Campaigners celebrate victory

CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating today after winning their battle against aircraft noise shattering the tranquillity of Constable country.However, residents who will now have the planes flying over their rural villages greeted the decision with dismay.

CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating today after winning their battle against aircraft noise shattering the tranquillity of Constable country.

However, residents who will now have the planes flying over their rural villages greeted the decision with dismay.

The National Air Traffic Services has decided from March jet planes will no longer routinely fly over the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) en route to Stansted and Luton Airports.

Aircraft will instead be directed to a new holding stack north-east of Ipswich and to an existing stack north-west of Sudbury from March 18.

In addition, main flightpaths from west to east, from Manchester and Midlands airports, will be re-routed across north Suffolk rather than over the Stour Valley.

However, planes on the new routes above Ipswich and Sudbury will fly 2,000 feet higher than aircraft currently flying over the Dedham Vale so disturbance under the new flightpath should be substantially less than it is as present.

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The new routes will only apply to pressurised aircraft and unpressurised aeroplanes will continue to be directed over the Dedham Vale, but these are mainly propeller-driven and relatively few in number.

The move is a victory for the Dedham Vale Society, which has been calling for an end to aircraft noise over the AONB – set up to protect the countryside immortalised by John Constable – since planes were routed above it in 1999.

Dedham Vale Society president, Robert Erith, said; "The fact that the Dedham Vale will no longer be under the main flightpath is greatly to be welcomed and will bring intense relief to all those now suffering from excessive aircraft noise.

"It's a major achievement. There's considerable cost involved to the National Air Traffic Services. It's not being implemented until March because computers need to be reprogrammed, pilots retrained and air traffic controllers retrained. It's a major undertaking."

Dedham Parish Council chairman, Jean Hammond, added: "We are very pleased that aircraft will be diverted and that not so many aircraft will be flying over the Dedham Vale."

Robin Taylor, chairman of Bildeston Parish Council, said was concerned about the effect the decision would have on the tranquillity of the village.

"I do have concerns because we don't know what the effects will be, nor the detail of the height of flights, but it is concerning and I don't think it's right that they should be moving the noise from one area to another," he added.

Councillors and officials in north Suffolk are also making urgent inquiries to find out more details about the flightpath changes.

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