People living with Edinburgh airport plane noise adamant that changes to routes persist
The new campaign group, Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial (SEAT), was set up last year in response to the suddenly increased noise from the TUTUR trial that started in June 2015 over some areas. They say Edinburgh Airport is planning to impose a “new airspace regime” on the area surrounding it – effectively a secret flight path. The purpose of TUTUR was to see if the airport could increase capacity by cutting the departure interval between flights from two minutes to one. However, people living beneath it have attacked the airport’s lack of transparency. Helena Paul, from SEAT said Edinburgh Airport failed to adequately communicate about the TUTUR experiment with communities.” She also said there were concerns that data from airport-positioned noise monitors would “not adequately reflect the disturbance on the ground”. The trial was stopped 2 months early after nearly 8,000 complaints. Yet SEAT members say they are still hearing about new problems with noise being experience by residents across West Lothian and into Fife. There are complaints that planes are more frequent, lower and louder. But the airport says: “Aircraft have been flying in and out of Edinburgh Airport on the same routes for 40 years; they are not flying any lower or louder than they did in the past.” This a now familiar pattern – residents and airports not agreeing. The airport will publicise the results of the trial later this month.
Residents’ fury over Edinburgh Airport flight trials
JANUARY 9TH, 2016
By GREG RUSSELL (The National)
A CAMPAIGN group set up to oppose a flight path trial has accused Edinburgh Airport of planning to impose a “new airspace regime” on the area surrounding it – effectively a secret flight path.
The airport has three flight routes to the west, but launched a six-month trial on a new route named TUTUR last June, in a bid to see if it could increase capacity by cutting the departure interval between flights from two minutes to one.However, people living beneath it have attacked the airport’s lack of transparency.
“The Government expects all airports and aerodromes to communicate openly and effectively with their local communities about the impact of their operations,” said Helena Paul from SEAT – Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial.
“Edinburgh Airport failed to adequately communicate about the TUTUR experiment with communities – the first many residents knew about it was when the planes started roaring over their heads.”
“It is a scandal that flight trials may take place without any public consultation – for TUTUR, the trial was ended two months early due to public outcry, but the airport intended to continue using the route while they ‘consulted’ with the public about it.”
She also criticised the delay in publication of the trial results, saying there were concerns that data from airport-positioned noise monitors would “not adequately reflect the disturbance on the ground”.
The trial was stopped early after nearly 8,000 complaints. Yet SEAT members say they are still hearing about new problems with noise from residents across West Lothian and into Fife.
Now the group has written to community councillors across the area to warn them of the effects on quality of life a change to flight paths could have.
Paul, from Blackness, West Lothian, told The National: “Prior to June 2015, I did not have any cause to contact Edinburgh Airport since moving to Blackness four years ago.
“This is a peaceful, tranquil rural area, where sheep, birds and cattle form the sonic backdrop.
“No more. Planes now roar overhead from 6am until midnight. I have sent four emails of complaint to the airport this week to complain about unacceptable levels of aircraft noise that I did not experience previously.”
She added: “Planes are more frequent, lower and louder, yet the airport refuses to accept that anything fundamental has changed.”
In a letter to Gordon Dewar, the airport’s chief executive, Paul said that since July she had complained about more than 600 instances of noise disturbance, many late at night or in the early hours.
“While the airport is well aware of where it is sending planes and the likely effect the noise from them will have on communities beneath, it is a gross imposition on residents to expect us to have to note down dates and times of flights and then complain reactively to you,” she wrote.
“Your airport could choose to mitigate the effects of noise by directing planes differently; and indeed it appeared to a number of residents that the airport may well have actually done so as a deliberate tactic to reduce the noise levels picked up by the additional noise monitors put in place during the trial.”
In his reply, Dewar said that “with the exception of the TUTUR trial there have been no other changes to airspace around Edinburgh Airport in the last six months”.
Martyn Day, the SNP MP for Linlithgow and Falkirk East, told The National he appreciated both sides of the case.
“I can see why Edinburgh Airport wants to shorten the departure interval at peak times, but these are not late at night or after midnight,” he said.
“We have written several letters, but there’s been a lack of a suitable response from the airport management. I think their PR machine has not been particularly effective.”
A spokesperson for Edinburgh Airport said: “Aircraft have been flying in and out of Edinburgh Airport on the same routes for 40 years; they are not flying any lower or louder than they did in the past.
“The recent flight path trial was conducted to gain essential information to enable a full consultation with local residents. In line with CAA guidance all local MPs, MSPs and councils were contacted in advance to inform them of the trial. As previously stated – any future airspace change trails will be preceded by a direct engagement process with local residents.
“Later this month we will publicise the results of the trial including noise and any resulting proposed air space change will include comprehensive stakeholder consultation.”
Linlithgow MSP sends her own 42-page report on impact of Edinburgh flight path trial to CAA
The “Tutur” flight path trial at Edinburgh airport created a storm of protest, from those finding themselves under a new, narrow flight path for the first time. The trial had to be stopped two months early, in October, because of the opposition. Now Fiona Hyslop, the MSP for Linlithgow, which was partly overflown in the trial, has herself surveyed 2,000 residents in West Lothian to find out their views. She has sent her 42-page report to the CAA. Ms Hyslop said the reason for her report was that residents had been kept in the dark about the potential for a new Edinburgh flight path and although the CAA “will receive a report from Edinburgh Airport stating that the complaints they received have originated from a small number of residents who have repeatedly complained, Edinburgh Airport did not proactively contact each individual resident as I have.” Of the 2,000 surveyed, she found that 1,220 respondents felt that noise created by planes overhead was intrusive or disturbing while they were in their house with the windows shut. 760 of those surveyed found that there had been either no change, that the noise was barely noticeable or that it was tolerable. In two areas, the number saying they had been adversely affected were 71% and 60%. These results give a much fuller picture of the noise impact than “simply stating the results from two temporary noise monitors as Edinburgh Airport propose to do.”
Edinburgh TUTUR flight path trial ended 2 months early – but residents say changes persist
In June Edinburgh airport started a trial of a new, concentrated take off flight path (TUTUR), designed to enable the airport to deal with more planes per hour, and therefore make more money and raise the airport’s value. Due to the utter noise misery the trial produced and the huge volume of complaints, it was ended two months early – on 28th October, not 24th December. However, as has been the pattern at other airports, people overflown say the route has not returned to how it was before the trial. Campaigner Helena Paul from local group SEAT (Stop Edinburgh Airport Trial) said: “Despite assurances that the TUTUR trial has ended, the noise disturbance has not stopped. In fact, many residents are reporting a serious increase in the levels of noise from flights compared to before the trial started. … It’s perfectly clear to many thousands of us that there’s been a significant change in the pattern of use of the skies above our heads, to the severe detriment of many communities living beneath.” Helena has asked for data gathered during the trail period to be released, so that questions can be answered. They want to show definitively and precisely what happened pre-trial, and what is happening now.
Edinburgh trial (no prior consultation) of new narrow route to be ended 2 months early, due to opposition
Edinburgh Airport is to halt its controversial trial of a new flight path two months early (28th October). The trial of the concentrated route resulted in unacceptable levels of noise for those below the new route. The airport’s Chief executive Gordon Dewar admitted the airport had been overwhelmed with complaints about the trial route over areas which were not previously over flown. He said a letter from Transport Minister, Derek Mackay, asking if the trial could be shortened had also influenced the decision. The announcement was made at a packed public meeting in Broxburn. Like all other new routes that have been introduced through the CAA, there was no consultation. Mr Dewar said on the consultation: “…I do apologise. We have learned a lesson on that one.” The CAA has been taken aback by the extent of opposition to every new concentrated flight path it has introduced, and appears unable to work out how to implement the European SESAR changes to airspace on an articulate and determined population, against their will. Someone at the meeting commented that Gordon Dewar’s presentation was met with silence from the audience. But a short video by Sally Pavey, an experienced noise campaigner from Gatwick, received enthusiastic applause. Campaigners from affected airports are linking up to oppose unsuitable airspace changes.