Edinburgh Airport flight path consultation out next year
Image copyrightEDINBURGH AIRPORT
Image caption Flight areas being looked at in the consultation
A detailed report on Edinburgh Airport’s initial consultation on altering flight paths is due to be finished in January.
Thousands of responses will help guide proposals that officials will put forward for the second stage of the consultation, set to begin early in 2017.
Scotland’s busiest airport received more than 5,000 responses.
The first phase in the consultation closed on Monday 19th September.
It ended a week later than planned after the airport was forced to apologise for losing almost 200 responses.
Edinburgh Airport asked for views on its “airspace change programme” in June this year.
Airport bosses have revealed the consultation website has been viewed about 80,000 times.
However, they said no changes could be made to existing flight paths until a further stage of consultation, proposing specific routes, was completed and the plans approved by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Some residents said they were already affected by noise pollution from changes in the flight paths and have accused the airport of pushing ahead with airspace expansion without considering other ways to increase capacity.
Peace and quiet
An Edinburgh Airport Watch spokeswoman said: “Although the airport is ‘consulting’, they have already changed the pattern of use of the airspace.
“We want them to change it back and restore to residents the peace and quiet we value so highly and believe that the airport has robbed from us.”
Gordon Robertson, the airport’s director of communications, described the level of feedback as “excellent” and said he acknowledged some people had “real concerns” about flight path changes.
He said: “Our data analysis team are working on delivering a detailed report on the first stage of our public consultation which will show detail on sentiment and the geographical spread of the feedback responses.
“Crucially, the responses we received will also help us map the design of the proposals that we put forward for the second stage of the consultation – set to begin early in 2017.
“We recognise that some people have very real concerns. The aim of the consultation process is to allow us to grow to meet the ever-increasing demand on our runway at peak times while minimising disruption on the ground.”
The proposed implementation of new flight paths would also coincide with the use of RNAV navigation technology, which will allow the airport to increase the number of aircraft which can take off and land.
Edinburgh Airport flightpath consultation reveals public divided over plans
21.9.2016 (Herald, Scotland)
By Helen McArdle, News Reporter
Edinburgh Airport says it needs a new flightpath amid a surge in passenger traffic
MORE than 5000 people have responded to a public consultation by Edinburgh Airport on plans to introduce a new flightpath over the capital.
A full analysis of the feedback is expected to be published at the end of October but it is understood that the responses are divided fairly evenly between those who are opposed to or concerned about the proposals and those who are either neutral to or in favour of the changes.
The ‘Let’s Go Further’ survey, which closed at midnight on Monday, asked people what “local factors” should be taken into account in designing the potential route.
Today, the airport’s director of communications, Gordon Robertson, confirmed that the consultation website had been viewed 80,000 times and attracted 5000 responses.
Mr Robertson said a full analysis would reveal “detail on sentiment and the geographical spread of the feedback responses” and “help us map the design of the proposals that we put forward”.
He added: “We recognise that some people have very real concerns. The aim of the consultation process is to allow us to grow to meet the ever increasing demand on our runway at peak times while minimising disruption on the ground.”
In January, the airport will set out potential routes as “lines on the map” before launching the second phase of the public consultation.
Mr Robertson added: “As we did in the first stage of our Airspace Change Programme we will be open, transparent and upfront with everyone as to why we are putting these flightpath proposals forward.”
Airport bosses say a third flightpath is needed to handle “strong levels of growth” in operations since 2013. Edinburgh Airport is currently the busiest in Scotland but its airspace has not been modernised since the 1970s. In July it recorded the busiest ever month at a Scottish airport with passenger traffic of more than 1.3 million.
However, a trial of a new flightpath over West Lothian was cut short in October 2015 after thousands of noise complaints from residents in communities including Uphall and Dechmont who claimed that they had been “brought to tears” by sound from low-flying planes.
Nonetheless, airport bosses later insisted that the trial had been a success, claiming that 40 per cent of the complaints had been lodged by the same five individuals while 57 per cent actually related to planes using the existing flightpaths – not the trial route.
When the airport launched its public consultation in June, bosses said they would “do all that we reasonably can to ensure that everyone has their say”. A publicity drive saw 640,000 leaflets to local households and businesses, with an advertising campaign via television, local newspapers and social media.
However, they were left red-faced after a highly-publicised data loss which saw nearly 200 people’s submissions accidentally erased during an upgrade of the consultation website between August 29 and September 2.
The consultation period was extended by one month with organisers appealing to anyone affected to re-submit their views. It is understood that the publicity surrounding the computer blunder sparked a surge in responses to the consultation, but campaigners said the error “invalidates the entire consultation process” and have appealed to the Civil Aviation Authority, which regulates flightpaths, to discount the results.