Future airport noise measures announced
17 May 2012
Wellington Airport’s Noise Management Committee (ANMC) has supported the first stage of a plan to ensure airport noise continues to be effectively managed in the future.
The Airport currently operates well within the noise limits set by the Wellington City Council District Plan. To determine the requirements for sustainable aircraft operations the ANMC commissioned a study which identified areas that will be affected by future noise, within permitted levels.
The ANMC has supported measures, based on the study’s recommendations, that will be implemented by Wellington Airport over the next decade and include:
- Removing 22 dwellings owned by the airport that can experience noise that is unable to be reduced to an acceptable level. The dwellings are located in Bridge Street on the airport’s western boundary and will be removed from November 2012.
- Developing noise assessment and treatment packages over the next two years, for up to 700 residential dwellings, schools and early childhood centres close to the airport.
Wellington Airport’s Chief Operating Officer, John Howarth, said three dwellings are already unoccupied and removal of these buildings would begin from June 2012.
“Tenants of airport owned dwellings have been provided with six months’ notice to give them the time they need to find new accommodation so removal work can start from November 2012,” Mr Howarth said.
“Where the airport does not own dwellings and noise mitigation is not possible, it would extend an offer to purchase at fair valuation to the owners should they wish to sell at any time, with a view to removing them in the future.” Mr Howarth said.
The ANMC study identified up to 700 dwellings potentially needing treatment to mitigate future airport noise. Over the next two years the ANMC and Wellington Airport are developing the process to assess and treat these dwellings with work being carried out progressively over the next decade.
The treatments will largely consist of windows seals and active air ventilation systems. In some cases wall and ceiling insulation may also be employed.
“The appropriate package for each dwelling will depend on a number of factors such as its age, construction and the proximity to the Airport,” Mr Howarth said.
The ANMC is an independent body that monitors and advises on measures to mitigate airport noise. The Committee includes up to four residents representatives, the Airport, the Board of Airline Representatives, Airlines, Wellington City Council, Airways Corporation and the Defence Force. Independent acoustic experts provide technical advice for the ANMC.
Independent Convener of the ANMC, Euan McQueen, said “over the years all the parties represented on the ANMC have worked hard, and in some cases made considerable investment, to reduce airport noise.”
“Measures such as the airport curfew, investment in quieter aircraft, ground service equipment and an engine testing bay have effectively limited the effects of airport noise on the local community and mean airport noise is well within the limits set by the District Plan”, said Mr McQueen.
Mr Howarth said the plan was necessary to secure the continued future operation of an important strategic asset that generated in excess of $750m economic activity for the Wellington region.
“The plan is an important step into ensuring airport noise is effectively managed in the future as airport activity grows and passenger numbers double, creating jobs and driving economic growth for the Wellington region.”