Campaigners in aircraft noise fear

CAMPAIGNERS who fear their peaceful rural lives will be shattered by noise pollution from overhead planes are hoping to galvanise opposition at a public meeting tonight.

Will Clarke

CAMPAIGNERS who fear their peaceful rural lives will be shattered by noise pollution from overhead planes are hoping to galvanise opposition at a public meeting tonight.

Villagers and residents in and around Lavenham, Thorpe Morieux, Cockfield and Monks Eleigh near Sudbury are concerned changes to the Stansted Airport holding system will bring more flights over the surrounding countryside from the Essex airport.

They want as many informed residents as possible to write into the NATS consultation on the holding stacks, which will also serve other airports in the south east.

The meeting at Lavenham Village Hall will be chaired by Jeremy Pembroke, leader of Suffolk County Council, and will hear from Tim Yeo - MP for South Suffolk.

Mr Yeo said fears over the changes to flight stacking would herald even greater damage if plans for a second runway were given the go ahead.

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“A second runway at Stansted would also mean the permanent loss of a huge swathe of unspoilt countryside and ancient woodlands,” he said. “And consideration must be given to the effect these proposals will have on this particularly tranquil area.”

Frances Bee, of the Save Our Silence action group, said: “One of the key design criteria has been to direct the flights over low population density rural areas, which almost by definition are very quiet areas with little or no background or ambient noise.

“In simple terms, here we will be affected much worse than areas where there is currently more noise, such as in built-up areas.”

Lyn Gurling, chairman of Lavenham Parish Council, said the village recognised the planes had to go somewhere but many residents feared the consequences of more flights.

A spokesman for Stansted said: “Our message is clear- we believe we can develop a second runway in a sustainable way.”

Ian Hall, NATS director of operations, said: “Airports have grown considerably in the past 20 years and we have simply accommodated this growth within the existing airspace infrastructure.

“Re-drawing the routes enables us to make them more efficient to reduce delay. It also gives us the opportunity to re-route them to avoid flying over as many towns and villages as possible, especially at lower levels.

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