Delay over flightpath review

AIR traffic bosses say it will be at least a year before they bring forward fresh proposals to change flightpaths and holding stacks over Suffolk.

Richard Cornwell

AIR traffic bosses say it will be at least a year before they bring forward fresh proposals to change flightpaths and holding stacks over Suffolk.

The previous proposals, which included creating new holding stacks near Newmarket and over 37 villages between Hadleigh and Stowmarket for jets arriving at Stansted, generated thousands of objections.

Villagers feared the stacks above them at peak times would ruin the peace and tranquillity of the countryside.

Air traffic management company NATS said the reduction in the number of flights because of the recession and the need to take into account the views put forward in the last consultation meant the work on changes was not so urgent and was taking time.

It would not be until September 2010 or after when the new proposals would be ready and more consultation would take place.

Most Read

Alex Bristol, NATS' general manager for strategy and investment, said the decision to postpone a second consultation was to enable development of alternatives that, where possible, address concerns raised.

“The downturn in air traffic levels internationally since the first consultation means there is less urgency than there was originally for this development,” he said.

“We are continuing to develop alternatives following the feedback that was received during the first consultation that, where possible, address some of the concerns that were raised at that time.

“Doing nothing is not a long term option if we are to further enhance safety in the area and we anticipate bringing forward some smaller changes from the proposals while we continue to work on the overall design.

“We always said that we wanted to hear people's views on the proposals. We have listened and we continue to work on changes and developments as a result of the feedback that we received during last year's consultation.”