MP angry over increased flights

AIR chiefs were today accused of “dumping noise pollution” on residents by changing flightpaths to send jets over some of the most tranquil areas of Suffolk.

AIR chiefs were today accused of “dumping noise pollution” on residents by changing flightpaths to send jets over some of the most tranquil areas of Suffolk.

MP David Ruffley said air management company NATS should go back to the drawing board and rethink their proposals and demanded a meeting with officials to discuss the situation.

He said the changes - which NATS say are necessary to deal with current congestion in the skies -will see increased air traffic over some of the most peaceful villages.

He had met with members of the Save Our Silence action group, who represent villages worried at plans for a holding stack over countryside between Stowmarket and Hadleigh, including residents of Rattlesden, Felsham, Gedding, Drinkstone, Great Finborough and Poy Street Green.

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“The clear view of my constituents is that Stansted air traffic from the east should be held over the sea,” said Mr Ruffley, the Bury St Edmunds MP.

“They also question why these proposals are being made in advance of a decision on a second runway at Stansted.

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“Not only did SOSAG members emphasise very strongly their criticism of the proposals to hold aircraft at altitudes below 7,000 feet over sparsely-populated rural areas in Mid Suffolk but they were also very critical of the consultation's methodology and the lack of readily available information from NATS.

“I call on NATS to go back to the drawing board and rethink air traffic proposals for our part of Suffolk.

“They are dumping noise pollution on my constituents, whereas they should be looking at ways to reduce the impact of air traffic over Suffolk, particularly if Stansted air traffic increases significantly in the future.

“NATS do not deny that it is possible to hold air traffic over the North Sea, just that it is all very difficult and would need a complete redesign of the air traffic system. If that's what it takes, then that is what they should do.

“My constituents pointed out that people don't have to live in the countryside to be affected by the NATS proposals - this is not a 'nimby' protest.

“Many town dwellers visit rural areas to get some peace and quiet. If the tranquillity we currently enjoy in our delightful villages is shattered, tourism and the rural economy will suffer.”

NATS, which is carrying out a 17-week consultation into the proposed airspace changes, says the changes are needed to keep the skies safe and manage air traffic effectively, reduce delays and bring in environmental improvements.

It wants to introduce continuous descent approaches (CDA) where aircraft stay higher for longer, reducing fuel burn and noise.

Should less planes fly over Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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