Kirknewton Community Council Airport presentation to Local Area Committee – West Lothian Council


airport-expansion-featureBelow is a copy of the presentation, made on behalf of Kirknewton Community Council, to the East Calder / Kirknewton Local Area Committee on Thursday 23rd February.  This gives an overview of the Edinburgh Airport community consultation and general feelings of stakeholders from around Kirknewton.  Representatives have only five minutes to speak, so this is only a flavour of the feelings raised by members of the Kirknewton community.

AIRPORT PRESENTATION

Firstly can we congratulate the airport on an increase in users in January 2017 of 11% on the year before – after a record breaking year of 11% more people using the airport in 2016.

I am here today as, after due consideration, the elected Kirknewton Community Council oppose the proposed A6 route put forward by the airport following the first stage of their consultation and would like to see it changed going forward to the CAA.

Kirknewton, from time to time, has aircraft coming over the village.  It is a route taken during inclement weather.

During early 2016 there had been widespread concern in Kirknewton that airplanes were getting louder and more regular over our small village.

When monitored by a member of the KCC, it was discovered flights were increasing, even when the weather was fair.

At first the airport said this was down to inclement weather.  When challenged we were sent a booklet entitled ‘Arriving and Departing aircraft at Edinburgh Airport’.  This allows pilots to request the route over Kirknewton.

So it seemed odd that many of the residents in Kirknewton hadn’t noticed the sound of aircraft engines before.

When pressed again, it was discovered this guidance was published in November 2015 – pre consultation (we have since discovered they had reopened established routes that hadn’t been used for some considerable time)

One wonders why the consultation is only taking place now, when the impacts of increased airport profits are already being felt?

Regarding the consultation, we have a few issues to point out

  • Mr Dewar, Edinburgh Airport Chief Executive, took the time to come to the KCC in person
  • Mr Dewar seemed unaware of RAF Air Training Corps facilities closing in Scotland and all relocating to Kirknewton for glider training.
  • Mr Dewar neglected to mention the new Nov 2015 guidance when asked about increased traffic already over Kirknewton (nor the ‘reopening’ of established routes).
  • Mr Dewar did not know why, on the online survey, the Kirknewton postcode EH27 suggested you would not be affected by the changes.
  • Mr Dewar promised to look at the two issues mentioned. This was confirmed in writing in August 2016 with a reminder one month later.  A response was sent by the Airport Communication Department. No sufficient answer was given regarding the online survey other than views were still requested and a copy of the Nov 2015 guidance was sent.
  • This meeting with the KCC was recorded in the consultation report, but our written submission was not.
  • Mr Dewar said at the meeting the likelihood of the proposed flight paths leading to increased flights over Kirknewton was low – yet we find ourselves with Route A6 flying over East Calder, Calderwood, Kirknewton, Harperigg and the Pentlands – despite rover 70% opposition in their own consultation report.
  • The consultation findings has used out of date data about population area, which determined their choice of the A6 route alongside C02 emissions.

The following information will no doubt be discussed at great length at a further meeting with Mr Dewar, called by the KCC alongside other community stakeholders.  Going forward we hope the information provided here is clear.

The CO2 saving is a bit of a red herring. Less than one percent for a short haul flight. It’s the other 99% of the flight that is more important to the atmosphere.

The same amount of fuel will be used to elevate the aircraft to it’s cruising altitude no matter which route it may follow. It could be argued a shorter flown route will use less fuel but in proportion the route options must be so close to each other in overall distance flown to be insignificant.   The KCC look forward to seeing their actual figures and the basis for their calculations but feel the CO2 emission differences are marginal in reality and should NOT be such a determining criteria.

What should be a factor going forward is the impact on the people of Calderwood, East Calder and Kirknewton.

It’s already been accepted by the airport that they have been using incorrect population data for East Calder and not taken into consideration the Calderwood development.

The Calderwood development and actual populations of East Calder and Kirknewton makes CO2 reasoning irrelevant, as it puts the overflown population well above that of (the stated population of) Polbeth and Addiewell, for example.  Calderwood are also overflown at 500-1500ft, not 3000-4500ft. That altitude difference may turn what is a bit of a nuisance into an intolerable place to live.

With that in mind, and as part of open, participative and meaningful dialogue we hope the airport will reconsider this proposal going forward to the CAA.

Some members of the Kirknewton community are already feeling the impact of airport year on year success, but still take more than one return flight a year so there is no direct benefit to the community the aeroplanes fly over other than noise and increased transport pollution to the airport.

We will no doubt continue to do so if their current guidance is maintained, even if they change the route to A3, 2 or 1.

Therefore we cannot except the proposed A6 route and request the Airport change, scrap or scale down such rapid expansion.
Thank you for your time