Let's hear it for new noise officer

Edinburgh Airport this week appointed a full-time noise adviser and outlined plans for the creation of an independent noise management board to work with communities.

Edinburgh Airport wants to expand and offer more flights to international destinations
Edinburgh Airport wants to expand and offer more flights to international destinations

June McClung, formerly Falkirk Council’s environmental health technical officer, is to lead the airport’s management of noise impact.

The airport’s director of communications Gordon Robertson said: “We have already done the preparatory work for establishing a noise management board (NMB). This will form a key part of the airport’s wider engagement involving the airport, its neighbours and partners to ensure communities are involved and informed through open dialogue and clear data.”

Ms McClung will handle noise complaints, review noise policy and help develop proactive liaison with communities and noise groups.

The airport says the NMB will be a forum to ensure communities are involved, engaged and informed through open dialogue and clear data and will comprise community representatives, the airport and other relevant organisations.

The board will “work collaboratively” to track and monitor the effect of noise from planes on flight paths over communities and will consult on its structure, governance and funding over the coming weeks.

In addition, new software is to be commissioned which the airport say will deliver greater measurement accuracy and will provide real time tracking and noise measurements for members of the public, will enable members of the public to identify flights in the vicinity and more accurately identify and, if necessary, report any issues they may have.

Mr Robertson added: “We are delighted to welcome June to the Edinburgh Airport team. Her expertise and experience of noise management will assist us in our continual improvement on managing and mitigating our impact on local communities.

“We care deeply about our local relationships as we are local ourselves – a great number of the people who benefit from the 23,000 jobs that Edinburgh Airport supports live near the airport.

“As we continue to grow by offering greater direct international connectivity to and from Scotland we are committed to doing all we can to be transparent and collaborative with the communities impacted on the airport.”

Edinburgh Airport Watch, the pressure group leading objections to the airport’s expansion plans, remains sceptical regarding dialogue.

A spokesperson said: “While we welcome the possibility of positive dialogue with the airport, our experience of relations between Edinburgh Airport and its surrounding communities – some many miles from the runway – raises doubts that a Noise Management Board set up and staffed by the airport will have the necessary independence and rigour essential to assisting the communities which are suffering on a daily basis from unwanted aircraft noise.

“Communities around Edinburgh Airport simply want their peace and quiet restored so they can get a full night’s sleep and stop having their lives interrupted.

“The detrimental impact to health of being forced to live with unwanted aircraft noise is already well documented.”

The spokesperson added: “By expecting ordinary residents to reactively complain about noise, the airport has got it the wrong way round – we call on the airport to stop the noise for many communities and reverse the multiple changes they have made to the use of the airspace which have been so detrimental to so many people across East Central Scotland.

“Only then should a meaningful debate and dialogue take place with Communities about where noisy and polluting aeroplanes should fly.”