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 Consultation on Flight Paths – Public Meeting to be held
29.8.2016 (Edinburgh Airport Watch)
The meeting will be on Tuesday 6th September at 7pm
at Burgh Halls, The Cross, Linlithgow EH49 7AH
Chair: Neil Findlay MSP
Edinburgh Airport is currently consulting 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 airport’s website has some more information on the consultation which ends on 12th
September, although there are few details on what is actually being proposed:
Widespread concern is being expressed within communities, not only at what is being
proposed in future, but also what is already happening now in terms of changed usage
of the airspace by the airport and NATS (National Air Traffic Services).
These changes have led to previously tranquil areas being plagued with unwelcome and intrusive aircraft noise 7 days a week.
Last year, Edinburgh Airport was forced to abandon a trial of a new westerly take-off
route which saw planes fly over communities such as Linlithgow, Broxburn, Uphall,
Uphall Station, Dechmont, Philipstoun, Ecclesmachan, Blackness and Bo’ness as well
as areas of Fife such as Kinghorn, Dalgety Bay, Limekilns and Culross.
Complaints to the airport and local politicians rocketed. As a result, the westerly route
(known as TUTUR 1C) cannot be used again without a full public consultation.
That public consultation is now underway and the failed TUTUR 1C trial route is
back on the table along with several others.
Despite the trial ending early, the noise has not stopped – for many, the intrusive and
unwelcome noise from jet aircraft has had devastating and life changing consequences
for their health and quality of life.
Areas such as Blackness, Dalgety Bay, Kinghorn, Limekilns, Linlithgow, Dechmont,
Uphall and elsewhere are now affected by over 70 jet planes every day starting around
6am and lasting long into the night.
While residents report that aircraft noise was not previously a problem in these areas, the airport maintains that nothing has changed.
A recent survey undertaken by Blackness Community Council found that 70% of
respondents had noted increased and intrusive noise and want the airport to revert to
the previous airspace arrangements prior to the changes made last summer.
A public meeting about the issue has been organised by campaign group Edinburgh
Airport Watch supported by local Community Councils.
The meeting will be chaired by Neil Findlay MSP and will take place on Tuesday
6 th September at 7pm in the Burgh Halls, The Cross, Linlithgow EH49 7AH. All
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport Watch said: “It is vital that as many people in as many of the affected communities across West Lothian, Falkirk and Fife are aware of what is being proposed, how it may affect them and come along to the meeting to have their say with their elected representatives on how they feel about busy flight paths being imposed on them”
Edinburgh Airport Watch have put together a draft template response for others to use to help to write consultation responses.
Below are some extracts showing key points:
The Points to include
This is a bullet point list which needs to be fleshed to suit the relevant circumstances in your
area, but which thereby make the responses more effective.
1.1. Community Councils in recess July and August; Cannot easily fulfil their
1.2. CAA is about to strengthen its guidance on consultations; EAL should wait
until they are published in 2017. Details
1.3. The Department for Transport (DfT) is looking at the whole issue of
aircraft noise and is also reviewing various options with regard to
monitoring and specifying acceptable noise limits. The Airport should
have waited until this review was complete.
1.4. Edinburgh Airport is not near capacity – there are about the same number
of flights now as 2007: we estimate that it is at about 70% capacity. Better
timetabling and ground management would remove EAL’s bottlenecks; The
consultation on the grounds of bottlenecks is therefore unnecessary now.
1.5. The airport is anxious to try and get community buy-in to allow new
areas to be overflown ahead of rules changes that will make it more
difficult for the airport to change the airspace in future.
1.6. A key change in the revised CAA rules is that a clear “Statement of Need”
for any proposed change in airspace should be made available and published
at the outset. No such statement or cogent argument for why these changes
are necessary appears in the consultation document.
2. Flight path use:
2.1. The current airspace use is a change; the extra use of GOSAM and GRICE
rather than TALLA is not an acceptable baseline from which to start a
consultation. EAL should revert to the airspace as prevailed prior to the
multiple changes reported by residents since summer 2015 and used by
BAA without any problems. EAL should have consulted before it imposed
this change of airspace use.
2.2. The Airport should not have instigated TUTUR without full consultation.
While the trial had to be ended early due to the huge public outcry, the noise
didn’t all stop and aircraft continue to fly a very similar routing. More
worrying is that the route is clearly back on the table, despite the enormous
number of complaints that were generated.
2.3. The Airport should have stated in its report to the CAA on TUTUR that it
failed to make any CO2 savings because of the extra mileage on the TUTUR
2.4. The airport is now regularly overflying areas not previously overflown with
large jets and should stop doing so now.
2.5. EAL must openly admit to the changes in airspace use, which community
councillors from Kinghorn to Culross, Blackness to Polmont and Broxburn
to Bathgate have all noted, before there is any possibility of community
2.6. There is no detail whatsoever about actual routes, how many planes,
frequency of flights or type of planes or when they might be flown
(remember Edinburgh airport has no night time curfew, and once a route is
licensed by the CAA, the airport is free to use it as much as it likes.). In part
the proposals reflect other changes being introduced by the Air Traffic
Controllers NATS En Route Ltd. But there are no quantified or stated
proposals tabled for anyone to judge.
(See the Government guidelines for a brief outline of good
consultation practice and then you can judge the EAL consultation process)
3.1. EAL distributed about 650,000 leaflets. Most of these went to areas not
currently affected by the change in airspace use and will not be affected by
future airspace use changes. Responses from those areas should be
discounted. It is not standard consultation practice to include people and
households unaffected by the proposals.
3.2. About 150,000 households are affected by current flight paths. It is unclear
how the airport intends to analyse the responses, and whether areas with
larger populations will be advantaged by carrying greater weight. Responses
from residents, community representatives and business and other health
and educational institutions in affected areas should be given added weight.
Schools especially should have been consulted and listened to. There is a
plethora of evidence that aircraft noise is bad for learning and mental health
3.3. Some areas badly affected by the current airspace change impositions do
not have community councils. Edinburgh Airport should make it clear how
they intend to address areas with a democratic deficit.
3.4. The use of the Postcode tool on the website to identify which flight paths
will affect a property is divisive. Which community is going to be happy for
aircraft to fly over them? This is likely to set one Community against
another, rather than lead to rational debate about where planes should fly.
3.5. The airport is the change sponsor with very large resources available. In
contrast, Community Councils and Groups are run by volunteers on
shoestring budgets. Yet the airport expects Communities to organise public
meetings, and communicate complex material to their residents in a very
short period over the summer months. Compare this to the planning process,
where any large developer would be required to make all arrangements for
communicating their plans properly to members of the public.
Some earlier news stories about Edinburgh airport and flight paths:
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.
Edinburgh campaign, SEAT, shows why cutting Scottish APD risks harming people’s health and the environment
The community campaign, SEAT (Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial) has set out why it is opposed to the Scottish Government intention to cut APD by 50%. Edinburgh airport is delighted that APD might be reduced, so increasing demand for more flights (= more profit). But those badly affected by aircraft noise are very concerned about the increase in the problems they suffer. Air Passenger Duty is needed, to at least partly make up for the tax breaks the aviation industry benefits from by paying no VAT, and no fuel duty. There is no VAT on purchase or servicing of aircraft. Many airports are owned by off-shore corporations, that pay minimal (or no) UK company taxed. Flying is already artificially cheap, and even cheaper, if the only tax is halved. While the Scottish government supports high speed rail links to London, which would cut carbon emissions if rail is used instead of air, they also aim to increase the number of flights, by cutting APD. That means significantly higher Scottish CO2 emissions. SEAT speaks up for people negatively impacted by aviation. The impacts on health from plane noise are now well known, and they are a cost to society. SEAT says cutting APD is unwise, and means putting profit for big business before people’s health, or the environment.
Campaigners vow to fight new Edinburgh Airport flight path plans “all the way”
The campaign group, Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial (SEAT) against plans for a new Edinburgh flight path has vowed to “fight it all the way”. A report was published by Edinburgh Airport recently, with findings from last year’s TUTUR trial. The aim of the trial was to get planes departing every minute at peak times instead of every two minutes.That would make more money for the airport. SEAT say noise during the trial caused “misery” but the airport declared it was a technical success. The trial was stopped after 4 months, 2 months early, on 28th October, after nearly 8,000 complaints from 567 individuals. The airport said 57% of the complaints were not about trial flights but were about aircraft operating on flight paths that have existed for a long time – as there were some changes to these. Edinburgh says no decision will be made on the new flight path’s future until the end of 2016, but of course, the airport wants to keep the maximum number of flights it can handle per hour, especially at peak times – regardless of annoyance to those overflown. Helena Paul, from SEAT, said the report seriously underestimated the volume of complaints and the sense of outrage people felt. It was grossly unfair to impose noise levels of over 80 decibels on people who bought their homes far from any flight paths.
Edinburgh airport declares its (fiercely opposed) TUTUR flight path trial a “technical success”
Edinburgh Airport, owned by GIP, ran the deeply unpopular flight TUTUR path trial in mid 2015. The aim was to get aircraft off the tarmac every minute at peak times – such as early morning – rather than every two minutes as is currently the case. And that would help increase the value of the airport, for GIP. Due to intense opposition and thousands of complaints about noise, it was ended two months early. Scottish journalist, Gina Davidson, has written about the problems. Edinburgh airport says it wants to be a good neighbour, but dismissed the mass of complaints about TUTUR as being from a ‘relatively small number of people, living in pockets of West Lothian.’ Unsurprising the airport announced this week that the trial had been a “technical success”.For overflown communities, such as Broxburn, Uphall, Linlithgow, and Blackness, it was not a success. And many of them are sure that even now, planes have not reverted to the old routes – but are still over-flying their homes. Edinburgh airport knows it will have a battle on its hands should it decide to attempt to make the TUTUR route permanent. There is now also a petition about noise in Cramond and Barnton, which are also facing more take-offs over them, in some wind conditions. Opposition is getting organised.
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.
and more at Edinburgh Airport News