MP under fire over flights

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole was today accused of being out of touch with his constituents as he repeated his support for an expansion at Stansted Airport.Mr Mole said that in his six years as MP, he had never had a single complaint about noise disturbance from planes flying over his constituency.

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole was today accused of being out of touch with his constituents as he repeated his support for an expansion at Stansted Airport.

Mr Mole said that in his six years as MP, he had never had a single complaint about noise disturbance from planes flying over his constituency.

He said: “Planes flying over Ipswich are much too high to cause any disturbance to people on the ground. People in Ipswich are far more concerned about having a good international airport nearby than they are about the noise from the planes high in the sky.”

But his comments were rejected by Conservative challenger Ben Gummer, who is hoping to capture the Ipswich seat at the next general election.

He said: “If that is what Mr Mole really thinks then he is out of touch with voters in his constituency. I was speaking to a couple in Tuddenham Avenue the other day and they were very worried about the increased number of planes in the skies.

“It is not just the noise that worries people, but there is a growing concern about the environmental impact of increasing flights.”

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Ben Gummer was critical of Mr Mole's role as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) in the department of communities and local government which will make the eventual decision on the expansion of the airport.

He said: “When he went on national radio to defend the expansion of the airport, he seemed to be indicating that it is government policy to back that expansion.

“Coming from someone inside the department that will have to make the decision, what confidence can we have that the decision has not already been made?”

Mr Mole said he was PPS to local government minister John Healey who would have no role in the Stansted decision.

He said: “That decision will be taken by Yvette Cooper who is minister for housing and planning - and it is daft to suggest that any PPS would have any say in the final decision.”

SUFFOLK Coastal MP John Gummer found it difficult to believe Mr Mole had received no complaints about aircraft noise.

He said: “I get an increasing number of people telling me they are concerned about the growing number of flights.

“Among these are people in Warren Heath and Rushmere who are right next to Ipswich. I can't believe they suffer but no one does in the borough itself. Maybe they don't bother Mr Mole with their concerns because they don't think he will do anything.”

John Gummer added: “What is astonishing is that a quarter of the flights from London airports go to places that have better links by other methods of transport.

“If you got rid of the flights from London to Manchester or London to Liverpool those slots could be reallocated to cheap flights to Majorca and Athens which are far more sensible.

“That way there could be more cheap flights for people without increasing the overall number of planes in the skies and without increasing the damage from carbon emissions.”

Should people in Ipswich be worried about increasing numbers of aircraft flying over the town? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk>