More aircraft set for Ipswich skies

HUNDREDS more aircraft are to be stacked over the Ipswich area under controversial new proposals unveiled today by the National Air Traffic Service (NATS).

HUNDREDS more aircraft are to be stacked over the Ipswich area under controversial new proposals unveiled today by the National Air Traffic Service (NATS).

A new “stack” for aircraft heading towards Stansted Airport is to be set up between Ipswich and Stowmarket.

That means at busy times, especially during the summer when people are trying to enjoy the peace and quiet of their gardens, there could be a constant drone in the skies above their heads.

And it will mean more disruption for people living on the Felixstowe peninsula as aircraft heading to Stansted from the east would cross the Orwell/Stour estuary before heading for Ipswich.

According to NATS, aircraft will be flying about 10,000 feet - but this is still low enough to cause considerable disruption on the ground.

However NATS bosses are proposing to cut flights over the Dedham Vale - and planes will not longer stack over the Sudbury area.

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Felixstowe - currently the Clapham Junction of the skies with 600 planes a day - will see less flights as inbound planes for Stansted and Luton will be re-routed away from the resort according to NATS.

However they will still fly over the River Orwell as they head towards north Ipswich.

Another new hold area over Newmarket will also serve Stansted at busy times.

NATS officials said the changes would mean far fewer people would be affected by aircraft noise, especially as the area north of Ipswich was rural compared to an urban area such as Sudbury.

Lee Boulton, manager for Airspace Planning, said populations on the ground had been a major factor in the redesign of the airspace.

“These changes, particularly the alterations to the arrival flights, will mean that in future less people in Suffolk are over flown,” he said.

The announcement about Suffolk came as NATS launched a major consultation programme over flightpaths.

Ian Hall, NATS Director of Operations, said: “Airports have grown considerably in the past 20 years and we have simply accommodated this growth within the existing airspace infrastructure.

“Redrawing the routes enables us to make them more efficient to reduce delay. It also gives us the opportunity to reroute them to avoid flying over as many towns and villages as possible, especially at lower levels.

“That means less noise for people living underneath. Overall we will reduce by some 20per cent the number of people affected by noise from departing aircraft flying below 4,000ft.”

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