Following revelations this morning that nearly 200 responses to Edinburgh Airport's flight path consultation have been permanently lost due to an IT problem. Lib Dem MSP for Edinburgh Western, Alex Cole-Hamilton has written to the airport's CEO, Gordon Dewar, asking for a full restart of the consultation process.
Alex's letter reads:
Firstly, can I thank you for this morning’s briefing on the reason for extending the flightpath consultation. I appreciate how frustrating the data loss must have been.
I’ve now been contacted by a number of constituents about the status of the consultation. Each have expressed concern that their views may not now be fully considered, or that other participants, unaware of the data loss may not resubmit their response and as such be disenfranchised from the process. I have also taken steps to contact individuals and groups with an interest in the consultation to alert them to the problem and to gauge their views.
Subsequently I have come to the view that the consultation process must begin again. To do so would ensure that all those with an interest in the matters covered by the consultation can have their views taken into account and have full confidence that the airport will process and consider their submission accordingly.
How air traffic is routed in the skies above our communities is a highly sensitive and contentious issue, one which frequently dominates the casework I take up as a local elected representative. I also know, both from discussing the consultation with yourselves and in evidence from a petition I’ve been gathering signatures for to include with my own submission, just how much interest this consultation has already garnered.
Without the absolute confidence that all participants will have their views considered, then any subsequent action taken by the airport off the back of this exercise may be subject to criticism or complaint on the grounds that the consultation process had been flawed in this way.
I know this has already been a costly and labour intensive process and I appreciate how frustrating a full restart of the process may seem, but I do not believe that any other measures could secure the confidence that this process requires to stand up to scrutiny in a transparent and meaningful way.
If my office can help in the restart of the consultation in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.