Airservices to Review Brisbane Flight Paths Amid Growing Community Outrage
Airservices Australia is set to complete a 12-month review into whether or not Brisbane Airport’s new flight paths have increased noise pollution, following the opening of the airport’s new parallel runway.
It comes as residents of Brisbane’s inner-city suburbs grow increasingly frustrated over excessive noise caused by aircraft movements, which they claim has not met the expectations set in consultation with the community prior to the runway’s approval.
The government-owned organisation has officially commenced its Post Implementation Review (PIR) process of Brisbane’s new flight paths, 12 months after the airport’s new runway opened, and new flight paths introduced.
Airservices is regularly responsible for performing reviews into new airport infrastructure and flight path changes.
The review will essentially look to investigate whether or not actual noise and aircraft operations following the opening of the new runway are in line with what was modelled in earlier flight path design and environmental assessment processes.
The process will “identify where any variances may have occurred and the causes of these variances”, according to Airservices.
Following the review’s commencement, Airservices has released the first draft of its terms of reference (ToR), which is now open for public comment for the next five weeks.
“This first draft of the ToR has been developed for community review and comment. A final ToR will be confirmed following engagement with the community and other stakeholders,” Airservices said in the document.
Interested parties have until midnight on Sunday, 5 September 2021 to provide comment on the current draft ToR, and a public meeting to discuss the review and the ToR will be scheduled for mid-August, according to Airservices.
The draft document makes reference to a recent investigation by the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman (ANO) into increased noise pollution due to Brisbane’s new flight paths, launched in December.
The ANO is yet to finalise the results of its investigation and provide its recommendations, however this information “will be incorporated” into future drafts of the ToR for its own review, according to Airservices.
While the review is slated to take 12 months, it could take up to 18 months to complete.
Residents of Brisbane’s inner-city suburbs, including New Farm, Bulimba, Teneriffe, Hamilton and Hawthorn, have spent months lobbying and protesting against excessive aircraft noise pollution over their homes following the introduction of Brisbane’s second parallel runway.
Last week, Australian Aviation reported that a community alliance campaigning against excessive noise generated from Brisbane’s Airport’s new runway is claiming flight paths need to be reworked from scratch.
David Diamond, chair and spokesperson for the Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance (BFPCA), said community expectations outlined in a 2007 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) have not been met.
Brisbane Airport’s new runway opened one year ago but the business has consistently denied new flight paths have made the noise worse and argued it has been actively engaging with the community.
Ahead of Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) first breaking ground on the construction of its second runway in 2012, the airport’s operator was required to release a Major Development Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (MDP/EIS), to be made available to the public for comment.
However, according to the BFPCA, current airport operations have now deviated heavily from the initial MDP/EIS that was presented to those living under flight paths.
“We don’t believe that current operations and noise pollution are what was to be expected under the original EIS,” Diamond said.
“This is why we feel that there is a full rework required, in order to come up with the best solution. We want to know why the noise levels are so high, and why many things that were in the EIS were not delivered as expected.”
In response to increasing outrage, BAC has strongly denied the group’s claims and recently said in response it never misled the community when it released the EIS approved by the federal government in 2007.
Last month, BAC published a report suggesting its new $1.1 billion parallel runway had not made aircraft noise pollution worse, and actually reduced the amount of aircraft that fly over the city’s inner-city suburbs at night.
The airport has also welcomed Airservices’ upcoming PIR, which will seek out whether or not Brisbane’s current operations have deviated from the 2007 EIS.