Villagers' fears over holding stack plan

RESIDENTS have spoken of their concern following reports that airspace above their idyllic village has been earmarked as a potential aircraft holding stack for Stansted Airport.

By Danielle Nuttall

RESIDENTS have spoken of their concern following reports that airspace above their idyllic village has been earmarked as a potential aircraft holding stack for Stansted Airport.

National Air Traffic Services (NATS) is currently looking at airspace across a large area of East Anglia to make way for increased flight traffic as airports expand.

NATS said proposals had not been drawn up yet - but it has been widely reported that Wattisham could be one of two new stacking sites for Stansted.


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The other could be over Wratting Common, south east of Cambridge.

Aircraft stacks are loops about 20 miles around with up to six aircraft one minute apart in each, separated by 1,000ft. The lowest level of the stack is 6,000ft.

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If a delay is expected on approach, instructions might be given to an aircraft to enter the stack until the way is clear for them to be guided into the sequence for landing.

Residents living in Great Bricett, near Wattisham, said yesterday they would be against any decision to locate a stack above their village.

Avril Triggs, chairman of Great Bricett Parish Council, said: “I am totally against it. I think everyone in villages up and down the country would be.

“If you stand here there is not a sound outside. We are a sleepy little village. It would be a shame if our peace and quiet was affected.

“I'm sure none of the residents would like to think there could be planes stacking over us.”

Great Bricett resident Sue Kitcher added: “We already have a busy flight path over Bricett that goes into Stansted.

“The activity in the air for supposedly a rural area is a bit of a farce. We will have noise 24-hours a day.

“It's a hamlet. It's not really even a village. It's so quiet.

“The main problem we have in Great Bricett is that the roads are so inadequate at the moment.

“I realise we are not talking about an airport landing site but whatever they do will generate more traffic.

“This will have a huge impact on the quietness and peacefulness of our village. It will destroy it completely.”

A spokeswoman for National Air Traffic Services (NATS) could not confirm yesterday whether Wattisham was one of the sites being considered.

“We are looking at the area of space north of London but we do not have proposals ready for consultation yet,” she said.

“It's an area called terminal control north which is from the Thames estuary up to the Norfolk border and right the way across to Hertfordshire. It's a very big area.

“We are still going through simulation and we do not expect to actually have proposals for consultation for some months.”

A spokesman for Stansted Airport said last night it was not involved in the process of deciding where stacking sites would be set up.

“We do not have any say on stacking sites for aircraft. We have no direct control over where they would put the stacking system,” he said.

“The expansion will increase the number of flights in and out of Stansted but it's up to NATS to manage where all these aircraft fly.”

The official proposals are not expected to be revealed until later this year.

danielle.nuttall@eadt.co.uk

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