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31 August 2005

Barrett and Smith launch response to airport masterplan consultation

Liberal Democrats John Barrett MP and Margaret Smith MSP today officially released their joint response to the BAA’s Edinburgh Airport outline Master Plan consultation which includes specific options for the development of Edinburgh airport in their constituency.

In their submission, Mr Barrett and Ms Smith, who both represent Edinburgh West, argued that the development of Edinburgh airport could bring significant economic benefits to the area but that these benefits would have to be balanced against the impact on local communities and the environment.

Specifically, their submission includes arguments:

• against an immediate decision being taken on the construction of a second runway at Edinburgh airport but for the protection of the land so that the option can be kept open for the future;

• in favour of extending the main runway in the medium to long term which could bring environmental benefits and reduce the need for a second runway being built;

• for a modal shift of the role of Edinburgh Airport away from short-hop journeys towards long-haul flights for which there is no environmentally friendly alternative;

• in favour of the early introduction of a tram service and rail link connecting the airport to the City, reducing the current reliance on private cars;

• for protecting the land currently used for the Royal Highland Show and encouraging the Showground and BAA to work together to find a solution that suits both parties;

• questioning the estimated levels of growth on which expansion has been based.

Speaking following the launch of the consultation response, John Barrett MP, said:

“Edinburgh airport is a real asset to my constituency. An expansion to the airport could bring many benefits to Edinburgh and Scotland in terms of more jobs, a boost to tourism and more direct flights to popular holiday destinations.

“However any further expansion must respect the interests of surrounding communities with a real emphasis placed on minimising the environmental impact. Reducing noise levels, tackling air pollution and the early delivery of the proposed tram and rail links are all important.

“The emphasis of the Master Plan must be about securing a sustainable future rather than supporting a vision of unconstrained expansion in air travel. BAA must realise that they cannot go on growing without regard to the environment or the quality of life of others in the immediate vicinity and the city as a whole.”

Margaret Smith MSP said:

“Edinburgh’s gateway status for Scotland’s tourism industry, its growing economy and the continuing rise in the popularity of air travel means it is essential that Edinburgh airport has a long term policy in place which safeguards and enhances its role in Edinburgh and throughout Scotland.

“That said, I do not believe there is any need currently for another runway at Edinburgh but that the sensible thing to do is to safeguard the land that might be needed for such a development. We should not do anything to compromise the ability of the airport to respond to the business, employment and tourism needs of the City and of the country.

“I believe that we have not yet exhausted the possibility that the Royal Highland Showground and BAA could co-exist. I will continue to urge both sides to work together to find a compromised position that will allow sustainable expansion of the airport, whilst safeguarding the future of the Show Ground.”

“We must safeguard the airport’s important economic role for the city but we must be careful to do so in a manner which does not destroy the quality of life enjoyed by others”



• An electronic copy of BAA’s consultation document can be found at:

• The deadline for responses to the consultation is Wednesday 31st August.

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.