Fears over increased air traffic

EXPANSION of two major airports could lead to thousands more planes flying over Felixstowe and Ipswich every year, it was claimed today.Families in Suffolk are already suffering from more planes over-flying towns and countryside because the county is on flightpaths for popular destinations.

EXPANSION of two major airports could lead to thousands more planes flying over Felixstowe and Ipswich every year, it was claimed today.

Families in Suffolk are already suffering from more planes over-flying towns and countryside because the county is on flightpaths for popular destinations.

The Evening Star's Air Fair campaign is highlighting the growth in air traffic following changes last year to the region's airspace to increase the possible number of flights per day by 30 per cent.

Planes are now permitted to fly 5,000ft lower over the county and experts say it means around 1,200 planes a day flying over east Suffolk - including Felixstowe and north Ipswich - though none of the authorities can say exactly how many there are because no-one counts them.

The government expects the number to increase 50pc by 2012 - with three million planes a year using UK airspace.

Jeff Topple, of Gosford Way, Felixstowe, said many people were now commenting on the number of planes flying over the resort, especially at night.

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He said: “Goodness knows what is going to happen when Stansted and Luton expand - that will mean even more planes coming over our area.”

“You look up in the sky now and there are sometimes three or four of them at once, criss-crossing each other thousands of feet apart but so much lower than they used to be - so low sometimes you can see easyJet written on the side.

“The noise from some of them is quite loud, especially in the evening when there seems to be even more of them trying to get through before the night deadline.”

Many residents feel the increase in flights was agreed by stealth, with the consultation not wide enough and a number of councils not expressing enough concern because they did not understand the technical documents.

Now there are fears the airspace could be changed again to cope with airport expansion, or to re-route some planes which fly over the protected Dedham Vale.

Richard Wright, spokesman for National Air Traffic Services, said: We are in the very, very early stages of looking at the next generation of airspace development, which would include East Anglia.

“We are certainly looking at the aspects over East Anglia, but it is early days yet.”

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