Laird urges airport bosses to ‘go back to the drawing board’

Lesley Laird MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath has written to Edinburgh Airport urging bosses to rethink plans for the controversial E7A flight path proposal.

Around 150 people packed the hall at a public meeting held at Inverkeithing High School on Friday night to protest the airspace change proposal.

The meeting was organised at short notice after Lesley urged the airport to include it in its one-month-long consultation.

Lesley said: “The sheer anger expressed at the meeting left airport representatives in no uncertain terms just how much the lives of residents in Dalgety Bay, Inverkeithing, Aberdour and North Queensferry will be blighted if this proposal goes ahead.

“We heard from one woman who had no problems living near Heathrow, yet found on a visit to Aberdour that her health was severely impacted by noise. Anecdotes like this sum up just how serious an issue this is.

“I’m asking for three concessions. One, that the consultation be extended beyond June 21 to allow people time to respond and include all residents who were not informed of this change.

“Two, to ask the airport to seriously consider an alternative route, which was suggested by Kinghorn Community Council, which would see flights track an ascent east along the Forth, thereby gaining height before turning back on Fife, or missing Fife altogether.

“Thirdly, that noise monitors are installed now so that residents can see the baseline flight noise levels as they are today.”

The audience heard on Friday that the airport was not obliged to re-consult on this latest flight proposal.

Communications director Gordon Robertson also revealed the airport would carry out noise monitoring only after the consultation had ended.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) guidelines suggest the new route would create as much noise as a “busy roadside from five metres away” particularly in the late evening and from 6-7am.

Mr Robertson revealed noise monitoring of current flight paths would provide a “baseline of data” to compare with the new flight path but residents protested noise was unbearable already.

In response Lesley has also asked the airport to hold another public meeting, with representatives from the CAA and Ricardo Energy and Environment – the consultancy firm which carried out the Environmental Impact Assessments – in attendance.

Lesley added: “The airport is not legally obliged to carry out a consultation but I’d argue it has an ethical and moral obligation to do so – and to make it a proper one.

“And I’d ask planners to go back to the drawing board and explore a reasonable alternative route which avoids causing misery to thousands of people day in, day out.”