Edinburgh airport flawed and inaccessible consultation on airspace changes condemned by opponents

On 2nd February, Edinburgh Airport launched its second consultation, which closes on 30th April, on its airspace change programme. The consultation is very hard for a layperson to understand, with voluminous documents.  The aim is to make more “efficient” use of airspace – ie. fit in more planes, especially at the few times of day when Edinburgh airport is particularly busy, like early morning. People are asked to comment on various route options, many of which mean new areas overflown, and some areas newly intensely overflown, under narrow PBN routes. Hundreds of local people, who will be badly affected by some of the proposed changes, have attended packed public meetings. The local group Edinburgh Airport Watch (EAW) are very worried about the lack of justification for the plans. There are no projected numbers on flights, types of planes, the times of day that planes may fly.  EAW say the noise shadows created by the proposed flight paths will be enormous, and will affect hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom will not have been exposed to aircraft noise before. Areas excluded from the initial stage consultation were excluded from the published swathes, told they would not be affected and now find flight paths directly over them. Not surprisingly, they are furious. Neil Findlay MSP has lodged a motion in the  Scottish Parliament, asking that the consultation be re-done, with proper information.



Edinburgh Airport Watch says:

At both meetings, the most recent on 14th March in Livingstone, the audience asked a number of clear and succinct questions which were not answered by the airport.

The airport wishes to obtain carte blanche to fly over or near huge areas of Fife, West Lothian, Falkirk, East Lothian, Midlothian and parts of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Airport has already made changes to the way it uses the airspace, without consultation, and people are complaining to them about noise in record numbers, yet the airport continually denies it has changed any procedures.

71% of responders in West Lothian and 67% of responders from Fife to the airport’s initial consultation said an emphatic No to further flight path change, yet the airport is pressing ahead anyway, basing its route preferences on faulty population data.

The airport is operating fewer takeoffs and landings now than 10 years ago.

The airport does not need new flight paths to grow, and it does not need new flight paths to install new navigation technology.

Areas excluded from the initial stage consultation were excluded from the published swathes, told they would not be affected and now find flight paths directly over them. Not surprisingly, they are furious.

The airport claims to be flying over 25,000 fewer people yet had failed to count populations correctly.

Over 900 pages of documentation has been published – slammed by members of the public as unclear and designed to confuse. The documents are riddled with errors and omissions, with key information apparently hidden.
Edinburgh Airport Watch are very worried about the lack of justification for these plans. There are no projected numbers on flights, types of planes, the times of day that planes may fly.

Below are links to the charts  – these are the existing SIDs (Standard Instrument Departure) routes and the proposed “Preferred Routes” with additional options. These charts are not in the main consultation book – why?

These appear in a document from the CAA and are available on the “Lets go further” website, under Consultation material, Reading Library, CAA ERCD Noise Analysis. The noise information charts also in that document are interesting mainly because of what is missing.

Chart Proposed SIDs ERCD Feb 17 pg 14

Chart Existing SIDs ERCD document Feb 17


Public Meeting with Edinburgh Airport on Flight Path Expansion.

Airport gets a rough ride from Communities yet again…….

16.3.2017 (Edinburgh Airport Watch)

Last night, Neil Findlay MSP chaired another well attended and lively meeting of West Lothian residents at Livingston Football Stadium that had angry local people queuing up to grill Edinburgh Airport Chief Executive Gordon Dewar.

Despite 71% of responders from West Lothian telling the airport in the previous 2016 consultation that they did not want new flight paths, many new routes are proposed with most of them over areas not previously affected by aircraft noise.

Edinburgh Airport’s latest flawed consultation process came under fire from people who were previously told they would not be affected and now find there are flight paths directly over them.

People slammed the more than 900 pages of the latest proposals as “poorly designed, unclear and intended to confuse”.

Gordon Dewar apologised for misleading the public and admits the airport has not counted populations affected properly and that no assessment of the health impact on people of new or existing flight paths has been carried out.

Mr Dewar could not answer the question “How can the airport claim to a reduction of 25,000 people overflown when it has failed to count all the people living under the proposed new routes?”

In relation to the huge proposed new housing developments in West Lothian that are planned, Mr Dewar said “Having a plan does not mean it is going to happen”

But he refuses to publish details on what the airport’s plans for their proposed enlarged flight paths are or what it will mean for communities. They refuse to tell us now many planes, what type of planes, what hours of day they might fly and how frequently.

No clear answer was given to the question “What is the problem that the airport is trying to solve?” leading to concerns that this is all about inflating the airport’s value as an asset with little operational justification for change on this scale.

People already living under existing flight paths described unbearable levels of noise every two minutes from 6am to midnight 7 days a week, and being woken during the night by cargo planes. The airport wants to increase its take-offs to one every minute.

Gordon Dewar showed little care for people who had bought their homes under flight paths – and says they would have known about the noise. But says nothing about the “newly overflown” people, who since 2015 have woken up to find themselves living under busy flight paths and who bitterly contest the baseline of flight path use that the airport is using in their consultation process. Noise complaints are at record levels, with a 60 fold increase on 2015 numbers.

Airport says it is building more cargo storage areas, which could mean even more overnight disturbance for Communities from increased night flights. There are no operating hours restrictions at Edinburgh Airport.

Edinburgh Airport chief says Edinburgh Airport “is a big economic engine for the economy” – and claimed (to derision from the audience) that jobs in the Western Isles are dependent on Edinburgh Airport. Unsubstantiated nonsense and spin from a report prepared by consultants paid for by the airport, and the people last night could see it.

Edinburgh Airport Watch said:

“The people attending the meeting last night were rightly very worried about the life changing implications of the airport’s proposals and clearly do not trust what the airport is telling them. They are confused by the 900 pages of documents the airport has produced, which also contain factual errors. Many are furious that they were excluded from the first stage of the process.

“People are still not being told what the impact will be of noisy jet aircraft flying over their homes, businesses and schools.

“The cost of unfettered aviation expansion is poorer air quality, traffic chaos on the roads around the airport, more noise misery for neighbours – some of them now 20 miles or more from the runway – and a worsening of Scotland’s already enormous tourism deficit as people take their money out of our economy and spend it elsewhere.

“A health and environmental disaster is unfolding for West Lothian, parts of Falkirk, Fife, East Lothian, Midlothian and Edinburgh with no independent assessment of the consequences of these proposals or any justification for them.

“It is difficult to see what sustainable benefit there can be to Scotland or the local area from allowing this airport to expand any further – it is profit before people.

“We urge people to respond to the latest consultation process before the end date on 30th April, reject ALL of the proposals on the table, (one of which is the failed 2015 TUTUR trial route that caused uproar and led to 8000 complaints)”.

People should write a letter or email to the airport outlining their concerns, copying in:

all their elected representatives; MP, MSPs Local Authority Councillors and Community Council; Andrew Haines, the chief executive of the CAA, Humza Yousaf, the Scottish Transport Minister, and Lord Ahmad, the UK aviation Minister, as well as Edinburgh Airport Watch.



Helena Paul  helenaspaul@gmail.com

Email: edinburghairportwatch@gmail.com

Edinburgh Airport website: www.edinburghairportwatch.com

On Facebook at Edinburgh Airport Watch

and on twitter @EAW_group




Edinburgh Airport launch Consultation 2 on Airspace Change Programme

2.2.2017 (Edinburgh Airport press release)

Edinburgh Airport has today launched the second stage of its public consultation on the Airspace Change Programme (ACP).

The ACP is about the way in which Edinburgh Airport intends to grow, ensuring that it continues to be able to support Scotland’s economy and jobs in a safe and effective way.

The existing flight paths used by aircraft rely on the 1950s technology of ground-based radio beacons. Any new flightpaths changes would be introduced using well-established and more accurate form of navigation called Area NAVigation (RNAV). RNAV uses a combination of satellite and ground-based navigation technology to permit aircraft to follow a precisely defined path over the ground with far greater accuracy than is possible with conventional routes.

The second stage of consultation “You Spoke and We Listened” material presents a range of proposed new flight paths which have been informed and influenced by the public responses from the initial ACP consultation period between June – September 2016.

If the airport’s preferred proposed flight paths are approved by the CAA, it would mean that aircraft would fly over fewer people than at present and would reduce the noise impact for thousands of residents in our neighbouring communities.

If implemented the airport’s preferred options would deliver the following major benefits:

  • The number of people who are currently overflown by aircraft up to around 7,000 ft above their properties would also reduce significantly compared to our current routes, and affecting the lives of nearly 25,000 fewer people.

*based NATS analysis

  • We would be reducing our Carbon Foot print and our effect on the environment.
  • Optimised operational benefits and the ability to meet and accommodate existing and future growth while maximising the safety of all of passengers.

Speaking in West Lothian today, Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport’s Chief Executive, said:

“Today I have written to over 640,000 households across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Falkirk and Fife outlining the design of the flight paths and seeking the public’s views on the proposals of a range of options in and out of Edinburgh Airport.

“Our proposed flight paths are a balance of interests focused on three key factors; impact on communities, airspace regulation as well as airport and aircraft operations. Edinburgh Airport and the aviation sector in general are strongly growing parts of a still sluggish Scottish economy – and we have get this right for the sake of jobs in Scotland and environmental considerations.

“At the very heart of our proposals are the findings of the initial consultation – we have listened to the public in finding a solution.

“The bottom line is that our proposed changes would mean a reduction in noise for nearly 25,000 people.

“We have worked closely with key stakeholders including community and environmental groups and our proposed changes would reduce the noise impact on the community, reduce emissions and allow us to continue to meet growing demand safely and sustainably.

“In this second stage of public consultation we will be reaching out again to our neighbouring communities. Our community engagement campaign will be backed up by media advertising and a locally targeted social media campaign to provide information relating to drop-in sessions and links to the feedback pages of the website.

“We will host drop-in sessions in communities and A mobile advertising trailer will be in the area in the days prior to highlight this opportunity.

“In the initial consultation over 5,000 members of the public responded to the consultation. This time, with lines on the map, we look forward to hearing from even more people.

“As with all major infrastructure expansion plans, we know that not everyone will agree with our proposals; therefore we are committed – where people are adversely impacted by changes – to mitigation and compensation measures.”

Further info:

Notes – www.letsgofurther.com







Edinburgh Airport Flawed Flight Path Consultation – MSP motion lodged at Holyrood

“Flawed Airport Consultation: Motion in Parliament S5M-04708”

21st March 2017

Neil Findlay MSP has lodged a motion at Holyrood about the airport’s current consultation.

This is really important.  If this motion gets sufficient support from MSPs across at least 3 political parties, it becomes eligible to be debated in the Chamber. Neil Findlay was able to lead a previous members’ debate in September 2015 which led to the scrapping of the airport’s TUTUR flight path trial. YOU therefore need to take action now. Today.

And the best bit is, you don’t have to do very much at all. All you have to do is send an email to all your MSPs and ask them to sign it.

Call to action today!
3 easy steps which will make you feel empowered in our fight against Edinburgh Airport Expansion.

This is our real chance to have it debated in Parliament. We need ALL political parties.

  1. Look up your MSPs    https://www.writetothem.com
  2. Email them to support Neil Findlay motion https://bb.parliament.scot/…/DetailsPart…/S5M-04708/20170321
  3. Copy Edinburgh Airport Watch  in your email edinburghairportwatch@gmail.com and tweet or Facebook that you have done it. Find us on Facebook at Edinburgh Airport Watch and on twitter @EAW_group

Please take a few minutes to send an email to your MSPs today, the airport’s proposals are based on faulty data and have little justification yet will have life changing consequences for hundreds of thousands of people. Concerted efforts can put a stop to it – but it starts with you.

Share this message as widely as you can throughout all your networks. The airport is on the ropes, at the public meetings last week in Dunfermline and Livingston they were under serious pressure from angry and worried members of the public. Reasonable questions are simply not being answered. Their plans need to be subjected to serious parliamentary scrutiny. Your email to your MSPs today will be the first step along that road. Thank you!

Link and full text below.


Motion S5M-04708: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/03/2017

That the Parliament notes what it sees as the growing concerns about Edinburgh Airport’s plan to introduce new flight paths; understands that around 120 people attended the latest in a series of public meetings in Livingston to voice their opposition; believes that a number of flaws within the consultation have been identified, including the lack of inclusion of a health impact assessment of the proposed changes to airspace use since 2014, despite a number of residents reporting mental and physical health effects due to increased noise over their homes, the lack of evidence for the assertion that 25,000 fewer properties will be overflown as a result of the changes, that Winchburgh and East Calder residents were informed through the first consultation that they would not be affected by any proposed changes but have since found that they will be affected by new plans, and the use of outdated census data from 2011 as the basis for the consultation, and notes calls for the Scottish Government to urge the Civil Aviation Authority to demand that Edinburgh Airport scraps what is considered this flawed consultation and begins the process again with up-to-date information and a more robust and credible consultation process.