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Aircraft Noise

West Lothian is on the flight path for Edinburgh Airport. Aircraft normally take off over West Lothian into the westerly wind (about 75% of the time), but when the wind is easterly, they come over Livingston before landing.

Regulation of Noise

As a local authority, we have no direct or legal means of control over air traffic noise. Most types of non-domestic noise complaint are dealt with under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. However, aircraft are specifically excluded from the scope of this legislation.

There are controls available via the Environmental Noise Directive 2002 (opens new window). This came into force in the UK in late 2006, when the regional versions of the Environmental Noise Regulations came into force (in Scotland from 05/10/2006 in The Environmental Noise (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (opens new window)).

In Scotland, the competent authority for identifying and mapping noise sources from airports and their associated flight paths is the airport operator. In the case of Edinburgh Airport, this is Edinburgh Airport Limited (EAL). The resulting strategic noise maps can be found at Scottish Government - Noise Mapping (opens new window).

Noise and Spatial Data

EAL publishes information on the arrangements in place to control, limit and reduce noise and to permit the public to view (in near real time) noise and spatial data. See Edinburgh Airport Noise Information and Data (opens new window).

There are a few practical notes worth adding:

  • Aircraft always take off into the prevailing wind. Therefore, it is usually departing flights which cross Livingston, by which time they are at considerable height to minimise noise problems. When there is no wind or it is easterly, the aircraft normally land from the west, which will generally mean that they are lower, but under much less power. This is explained more at Edinburgh Airport - Operations Noise (opens new window).

  • Each aircraft makes less noise than was the case a decade ago.The overall effect is that homes under the main flight path in West Lothian are exposed to less noise from aircraft noise than they used to be (opens new window).

  • Edinburgh Airport is still used on an occasional basis by military aircraft, which are considerably noisier than commercial aircraft. Some can be large and very noisy even on approach.

Making Complaints

To make complaints, residents can call 0800 731 3397. We would encourage you to report any specific aircraft flights which cause problems, which can then be directly investigated, using systems to which the airport has access. Edinburgh Airport can accurately tell after the event the route any particular aircraft took and it's height at any particular point in it's approach or take off. This allows EAL to penalise aircraft which diverge from the authorised flight path.