Flight increase demands answers

TODAY The Evening Star launches a week-long in-depth look at aviation and the impact the increasing number of commercial flights is having on our once-tranquil county.

TODAY The Evening Star launches a week-long in-depth look at aviation and the impact the increasing number of commercial flights is having on our once-tranquil county.

Air Fair is a campaign we have been running for more than two years - but as Stansted airport seeks to expand and airlines try to open up yet more routes it is more relevant than ever.

As the knowledge about the damage caused by jet planes increases, it is becoming increasingly clear that those living underneath the flightpaths, who are directly affected by them, are all but ignored by the authorities when decisions on whether to allow flights are made.

Of course the increase in flights is itself a contentious issue - aircraft are responsible for a rapidly increasing proportion of the greenhouse gases which are changing the climate of our planet.


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Over the next six days we shall be looking at whether it is right to operate more and more flights to smaller and smaller airports.

We shall be asking if the taxation system, which allows airlines to buy fuel without paying excise duty faced by motorists, accurately affects the damage caused to the environment.

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And we shall also be asking whether we have to change our behaviour if we want to protect our county . . . and our planet.

What is a great concern is that the increasing number of flights from London and Midlands airports has been sent over Suffolk without any consultation.

Those living underneath the flightpaths knew nothing about the expansion until we noticed the telltale contrails in the skies.

Now the authorities are holding out from telling us whether yet more flights are coming our way. Will they be flying louder, increasing the noise?

This is wrong. If Suffolk is turning into the spaghetti junction of the skies, the least the authorities can do is to tell us. Then we can add our voices to the protests that will inevitably follow.

AS THE final whistle blew on Saturday, sighs of relief could be heard from all corners of the Portman Road stadium.

Victory over QPR has introduced a very welcome buffer zone between Ipswich Town and the teams in the relegation places.

And, of course, it denied the west Londoners the opportunity to find their own escape route and drag us down.

At 2-0 up Town were coasting, but as West Ham showed 24 hours later that score can lull a team into a false sense of security.

In the end the last 20 minutes was very twitchy for both players and fans, but everyone connected with the club will be relieved that the team came through so well.

Next Saturday Town plays host to another team at the wrong end of the table - Southend United.

Victory in that match should go a long way towards confirming the club's status next season and give everyone at Portman Road the opportunity to start to plan for 2007/8 in the hope of something much better than we have seen this year.

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