More planes to cram into busy skies

TODAY The Evening Star can reveal shocking details of a major upsurge in the numbers of commercial jets flying through Suffolk air space and over our towns and villages.

TODAY The Evening Star can reveal shocking details of a major upsurge in the numbers of commercial jets flying through Suffolk air space and over our towns and villages.

Huge numbers of planes have started to criss-cross our county's skies in the last couple of years - and now investigations undertaken as part of our Air Fair campaign show unelected authorities want to increase flights even further.

More than 1,000 planes a day are today believed to be flying over Suffolk - and the authorities want to increase that number. No-one knows how much the increase will be, or how low the planes will be allowed to fly.

The Evening Star can reveal more changes could be on the way soon to the airspace over the county - paving the way for more planes each day as Stansted and other airports expand their cheap flight operations.

Councils confirmed informal talks have been taking place with National Air Traffic Services, and the South Suffolk Air Traffic Action Group (SSATAG) is urging everyone to make sure they have their say when the public consultation is announced.

The news comes as The Evening Star launches six days of special features on the growth of air traffic and the impact it is having - and will have in the future - on Suffolk through noise and pollution.

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Details of the changes to airspace, which are primarily needed to cope with the expansion of Stansted airport, are not yet known, but it is said there will need to be changes to flightpaths for inward and outward planes, with possibly one down the A12 and another over north Suffolk, and the creation of another holding area.

SSATAG chairman Alan Line said: “The result of this process will affect everyone in the region. I would urge people to become part of this process - it will affect your lives. “

Two years ago when then airspace was expanded by 30per cent, the normally tranquil Dedham Vale area suddenly found it had 250 planes going over every day when previously it had none.

Other parts of Suffolk, such as the Felixstowe peninsula, have around 1,200 planes a day now going over.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has promised full public consultation on any future changes but campaigners want to know what public consultation took place before the current upsurge in flights, which sees our area taking flightpaths for all the major airports in the London area, as well as Luton, and the Midlands.

For in-depth coverage on Suffolk's airspace debate, see pages 4 and 5.

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