Blocking out the sun

03 May 2006 | 22:50


SEASIDE residents are today being urged to back campaigners fighting proposals for an extra runway at Stansted - amid fears they will see less sunshine in future.

Now it is spring, the contrails from jet planes flying over Felixstowe have once again become highly-visible.

Residents are again complaining on clear mornings, blue sky can be turned white as if it is cloud-covered in just a few hours thanks to sometimes more than a dozen contrails expanding several miles across in the upper atmosphere and joining up.

The concerns came as airport operator BAA today announced it expects the number of passengers using London's three main airports grow by 3 per cent per year to about 165 million by the middle of the next decade. Stansted's passengers are forecast to rise from 22.2 million to 40.5 million.

Air campaigner Jeff Topple, of Gosford Way, Felixstowe, said: “Yesterday at 5.45am the sky was beautiful and blue. Then a series of planes went over leaving these contrails in the sky.

“In just over an hour, by 7am, these trails had got wider and wider and the sky was turned white - the sun was gone completely.

“If we get any more planes going over I think we can say bye, bye sun.

The Evening Star's Air Fair campaign is highlighting the growth in air traffic following changes last year to the region's airspace to increase the possible number of flights per day by 30 per cent.

Planes are now permitted to fly 5,000 ft lower over the county, and experts say it means around 1,200 planes a day over east Suffolk - including Felixstowe and north Ipswich.

Government expects the number to increase 50pc by 2012 - with three million planes a year using UK airspace - and plans are in hand to expand Stansted and Luton airports.

Mr Topple said: “We need to back these people who are campaigning to stop the extra runway at Stansted - we need to get behind them because it will affect us a lot here in Felixstowe if we see more and more planes.”

At one stage mid-morning yesterday, more than 18 contrails could be seen in the sky over Felixstowe - showing just how many aircraft are now flying over the resort.

What do you think of the effects of the planes' contrails? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail