Does securing big business have a higher value than maintaining the contentment of thousands of ordinary people?
That was the dilemma that airport bosses laid out at a standing room-only public meeting in Broxburn on Wednesday night.
During the first opportunity that residents have had to hold those carrying out the trial flight path over parts of West Lothian to account, it was announced that the trial would be stopped early, on October 28.
Neil Findlay MSP chaired the meeting, held in St Nicholas RC Primary School in Broxburn, and Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive Officer of Edinburgh Airport, was in attendance to try to persuade residents that this path was “the least worst option”.
He explained that, during the trial, data was being collected to assess the impact it was having on those living under the path, including information collected from noise monitors.
When pressed for a specific location of a noise monitor, Mr Dewar said: “We know where they are, we’re just not telling you.”
Labour MSP Mr Findlay said: “I find it unsatisfactory that you can’t tell us where the noise monitor is. Transparency is what we need.”
Mr Dewar was later asked by a resident if he would be happy to be woken up at 5am seven days a week. He said: “The honest answer is no.”
One of the main criticisms is that there was no public consulation before the trial flight path became operational. When questioned on what he plans to do to enagage residents during the next stage of the trial, which may include a consultation to make the flight path permanent, Mr Dewar admitted that their communication had fallen short of adequate and promised to letter drop every home affected if there are further developments.