Airport bosses faced angry residents over the flight plan trialAngry locals speak out at flight path meeting MARCH 17TH, 2016 - 12:28 AM GREG RUSSELL 1 COMMENT
RESIDENTS of a West Lothian village have given airport officials a rough ride over flight path trial noise they say has shattered their peaceful existence.
Gordon Robertson, the communications director at Edinburgh Airport, was one of three representatives from the company who faced angry locals in Blackness to try to explain why the trial of the so-called Tutur flight path had resulted in hugely increased noise levels.
He said the trial had allowed flights to take off at one-minute intervals and had saved 944 minutes of runway taxi time, as well as cutting fuel and C02 emissions.
Robertson repeated that complaints had peaked during last year’s trial period with 7,934 from 567 people, but more than 57 per cent did not relate to the trial route.
However, he was ridiculed when he said the airport trial had attracted 709 complaints from 10 complainants in Blackness.
More than 20 people in Blackness Community Hall raised their hands to show they had submitted complaints during Tutur.
Helena Paul, spokesperson for the Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial (SEAT), told Robertson: “Pre-Tutur we had no issue with noise.
“During the trial it was horrendous and the noise hasn’t stopped. When you say nothing has changed that is quite insulting.
“I was woken at 6 o’clock this morning. What have you changed?”
Another resident said: “We are being hammered all day. I’ve lived here for four years and I’ve never seen that volume of flights.”
One man, a resident of the Hopetoun estate, said: “I’ve been inundated with planes – we’re not making this up,” and another added: “I’ve been here 20 years and I’ve not been deaf for 15 of them.”
Robertson said the trial had been curtailed because of the level of complaints, which had resulted in questions being raised in Holyrood, but he said the only thing that had changed was the way different types of aircraft had been deployed on different flight paths – one existing route was taking jet traffic while turbo-prop planes were on another.
Robertson said: “We put in the extra noise monitor because we were asked to curtail the trial by the [Holyrood] transport minister.
“There was a debate and representations from politicians – such was the strength of feeling that we truncated the trial.
“There was no point in continuing it given the furore.”
He added that the technical data from the trial was being looked at, but he stressed that aviation policy was a matter reserved to Westminster and Edinburgh had put in extra work before making a presentation to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
“The technical report has just gone to the CAA and it will take time to deliberate and check our homework,” he said.
“There’s quite a way to go before the flight path could become permanent, but we would have to make sure it’s fit for purpose.”
Robertson did make one concession to residents when challenged over historical survey data for the area.
He offered residents access to the airport’s own tracking data, something which had previously been denied them.