Key debate on future of flightpaths

STANSTED airport has opened the first phase of its new £50 million terminal - pressing ahead with preparations for expansion which will send thousands more planes over Suffolk.

Richard Cornwell

STANSTED airport has opened the first phase of its new £50 million extension to its passenger terminal - pressing ahead with preparations for expansion which will send thousands more planes over Suffolk.

Even though the airport hasn't yet got the go-ahead for its major expansion, owners BAA said the development, which has long been planned and has consent, was a statement of its confidence in the future growth of the site.

Meanwhile, the House of Commons was today due to debate the changes to flightpaths over Suffolk as campaigners step up the pressure to move the proposed holding stack for jets over 32 villages.


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MP Richard Spring is calling on the government to look at the way the consultation process was handled.

“There are many people who thought the consultation was flawed because they were invited to contribute their comments over the internet which some people do not have access to and there were no alternative options,” he said.

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“I am beside myself with anxiety about this. It is a big deal. I am doing everything I can on this to highlight the issues.”

Stansted hopes in the next seven years ten million more passengers a year will be using it and if a second runway is built there could be as many as Heathrow.

Many of the extra flights will go over Suffolk, creating noise and pollution fears for tens of thousands of residents who find themselves living under flightpaths.

Nick Barton, Stansted's strategy director, said: “At peak times we can expect over 3,300 arriving passengers an hour through the terminal, so this new extension is all about us continuing to provide the best possible facilities for passengers.

“This means meeting the travel demands of today as well as planning ahead for passenger growth in the future, which is forecast to see numbers rise to 35 million a year by 2015.

“This is a great day for Stansted. It's a big statement of confidence in our future, and as passengers begin to experience the new space and facilities we get on with the job of delivering the next phases of the project, ready to be fully open before Christmas.”

The extension provides nearly 6,000 sq m of additional space for arriving passengers, including a sixth baggage reclaim belt and extra desk space for immigration control managed by the UK Border Agency.

Later phases will include new shops, more comfortable waiting areas for friends and relatives and new transport facilities for those requiring onward travel by bus, coach, train or taxi.

Should the number of planes flying over Suffolk be cut? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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