NATS due to launch airspace consultation on 15th October (says EADT)

The East Anglia  Daily Times (EADT) reports that NATS – the air traffic management company which deals with the country’s airspace – is to begin a consultation during October, on fresh proposals to change the flightpaths over the east of England, in the Terminal Control North area. This may start on 15th October and last for 14 weeks, into mid January.  Five years ago there was uproar after NATS put forward a plan to create two new holding areas for passenger planes waiting to land at Stansted. Communities in areas of Suffulk were livid at the proposal, fearing increased aircraft noise, especially over areas of countryside that – at present – are tranquil.  Three years ago the plans were shelved, partly as there had been a fall, not an increase, in the numbers of planes. NATS said the consultation was the first phase of changes to UK air space and primarily affected planes going in and out of Gatwick, and were part of working towards the Single European Sky.
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Suffolk: Airspace shake-up set to be revealed by NATS

by Richard Cornwell (EADT – East Anglia Daily  Times)

October 8, 2013
Campaigners are waiting for details of proposed changes           to flightpaths over Suffolk.

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

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.”

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.
http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/suffolk_airspace_shake_up_set_to_be_revealed_by_nats_1_2857688

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Single European Sky – http://www.eurocontrol.int/content/single-sky-europe


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Back in 2010 NATS reported:

Airspace changes postponed following drop in flights

13.10.2010

NATS, the UK’s leading air navigation service provider, has postponed plans for further consultation over changes to airspace north of London.  Instead, the proposals will be incorporated into a wider review of airspace over southern England.

The downturn in air traffic levels since the 2008 consultation on proposed changes in the Terminal Control North (TCN) area, means there is less urgency on capacity grounds to achieve the changes. Current forecasts show that air traffic levels are not expected to return to the peak levels of 2007 until at least 2013/14.

Alex Bristol, Development and Investment Director, said: “We are looking at combining the necessary changes in the TCN proposal with other projects currently under way to create a bigger benefit overall.

“We are already working on a wider project involving the airspace over much of southern England.  The TCN benefits are very much a part of helping us deliver bigger benefits, albeit on a longer timescale.  These include keeping aircraft higher for longer on more direct routes, which saves fuel burn and CO2 and means less noise for people on the ground.

“Whilst the downturn in air traffic means we can take longer to ensure we have the best solution, we have always been clear that doing nothing is not a long-term option.

“This is a large and very complex area of airspace with many interactions and as traffic levels pick up, changes will be necessary to ensure continued safety and reduce delay. The work we have done so far in TCN – and the feedback we have from the 2008 consultation – will be very much a part of our revised plans.”

Terminal Control North (TCN), along with Terminal Control South (TCS) forms London Terminal Control (LTC) which in total covers much of southern England, as far north as Ipswich and west to Bournemouth with Banbury roughly marking the north-west corner. NATS is reviewing the airspace structure in this total area in light of available new navigation technologies and new tools under development to improve air traffic management techniques; our aim is to improve safety in this most complex area of airspace, to provide additional capacity to meet forecast long term demand and to meet environmental targets.

This work is still in early stages but is expected to deliver improvements in the period 2016-2020 with some earlier enabling improvements possible from 2013.

http://www.nats.co.uk/news/airspace-changes-postponed-following-drop-in-flights/

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Back in 2008 – there is some information on the fist consultation at

NATS publishes consultation on changes to the Terminal Control North airspace region

21.2.2008    NATS have put their proposals for changes to the Terminal Control North airspace region out to public consultation.   The  Terminal Control North area covers a large part of London, southern and eastern England, an area with a population of 12 million people and home to some of the UK’s busiest airports.   The consultation ended on 22nd May 2008.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1267

Map of proposals in 2008

http://www.consultation.nats.co.uk/mapintro/6/how_this_affects_you.html
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