Heathrow planes blighting Suffolk skies

SUFFOLK is suffering from the 'Heathrow factor' with growing numbers of planes from the country's top airport today flying over the county.

SUFFOLK is suffering from the 'Heathrow factor' with growing numbers of planes from the country's top airport today flying over the county.

Some of them are the noisiest ones, making for the Far East, heavily laden with fuel for the long journey and unable to gain height quickly because of the extra load.

National Air Traffic Services (NATS) say 95per cent of the 11,000 planes using the Clacton Beacon as their radar marker going out over Suffolk a month have come from the five London airports - Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Stansted and London City - but mostly from Heathrow.

In fact, traffic over Suffolk from Heathrow alone has risen by 12.3pc in the past year.

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The growth of routes to eastern Europe is to blame for the rise but there has been shock at how Heathrow's influence is affecting East Anglia.

And the effects are even more noticeable closer to the airport.

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Visitors to Wembley for the England/Russia game looked at new arch lit up over the stadium to see a continual stream - one every two minutes - of planes crossing it to and from the airport.

It may be two-and-a-half hours by car, but those planes are over the Ipswich and Felixstowe area in just 15 minutes.

An aviation industry source told the Evening Star: “It is staggering just how places which thought Heathrow was too far away to affect them are now suffering from planes from that airport.

“It is simply the huge growth of air traffic.

“People living close to Heathrow have complained for years about living under the flightpath and they do have to put up with dreadful noise. But now communities many miles away are finding they are living under flightpaths, with more planes over and flying lower.

“A number of the planes from Heathrow are also not flying as high as they should be - because long-haul flights are at their heaviest due to fuel weight and they just cannot gain the height quickly enough and are still quite low over Suffolk, making quite a loud roar.”

NATS is currently drawing up major changes to airspace over Suffolk to cope with the doubling of air traffic forecast by government in the next 15 years.

The public is to be consulted early in the new year once the details are finalised. The changes, if approved by the Civil Aviation Authority, will come into effect in 2009.

Is noise from planes getting on your nerves? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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