Suffolk skies set for new plane park

WAKE UP SUFFOLK!For the last two years we have been warning that the skies above our once tranquil county were becoming the new highways of the air with more planes causing more disruption.

WAKE UP SUFFOLK!

For the last two years we have been warning that the skies above our once tranquil county were becoming the new highways of the air with more planes causing more disruption.

Now those warnings have been confirmed after the National Air Traffic Service (NATS) published details of its proposed new flightpaths.

It seems that Suffolk is set to become the dumping area for all aircraft heading towards Stansted airport from the east during busy periods.

What that means is that the skies over some of the quietest parts of our county will become full of aircraft at holiday times - just as people are hoping to enjoy their gardens and the peace and quiet of their rural life.

At last people are starting to wake up to the threat to our way of life - until now there has been a deafening silence from many quarters, not the least from Suffolk councils who seem to have wanted to ignore the issue.

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Air travel is a fact of life in the 21st century.

People can argue about whether it is sensible to take short flights when there are more environmentally-friendly methods of travel available like high-speed rail, but more people do want to fly to more parts of the world.

What is grossly unfair, however, is that so many planes are being dumped in the skies above Suffolk. NATS have given no explanation about why they have to stack planes over our tranquil county.

Why could the stack not be created over the North Sea or the Thames Gateway where few people would be disturbed?

After two years of our Air Fair campaign people are finally waking up to the threat to our rural way of life - now is the time to really fight and make our voice heard to the bureaucrats of NATS.

MILLIONS of customers of British Gas will have woken up today to the shocking news that the privatised energy giant has announced a five-fold leap in profits to £571 million just weeks after putting up its prices by a double-digit amount.

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the company is profiteering on the back of an international rise in energy prices - and it will give additional credence to claims that energy firms are quick to put up prices when the world price rises but much slower to put them down when the world price falls.

And for a business with many small shareholders, it is a sobering thought that any increase in dividends that it announces for them will probably be quickly eaten up by the increase in energy prices.

MORE than 30 years after the Equal Pay Act became law, it is astonishing that there is still a substantial pay gap between men and women at Suffolk's largest employer, the county council.

Of course this is not a deliberate policy - it owes much more to sociological differences and the different nature of the jobs done by men and women in society.

And it is good to hear that the county is looking at how the pay gap can be closed - in the interests of fairness it is vital that other authorities across Suffolk follow its lead and acknowledge this is an issue that has to be addressed.