Flight path re­view is de­layed by CAA

Campaigners and politi­cians wel­come move

West Lothian Courier - - News - Sean O’Neil

Ed­in­burgh Airport ’ s at­tempt to make con­tro­ver­sial changes to its flight paths has been put on hold after the Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity (CAA) sus­pended the re­view into the airport’s sub­mis­sion.

Politi­cians and campaigners had long raised con­cerns about the pro­posed flight paths and asked ques­tions about the con­sul­ta­tion process with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in West Loth­ian which many deemed to be flawed.

Now the CAA have said it: “Will not be con­tin­u­ing with Stage 5 of the Airspace Change Process fol­low­ing the airport’s for­mal ap­pli­ca­tion.”

The rea­son for the CAA’s de­ci­sion “re­late to tech­ni­cal as­pects of the pro­posal, as well as a de­lay in re­ceiv­ing el­e­ments of the sub­mis­sion”.

The CAA also stated that the de­ci­sion did not re­flect the con­sul­ta­tion process as they had not yet com­pleted that part of the re­view when the de­ci­sion was made.

The avi­a­tion author­ity’s de­ci­sion was wel­comed by campaigners and politi­cians alike.

A spokesper­son for Ed­in­burgh Airport Watch said: “We wel­come this news from the reg­u­la­tor, these pro­pos­als en­joyed very lit­tle sup­port in com­mu­ni­ties. The airport never needed all these flight paths, they op­er­ate fewer take-offs and land­ings to­day than 10 years ago.

“We must also re­mem­ber the tens of thou­sands of peo­ple who con­tinue to suf­fer daily noise abuse from Ed­in­burgh Airport. The airport can­not con­tinue to ig­nore the plight of all these peo­ple in their homes and we call on them to learn from their past mis­takes, and start a proper, mean­ing­ful and re­spect­ful di­a­logue with com­mu­ni­ties that leads to sub­stan­tial im­prove­ments.”

Neil Find­lay, Labour MSP for Loth­ian said: “From the out­set the Ed­in­burgh Airport pro­jected flight paths over West Loth­ian have been flawed and un­nec­es­sary.

“The con­sul­ta­tion process has been sham­bolic and was based on out of date data. This has been ex­posed by both the CAA and mem­bers of the com­mu­nity. They should now with­draw pro­posal in its en­tirety.”

Fiona Hys­lop, SNP MSP for Lin­lith­gow, said: “This is another set­back for Ed­in­burgh Airport in terms of their flight path pro­pos­als but also in terms of the con­fi­dence lo­cal peo­ple have in the con­sul­ta­tion as a whole.

“In their cor­re­spon­dence to me the CAA have stated that their de­ci­sion does not re­flect con­cerns about the con­sul­ta­tion, as they had not com­pleted their re­view of the con­sul­ta­tion when the afore­men­tioned tech­ni­cal con­cerns came to light. While it is im­por­tant there­fore to stress that Ed­in­burgh Airport is free to re-sub­mit its pro­posal once they re­solved these tech­ni­cal is­sues, I would urge Ed­in­burgh Airport to con­tinue en­gag­ing with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to en­sure that they are kept in­formed at ev­ery junc­ture.”

Ed­in­burgh Airport how­ever said they will work with the Na­tional Air Traf­fic Ser­vice (NATS) on is­sues raised by the CAA to al­low them to restart the re­view.

A spokesman for Ed­in­burgh Airport said: “Scot­land’s first airspace change pro­gramme in over 40 years is a com­plex ex­er­cise in­volv­ing many or­gan­i­sa­tions.

“Our ACP is the first of many and it is clear that all of this needs to be co-or­di­nated with NATS. We’re clear that our pro­posal is the best bal­ance achiev­able in terms of sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties and our op­er­a­tion, and works for Ed­in­burgh and Scot­land. We’ll be work­ing with NATS on the co-or­di­na­tion is­sues to al­low the CAA to restart its anal­y­sis so we can de­velop the airport for the fu­ture.”

Ed­in­burgh Airport Have said they will work with the Na­tional Air Traf­fic Ser­vice on is­sues raised so they can restart the re­view

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