THOUSANDS of residents have demanded Edinburgh Airport abandons trials of a new flight path because because of problems with noise pollution.

Householders living beneath the trial route, which passes over communities including Bo'ness and Blackness and cuts between Prestonpans and Musselburgh, say they are suffering from sleep deprivation and stress as a result of low-flying aircraft passing overhead from around 5am until midnight.

Some of the planes are also flying into Edinburgh Airport during the night at times including 2.30am.

The six-month trial, which launched in June, is aimed at reducing congestion at Scotland's busiest airport by offering aircraft an alternative flightpath to and from the hub and reducing delays for passengers.

It is scheduled to end on Christmas Eve, but there are now calls for it to be cut short.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for the Lothians, said some of her constituents had been "reduced to tears" by noise and lack of sleep since it began, and criticised the airport and its owners, Global Infrastructure Partners, for not doing more to consult with the public prior to the launch.

She said: "My constituents have found themselves on the receiving end of an experiment, effectively a surprise trial, which the first they knew of was when planes roared over their houses so low you could read the livery. Just because you don't have to consult, doesn't mean you shouldn't."

Transport Minister Derek Mackay told parliament he will write to Edinburgh Airport to ask them to consider ending the flight path trial early, if they have have enough data to carry out a full evaluation of the trial.

He added: "The trial period, if it can be truncated, should be truncated."

The trial is supported by air traffic controller, NATS, and is in line with Civil Aviation Authority guidelines which do not require UK airports to undertake a full public consultation prior to trialling a new flightpath. Airspace regulation is reserved to Westminster.

Edinburgh Airport contacted local community councils, councillors and MSPs to make them aware of the plans in advance.

However, Neil Findlay, the Labour MSP for Lothian who is spearheading calls for the Edinburgh flightpath trial to be suspended, said airport bosses had "completely disregarded" the potential impact on local communities.

He said: “The decision to have no public consultation is frankly a disgrace, more of a disgrace however is that the CAA rules allow them not to consult with the people living below. Likewise the trial appears completely unconcerned about the wider environment and the impact that there may be on our climate change targets.

"A full public consultation should be initiated as a matter of urgency."

It is understood Edinburgh Airport has now received some 2,200 complaints about the trial from 600 local residents and will seek advice from the CAA about possibly shortening the trial from the recommended six months.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “We note Mr Findlay’s and the community’s concerns regarding the trial. It was always our intention, and it remains so, that in the event the route is technically viable – and it is important to establish that through the trial process – we will undertake a full and thorough consultation with local communities and affected stakeholders.

"All the feedback we receive during the trial phase will be presented to the CAA as part of our trial findings.”

A CAA Spokesperson said:

"Airports and air traffic control organisations sometimes carry out short-term trials to gather data and validate possible proposals for future requests for changes to the UK airspace structure. This means that for a short period aircraft may be flying different routes.

"We absolutely understand that aircraft noise disturbs people, but any trial will have a fixed start and end date and if, after the trial, the organisation running it wishes to make the change permanent then the full airspace change process, including consultation, will be required.

"We are satisfied that the Edinburgh trial is being conducted in full accordance with Department for Transport environmental guidance and that the airport engaged with the local community prior to the beginning of the trial."