Waiting for answers over flightpaths

PUBLISHED: 14:59 30 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:50 09 March 2010

WHEN will we hear the new proposals for flightpath changes over Suffolk - and are aviation chiefs listening to what people want?

WHEN will we hear the new proposals for flightpath changes over Suffolk - and are aviation chiefs listening to what people want?

Those were the two big questions today with air space management company NATS still apparently no closer to announcing details of the changes to routes and new holding areas for the thousands of jets flying over the county each year.

The company had hoped changes would come into effect by March, but that timetable went out of the window after thousands of objections were received to its plans.

As well as alterations to flightpaths, the scheme included new holds for Stansted - new stacking areas between Hadleigh and Stowmarket and near Newmarket - with fears this would ruin the peace and tranquillity of the countryside.

NATS says it is now looking at changes to the original plans but campaigners want to know when the details will be announced.

They also want assurances that their views will be taken into account - Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley is leading the fight for the villages affected by stacking areas - while the Evening Star's Air Fair campaign is demanding assurances that there will be less flights over urban areas such as Felixstowe and Ipswich.

The campaign has suggested flights are moved north and south on a regular basis to give the area a break from the noise and “spread the load” over less populated areas.

NATS say the changes will mean a lot less people living under flightpaths than previously.

It says the changes are needed to keep the skies safe and manage air traffic effectively, reduce delays and bring in environmental improvements.

It wants to introduce continuous descent approaches (CDA) where aircraft stay higher for longer, reducing fuel burn and noise.

A spokesman for NATS said there was currently no timetable for the new proposals and officers were looking at options and working on the plan.

“We have always been clear that we will take as long as is necessary to give full consideration to the feedback from the consultation,” he said.

Do you think Suffolk skies are getting noisier? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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