“Vic­tory” in flight path cam­paign

West Lothian Courier - - News - Deb­bie Hall

Cam­paign­ers fight­ing against changes to Ed­in­burgh air­port flight paths are cel­e­brat­ing af­ter con­tro­ver­sial pro­pos­als were thrown out.

Avi­a­tion watch­dog the Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity (CAA) have re­jected plans amid con­cerns from lo­cals about noise from over­head air­craft and the im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment.

Pro­test­ers have claimed vic­tory in their fight, say­ing they are “de­lighted” with the de­ci­sion.

It came af­ter the CAA is­sued a let­ter con­firm­ing that it is “minded to re­ject” Ed­in­burgh Air­port’s lat­est pro­pos­als.

The reg­u­la­tor said: “EAL has sub­mit­ted a pro­posal that does not ac­cord with the ma­te­rial that was pro­vided to stake­hold­ers dur­ing con­sul­ta­tion.

“The mag­ni­tude and sever­ity of the de­fects mean that stake­hold­ers have not been able to con­sider and re­spond to the ac­tual pro­posal put for­ward to the CAA for con­sid­er­a­tion and con­se­quently the CAA will not ap­prove the pro­posal.”

A spokesper­son for Ed­in­burgh Air­port Watch said: “We wel­come this de­ci­sion by the reg­u­la­tor and agree that EAL has failed to prop­erly set out the im­pacts of their plans on com­mu­ni­ties.

“Through­out we have raised con­cerns about the ac­cu­racy of the data and other in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the air­port dur­ing the con­sul­ta­tions.

“Con­sul­ta­tion can only be a mean­ing­ful process if peo­ple are pre­sented with the full facts that en­able them to prop­erly un­der­stand what the im­pact will be on them.

“The CAA has agreed that the air­port failed to clearly in­form the pub­lic about how many planes per day they could ex­pect over their homes, busi­nesses and schools.”

Ed­in­burgh Air­port launched its airspace change pro­gramme (ACP) last year with a view to mod­ernising its flight paths amid fore­casts of con­tin­u­ing pas­sen­ger growth at the base.

The air­port held two con­sul­ta­tions on the is­sue be­fore it sub­mit­ted the case to the Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity (CAA), the ul­ti­mate de­ci­sion-mak­ing au­thor­ity on the mat­ter.

Gor­don Robert­son, di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the air­port, ad­mit­ted the de­ci­sion was dis­ap­point­ing.

He said: “We are dis­ap­pointed with the CAA’s de­ci­sion as we be­lieve that it is im­por­tant that airspace change is ad­dressed for Scot­land, al­low­ing the coun­try to con­tinue to ben­e­fit from growth in air travel.

“We now have to use our knowl­edge and learn­ings from the process to for­mu­late our next steps to de­liver the ACP as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Labour MSP Neil Find­lay wel­comed the de­ci­sion.

He said: “The re­al­ity is their plan was flawed from the out­set and the CAA’s re­jec­tion of it re­flects this. This is good day for West Loth­ian, peo­ple power pre­vailed.”

SNP MSP Fiona Hys­lop was also happy with the news, she added: “It is clear that Ed­in­burgh Air­port can­not jus­tify their pro­pos­als even from their own con­sul­ta­tion and although they claim their process fol­lows the lat­est CAA guide­lines it is es­sen­tial that the UK Gov­ern­ment put a leg­isla­tive frame­work in place so that ev­ery­one - lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and Ed­in­burgh Air­port – know where they stand.

Con­ser­va­tives MSP Miles Briggs added: “A new flight path to Ed­in­burgh Air­port must take into con­sid­er­a­tion the views of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in or­der to pro­vide for the in­crease of flights at Ed­in­burgh Air­port.”

This is a good day for West Loth­ian, peo­ple power pre­vailed

Fight pro­tes­tors at an ear­lier meet­ing

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