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.


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


  1. I too very much agree and thank you for your efforts.
    I have watched the planes come in over the Pentlands and across my view of Edinburgh with no effort as they were clearly seen around the 9 o’clock time for quite some time.
    Having noticed them for months I was very surprised to the change when none flew that way for a week. At that time for the first time I could see the planes taking off directly up and some went West but mostly East towards Edinburgh all behind the Red Lights at the landing area. They normally land just in front of the Lights from my view.
    They are flying in at the moment again but hardly any. I could see 4 planes in the sky at times but not now.

  2. Don’t know where you get your information from but there are no “reestablished routes that hadn’t been used for some considerable time”. There are currently 3 routes each from either end of the runway at Edinburgh and they are the same routes that have been used since 1977. The only aircraft over Kirknewton will be either avoiding weather or will have been given an early left turn off the TLA SID. Aircraft taking an early left turn are doing so within the current noise abatement rules, which also have remained unchanged since 1977.

  3. Firstly thanks to Chris and Margaret for your comment and observations.

    Chris – you are correct, flightpaths haven’t changed since 1977. Indeed our statement further agrees with you that that Kirknewton is flown over during inclement weather.

    What has changed is the pattern of use of the airspace which has resulted in greater noise being experienced by the community (pre consultation process).

    Of course it is nonsensical however many feet airplanes fly over Calderwood – because according to the Airport consultation exercise Calderwood, nor the population growth of East Calder since 2011 or the EH27 population of Kirknewton doesn’t actually exist to fly over!

    Chris, you sound well informed on the matter and we welcome local residents attending the Community Council to inform our view, which as it stands remains against the proposals. You can also get your views known at an open day the airport are running on Monday 6th March from 2-7pm in the Kirknewton Village Hall. We are sure the airport representatives will welcome your input at that event, along with others for or against the proposals.

  4. Thankyou and I agree with the stance. Having lived in Lirknewton for seven years, it is clear that the last months have seen a massive increase in the number of planes overflying Kirknewton on take off. These paths were so infrequently used before that a plane overflying in the night due was a strange noise that would wake me up. Now, it feels like a near-constant background droning, day and night. The authorised paths and space may not have changed but use of that space very clearly has, I have eyes and ears! This new and almost constant aircraft noise is, to me, a disturbance and a nuisance. I dread to think how bad it will become should the proposed path be formally adopted.

  5. I don’t get this “pattern of use” argument tbh. The current flightpaths have been used in the same way as they always have been. GOSAM is Jet-Only and is used for aircraft going south over the Lake District, TALLA is for turbo-props going South and aircraft leaving the UK via the Y96 airway to the South East overhead Newcastle, and GRICE is used for all northbound aircraft. This “pattern of use” has also been in use since 1977.
    Also, the airport does not choose what flights use which route. The airport provide the SIDs in much the same way as a council provides roads. And just like the council doesn’t tell you which roads to use to get from A to B, the airport doesn’t decide which SID an aircraft uses, this decision is made by the commander of the aircraft, or more likely the flight planning department of the airline in question.

  6. Excuse typos in previous comment.

    Well, Chris, if this is not an airport decision it would thus seem that the aircraft commanders or the airlines’ flight planning departments are now choosing to overfly Kirknewton and use that specific flight path, far more than previously, for reasons (or guidance) unknown.

    I am not arguing: an increase in flights over Kirknewton, and the associated increase in noise, is purely my own observation and personal opinion.

  7. Could you tell me where the airport, “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”

    When I emailed to ask about the population figures i was assured the figures were the most recent figures and that Calderwood has been taken into account.

    So it seems that there are 2 different versions of being used!

  8. Maxine, there is currently no “Specific Flight Path” over Kirknewton. As I stated in my original post the only time aircraft will be over Kirknewton will be when they are avoiding weather or have been given an early left turn off the SID. Both of these situations have always happened and nothing has changed with the procedures or routes in use at the airport in the past 40 years. Any perceived changes are probably due to the general increase in traffic numbers.

  9. I object to the proposed A6 option simply because of the increase and frequency of noise pollution it will create for my children growing up. The school is at the end of the village worst affected so even if it’s not over your house while you might be at work all day think about them. I grew up here and was never aware of plane noise, now out pushing my pram I hear the same constant drones that ruin walks in Almondell and it is both the volume and frequency of it that makes it so bad. We may not be successful in our objection but it’s our right to exercise it to reach a result that minimises the impact on people in West Lothian. The higher the aircraft is as it flies over communities the less noise they will hear – go for that option. Planes will never be high enough as they fly over East Calder and Kirknewton to not create noise pollution so anything we can do to reduce traffic over our villages should be welcomed – especially for our children as they play in their school playground.

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