Coastal residents can make voice heard

PEOPLE in the Suffolk Coastal area - which is flown over by around 1,000 passenger planes a day - are today being urged to make their views known on proposed flightpath changes.

PEOPLE in the Suffolk Coastal area - which is flown over by around 1,000 passenger planes a day - are today being urged to make their views known on proposed flightpath changes.

The district council is collating views from residents, parish and town councils so it can give its views on the airspace changes put forward by NATS, formerly National Air Traffic Services.

The changes are designed to remove “bottlenecks” in the skies - aircraft congestion like traffic chaos on the road network - and to send planes over more rural areas rather than urban, populated places where plane noise hits more people.

However, Felixstowe, the district's main centre of population, will still be right under two of the main flightpaths - the incoming planes for fast-growing Stansted, and outgoing jets from Heathrow and London City.

NATS' consultation is not asking if people want more planes. However, Stansted is set to double in size and Heathrow grow by 30 per cent in the years ahead and the new flightpaths will be those used by those airports in future.

Suffolk Coastal cabinet member Andrew Nunn said the council needed people's views by May 15 in order to give its own comment by the May 22 deadline.

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“This council has been asked for its comments and we have contacted our town and parish councils to find out what are their views,” he said.

“The proposals would see a change in the way that the airspace is controlled over Suffolk, Cambridge and Essex.

“I would recommend people have a look at the detailed proposals on www.consultation.nats.co.uk and then let us know their views.

“We have asked for our town and parish councils to tell us what they think, but I would also throw that invitation out to all our residents.

“We will be taking a considered view on the proposals and responding in time for the May 22 deadline.”

Jonathan Astill, NATS' head of airspace management, said the changes aim to reduce delays and maintain safety and improve environmental performance of the aircraft.

“Just like bottlenecks on our roads, increased air traffic causes congestion in the airways meaning delay and extra fuel burn - and that has an impact on the environment,” he said.

“Redrawing the routes enables us to make them more efficient.”

Anyone wanting to give their views to Suffolk Coastal can e-mail environmental.protection@suffolkcoastal.gov.uk or give their comments direct to NATS via its consultation website.

Should Suffolk's skies have to bear the brunt of airport expansion? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk