Revised flightpath proposals on cards

NEW flight path proposals for the skies above Suffolk are to be put forward later this year.

Laurence Cawley

NEW flight path proposals for the skies above Suffolk are to be put forward later this year.

Last year campaigners from across Suffolk protested outside air traffic control headquarters claiming revised stacking circuits for planes heading to Stansted would have ruined the tranquillity of parts of the county's countryside.

Under the controversial proposals put forward, one stacking loop would have circled around the Newmarket area and the other loop would have travelled from Needham Market to Lavenham to Sproughton.

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But it has now emerged that Nats, which drew up the plans, is working on revised proposals and a fresh consultation process will begin later this year.

In a letter to West Suffolk MP Richard Spring, Jane Johnston, head of external communications, said: “This follows detailed consideration of feedback received during our original consultation in 2008.

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“The result is that in some instances we hope to present an alternative route for consideration, to allow a degree of choice in the area affected. We are also looking in detail at the precise positions of holds in the original terminal control north (the name of the aircraft route map over the south east) consultation and whether it is possible to include an alternative option which interested parties can off a view.”

Mr Spring said: “I am delighted that after a long fought campaign, NATS have now decided to look at alternative options for the possible change of flightpaths that could severely affect so many of my constituents.

“I have met with NATS on several occasions, protested outside their Headquarters, and introduced a debate on the issue in the House of Commons.

“I have continued to argue that the original proposals cannot be allowed to happen on grounds of tranquility for the county's residents both human and equine alike. It is excellent news that NATS have listened to these concerns. It was simply unacceptable that no alternative options were available, but a vigorous campaign has forced a change of mind.”

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