I would say there were about 20 community councils represented at tonight’s meeting in a full committee room at the Scottish Parliament. Angela Constance, Alistair Stewart (Con) – who left right after I spoke – Mark Russell(Green), Alison Johnstone (Green) and another Green MSP, plus a professor, and a government statistician from Edinburgh Airport Watch were present.
Though most were against the Airport’s proposals there was keenness not to be dismissed as a group of nimby’s. One community councillor said her brief was that her area might benefit from increased employment at the airport – though the statistician had already shown slides demonstrating how each airline industry job is effectively subsidised to the tune of £50,000 by the tax discounts on fuel, VAT and duty that the industry benefits from compared to other businesses.
Points were made about lack of restrictions on night flights, that London’s Airports apart from Heathrow were intentionally built outside populated areas etc.
A letter will be circulated shortly for Kirknewton Community Council agreement to sign. Mark Russell and EAW intend to draft it with the main point being taking all factors into account, including the fact three affected communities were initially excluded by postcode from responding, the inaccuracies and mistakes in the Airport statistics, that the Airport should abandon this process immediately. That any new consultation should wait until the CAA’s CAP725 process is in place and be conducted with credible evidence and genuinely accessible materials.
There was in fact much interest in the response from the Airport to our letter, some aghast that it was possible the Airport could refuse to consider our response and insist on a response via the website – despite the obvious deficiency that it is difficult to include a diagram in a text box.
It was interesting to meet Helena Paul and Airport Watch, people who discovered during the TUTUR trial from 2015 that the airspace over their heads at Blackness mattered much more than they had previously thought.
Meantime, if you regard peace and quiet of the air above you as a public asset, please write to your local councillors, MPs and MSPs, preferably before the 7th of May, asking them to apply all possible pressure in councils and Parliaments to have the CAA reject EAL’s deeply flawed proposals.
Given all the elections currently going on, there is a very good chance they will be “all ears”.
Please also ask the MSPs to support Neil Findlay’s motion S5M 04708.
That is to be debated next week. As I can walk to the Parliament for a lunch hour I have already booked my ticket for 12:45 next Thursday the 27th. If you can spare the time, Professor Greenhouse made an appeal for as many as possible to turn up in the public gallery in order to demonstrate to MSPs that this issue matters to many people. Tickets are available from the Scottish Parliament by calling 0131 348 5000
/ 0800 092 7500
If you haven’t already done so get your thoughts in for the second part of the airport consultation at www.letsgofurther.com