Plane-crazy skies over Suffolk

SUFFOLK'S skies have gone plane crazy - with hundreds of flights now criss-crossing the air above residents every day.But there has been absolutely no public consultation on the issue as the number of aircraft has grown year by year, and the situation is set to get worse with the government intent on increasing air traffic three-fold in the next 20 years.

SUFFOLK'S skies have gone plane crazy - with hundreds of flights now criss-crossing the air above residents every day.

But there has been absolutely no public consultation on the issue as the number of aircraft has grown year by year, and the situation is set to get worse with the government intent on increasing air traffic three-fold in the next 20 years.

Campaigners say the increase has been done by stealth and the public have not been kept properly informed.

Environmental campaigners said today the huge growth in the number of aircraft on flight paths over our towns is causing noise and air pollution, and affecting climate change.

Felixstowe is a prime example of the problem.

A decade ago the resort's air space was exempt from commercial flights because of the Bentwaters and Woodbridge airbases.

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Not one plane flew over the resort.

But today there are dozens of jetliners going over the town every hour, many of them cargo planes believed destined for Nottingham East Midlands Airport.

Others are passenger planes bound for Stansted and other domestic airports and can clearly be seen, as can the numerous vapour trails across the skies.

At night, the rumbling noise from the planes is near constant - noisier than the port at times - and anyone looking at the night sky can see the winking lights from the aircraft as they make their journeys, sometimes several planes at once.

Some residents say the planes are low enough to see individual cabin lights along the fuselage.

But Felixstowe is not the only Suffolk community affected by the problem.

With Stansted set to be expanded again, there are fears that flight paths will increase and south and east Suffolk will be used as a stacking area.

Families in the Sudbury area are already calling for action and have enlisted the help of South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo. North Ipswich residents are worried about the prospect of hundreds of planes stacking over them.

Richard Dyer, Friends of the Earth's aviation campaigner said: “The increase in aircraft night noise that residents are experiencing is just the tip of the iceberg.

“The Government's plans for massive airport expansion will increase noise exposure and make life a misery for thousands more people.

“Increased pollution from more planes will also make it impossible for Britain to meet its targets to tackle dangerous climate change.”

Details of how many planes are going over Suffolk are not known but FoE expect numbers to increase substantially and an ever wider area to be affected as new flight paths are agreed or stacking areas come into operation.

The government launched its white paper on the future of aviation last December. A spokesman said it is currently consulting on the issues raised.

What do you think of the number of planes in our skies - and the noise and air pollution they cause? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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