Suffolk villagers' new flight path anger

CONTROVERSIAL plans to move flight paths over parts of rural Suffolk could blight residents with more noise than they would endure next to the busy A14, it has been claimed.

Dave Gooderham

CONTROVERSIAL plans to move flight paths over parts of rural Suffolk could blight residents with more noise than they would endure next to the busy A14, it has been claimed.

Campaigners have released figures which they claim show the potential impact on dozens of villages across the county if the proposals to move planes heading to Stansted Airport are given the go ahead.

They claim residents should expect noise levels reaching 68 decibels - compared to the 50 decibels experienced by homes 600 yards from the A14.


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The statistics come as concerned residents have announced plans to join a national protest outside the offices of NATS, formerly the National Air Transport Services, to mark the end of the consultation period.

Leading campaigner Frances Bee, of Save Our Silence Action Group (SOSAG), said: “I was surprised by the figures and it has been difficult for people to grasp how this is going to affect them.

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“Decibel levels are difficult to understand but hopefully this will make people see how serious the issue could be. In light of these figures, it is no wonder that the plans have been described as a motorway in the sky.”

The comparison with noise levels on the A14 was made at a meeting of Mid Suffolk District Council, which joined a number of authorities, including Suffolk County Council, in registering a formal objection to the plans.

Campaigners, who have been warned they could have planes flying over their homes every two minutes, said they would take part in a planned demonstration on June 19, when the consultation ends, organised by action group AirportWatch outside the NATS offices in London.

Members of SOSAG will also this Friday meet with Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley after almost 80% of his constituents said in an online poll that their rural life would be damaged by the plans - backing the concerns of residents living in the Lavenham and Newmarket areas.

Mr Ruffley said: “Of course the new holds will affect fewer people as they are over far less densely populated areas. This does not mean the impact will be any less. In fact, I would argue that as the level of ambient noise in these villages is much lower, the aircraft noise overhead will be all the more noticeable.”

Urging people to give their views before the consultation closes, a NATS spokesman said: “We would encourage people to get involved in the consultation process and not just sit back and be unhappy. We can then use this feedback to consider our position before a final decision is made.”

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