Fight continues against low flights

SKYLORDS overseeing moves to double the amount of air traffic in our skies are today being urged to treat Suffolk fairly.As the authorities prepare to unveil proposals which could send hundreds more noisy planes across the county every day, The Evening Star is stepping up its campaign to make sure the special character of the county is not wrecked by jets.

SKYLORDS overseeing moves to double the amount of air traffic in our skies are today being urged to treat Suffolk fairly.

As the authorities prepare to unveil proposals which could send hundreds more noisy planes across the county every day, The Evening Star is stepping up its campaign to make sure the special character of the county is not wrecked by jets.

Suffolk is no longer the tranquil and peaceful place it once was - with jet planes above adding to the noisy road and rail routes on the ground.

But while a new road, port or major business or housing development would be subject to planning laws and public inquiry, residents had no opportunity to object to the 30 per cent increase in air traffic experienced in the past two years.

No-one explained how many more planes would be over-flying the area and residents were not asked for their views.

Now more and more communities are finding themselves living under flightpaths, with jets day and night - at peak times an average of one every two minutes.

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In places like the Felixstowe peninsula - where four areas of airspace meet - more than 600 planes are going over every day.

Sometimes there are two or three in the sky at once, flying in different directions at different heights, the noise of one leaving merging with the next arriving.

Under the banner Air Fair, we will be taking our campaign to government as we seek to ensure more communities are not caught under flightpaths when airspace is altered in 2009 to cope with the increasing number of flights.

NATS (National Air Traffic Services) have described the moves as “the biggest airspace changes anywhere in the world in the most complex airspace in the world”.

It will undoubtedly mean more planes over Suffolk because the east of England is the gateway to Europe and the Far East for flights from Stansted, Luton, Heathrow, Gatwick and London City.

Campaigners in Suffolk say the idea of “load sharing” - directing flights over different areas at various times to spread the load - must be considered and we will be visiting NATS and the Civil Aviation Authority at their headquarters, and also taking our case to the Department of Transport on this.

Everyone must also be prepared to send their views when the changes to airspace are unveiled in the new year.

Do you think more flights should be allowed over Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Government is encouraging a dramatic increase in air travel - and that will have huge consequences for Suffolk's skies and the communities which live below them.

More than 1,200 planes currently cross Suffolk every day and the number is set to grow hugely - possibly double - in the next two decades

The planes bring noise, pollution, and blot out the sun with their contrails, and the fear is flights will get lower.

Our campaign agrees with and supports Stansted Airport at its current flight and passenger limits, but is against expansion of the airport which will have an intolerable impact on the quality of life of people in Suffolk.

It is against proposals to increase the number of passengers by ten million a year on possibly 75,000 extra flights, and against the building of a second runway which would more than double the current flights - another 300,000 a year.

The campaign wants a full review of pollution being caused by the jets - both the impact on ozone layer and on the environment at ground level - and of the increasing noise being caused by the aircraft 24/7.

We want assurances that planes will not be allowed to fly lower than the present lowest levels across Suffolk.

There must also be a full review of the current flightpaths to look at the possibility of moving flight corridors on a regular basis so the same communities do not suffer noise nuisance incessantly.

second story:

CONTRACTORS were today raising the roof as they continue work on a £40 million project to expand the terminal building at Stansted airport.

The first of 22 roof domes on the new structure has been successfully lifted into place by a massive 450-tonne crane.

A team of specialist contractors from Watson Structural Steel Ltd and MACE are putting the domes in place on the extension's steel structure before they are secured, glazed and weatherproofed.

Each roof dome weighs 30 tonnes and measures 18 square metres in size.

They are assembled at a construction zone at the airport before being carefully transferred the short distance by a special transporter to the main construction site before each crane lift.

Paul Chatten, BAA Stansted's project leader for the terminal extension, said the scheme had made excellent progress since getting underway in April.

“We have now reached one of the most significant stages of the development as we undertake a series of complex roof lifts - this is not your everyday roofing job!” he said.

“Each evening a safety exclusion zone of 75 metres in diameter is put in place around the crane while the lifts are carried out, so we have to work very closely with the terminal management team to keep disruption to the normal airport operation to an absolute minimum.

“We also have to factor in the weather conditions. If wind speeds are in excess of 17mph we cannot carry out any lifts, so when working to a tight schedule it's crucial we have the right conditions to carry out the work safely. Thankfully we have had minimal disruption from the weather so the project remains firmly on track.”

The extension will create an extra 5,900sq m of floor space in the international arrivals area of the terminal, with the expanded immigration, baggage and customs halls opening in June 2008 and the project fully completed by December 2008.

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