Flight path questions from councillors

COUNCILLORS are asking for more information regarding proposed changes in flight paths serving Stansted and Luton airports aimed at reducing the impact on the Dedham Vale.

COUNCILLORS are asking for more information regarding proposed changes in flight paths serving Stansted and Luton airports aimed at reducing the impact on the Dedham Vale.

As recently reported by the EADT, the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) wants to change the flight paths in the skies over the region to take planes away from the Dedham Vale, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Under the new proposals, from March more planes would be directed instead over Ipswich and the villages of Boxford and Bildeston.

A new holding stack, known as LAPRA, would be created over north and east Ipswich.


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The new aircraft circling area would complement the Abbot Holding Stack, which is already located above Sudbury.

If the new flight paths are introduced it would allow jets waiting to land at Luton or Stansted to access the holding stacks from the north, which would divert them away from the Dedham Vale and parts of the Stour Valley. Both beauty spots have been immortalised by the works of Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable.

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Babergh District Council has been lobbying NATS to reduce the amount of flying over the Dedham Vale as the number of jets flying over the area in recent years has increased. Officers at the authority have recommended the new NATS proposals be supported, but councillors are demanding more information.

This week members of Babergh's strategy committee said the information they have received is too complex and that more clarity is need before a decision to support the proposals can be approved.

A Babergh spokesman said: "As one of many organisations that have been consulted by NATS, Babergh has been faced with a bewildering amount of very complicated information. As such, councillors on the strategy committee felt unable to make definitive comments due to this lack both of clarity and plain English.

"However, the councillors did make clear that all possible steps must be taken to reduce any environmental impact on any area in Babergh affected by the proposed changes. In addition, Babergh has asked NATS that should there be any further proposed changes to commercial flying over the district, that the council be fully consulted as to its implications upon local residents."

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