MP's fury at flightpaths plan

By Jonathan BarnesAN MP has demanded answers about a plan to create a new aircraft holding stack over his constituency.Sir Michael Lord, the Conservative MP for Suffolk Central and Ipswich North, was shocked to hear of the proposal for the new site on the outskirts of Ipswich.

By Jonathan Barnes

AN MP has demanded answers about a plan to create a new aircraft holding stack over his constituency.

Sir Michael Lord, the Conservative MP for Suffolk Central and Ipswich North, was shocked to hear of the proposal for the new site on the outskirts of Ipswich.

The National Air Traffic Service (NATS) intends to use the new stack for Stansted Airport-bound planes in addition to the existing site over Sudbury.

It puts the location at about two nautical miles east of Claydon, which on the map is the Witnesham/Henley area.

The plan is set to be given the go-ahead by the Civil Aviation Authority later this month.

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Sir Michael said: “It seems odd that this can go ahead with no reference at all to the people living beneath the stacking area.

“I appreciate that, on the face of it, the disruption to people living underneath will be minimal, but it seems it was sufficient to move the stack from over Constable Country.

“If it would cause too much disruption over one part of the county, why should they think it is acceptable to set it up over my constituents? It is something I shall be contacting the CAA and NATS about at once.”

A spokesman for NATS said the Claydon holding stack would only be used at peak times when Sudbury was at capacity and added it would be at least 15,000 feet above ground for the least disruption.

The Romeo 77 air corridor - which cuts through Sudbury, Hadleigh and Ipswich and brings at least 60 jet planes into the county every day - could see a huge increase in traffic if proposals to expand Stansted Airport become a reality.

Air corridors above Britain are about 10 miles wide and extend from 5,000 feet to 24,500 feet above the ground.

The majority of the airlines using Romeo 77 at the moment are coming from Birmingham and East Midlands Airports, taking passengers to holiday destinations such as the Algarve, Corfu, Turkey, Ibiza and Malta.

A spokeswoman for East Midlands Airport said: “Some of the many cargo planes from our airport could fly over Suffolk en route for Europe.

“By next year our flights will be extended to Asia too and some of these could use Romeo 77.”

jonathan.barnes@eadt.co.uk

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