Yet more planes set to soar over county

SUFFOLK'S skies will take thousands more planes a year set to fly over the region - with Norfolk escaping with very few extra.

SUFFOLK'S skies will take thousands more planes a year set to fly over the region - with Norfolk escaping with very few extra.

Skylords have decided against the expansion of controlled air space and to make better use of the areas already designated for passenger planes, it was revealed today.

Apart from south Norfolk where it meets the Suffolk border, Norfolk will not see huge amounts of lower flying commercial air traffic because unlike Suffolk it is not covered by controlled airspace.

But while experts say the reorganisation could initially mean less jets, inevitably - with government saying air traffic will double - it will mean more in the long run.

Air traffic is growing at about 4.5 per cent a year, but Suffolk is suffering a greater upsurge because of the huge increase in flights to eastern Europe, which fly in and out straight over the county.

This week Luton announced three new destinations in Slovakia and extra flights to Prague in the Czech Republic, as well as new services to Romania, Austria, and Scandinavia, with all the planes set to go over Suffolk, causing more noise and pollution.

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But while a new road or major planning development would have a public inquiry before it is allowed, the public will have little real say in what happens in the sky above them and county council chiefs will speak on their behalf.

Carole Leslie, head of terminal airspace development for National Air Traffic Services, confirmed the airspace changes being planned would not include Norfolk.

She said: “We are not expanding the area of controlled airspace - what we want to do is to use the current airspace more efficiently and effectively.

“The forecasts are for a big increase in air traffic in the years ahead - not just from Heathrow, Stansted, or Gatwick, but from many of the other airports, too.

“We need to be able to cope with that demand.”

The airspace changes - which are still being finalised and will be unveiled sometime in the first three months of next year - are expected to last between five and seven years before fresh alterations are needed.

If agreed by the Civil Aviation Authority, the changes would come into effect in 2009.

Do you think more planes should be sent 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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