Lively public meeting in Linlithgow on problems of Edinburgh Airport’s changed flight paths
There was an excellent turnout at a meeting in Linlithgow organised by Edinburgh Airport Watch, on the airport’s consultation on changing fight paths. The large and lively audience travelled from across the region. The CEO of Edinburgh airport, Gordon Dewar, attended. Members of Edinburgh Airport Watch spoke up for residents who are suffering unwanted aircraft noise on a daily basis. The airport refused to concede it has made any changes to the airspace over the last year, despite a clear majority of the people present indicating that, while they had no problem with noise before the 2015 TUTUR trial started, they most certainly have a problem with new and unwanted aircraft noise now. People are adamant that a departure SID – standard instrument departure route – called DEAN CROSS has been renamed GOSAM and how has around 20 times as much traffic on it as before. People under it now get about 70 planes per day, between 6am and midnight, all week. Residents now have little trust in the airport, as it has not been straight with them on noise. Concerns were expressed that the current “Letsgofurther” consultation includes the failed TUTUR route, which brought misery to thousands last year. There are also serious concerns as it is not clear what criteria the airport will use to determine where the new flight paths will be.
Public Meeting about airspace change in Linlithgow on 6th September
(Edinburgh Airport Watch press release)
Edinburgh Airport Chief Executive Gordon Dewar says “Growth is Good” but refuses to admit to the changes already made.
An excellent turnout at the Burgh Halls last night for the meeting organised by Edinburgh Airport Watch in Linlithgow. The large and lively audience travelled from across the region including Fife, Bathgate, Broxburn, Falkirk.
Gordon Dewar attended to speak on behalf of Edinburgh Airport. Members of Edinburgh Airport Watch spoke up for residents who are suffering unwanted aircraft noise on a daily basis.
The airport refused to concede it has made any changes to the airspace over the last year, despite a clear majority of the people present indicating by a show of hands that, while they had no problem with noise before the 2015 TUTUR trial started, they most certainly have a problem with new and unwanted aircraft noise now.
We note that the flight path (or SID – standard instrument departure) GOSAM was rebadged from its previous name “DEAN CROSS”. While the trial of TUTUR ended, the noise has not stopped and we believe this is due to a 20 fold increase in traffic (ie planes) using the GOSAM route than was previously the case when it was called DEAN CROSS.
The airport now sends over 70 planes a day on previously little used routes such as GOSAM / DEAN CROSS, causing misery to the folks beneath from 6am to midnight 7 days a week.
How can residents have any trust in the airport when their experience is so different from what the airport says is happening?
Airport CEO Gordon Dewar maintained that ‘growth is good’. The people in Linlithgow last night clearly did not agree that unfettered airport expansion is welcome or appropriate for Scotland.
Concerns were expressed that the current “Letsgofurther” consultation includes the failed TUTUR route, one that brought misery to thousands last year.
Despite being nearly at the end of the consultation period, many people had not received a leaflet telling them about it. And most had not realised they could request a copy of the consultation documents.
Serious worry was expressed about the airport announcement yesterday that it has lost 5% of the consultation responses received so far due to a computer upgrade.
It remains unclear what criteria the airport will use to determine where the new flight paths will be, causing great uncertainty and risking blighting tens of thousands of homes.
The airport says it needs new flight paths to grow yet is not operating any more planes now than it did 10 years ago – their passenger numbers are up, yet the numbers of take-offs and landings is down on the 2007 peak figures.
Key questions asked were about the impact of aviation on health and environment – particularly CO2, NOx emissions and the link between noise and health. A recent Airport Commission report found that for a 10dB increase in aircraft noise, there is a 7 to 17% increase in risk of stroke, hypertension and heart attack. (Basner et al 2014)
Night flights were also mentioned with people asking why there is no night time curfew at Edinburgh Airport such as exists at other UK airports.
The business structure of the aviation industry with global asset management firms owning key parts of our transport infrastructure means that aviation is not operating in the best interests of Scotland.
The airport claims it needs more capacity, particularly at peak times, but when 60% of the take offs and landings are to domestic destinations, wouldn’t a sensible transport policy encourage these domestic journeys to be made by less polluting surface transport such as rail?
The airport claimed that it is a key driver for the Scottish Economy – but is this borne out by the numbers? Our £1.6 billion tourist deficit grows as overseas flights from Scottish airports increase but the number of overseas visitors remains steady.
This means that an increasing number of Scottish residents are flying out of Scotland rather than tourists flying in and each person flying out takes an average of £600 each with them, a direct drain to Scotland’s economy. This tourist deficit of £1.6billion is far larger than the combined salaries of the 23,000 jobs that the airport claims it “supports”.
On the day that the First Minister announced that her government would bring forward legislation to reduce air passenger duty to encourage more flying, the people who are suffering the daily consequences of airport expansion gave an emphatic thumbs down to the policy.
Cutting APD will make things worse and lose the in-deficit Scottish government £130 million. This is a tax cut which will only benefit the better-off in our society and on any equality measure is absolutely wrong. If Edinburgh Airport has already successfully managed to grow its passenger numbers, why does it need a reduction in APD?
Rail users, on the most non-polluting transport, may choose to switch to air at no extra benefit to Scotland and reduce the financial viability of our railways which at a time of climate change adds to our disastrous climate outlook. How can a policy to cut APD be compatible with our Climate Change obligations?
APD was introduced because the airline industry is unfairly under taxed and pays no fuel duty and no VAT. The reduction will feed directly into the pockets of the Extractive Multinational Investment Companies who currently leach money out of the Scottish economy.
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport Watch said:
We call on the airport to reverse the changes already made to the airspace that are causing so much daily suffering to people across East Central Scotland from Kinghorn to Culross, Blackness to Dechmont and beyond. These people did not buy their homes in the expectation they would wake up one day to find themselves living under a busy flight path.
The airport should scrap their unnecessary and discredited “Letsgofurther” Flight Path consultation process, that cannot now have any validity following their admission of having “lost” 5% of the responses given so far.
We firmly believe that cutting APD in a time of austerity is a flawed and ill advised policy and our government should think again on its priorities for the environment and the health of the people of Scotland.
Edinburgh Airport Watch website: edinburghairportwatch.com
On Facebook at Edinburgh Airport Watch and on twitter @EAW_group
Edinburgh airport consultation details:
“The airport’s role in our economy as portrayed in the consultation document is misleading. EAL write that …”activity generated by the airport is worth almost £1b every year and provides 23,000 jobs”. This claim is unreferenced. However the tourist deficit in Scotland is about £1.7 billion according to the National Accounts and every Scottish resident who gets on an aircraft and leaves Scotland spends over £400 out of Scotland as a direct drain on the economy. The number of overseas tourists to Scotland dropped by 4% in 2015 compared to 2014 and 80% of tourists in Scotland came from the UK and 60% came by car. The airport is not the answer to Scotland’s tourist needs or problems. ”
and see http://scottishtrends.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Scottish-Economy-update-February-2016.pdf on tourist deficit
Edinburgh consultation on flight paths turns into omni-shambles as airport loses vital consultation data
Edinburgh Airport Watch, and many others, were shocked to learn that the integrity and accuracy of the airport’s consultation process has been jeopardised by a computer upgrade. The airport has admitted that they lost 199 responses made over the last week. The data submitted between 10.31am on Monday, 29 August and 12.05pm on Friday, 2 September was accidentally not saved between these dates and times during a planned upgrade of the site. The airport has apologised for the inconvenience to those who now have to re-submit their response, and the consultation has been extended by a week (from the earlier end date of 12th September to 19th September) to give people the chance to submit again. The airport has 21 of the email addresses (out of the 199) lost submissions, so can inform those people. Local group, Edinburgh Airport Watch commented that trust in the airport had already hit rock bottom, and this latest blunder (even if not directly the airport’s fault) only serves to further damage Edinburgh Airport’s seriously tattered reputation among communities, especially in its consultation process. The group also have concerns about the area being consulted, with a huge number of people not being affected by the airport’s flight paths. A large public meeting was held on 6th September.
Edinburgh Airport Consultation on Flight Paths – public meeting on 6th September
Edinburgh Airport is currently consulting (ends 12th September) on changes to their flight paths. These changes affect a wide swathe around the airport, and are likely to impact on about 300,000 people across West Lothian, Falkirk and Fife areas, many in communities that have not been affected by aircraft noise previously. The local community group, Edinburgh Airport Watch, has organised a public meeting on 6th September, for people to understand the issues and what is at stake. It is to be chaired by Neil Findlay MSP. Edinburgh airport’s website has some more information, but there are few details on what is actually being proposed. There is insufficient detail of routes and how intensively they will be used, or over what times of day (or night). Many local communities are very concerned about changes that have already happened, and those that may happen in future, in terms of changes routes and concentration of routes. Some previously quiet areas that had no overhead flights, or few, now have very noticeably more. The airport wants to put in more flights at peak times, and that is a key driver of the changes. In 2015 the airport was forced to abandon a trial of a new westerly take-off (TURUR) route due to huge and widespread opposition. This route now cannot be used again without a full public consultation.
Edinburgh airport starts 1st stage of consultation to get more RNAV routes in place by summer 2018
Edinburgh airport met strenuous opposition when it ran a trial that started in June 2015 of the TUTUR route. Now Edinburgh has put out a consultation (ends 12th September) of the first phase of a process of getting more airspace changes. The consultation is not on actual routes. The airport says: “The positions of the new routes have not yet been determined. We seek to inform the decisions regarding where best to position these routes by consulting with those impacted or who have an interest.” The question in the consultation is “what local factors should be taken into account when determining the position of the route within the design envelope given the potential impacts, and why?” They say feedback “will inform the detailed design process and will influence the design options.” Once draft routes have been designed, a further consultation (probably summer 2017) will take place on the detailed design of the routes. After the second consultation, Edinburgh Airport will submit an airspace change proposal to the CAA. They have been careful to get their consultation in quickly, before the CAA system of improving the airspace change process comes into being. ” The target date for the RNAV routes to come into operation is Summer 2018.” Consultees cannot comment on air traffic growth, airport expansion, or government policy on airspace noise (or the lack of it), or of PBN or the desirability of RNAV.