9th April 2008

Saffron Walden – Proposed flight path changes

Saffron Walden Town Council is hosting a special meeting to bring together people who are concerned about proposed flight path changes over the town and surrounding areas.

People living in Ashdon, Chrishall, Debden Hadstock, Littlebury, Radwinter, Sewards End, Wendens Ambo and Wimbish, together with their parish councils, are being invited to attend the meeting at Saffron Walden Town Hall in Market Square at 8pm on Thursday 17 April, though others are welcome.

All would face significant increases in noise from planes taking off from Stansted on new ‘noise preferential routes’ and/or from stacking areas for arriving aircraft between Newmarket and Saffron Walden if the air traffic plans went ahead.

Under the proposals, easterly departures from Stansted would continue on a more northerly route over Wimbish and towards Ashdon, finally reaching 4,000ft as they turn west around the north of Saffron Walden. Noise and emissions levels will increase due to increased route mileage.

The main part of the meeting, to be chaired by Cllr Jim Ketteridge, will be a presentation by Stop Stansted Expansion’s noise spokesman Martin Peachey who will explain the new flight path proposals being put forward by National Air Traffic Systems (NATS) and describe their likely impacts. He will also offer guidance to help those wishing to respond to the consultation to do so in effective terms before the closing date of 22 May. SSE Deputy Chairman Norman Mead will also be in attendance for the question and answer session because of his vast experience over the last 30 years of noise and track keeping from aircraft using Stansted.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Martin Peachey said: “Saffron Walden and the surrounding area would experience increased disturbance from overflying if the proposals for these new routes went ahead. It is important that people understand the implications of what is being proposed and make representations to NATS about their concerns while they can.”

The flight path changes relate only to the operation of Stansted’s single runway which could see an increase in aircraft movements of around a third on top of current levels if permission for expansion is granted following last year’s public inquiry. A decision is still awaited on this. Further proposals would be required if the separate planning application for a second runway at Stansted, handling more planes than at Heathrow today, were ever to be approved.

The NATS consultation on the proposals closes on 22 May and can be viewed in hard copy form at local libraries and at www.nats.co.uk/TCNconsultation. Further information is also available here and from the campaign office on 01279 870558.

Campaigning to ensure Stansted Airport's authorised operations stay below harmful limits