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), and 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 01506 834 006 / 07740 188 301 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our website: www.edinburghairportwatch.com
Find us on Facebook at Edinburgh Airport Watch and on twitter @EAW_group