Suffolk: Airspace shake-up set to be revealed by NATS

Campaigners are waiting for details of proposed changes to flightpaths over Suffolk.

Campaigners are waiting for details of proposed changes to flightpaths over Suffolk. - Credit: Archant

Consultation starts this month on fresh proposals to change the flightpaths of jet planes in Suffolk’s skies as they travel to and from major airports.

Five years ago there was uproar after NATS – the air traffic management company which deals with the country’s airspace – put forward a plan to create two new holding areas for passenger planes waiting to land at Stansted airport.

Communities between north Ipswich and Stowmarket and around Newmarket, where it was planned to create the holds for aircraft to circle while they waited for a landing slot at busy times, were livid at the proposal.

They feared the noise and disruption across large areas of idyllic countryside would be intolerable and launched the Save Our Silence campaign. The proposals were eventually shelved for more research.

This time it looks as if Suffolk will escape the imposition of new holding areas or major changes to the routes of low-flying jets – though changes have not been ruled out for the future.

NATS said the consultation was the first phase of changes to UK air space and primarily affected planes going in and out of London Gatwick.

A spokeswoman said: “There will be some changes to flightpaths across Suffolk but not those where planes fly below 7,000ft.”

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The main aim of the proposals will be to “take full advantage of today’s aircraft capability, reduce noise for people below flightpaths, and improve efficiency, reducing fuel burn and CO2 emissions”.

The changes were also part of the ongoing work to create a Single European Sky, where air traffic services across the continent will work together to plan more efficient routes for aircraft travelling across different countries’ airspace.

The consultation is due to start on October 15 and last for 14 weeks.