Suffolk airspace - consultation 2008

DETAILS of proposed changes to airspace over Suffolk - which will send even more passenger jets over the county - are unlikely to be unveiled until next year.

DETAILS of proposed changes to airspace over Suffolk - which will send even more passenger jets over the county - are unlikely to be unveiled until next year.

National Air Traffic Services (NATS) is currently looking at the possible alterations to routes over the region and the south-east, which it describes as “the most complex area of airspace in the world”.

The Evening Star has launched a campaign against the development of Stansted as it would send tens of thousands more planes every year across Suffolk, ruining the county's cherished rural tranquillity with the constant rumbling of jet engines.

A NATS spokeswoman said: “We constantly review the use of airspace throughout the UK - changes are proposed on a sectoral basis and are required to enhance the safety and efficiency of air traffic control in the face of sustained growth and to minimise future delays.

“These proposed changes cover a number of counties - not just Suffolk - and are not designed to support potential runway expansions at any individual airport. NATS manages airspace, not airport expansion.

“We are planning for the safe management of busier skies but we are not responsible for the airports policy that drives this.”

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In line with its licence to manage air traffic, NATS must be able to cope with demand for more flights, and extra routes run by airports and airlines have to be accommodated.

Officials from NATS have already held informal discussions with councils over the impact of extra flights over certain areas.

“We are presently assessing the information provided by these authorities together with data gathered from a three week simulation exercise and, as yet, we are still designing a proposal and are some months away from a design fit for consultation,” said the spokeswoman.

“At the heart of our redesign work is provision for continuous descent approaches, a procedure pioneered by NATS that considerably reduces the noise impact on peopled living below flight paths, and more efficient use of the airspace to minimise delay and therefore fuel burn and emissions.”

Once the proposals are ready, there will be full consultation - and all interested stakeholders will be invited to contribute their views. This is not expected to begin before 2008.

Should more planes be sent over Suffolk if Stansted expands? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

CAMPAIGN FILE: No More Stansted

Our No More Stansted campaign agrees with and supports Stansted Airport at its current flight and passenger limits.

But the campaign is against expansion of the airport which will have an intolerable impact on the quality of life of people in Suffolk.

It is against proposals being discussed currently at a public inquiry to increase the number of passengers by ten million a year on around 23,000 extra flights.

It is against the building of a second runway which would more than double the current flights - another 300,000 a year.

The campaign wants a full review of the pollution being caused by the jets - both the impact on ozone layer and also on the environment at ground level - and of the increasing noise being caused by the aircraft 24/7.

We want assurances that planes will not be allowed to fly lower than the present lowest levels across Suffolk.

There must also be a full review of the current flightpaths to cut the noise afflicting communities and to look at the possibility of moving flight corridors on a regular basis so that the same communities do not suffer noise nuisance incessantly.