Kirkcaldy MP Lesley Laird has called on the Civil Aviation Authority to answer directly to Fife communities – before a controversial consultation ends on Thursday.
She wrote to the CAA’s chief executive, Richard Moriarty, asking him intervene to “return some credibility” to Edinburgh Airport’s E7a flight path proposal “as a matter of urgency”.
The move comes after airport bosses refused Ms Laird’s call for a further consultation extension to allow residents in Aberdour, Dalgety Bay, Inverkeithing and North Queensferry to fully raise concerns and seek answers.
She said: “If the public are to have any confidence in the word ‘consultation’ then that must start from the basis that Edinburgh Airport is genuinely being open and engaging with communities that will be impacted by changes they propose to make.
“Sadly, their approach to consultation would lead many residents to conclude one of two things: that a) they are incompetent or b) they are wilfully being misleading.”
The MP received a “significant number” of emails, letters and calls from residents saying the consultation material was unclear, and feedback from residents in impacted communities – especially Aberdour and Hillend - that they had not received notification or material from Edinburgh Airport.
Ms Laird said: “Edinburgh Airport have not inspired confidence or trust in the process: several areas have not received notification of the consultation; commitments from the airport to ensure documentation would be put into libraries have been patchy; and their website continued to show the consultation closing on June 21 rather than the June 28 – the date we successfully lobbied for – up until last Thursday and after repeated calls from my office to update this.”
At a recent public meeting, angry residents urged Edinburgh Airport representatives to consider an alternative flight plan which would see flights track an ascent east over the Forth to gain height before making a u-turn over Fife.
The Airport claimed the CAA would not look favourably on any proposal which results in increased mileage, fuel burn and fuel consumption.
When later pressed, airport bosses said they would only consider looking at any alternative flight paths after the E7a consultation had ended. Which is why it is crucial that residents call for this in their consultation responses.
The MP added: “While they may assure you [CAA] that they have ticked the box on consultation, they have most definitely not embraced the spirit of consultation on proposals that will significantly impact communities in Fife and I would urge you to intervene and return some credibility to this flawed process.”
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “We believe our consultation to be sound, clear and we are getting a great response.
“We’ve had good dialogue with the communities we’re targeting and wider at public meetings, on social media and in their responses via the post or on the website.
“Our goal here is just that – to stimulate debate and actively listen to communities’ views on our proposals. We’ll then actively consider what we learn and look at that against the proposals we put out.
“We’re grateful to all for participating with us in the final weeks of the consultation.”