Gummer concerned about increased flights

SUFFOLK Coastal MP John Gummer today spoke of his fears about increasing numbers of commercial aircraft flying over his constituency.Mr Gummer has already flagged up the issue with government and aviation officials – and fears moves to expand Stansted will make it worse and could lead to noise problems.

SUFFOLK Coastal MP John Gummer today spoke of his fears about increasing numbers of commercial aircraft flying over his constituency.

Mr Gummer has already flagged up the issue with government and aviation officials – and fears moves to expand Stansted will make it worse and could lead to noise problems.

The Evening Star has also highlighted the matter – especially the big increase in flights over the Felixstowe peninsula – after residents voiced concern.

There has been no public consultation whatsoever over the rise in air traffic in Suffolk's skies.

The main worry is how many more flights there will be in the years ahead, and will the planes have to fly lower.

But environmental campaigners are also concerned about air pollution and the effect on climate change.

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Mr Gummer said he had met senior officials from the National Air Traffic Control Service and officers of the transport ministry.

"The fact is that we are using air planes more and more – we all want cheap flights for our holidays," he said.

"But there is a concern about some of the areas where these flights are going over and they now go over areas which they didn't use to fly over.

"I think it is an issue we need to keep a close eye on. At the moment it is not so bad, but what I am worried about is the proposal for an extra runway at Stansted.

"We are on the flightpath and the planes will start to come lower over this constituency and noise could become a very big problem for certain communities."

Mr Gummer was against Stansted's expansion and believed its choice as the site for an extra runway had been a political decision because of the number of Labour marginal seats close to Heathrow.

The Evening Star has asked the Civil Aviation Authority 20 key questions about the situation to try to find out just how many planes there are in our skies and what the future holds.

Meanwhile, government officials are seeking the public's view on night-time flights to and from Stansted.

It could mean cutbacks in the number of planes criss-crossing the county between 11.30pm and 6am from next year.

They have to agree new quotas for the airports and it is one of the few aviation matters on which the public is given a say.

A consultation paper has been published covering a wide range of issues, including changing the night-time flying times, the numbers and types of aircraft which would be permitted to fly, and possible action to cut noise.

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