Essex: Air traffic from Stansted over north Essex could double under new proposals

Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport - Credit: PA

More than 50 additional planes could fly over north-east Essex a day as part of a shake-up of air traffic management.

National Air Traffic Services, the main air traffic management company in the UK, is proposing to double the number of planes flying along the ‘Clacton’ route from Stansted Airport.

Consultation on the plans, which would see planes flying directly east from Stansted Airport, begins today.

Currently the majority of daytime flights from Stansted fly south on what’s known as the ‘Dover’ route. However as a result of air traffic congestion generated by Heathrow airport, planes from Stansted often have to keep below 7,000 feet until they reach the Thames Estuary or even Kent.

The proposed switch to the ‘Clacton’ route would allow the planes to climb continuously, reducing CO2 emissions and overall noise.


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A map of the proposed routes shows planes flying north of Witham and reaching 7,000 feet roughly over Kelvedon, higher than 7,000 feet the noise from planes is not considered to be a nuisance. At least 52 extra planes a day would fly this way.

Martin Peachey, noise adviser with Stop Stansted Expansion, said: “As always in these situations there are going to be winners and losers. Those living under the ‘Dover’ route should see the benefit of having no planes whereas those living under the ‘Clacton’ route will see an intensification.”

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Braintree District Councillor for Witham North, Philip Barlow, said: “What does it means for people on the ground? If it’s a substantial increase then I think we would have our concerns but if it can be demonstrated that it’s not that big then I don’t think that either as a council or council member we would necessarily be against it.

“Our position in the past is generally supportive of Stansted’s expansion, it’s been gradual, we haven’t had huge increases over a short period of time. Stansted have worked with us.”

Paul Haskins, general manager of London Terminal Control, NATS, said: “At the moment, departures from Stansted heading towards the south east are kept lower for longer when compared to the route heading east because of Heathrow arrivals.

“Moving the majority of departure flights from one route to another will improve the flow of aircraft around the London system and greatly increase the efficiency of the airport’s operation.

“Air traffic is increasing and modern aircraft are far more efficient nowadays so we need to modernise the airspace to match aircraft capability. This proposed change, together with those being consulted on at other London airports, is vital if we are to enable the success of the UK’s FAS.”

Stansted Airport welcomed the consultation.

Visit www.nats.aero/lampstansted to have your say on the proposals. The website will be active from 9am today.

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