Quite extraordinary

PUBLISHED: 11:35 19 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:22 06 May 2010

SIR, — Jane Johnston, NATS (National Air Traffic Service) head of external relations, seems a bit upset with the suggestion that NATS have described their new flight paths as noise sewers (Herts Advertiser, June 12). She describes the NATS consultation

SIR, - Jane Johnston, NATS (National Air Traffic Service) head of external relations, seems a bit upset with the suggestion that NATS have described their new flight paths as "noise sewers" (Herts Advertiser, June 12). She describes the NATS consultation as one put together with "extraordinary care".

There are some extraordinary things about the NATS consultation but care isn't one of them. Extraordinarily poor levels of consultation stand out quite well. One copy of the NATS consultation document was sent to St Albans District Council, followed by a statement that NATS representatives would make only one presentation of the proposal to no more than five people from the district council and a point-blank refusal to hold any public meetings. NATS did eventually agree to present information to all councillors but only after a written complaint to the Civil Aviation Authority.

Extraordinarily flawed is another - NATS have the chance to make major reductions to carbon emissions from aircraft by using new technology, but instead they choose to employ this new technology on much longer departure routes that will blight some of our most-valued Green Belt and quiet villages, if approved.

Since Luton Airport emits over 100,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, you might imagine that NATS would want to make a dent in that figure, but apparently reducing CO2 emissions is not something that NATS feel they need to bother with.

Finally it's extraordinary that NATS expect us to believe that aircraft won't "cut corners" and fly directly over Wheathampstead, Southdown and Redbourn. NATS say that "there is no advantage to doing this". Really? No advantage? What, other than using less fuel of course - which I'm sure is the last thing on the airlines' minds at the moment.

NATS are clearly living in a strange parallel universe where the price of fuel doesn't matter, you can emit as much CO2 as you like and our precious Green Belt has been transformed into a sewer of aircraft noise and pollution.

Objections to the NATS proposals can still be made online via the consultation website www.consultation.nats.co.uk and should also be copied to the Civil Aviation Authority at businessmanagement@dap.caa.co.uk

CLLR JUDY SHARDLOW,

St Albans District Council.

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