'More time needed to fight Cambs planes plan'

ANGRY residents living under a proposed stacking area for Luton Airport are demanding more time for people to lodge their objections. Campaigners living in Huntingdonshire and South Cambridgeshire are furious with the National Air Traffic Service about wh

ANGRY residents living under a proposed stacking area for Luton Airport are demanding more time for people to lodge their objections.

Campaigners living in Huntingdonshire and South Cambridgeshire are furious with the National Air Traffic Service about what they claim is a badly-managed consultation period.

Sue Chase, from campaign group RuralPeace, said: "These proposals ultimately mean the routing of all Luton Airport arrivals over Huntingdonshire and the surrounding areas.

"There are still many people who do not have the necessary information to make an informed decision. People need more information than that provided in the NATS document alone to base their decision on."


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The plans would see aeroplanes waiting to land at Luton Airport 'stacked' over villages such as the Gransdens, Hilton and Cambourne.

Last week, South Cambridgeshire District Council added its voice to calls for NATS to extend the consultation period, which is due to end on May 22.

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Sebastian Kindersley, SCDC Councillor for Gamlingay, said: "We [SCDC] are asking for a one-month extension because the consultation has been so badly managed by NATS.

"They have not done enough to let people know about the consultation. In Cambourne recently I met many people who simply did not know about the proposals.

"Many will not be bothered but people have a right to know."

Cllr Kindersley added that information leaflets were only sent to parish councils a month after the consultation period had started.

The 13-week consultation opened on February 21. The plans detail the first fundamental overhaul in several decades for the holding patterns serving Luton and Stansted Airports.

Mrs Chase said: "The introduction of this new air traffic over currently tranquil areas could completely change the nature of the environment we live in.

"In other areas where new flight paths have been introduced, people say the impact was worse than they had expected."

Jonathan Astill, head of airspace management for NATS, said: "All these airports have grown considerably in the past 20 years within the existing airspace infrastructure.

"Just like bottlenecks on our roads, increased air traffic causes congestion in the airways meaning delay and extra fuel burn - and that has an impact on the environment. Redrawing the routes enables us to make them more efficient.

"We are consulting very widely on these proposals and have already visited more than 30 councils, and more than 20 MPs.

"We are receiving a wide range of feedback which will be taken into account in finalising the proposal we put forward for consideration by the Civil Aviation Authority."

INFORMATION: The NATS document can be viewed at www.consultation.nats.co.uk while RuralPeace can be visited at www.ruralpeace.org.uk

Captions: NOISE: Where the new holding stack for Luton Airport could be located.

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