to Westminster.
Edinburgh Airport contacted local community councils, councillors and MSPs to make them aware of the plans in advance.
However, Neil Findlay, the Labour MSP for Lothian who is spearheading calls for the Edinburgh flightpath trial to be suspended, said airport bosses had “completely disregarded” the potential impact on local communities.
He said: “The decision to have no public consultation is frankly a disgrace, more of a disgrace however is that the CAA rules allow them not to consult with the people living below. Likewise the trial appears completely unconcerned about the wider environment and the impact that there may be on our climate change targets.
“A full public consultation should be initiated as a matter of urgency.”
It is understood Edinburgh Airport has now received some 2,200 complaints about the trial from 600 local residents and will seek advice from the CAA about possibly shortening the trial from the recommended six months.
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “We note Mr Findlay’s and the community’s concerns regarding the trial. It was always our intention, and it remains so, that in the event the route is technically viable – and it is important to establish that through the trial process – we will undertake a full and thorough consultation with local communities and affected stakeholders.
“All the feedback we receive during the trial phase will be presented to the CAA as part of our trial findings.”
A CAA Spokesperson said:
“Airports and air traffic control organisations sometimes carry out short-term trials to gather data and validate possible proposals for future requests for changes to the UK airspace structure. This means that for a short period aircraft may be flying different routes.
“We absolutely understand that aircraft noise disturbs people, but any trial will have a fixed start and end date and if, after the trial, the organisation running it wishes to make the change permanent then the full airspace change process, including consultation, will be required.
“We are satisfied that the Edinburgh trial is being conducted in full accordance with Department for Transport environmental guidance and that the airport engaged with the local community prior to the beginning of the trial.”
Calls for airport to end controversial flight path
11.9.2015 (Edinburgh Evening News)
by Gina Davidson
THE Scottish Government is to ask Edinburgh Airport to cut short its controversial flight path trial.
Transport Minister Derek Mackay will write to the airport asking it to truncate the six-month trial so residents badly affected by noise will not have to suffer the effects until Christmas Eve, as currently planned.
Flight path protesters outside the Scottish Parliament. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Speaking during yesterday’s Holyrood debate on the new flight path over West Lothian, Mr Mackay also said the lack of consultation by the airport, while permitted by Civil Aviation Authority regulations, had not been acceptable.
While he praised the airport’s economic success, he said: “I say of course there should be such consultation. Edinburgh Airport’s own briefing states, ‘We understand that noise can have a detrimental impact and this trial is an imposition on people who did not buy a house under a flight path’.
“That point is very important and the airport should reflect on it when it makes decisions.”
He added: “I will absolutely write to Edinburgh Airport to ask that the trial period, once it has the evidence it believes it needs to inform its decision, is as short as it can be. I hope they bring the trial to a close as quickly as possible.”
Lothian’s Conservative MSP Gavin Brown said there was no “legal or regulatory requirement” to trial the new flight path for the full six months.
The trial, which sees planes take off every minute at early morning peak times and fly west over Broxburn, Uphall, Dechmont and Linlithgow, has provoked outrage among residents.
Campaigners of SEAT (Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial) launched a petition against the trial and have won the support of cross-party Lothian MSPs, including Labour’s Neil Findlay who yesterday led the debate.
He said: “The CAA guidance says there’s no need to consult – it’s completely unacceptable they don’t see the need to engage with the public and that [airport owner] Global Investment Partners fails to recognise its obligations to the community.” [GIP also owns Gatwick Airport, where there has been a huge outcry about flight path trials and flight path changes, and London City Airport].
“It’s that approach which has angered people most. Corporations ride roughshod over people and think no-one will care.”
Mr Findlay, along with Green MSP Alison Johnstone, questioned the business case for a new flight path, and suggested the move was part of GIP’s plan to “fatten up” the airport for sale.
Seat campaigner George Woods said: “We are pleased that the Transport Minister wants to see the trial shortened because the impact it is having on many residents is terrible.”
An airport spokesman said: “We note Mr Mackay’s concerns and welcome his feedback and that from the community. We need to determine if the route is technically viable and that needs to allow enough time to gather meaningful data.”
He added: “GIP is an extremely supportive owner of Edinburgh Airport and has invested a large amount of money in creating an airport that can satisfy demand for more flights to and from Edinburgh.”
Edinburgh Airport’s new TUTUR flight path trial started 25th June – maybe for 6 months
June 27, 2015
The trial of a new flight path to the west of Edinburgh airport started on 25th June. The airport itself does not say how long the trial with last, but reports say either 5 months or 6 months. The trial sees southbound planes take off over Broxburn and Uphall before turning east over the Forth, then south over East Lothian. The aim of the trial is to speed up departures, increase the number of planes than can be handles, and make more money for airlines and the airport. Edinburgh airport says if the trial is a “success,” [a success may mean if the level of opposition is low enough, or can be discounted] it could cut the minimum interval between take-offs from two minutes to one minute, doubling the potential number of flights by large planes from the airport. That could mean increasing the total number of flights by 20% to around 120,000 per year. People finding themselves under the new, narrow, route are experiencing much worse plane noise than before – especially as much of the new flight path is on a turn. People are encouraged to contact the airport and make complaints, if the are not happy with the new situation. Edinburgh airport says: “If the trial is successful it will continue for a bit longer” (ie. no end date?) going through the formal Airspace Change Process by the CAA. Once that is done, the route will be permanent – after a public consultation and the statutory change process.
Edinburgh Airport unveils 5 month trial of flight path to boost the airport’s capacity
April 30, 2015
Edinburgh Airport has unveiled details of a 5-month trial of a new flight path for aircraft taking off to the west, in a bid to increase capacity. The Airspace Trial, which will begin on 25 June, will introduce a new SID route, the purpose of which is to allow more flights to use the runway, and allow aircraft to take off at one-minute intervals. This is to “allow the airport to maintain safe and sustainable growth without affecting punctuality.” Most of the time the flights take off to the west and there are currently 3 SID routes – known as Grice (which goes north), Gosam (which goes south west) and Talla (south). The new route – Tutur – will see aircraft take off in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, passing over West Lothian and to the east of Linlithgow. The settlements worse affected, with planes at 1900 – 2000 feet, would be Uphall and Dechmont. Map Aircraft will climb as they turn, to fly over the coast and down the Firth of Forth passing North Queensferry, and then fly back over land at approximately 13,000ft near Musselburgh. The airport says the aircraft using the trial route are likely to be their least noisy (B737s, A319, A320, A321, 787 and A330s). The airport says the trial would monitor the impact on local communities, and noise monitors would be placed along the flight path to collect data on the flights.
Edinburgh Airport set for next £50m expansion stage
It is the second stage of a £150m programme agreed by the airport board two years ago.
The first stage included a new security hall and a temporary arrivals hall to accommodate Middle East routes. During a visit by the prime minister, it was announced that a new immigration and baggage hall is to be built, which should triple the capacity for larger long-haul aircraft. Of the £150m programme announced in 2013, £25m was been spent on stage one, for a new security hall, land-side improvements and a temporary arrivals/immigration/baggage hall. Work on that temporary structure started this week, to be ready for the June start to the Etihad service. The £50m phase two investment will build around that temporary structure. That leaves £75m to spend over the five-year programme. It is not yet known how that will be spent. The CEO said: “The work we’ll be carrying out over the next four years will transform our air-side facilities, tripling our capacity to handle bigger aircraft and paving the way for the next 10 years of increased international connectivity.”