Wake up call as winners and losers emerge from proposed flight path changes by NATS

21.2.2008     (Stop Stansted Expansion press release)

Plans to change the stacking areas and departure routes for planes using Stansted Airport are set to be a wake up call to many communities who will be blighted by overflying
aircraft for the first time as both winners and losers emerge from proposals issued
by National Air Traffic Systems (NATS) today.



While NATS claims the plans to change aircraft flight paths over Essex, Hertfordshire,

Suffolk and Cambridgeshire are designed to avoid heavily populated areas, it will be
those living in currently tranquil rural areas who will bear the brunt of the
changes.   Two new stacking areas are being put forward for the region to replace the
Sudbury holding pattern which will affect those living between Ipswich and Stowmarket
and to the north of Saffron Walden to
Newmarket.   New departure routes are also being proposed which would affect Bishop’s Stortford
and Saffron Walden.



And, while NATS points to the lower overall numbers of people who would be affected
by overflying, there are concerns that the numbers affected by higher noise levels
closer to the airport, above the 57 decibel threshold which represents the onset
of serious noise announce, will actually increase by 9 per cent as a result of
the steeper take-offs which are put forward.



Commenting on the long-overdue proposals, Martin Peachey who chairs Stop Stansted
Expansion’s Noise Committee said:   "While we welcome moves to reduce noise impacts, such as proposals for greater
use of Continuous Descent Approaches, there will clearly be losers as well as
winners across the region since the noise has to go somewhere."



He explained further:   "The new routes mean that aircraft would be flying over communities that have
previously enjoyed relative tranquillity where overflying will make a greater
impact because of the absence of other background noise.   The question we are asking is why the holding stacks aren’t being put to the
East, over the sea.   Given that most flights arrive from the East and the South, this would have far
less impact on the population as a whole."



Meanwhile, Martin Peachey criticised the delays in the issue of the consultation
which, he said, had meant that many people who might otherwise have played a part
in the Public Inquiry last year into plans to increase flight movements at Stansted
by a third above current levels stayed silent, not realising they might be affect
by increased noise.   The results of that inquiry are not yet known.



"If plans for a second runway went ahead, new flight paths and additional stacking
areas would need to be defined," Mr Peachey said.   "With the imminent submission of a planning application by airport operator BAA,
it is incumbent on NATS to set out its plans at an early stage to show the real
effects that overflying would have on tens of thousands of people as a result
of Stansted handling more flights than Heathrow today."  



The consultation on the proposals closes on 22 May and can be viewed at  www.nats.co.uk.








Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE:   M 0777 552 3091, cbarbone@mxc.co.uk


Martin Peachey, Noise Committee Chairman, SSE:   01279 870374, 07803 603999, martin@peachey2002.freeserve.co.uk





Download the NATS consultation documents