MP misled in NATS stack briefing

I AM responding to Councillor Hansard s claim (letters online) that we should be congratulating Mr Djanogly because he put a link to the NATS consultation on his website and also met with NATS. I cannot help wondering if offering congratulations for this

I AM responding to Councillor Hansard's claim (letters online) that we should be congratulating Mr Djanogly because he put a link to the NATS consultation on his website and also met with NATS. I cannot help wondering if offering congratulations for this basic level of activity might not be a little over the top.

Indeed, if Mr. Djanogly had engaged with counterparts in areas where existing stacks blight rural communities and if he had quoted his research into views other than those of NATS, then yes, I am sure people would wish to offer credit where it is due.

A look at Tim Yeo's website will show a detailed interest in the impact of air traffic on his constituents, who have been subject to stacking aircraft of the sort we are set to receive.

It is surely not surprising that there are two sides to these proposals, which are based on the commercial desire for NATS to expand airspace in order to offer better service for its clients (the airlines). It should also be borne in mind that a group of airlines owns a substantial share of NATS - so it's not unreasonable to assume that they offer a less than impartial view.

It seems that the briefing Mr Djanogly and others received from NATS was misleading, because he has been quoting aircraft entering the stack at 14,000 ft and descending to 7,000ft - whereas the reality, as stated in the NATS document, is that aircraft will indeed enter the stack at 7,000ft and subsequent planes will queue above this at intervals of 1,000ft up to 14,000ft. There is a significant difference between these two descriptions - namely more noise and greater visual intrusion.

The favoured option now is for our elected representatives to look at experiences elsewhere (particularly in rural areas) and, given that the planes could arrive from next spring, consider whether residents might feel the impact was played down or that they could end up feeling misled by poorly-informed reassurances.

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