Last days to have say on air traffic

THERE are just a few days to go for people to have their say on proposals to change flightpaths over Suffolk.

Richard Cornwell

THERE are just a few days to go for people to have their say on proposals to change flightpaths over Suffolk.

The suggested changes put forward by air traffic management company NATS have caused major concerns - especially for those communities which will find themselves under holding stacks in the future.

Around 1,200 passenger planes currently fly over Suffolk every day and in future this could double with proposals to use the current runway at Stansted to its maximum capacity and build a second runway, plus plans for a third runway at Heathrow.

The proposed airspace changes though are designed to deal with current congestion in the skies.

They include creating two stacks for Stansted - one near Newmarket, and the other between Stowmarket and Hadleigh, removing the current one near Sudbury - and changes to routes for planes arriving at Stansted and Luton.

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Felixstowe, which is at the moment overflown by around 600 jets a day, will see flightpaths over the town changed slightly and should no longer have Luton in-bound planes flying over, but in the long term will have more jets as the airports expand.

Campaigners though are deeply concerned about the plans for the new stacks - claiming it will mean a plane every two minutes at peak times, wrecking the county's peaceful countryside.

It is estimated the stack near Stowmarket would affect 37 villages.

The 17-week consultation ends on Thursday and people have until then to put their views either:

on-line via the NATS website - www.nats.co.uk

or in writing to TCN Consultation, NATS freepost, NAT22750, Reading, RG1 4BR.

Jonathan Astill, NATS' head of airspace management, said: “We are receiving a wide range of feedback which will be taken into account in finalising the proposal we put forward for consideration by the Civil Aviation Authority.”

The Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) campaign says some residents will be severely affected.

“It is important for everyone to grasp how they would be affected by the airspace change proposals, whether for better or worse, and to make representations,” said Martin Peachey, who chairs SSE's noise working group.

Should planes be directed to fly over towns or countryside? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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