Long-delayed proposals to build a second Edinburgh Airport access road have been pushed forward – with councillors calling for public transport and pedestrians to be central to the new route.
Edinburgh Airport has lodged a proposal of application notice (PAN) to construct the new road – meaning a formal full planning application is set to be handed over early next year for the long-awaited road.
In a report to councillors, planning officials said Edinburgh Airport wants to build a “single carriageway access road”, which would link the main passenger terminal with the Gogar roundabout. No official route has been set out at this stage, but officials expect the road to be approximately 3km in length.
The road would be “fully accessible to general traffic” and is being provided to reduce congestion on the current airport road. The councillor overseeing planning in the city has called for the new road to integrate cycling and pedestrian access for proposed housing developments as well as helping to ease traffic in the west of the Capital.
Planning convener, Cllr Neil Gardiner, said: “The council has commissioned a study of the west of Edinburgh – it’s very important that is taken into account in any proposal. The council is trying to bring different parties together to find a framework for the future. I think it’s important to work with the planning department and find joined-up solutions. There’s obviously the West Craigs development to the east. What we are looking for is pedestrian and active travel-led solutions to the area so not everything is going down the A8 and to limit the amount of cars coming into Corstorphine, which is already too much.”
He added: “It needs all parties to come together so that any proposal that comes forward don’t form a barrier but invites good connections across the railway to West Craigs and equally through the roundabout at Gogar. I think the developer needs to look at the strategic content. It’s seeking to take cars off the bypass, which is probably welcome to reduce the amount of traffic on the A8 corridor because that’s overloaded.”
The new route is expected to be completed by early 2021, part of a £20m improvement project at the airport, with the airport also pushing ahead with plans for a new £6m taxi rank and drop-off area.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Kevin Lang, said: “I am pleased to see this proposal finally coming forward. It will be important to see how it can prioritise public transport, particularly the growing number of buses serving the airport. However the road is also vital in providing alternative access to the airport’s cargo facility, particularly given the existing Turnhouse Road is to host a major housing development and new primary school.”
The new access road was included in the airport’s masterplan three years ago, but has stalled due to slow development of the International Business Gateway and other nearby sites. The International Business Gateway secured planning permission before being called in by the Scottish Government after airport bosses raised concerns over the impact the development would have on transport.
A spokesperson for Edinburgh Airport: “We’re glad to see our plans for a new access road are now being considered by the council as it’s something we’ve been working towards – and something the airport and the city needs.
“We hope to receive positive news on our application so we can get to work as quickly as we can and make getting to and from the airport as easy as possible.”