Ediburgh airport: new runway surface, same BAA spin
Six members of Plane Stupid Scotland attended an information evening hosted by BAA about the impact that runway resurfacing will have on local communities around Edinburgh Airport. BAA wants to resurface the main runway at Edinburgh airport, renewing its life for 10 years and enabling it to cope with the planned increase in passenger numbers.
The resurfacing work will mean that flight paths will be changed, causing noise pollution over houses that have not previously been affected. Noise pollution from aviation has been linked to high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, strokes and problems in children’s mental and physical development. Unsurprisingly, BAA is keeping kind of quiet about all that - come to think of it, they kept pretty quiet about the consultation meeting as well. The only advert in the local paper gave the wrong venue.
BAA’s consultation on the runway resurfacing consisted of 6 poster boards with glittzy pictures, 9 suited and booted bigwigs from BAA Edinburgh, 4 local residents, 6 Plane Stupid Scotland-ers armed to the max with kick-ass climate change and aviation facts, one hour of discussion on BAA's drop-in-the-ocean-efforts to mitigate climate change and mass unemployment and a love story across-the-battlefields between a PS Scotland activist and a BAA Edinburgh rep. A comedy theatre sketch in the making if I ever heard it.
The PSS members discussed alternative sustainable employment opportunities and distributed information about the noise and air pollution which will result from the resurfacing project and the impacts of aviation on climate change to the four or so local residents who had turned up. BAA Edinburgh has provided the lucky local communities around the airport with a 24-hour noise complaints hotline. We confronted the Edinburgh BAA CEO on the issue of climate change and not taking local residents’ concerns seriously. He responded with a declaration that "I make no excuses for BAA being a corporation, we’re here to make money." The BAA reps were happy to push responsibility along to the customer, claiming that they were just filling demand.
The conversation ended with the BAA CEO saying "I’ve got a lot of respect for Bob Geldoff," then claiming that the UK was throwing a substantial amount of money at Africa, so we should therefore be allowed to continue emitting as many greenhouse gasses into the air as we like.
Plane Stupid Scotland will be hosting an alternative information evening for communities around the airport which will be an opportunity for residents to find out what they can do to protect their homes, health and happiness from the adverse impacts of aviation in the Edinburgh vicinity.
P.s. the image is from a site-specific production of Roam, by the National Theatre of Scotland and Grid Iron, performed in Edinburgh airport.