Air bosses challenged to meeting

AIR BOSSES are being challenged to a face-to-face meeting to discuss proposals to send hundreds more noisy planes over parts of rural Suffolk.Under proposals for changes to airspace, new holding stacks for Stansted airport - which could become as big as Heathrow if a new runway is built - will be set up between Ipswich and Stowmarket, and south of Newmarket.

AIR BOSSES are being challenged to a face-to-face meeting to discuss proposals to send hundreds more noisy planes over parts of rural Suffolk.

Under proposals for changes to airspace, new holding stacks for Stansted airport - which could become as big as Heathrow if a new runway is built - will be set up between Ipswich and Stowmarket, and south of Newmarket.

But villagers say that could mean one plane every two minutes, and even more when air traffic increases.

Residents say it will ruin an idyllic part of the county, taking away its tranquility and creating a motorway in the sky.

NATS, formerly the National Air Traffic Service, has declined to attend a public meeting or talk to residents, so Suffolk County Council leader Jeremy Pembroke is asking if he can meet them face-to-face to air villagers' concerns.

He said: “This is not about residents not accepting aircrafts are part of their lives. We know this has to happen but we don't see why the flight stack has to be over some of the most rural parts of the county when it could be re-routed over the North Sea.

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“I think it is important that NATS is made aware that this is not 'nimbyism'.

“It is just that people in this area love their tranquil countryside and want to keep that tranquillity.”

Campaigners, who have launched an action group Save Our Silence as well as publishing 5,000 leaflets, now hope to start petitions across the estimated 37 affected south and mid Suffolk villages.

A spokesman for NATS said it was not their policy to meet with residents or attend public meetings.

However, people were being encouraged to get involved in a consultation process, which closes on May 22, and NATS would use the feedback to consider its position.

Should more passenger planes be sent over Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk