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14 March 2018
Edinburgh Airport Consultation - Airspace Change Programme (ACP) Summary

Edinburgh Airport: Airspace Change Programme (ACP) Summary by North Queensferry Community Council 14 March 2018

The ACP has three proposed routes that affect North Queensferry -routes D, E and F. In combination these routes will see flights over/very close to North Queensferry 365 days a year. Over 600 responses were submitted from the wider area to these routes during the consultation last year, mostly in opposition.

Consideration of the ACP application was suspended by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in September last year as route E was found not to be flyable. The new route E is much closer to North Queensferry than the one they consulted on and the fact the Airport have made this material change without further consultation has been raised by Lesley Laird MP with both the Airport and the CAA. There are also issues with the way the noise impacts have been assessed (models assume aircraft will be on a centreline), which again have been raised with the Airport and the CAA.

It is understood the ACP process is to re-start this month, with the Airport hoping for a decision by October/November.

Noise Action Plan (NAP)

The NAP was launched for consultation on 20th February and the consultation runs until 2nd April. The NAP is a statutory document and only takes into account areas close to the runway, not areas such as North Queensferry which experience almost no noise for long periods, with relatively high levels at other times.

At the drop-in session in Dalgety Bay last week, the Airport confirmed that they are looking for ideas on how to reduce noise impacts in areas not previously covered by the NAP in view of the fact the number of flights is set to increase over the coming years.

Noise Advisory Board (NAB)

The Board meets every month and has a principle aim of reducing noise in affected communities. It is independent from the Airport but the Airport do (or have said they will) provide funding to appoint contractors and for installation of noise monitors etc. Progress to date has been slow but a work programme is now being developed with sub-groups looking at the best locations to install noise monitors, the analysis of historic flight data to ascertain what changes to flight paths have already taken place and problems with the use of noise modelling.

The NAB was not consulted on the Noise Action Plan and the Board do not agree with the way the Airport has described the NAB within the document. A letter has been written to the Chair of Edinburgh Airport's Board asking for the NAP consultation to be withdrawn.

Previous report:

BF and MF attended a meeting with EAL and other Community Council representatives at Edinburgh Airport on 25.09.17:

Edinburgh Airport gave a presentation on their application to CAA. At that stage CAA had suspended EAL’s application and EAL intimated that the changes required were minor which was in contradiction to the actual published letter from CAA which indicated serious issues with the applied for routes.

The application prior to suspension was substantially different from the proposals in the second consultation. In the proposal document during east winds which occur approximately 30% of the time there were 45 flights a day proposed on Route E6 over the bridges to the south of us with a spread overhead of us and S Queensferry. In the actual application there were up to 111 directly over the villages on Route E7 at 4-7000ft. At this height flights will be more than loud enough to interrupt conversations on the ground in the village. At the meeting presentation this was not highlighted and flights on route D0 in west winds also over the village were stated as occurring only in peak morning hours up to only 6 flights per day. They also stated in the presentation that any changes to approved flight paths after the application would require a new consultation.

In later correspondence however EAL apologised that this was incorrect and that the morning overflights would be up to 11.  Other Community Councils expressed concerns that this is not a consultation in the true sense of the word. They indicated that they had already seen changes to flight paths. This EAL categorically denied. EAL have since communicated that the 111 flights a day are not a significant change to North Queensferry because we already have 99 flights a day affecting us in east winds. This refers to the flight path to the north of us and over Dalgety Bay where currently flights over the village are at 10,000 feet. We and several other Community Council representatives feel that EAL “stretch the truth” and only present the facts in a light which omits community concerns.

The Environmental Report accompanying the application is completed.  The'Tranquillity Report' - says 'minimal effect'.   Action MF to contact S Queensferry CC re combining efforts and consolidating with other CCs.

Noise levels were discussed - well respected programmes have been used for predicting noise - but these do not take account of the local environment.  Night flights, which are restricted over London, will not in general be restricted at Edinburgh but for now Route D0 is morning peak 6.00am to 10.00am only and E7 is from 6.00am to 11.00pm.

DD stated FC on side of communities - but there is not enough expertise to make a judgement. Sufficient resources are required for a proper independent Environmental Assessment to challenge Edinburgh Airport.  Any costs for commissioning such a study needs to be shared with other councils.

Flight paths are a UK matter and Noise Management is a devolved issue but nevertheless the Scottish Government has shown no appetite to support the local communities. Action: invite MP Douglas Chapman to speak to NQCC.

As at 8 May 2017: see www.letsgofurther.com for the proposed flightpath over Inverkeithing to Rosyth.  (Route D) .  The request for response to the Consultation has now closed but if there are incividual incidences of excessive noise, contact details are on the website on the FAQ tab if a member of the public wishes to make a complaint.  

North Queensferry Community Council (NQCC) has made an objection to the Flight Path Consultation.  A councillor represented NQCC at a round table discussion at the Scottish Parliament with other Community Councils on 20 April 2017 prior to the submsission of the Objection.

A copy of the final objection is in the Document Library (Correspondence May 2017).