Ruffley to meet campaigners opposed to new air traffic plans

Wednesday, 28 May, 2008

David Ruffley MP will meet members of the Save Our Silence Action Group (SOSAG) on Friday 6 June to discuss the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) proposals for new holding areas and flight paths in his constituency.

The proposed Stansted Eastern Hold will see increased air traffic over parts of David's constituency, in particular over Stowmarket, Needham Market and the Mid Suffolk villages to the south and west of these towns including Rattlesden, Felsham, Gedding and Drinkstone.

David launched an online survey in April on the NATS proposals at

Survey respondents expressing most concern about the proposals predominantly live in the rural Mid Suffolk area around Stowmarket:

• More than half of the total online responses (54%) and all the written representations David has received are from constituents living in IP6, IP7, IP14 and IP30.

• Within those postcodes the villages of Rattlesden, Felsham, Gedding and Drinkstone express most concern.

• 77% of respondents in these postcodes believe the NATS plans will result in increased air traffic over their homes.

David said: 'Some of my most tranquil villages will be most affected by the NATS proposals. It is clear from the survey responses that my constituents in Rattlesden, Felsham, Gedding and Drinkstone are extremely concerned by the effect this will have on their rural way of life. That is why I am keen to meet members of SOSAG to listen to their views in more detail.

'NATS are trying to justify these new holding areas by saying fewer people across the region will be affected by aircraft noise. This may be true but the major issue of concern, for both me and my constituents, is that these new holds are over predominantly rural areas.

'Of course the new holds will affect fewer people- they are over far less densely populated areas. This does not mean the impact will be any less. In fact, I would argue that as the level of ambient noise in these villages is much lower, the aircraft noise overhead will be all the more noticeable.

'I will be making my views known to NATS before the end of the consultation period. My meeting with SOSAG and my online survey will help shape my response. The consultation is open until 19 June so I urge my constituents to visit my website and let me know their views. Alternatively they can write to me at the House of Commons.'