Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Flight path trial to be halted two months early

Trial route map

The trial of a new flight path from Edinburgh Airport is to be halted two months early after intervention from Scotland's transport minister.

The new route started in June in a move designed to allow one flight to depart every minute at peak times.

It was due to run until 24 December but will now stop on 28 October.

The move follows concerns from local communities, with residents saying they experienced sleep disruption and noise pollution.

Transport Minister Derek MacKay secured the agreement with the airport.

Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport's chief executive, told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "We always knew this was going to have an impact and the trial now tells us with data and facts what that impact would be before we consider what the next steps for the future are.

"We are in no doubt that for some this suggested flight path is detrimental.

"We are also in no doubt that the flight path is one of the main options in delivering the capacity that the airport and the country needs."

'Engaging with communities'

He added: "We believe that this trialled route is the least detrimental option given the geography we have to deal with.

"There are tough decisions ahead but I hope that we can make them together based on data and balancing the needs of Scottish passengers and local residents.

"We will be engaging with local communities and their representatives in early 2016 to do just that."

SNP MP for Livingston Hannah Bardell welcomed the decision to call a halt to the trail.

She said: "I had a lot of constituents contact me largely about the noise intrusion into their homes.

"Lots of people being woken up early in the morning, cargo flights going on late at night, their children's sleep patterns being affected."

She added: "The local folk in this area of Uphall, Broxburn, Winchburgh and a number of other areas, were affected because the flights were not sticking, they believe, to the flight path that was stipulated.

"They were actually turning early and so it was fully fuelled planes turning over people houses at very low levels."

'End in sight'

Alison Johnstone, MSP for Lothian and Scottish Green Party candidate for Edinburgh Central, said: "I'd like to congratulate the community on their success in reducing the length of the reckless flight trial by two months.

"This is entirely due to sheer determination and their well-organised and effective campaign.

"October will still feel like a long month for the community who have had to suffer negative health impacts and disruptive noise caused by the trial, but I am please the airport have recognised the need to listen and act.

"An end to this stressful situation is now in sight."

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