Increase in Stansted planes over Essex towns and villages is ‘a disaster’

Stansted airport.

Stansted airport. - Credit: Archant

Residents in parts of Uttlesford have been left angered by changes to Stansted Airport’s flight path which has resulted in a vast increase of planes passing over their heads during the day.

Noise from the rerouting of flights taking off from Stansted, introduced in February, has affected many towns and villages, including Dunmow, Felsted, Stebbing, Hatfield Heath and the Easters.

Residents have reported up to 240 flights a day flying overhead every two or three minutes between 6.10am to 11pm and say the increased air traffic is “turning a peaceful part of Essex into a disaster”.

NATS implemented the transfer of outgoing daytime flights from the Dover route to the Clacton route earlier this year after a 12-week consultation in 2014, and campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) claimed its objections to the changes were ignored.

SSE is now calling on residents who have been adversely affected by the changes to make their views known in advance of a post-implementation review, which is legally required and will take place next year.

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Simon Denham, 55, who lives in Church End, said: “As soon as one plane disappears, another one appears about half a minute later. I don’t see how they’ve been allowed to do this.

“I’ve lived here for six years and never was the flightpath brought up in solicitors checks as an issue when I was buying the house.

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“I understand there was a consultation but many residents had no idea that the Clacton route affected them. I think it’s very disingenuous of the airport to promote these changes in such a way.

“My neighbours are very angry about the whole thing, it is turning a peacful part of Essex into a disaster.”

Peter Sanders, from SSE, said: “The transfer of Stansted daytime flights from the Dover to Clacton route has resulted in the doubling of planes flying over residents in affected areas and they are understandably very upset about it.”

In a feedback report, following the consultation in 2014, NATS said the changes would cut delays for Stansted and neighbouring airports as well as reducing the number of people who are regularly overflown during the day.

A NATS spokesman said: “This airspace change proposal, approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and implemented in February 2016, is part of the first stage of a wider airspace modernisation programme across the whole of the UK.

“In this particular case the change of use of the routes means fewer people being overflown, in line with government policy.

“The CAA will undertake a post-implementation review in 2017 to consider whether the change is performing as expected.”

A roadshow explaining the changes, as part of Stansted Airport’s community engagement programme, was held in Hatfield Heath last week (Oct 20) and two more are going ahead next month.

They are being held on Wednesday November 9, from 3-7pm, at High Easter Village Hall and on Tuesday, November 15, from 4-8pm at Felsted Memorial Hall.

Stansted and NATS representatives will be at the meetings to discuss flight paths and airspace.

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