“Victory” in flight path campaign
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