MP to join air rally

CAMPAIGNERS against changes to flightpaths are to gather for a big rally in London on the day the consultation closes.

CAMPAIGNERS against changes to flightpaths are to gather for a big rally in London on the day the consultation closes.

Protestors will colourful banners and placards will protest over the airspace changes, which will affect all of east and south-east England and include new flightpaths and stacking areas for Stansted, Luton and London City airports.

It will mean some people finding themselves with jet planes going over their homes for the first time and others - especially when Stansted expands - with more jets than ever before.

In Suffolk, the biggest changes are the creation of new stacking areas between Hadleigh and Stowmarket and near Newmarket - with fears this will ruin the peace and tranquillity of the countryside.

Air traffic management company NATS say the changes will mean a lot less people living under flightpaths than previously.

Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley will be one of the key speakers at the rally - which will take place alongside the Thames near the southern end of Waterloo Bridge - tomorrow lunchtime.

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He will be linking up with campaigners from the Save Our Silence action group.

“There is huge opposition to the NATS proposals from my constituents in villages such as Drinkstone, Felsham, Gedding and Rattlesden. Their presence at this rally in London shows just how strongly they feel,” said Mr Ruffley.

“I have already submitted my formal response to NATS and demanded a meeting with them but I also wanted to show solidarity with my constituents by attending and speaking at this London rally.

“The consultation over these proposals - which will blight some of the most tranquil villages in my constituency - may be drawing to a close but the campaign against them goes on!”

Following the speeches, campaigners will cross Waterloo Bridge to hand in a letter at the NATS London office.

The event has been organised by Airport Watch to bring together campaigners from throughout the eastern region.

A spokesman said: “For those in rural areas, where the ambient background noise is very low, aircraft noise, even at 5,000 feet or so, will be very noticeable and intrusive.

“Others will find themselves on a new flightpath, with the potential to be over-flown repeatedly by many planes, hour after hour and day after day.”

NATS says the changes are needed to cure congestion and delays in the skies, make environmental improvements and reduce the number of people flown over by jets.

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