Up to 600 planes a day over Felixstowe

UP to 600 jets are flying over the Felixstowe area every day, new figures revealed today.That's a staggering 200,000 a year ­- and on top of that thousands more are flying over other parts of Suffolk.

UP to 600 jets are flying over the Felixstowe area every day, new figures revealed today.

That's a staggering 200,000 a year ­- and on top of that thousands more are flying over other parts of Suffolk.

The figures - released today by the National Air Traffic Services after repeated requests by the Evening Star - show the enormous scale of the air traffic over the county and exactly why people are noticing an increase in jet noise and are worried about pollution.

The situation over the county is also set to get worse in the years ahead.


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NATS is soon to reveal details of a major reorganisation of airspace in preparation for a government-driven doubling of air traffic in the next 15 years.

NATS said around 400 a day outward-bound flights go over the area, but on top of this there are inward flights returning to Stansted, Luton and East Midlands for which there are no figures at present, but experts say probably add 130 to 200 planes.

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But there is still some confusion over the numbers.

The Evening Star has been given a CAA map clearly showing flightpaths across the region to Heathrow and Gatwick while NATS insists arrivals at these two airports do not fly anywhere near the Suffolk coast.

NATS said planes using the Clacton beacon as their radar point also fly at 10,000ft or more while the Civil Aviation Authority says flights over Felixstowe can be as low as 5,500ft and airspace to the north and north-west of the area is 8,500ft.

NATS head of external relations Jane Johnston said: “The number of flights via the Clacton beacon in August 2007 was 11,420.

“This was a rise of 8.9per cent over August 2006 - 10,482 flights - but a decrease of 18.6pc on the figure for 2002 when more than 14,000 aircraft flew via the beacon.

“There has been no change in routes since last year; the increase in volume is probably due largely to new services to Eastern Europe - these will be mainly departures from the five major London airports, and particularly Heathrow.”

Consultation on changes to the airspace over Suffolk is set to start early next year, although the changes - if approved by the CAA - will not come into force until 2009.

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

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