Flight path lobby heads to London

CAMPAIGNERS battling flight path changes which they claim will shatter the tranquillity in parts of Suffolk will protest outside air traffic control headquarters today.

Will Clarke

CAMPAIGNERS battling flight path changes which they claim will shatter the tranquillity in parts of Suffolk will protest outside air traffic control headquarters today.

Protestors from across the county - including people living in areas around Sudbury, Newmarket and Stowmarket - will lobby NATS, formerly the National Air Traffic Control Service, in London today.

Today is the last day the Save Our Silence Action Group (SOSAG) can place its views on proposed changes to the air holding stacks, which NATS will use to feed airports including Stansted in Essex.


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Angry action group members claim the consultation process has been “flawed”, inadequate noise measurements have been taken and the service has failed to consider holding planes over the North Sea.

Frances Bee, campaign group spokeswoman, said: “The mood is a mixture of excitement and a determination to show NATS we really mean business.

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“They have said they will listen and we are entering into the consultation in good faith. We have some very reasoned and well thought through arguments and we have lots of villages behind us. We have got to make them think again about these stacks.”

SOSAG estimate to have 300 supporters - with 50 joining them for the protest at NATS headquarters.

Lyn Gurling, a SOSAG supporter from Lavenham, said: “We are quite upbeat, we hope what we have already done shows we won't let this go.

“Whether we will be listened to is another matter but questions have been asked in parliament and this is now far more than a village issue. I know a lot of people have made banners and we are determined to stand up for our rights.”

The campaigners will gather on London's South Bank, opposite NATS London Headquarters before crossing Waterloo Bridge to hand in a letter of protest accompanied by Suffolk MPs including David Ruffley and Richard Spring.

Wendy Marchant, Mid Suffolk District Council member for Needham Market, said: “Suffolk is one of the most attractive counties in the country, and some of the most beautiful villages in Suffolk will be affected by the aircraft noise. People come to Suffolk to get away from the noise and enjoy the tranquillity, but this will be spoilt with the advent of noisy flight stacking.”

A spokeswoman for NATS said: “We welcome the fact that people have taken a very active part in the consultation - it is a genuine consultation and we are listening.”

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