Last chance to be heard on flightpaths

FINAL views on the proposed major changes to flightpaths over Suffolk must be submitted today .

FINAL views on the proposed major changes to flightpaths over Suffolk must be submitted today .

People have until midnight to give their opinions on the airspace proposals - and so far more than 5,000 organisations and individuals from across southern and eastern England have done so.

Campaigners from the region were due today to take part in a big rally in London before delivering a final protest letter to the offices of air management company NATS.

Members of the Save Our Silence action group - which is objecting to plans for a new holding stack over 37 villages between Stowmarket and Hadleigh - along with Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley were attending the rally on the banks of the Thames.

A spokesman for NATS said the company had received “a substantial number of responses” during the 17-week consultation.

“The website about the airspace changes will still be on-line but the response form will be removed at midnight,” he said.

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“We will be considering all the suggestions and the comments everybody has put forward as part of the consultation before we formulate our proposals for Civil Aviation Authority, which will be submitted later in the year.”

There have been a large number of objections from Suffolk - with concerns over the impact of the noise from planes in holding stacks on residents and tourism.

There have also been calls for stacks to be relocated over the sea - a view shared by the Suffolk Preservation Society (SPS).

SPS director Richard Ward said: “We can see no rationale or justification in the consultation why stacking has to take place over any part of the Suffolk countryside, or any inland area altogether.

“Holding aircraft at the end of their journey is both disruptive, wasteful on fuel, adds to climate change problems and is the worst possible way of dealing with the phasing of the landing of aircraft.”

NATS says the airspace changes are needed to reduce delays and congestion in the skies and make environmental improvements.

Should holding stacks be over the sea or land? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk