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Dedham gearing up for new noise fight
Gazette - 22 October 2013 (pdf 446Kb)

Fears over plans for more flights overhead

The fight to protect the peace and tranquility of Dedham Vale seems to be a constant one. Last week, a consultation was launched to assess the impact of changes to flight paths into London City and London Biggin Hill airports.

President of the Dedham Vale Society, Robert Erith, said this new consultation could be the beginning of a new battle

Click to view the full article (pdf 446Kb)

Essex County Standard


168 extra flights a week forecast over Dedham
Essex County Standard - 18 October 2013 (pdf 240Kb)

Noisy changes are in the air for tranquil Dedham

A consultation has been launched to assess the impact changes to London City and London Biggin Hill arrivals will have on north Essex. The proposed flight path changes would see traffic for the airports cross the Dedham Vale area of outstanding natural beauty. There wuld be an extra two flights per hour in the daytime - the equivalent to 168 extra flights a week.

For more information and to have your say, visit www.londonairspaceconsultation.co.uk

Click to view the full article (pdf 240Kb)

Essex County Standard

Aircraft Noise

Members will have noticed the substantial level of jet aircraft flights over the summer months, the noise being all the more distressing after the blissful days of quiet as a result of volcanic ash.

Contact has resumed with National Air Traffic Service (NATS) who have sent flight path details which show that there is a continuing heavy volume of aircraft traffic particularly over the Northern half of the AONB and this has changed little for some time.NATS is committed to implement new flight paths but before they can be established, NATS is to have a further consultation which may take place at any time from September 2010 onwards.NATS understands what the High Court Judicial Review outcome obliges it to do and in that regard we have their assurance that their future consultation on their proposal for this airspace considers the environmental impact of noise and visual intrusion upon the Dedham Vale.

We shall urge that the consultation takes place as soon as possible and it is most probable that we shall be asking members to write or e-mail once again when the new consultation document occurs. The last consultation on NATS’ previous proposals would have been generally beneficial to the Vale but was withdrawn due to spirited opposition from people living under the proposed flight paths. It is a fact that those who shout loudest get heard and we will have to be in good voice when the time comes.

Members will be kept in touch with events through the website.

Robert Erith, President, 28 July 2010

Campaigners' anger at delay on flightpaths
(Essex County Standard 26 February 2010)

The Dedham Vale area of outstanding natural beauty has become an area of outstanding unnatural noise, say campaigners for a flightpath change.

Villagers living in the peaceful Dedham Vale face years of continued disruption from planes after a public consultation into changing flightpaths was delayed again.

The National Air Traffic Service (NATS) has announced it will not hold a new consultation until September at the earliest. That means it would be unlikely that any routes would be changed before 2012.

Click to view the article in the Essex County Standard on 26 February 2010 (pdf 238Kb)

Airspace Changes to be Postponed - Yet Again
(Press release issued by Stop Stansted Expansion 24 October 2009)

National Air Traffic Services (NATS) has announced yet another postponement of plans to change flight paths and aircraft stacking areas across East Anglia.

The official reason given for this latest delay is the lack of urgency for the changes as a result of the downturn in the air travel market over the past two years, but there is no doubt that the overwhelming strength of community opposition to the plans is also a key factor.

So great was the opposition that NATS agreed to go back to the drawing board and re-consult. Although scheduled for July this year, the consultation was subsequently pushed back to the end of 2009. Now, it is understood that it will be another year before revised proposals emerge.

Click here for the full press release or visit the Stop Stansted Expansion website

Stop Stansted Expansion Website

It’s Back To The Drawing Board For Proposed Airspace Changes
(Press release issued by Stop Stansted Expansion 23 February 2009)

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has welcomed news that the airspace change proposal put out to consultation by National Air Traffic Services (NATS) exactly a year ago is being taken back to the drawing board after an overwhelming thumbs down from people across the region.

NATS’ plans to conduct a new consultation later this year on revised proposals for flightpaths and holding stacks in the area of south-east England known in airspace terms as Terminal Control North were revealed in a letter sent to Stop Stansted Expansion [see text of letter dated 19 February 2009 in Note to Editors].

The proposal to change aircraft stacking areas, arrival and departure routes for planes using Stansted and other airports in the south east in the years to 2014 caused uproar across Essex, Herts, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire because of the threats posed to the tranquility of rural areas. Overall, there would have been more losers than winners around Stansted Airport, extra flying miles and increased emissions per flight. Many who had never been overflown would have seen a radical change in the character of their area.

Stop Stansted Expansion Website

SSE has been highly critical of the inadequacies of the original consultation, not least NATS’ failure to offer any explanation for the proposals or to provide any meaningful information on the other options considered. SSE also sought proper examination of offshore stacking options and an explanation of the assessment methodology used in order to ascertain what level of importance NATS attached to environmental and community impacts as opposed to cost savings and efficiency gains for its airline shareholders.

The original consultation, which was billed by NATS as ‘the biggest ever consultation on airspace change’, caused a furore across the region as communities mobilized in force to oppose the plans. Of more than 15,000 responses received from members of the public (including 578 from MPs, local authorities, parish councils, environmental groups and other representative bodies), some 86 percent objected to the plans. Even the House of Commons Transport Committee instigated an inquiry into the proposal because of the widespread concerns and interest it sparked.

Commenting on the news, SSE Campaign Director Carol Barbone said: “For once, people power seems to have had an effect. We welcome the re-appraisal since the original proposal put forward by NATS would have created far more losers than winners, adding unnecessary extra flying miles and increased noise and emissions across rural East Anglia .”

“Our hope now is that NATS comes back with proposals which take on board the widespread concerns which have been expressed,” she concluded.

John Osborn, 24th February 2009

DVS objections to Stansted Second Runway Application.

On behalf of the Dedham Vale Society, Robert Erith, submitted an objection
to the second runway proposal at Stansted airport to Uttlesford District Council.
Click here to view

NATS response to the DVS submission

The National Air Traffic Service's detailed and specific response to the Dedham Vale Society's
submission can be viewed here (pdf 106Kb)

Response from the Dedham Vale Society
to NATS Terminal Control North – Proposed Changes to Airspace

As a result of these consultations and following discussions with our committee members,
on behalf of the Dedham Vale Society our response to the propsals have been forwarded
as can be viewed here (pdf 104Kb)

Please note it is very important that you send your views to NATS before the closing date of Thursday 19th June.
This is very important as there has been a high response from elsewhere.
The address is: TCN Consultation, NATS, Freepost NAT22750, Reading, RG1 4BR
Or visit www.nats.co.uk/TCNconsultation

Robert Erith TD DL, President 10th June 2008

Stansted Second Runway application called in - Public Inquiry next April

In response to the Dedham Vale Society’s objection to the second runway proposal at Stansted Airport
a letter has been received from the Secretary of State calling in the application for a
public inquiry on 15th April 2009. Click here to view

An attachment lists the key points which the Secretary of State wants to hear about
and several of these concern environmental matters. When the Society becomes involved in the
enquiry process it will be helpful to know that these are the key points at issue. Click here to view

National Air Traffic Services Consultation: It’s Urgent That You Make Your Voice Heard

You will probably be aware that, following the Society’s successful application to the High Court, a consultation exercise is currently underway concerning the future use of the airspace over southern East Anglia, including the Dedham Vale, Stour and Orwell estuaries and the Shotley peninsula.

Our area was previously largely undisturbed by concentrated aircraft noise, but since March 2004 has become the target for up to 90% of inbound traffic approaching Stansted and Luton airports from the east, some of which then ‘holds’ at the ABBOT hold near Sudbury. This present concentration of traffic over our area was never forecast, never consulted upon and its environmental impacts were never assessed – although many people feel them to be significant and adverse, both for our area and for the Stour and Orwell AONB (SOS) to the east.

The new proposals appear to be seeking to address the unforeseen consequences of the 2004 Airspace Change and will lead to a more dispersed impact by separating out the Luton traffic and by establishing two new holds in place of the Abbot hold. The consultation document also suggests that the principal route of aircraft arriving into southern East Anglia will be over the Port of Felixstowe and along the A14 corridor, i.e. north-east of the Shotley Peninsula and Dedham Vale. Please see the ‘before’ and ‘after’ illustrations extracted from the Consultation Document (E18 and E19).

Click to view the ‘before’ and ‘after’ illustrations extracted from the Consultation Document (pdf 222KB)

The Dedham Vale Society (DVS) believes that the avoidance of a large tract of countryside which is nationally designated for its landscape qualities and tranquillity is to be welcomed – not simply for the benefit of those who live there, but for the many thousands who use this countryside for quiet recreation. It is recognised that existing impacts will inevitably be displaced elsewhere, with consequences for other areas. However, if the traffic has to go somewhere (and that issue is not being consulted upon), it is considered that a proposal which seeks to protect extensive nationally designated landscapes should be supported – using the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designation as an objective measure. Other areas likely to be affected by the proposals are (understandably) campaigning against them. We understand that both Babergh District Council and Suffolk County Council are refusing to support the proposed changes. If the DVS and SOS do not make their voices heard clearly, then they may well be drowned out by protests from elsewhere. The full consultation proposals can be viewed on NATS’ website (www.nats.co.uk/TCNconsultation) and at public libraries.

The DVS committee will be making a response on behalf of the Society. However, the committee considers it vitally important that members also make individual responses. It is suggested that points such as the following might be made:

  1. I/we have seen the TCN Consultation Document (or visited the NATS website).
  2. I/we support routeings which remove the present concentration of traffic over the Dedham Vale and Stour and Orwell AONB’s.
  3. This would bring over-flying more closely into line with local expectations for the 2004 Airspace Change, the unexpected effects of which have been harmful to the Dedham Vale and Stour and Orwell AONB’s.
  4. This consultation will only be of value if mechanisms are put in place to ensure that traffic actually flies in accordance with the arrows shown on the consultation plans.
  5. Outbound flights from London airspace are also of concern. This proposed Airspace change must not lead to further outbound traffic moving northwards over the environmentally sensitive areas from which inbound traffic is to be displaced.

Letters should be addressed to: TCN Consultation, NATS, Freepost NAT22750, Reading RG1 4BR and sent as soon as possible, to arrive no later than 19th June, so there is NO TIME TO LOSE. If you write one letter in the next three weeks, the committee hopes it will be this one!

WILFRID TOLHURST, Chairman, 23rd May 2008

National Air Traffic Services Consultation Period Extended

The consultation period on proposed air space changes across the South-East, including the Dedham Vale Area
of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has been extended from 22nd May to 19th June.

National Air Traffic Services Consultation Document and the Dedham Vale

The three month period from mid February until 22 May 2008 will be used for consultation on proposed air space changes across the South-East. This follows the publication of a new document from the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) who are concerned to move flight paths away from populated areas and reduce the environmental impact of the rapid increase in passenger flights. The proposals are wide-ranging and include a lengthy section of the Dedham Vale as well as many other parts of the south east.

Dedham Vale Society members will, no doubt, remember the High Court action taken by Tom Hill with the backing of the DVS In December 2005. The five day action against the CAA and NATS resulted in a complete vindication of the case as presented by Tom Hill's legal team of the need to establish that the special protection accorded by Parliament to AONBs should not be overridden by accident through an airspace change which failed to predict its impacts accurately.

Essex County Standard article
The recent article in the Essex County Standard on 22 February 2008 reports on 'Flightpaths Plan: winners and losers' (pdf 303Kb)

The enlightened decision by the DVS Committee to fully support this action and to contribute towards Tom Hill's costs was fully vindicated by the Judges decision at the time. The Committee, DVS members and those that enjoy the Dedham Vale will have reason to be pleased to see that the proposals in the NATS consultation document take full account of that judgement. Lee Boulton, Airspace Planning Manager for NATS, is quoted as saying "following CAA guidance flight paths have been moved further north which means arrivals to Stansted Airport will be pushed from the Dedham Vale across the Stour and Orwell estuaries towards Ipswich. As a result we are expecting less flights over the Dedham Vale". In a reference to the legal action and judgement he stated "As part of the judicial review with the CAA we are taking into account the decision and are abiding by that agreement".

Quoted in the Essex County Standard on 22 February 2008 DVS Chairman Wilf Tolhurst commented that the DVS will be happy if the result of the consultation is the same as the proposal.

Following the closing of the consultation period on 22 May 2008 the findings will be passed to the Civil Aviation Authority and a decision on whether they can be adopted will be made.

A website for the consultation has been set up at www.consultation.nats.co.uk where you can find detailed information. We include here two documents available from this NATS website:

John Osborn, 4th March 2008