Air fears

HUGE increases in air traffic flying over towns and villages in Suffolk are today being forecast by campaigners trying to stop an extra runway being built at Stansted.

HUGE increases in air traffic flying over towns and villages in Suffolk are today being forecast by campaigners trying to stop an extra runway being built at Stansted.

The Evening Star has already highlighted the big increase in the amount of aircraft and jet noise this year since changes were made to air space over the region.

The changes - which happened in the spring - have increased capacity by 30 per cent and planes are now permitted to fly 5,000 ft lower, coming in at 8,500 feet instead of 13,500 feet.

Experts say it means around 1,200 planes a day flying over the area - with most going over Felixstowe and also east Suffolk and north Ipswich.

Pressure group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) says residents must now prepare themselves for the effects of a new runway at Stansted and the increased air traffic it will bring across the county.

SSE campaign director Carol Barbone said: "The new runway means that they are trying to quadruple the number of passengers through Stansted and increase the number of freight flights through the airport.

Most Read

"While it is impossible to say exactly how many more flights this would mean it is clear it would mean a large increase in the number of planes flying over the county and over built up areas like Sudbury and I think the people of Suffolk are now having to prepare themselves for that."

The increased air traffic over the region has also raised objections from South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo.

"I think most people acknowledge we are very fortunate to have Stansted Airport and it is of great benefit to the region and much more convenient than the other London airports," said Mr Yeo.

"It is accepted there is going to be some price to pay for that, but I think the feeling is the price is currently too high and a balance needs to be struck."

Woodbridge residents also say there has been an increasing number of planes passing over the area, and although they are flying at 15,000ft or above, there are claims engines can be heard. Town councillors have asked National Air Traffic Services officials to attend a meeting.

A spokesman for the British Airports Authority at Stansted said the future of a second runway had not been confirmed and the matter was still at the consultation stage, with a planning application not expected to be ready until 2006.

It was impossible to gauge what increase in air traffic this would mean and route of flights generated would not be decided by the BAA but were a matter for the Directorate of Air Space Policy.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter