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Rework Brisbane Airport flight paths from scratch, say campaigners

written by Hannah Dowling | July 26, 2021

A community alliance campaigning against noise generated from Brisbane’s Airport’s new runway has told Australian Aviation 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.

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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 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. “Areas are getting hammered that were not meant to be so heavily affected.”

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Once traffic returns to pre-COVID levels, BFPCA now anticipates “potentially double” the amount of traffic and noise pollution that was anticipated under earlier forecasts, Diamond said.

“The issue is going to obviously continue to increase over the next 20 years and currently we’re experiencing record-lows in aircraft movements and we’re already seeing flights in excess of a number of the modelling tools that were given to the community.”

The community has also found that the flight paths themselves have deviated from those mapped out under the MDP/EIS.

“We have seen a number of areas, and a number of people who were not expecting to be under flight paths, and weren’t consulted prior, and now they’ve got flight paths over their roofs,” Diamond said.

“So 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.”

Brisbane has strongly denied the group’s claims and recently said in response it never mislead the community when it released an “Environmental Impact Statement” approved by the federal government in 2007.

“BAC welcomes the Post Implementation Review (PIR) that will be conducted by Airservices Australia,” it said.

The community alliance group has however acknowledged that BAC has made some attempts to mitigate the excessive impact of aircraft noise pollution, including its recently-rejected proposal to CASA that could have seen fewer aircraft moving over the suburbs, after a policy change on allowable tailwinds.

However, according to Diamond, the airport is only offering to make “incremental changes” that fail to address the community’s “fundamental concerns”.

“We would hope the airport corporation, or the government, would step up and bring the parties together to investigate this,” he said.

“The time is right to now go back and see exactly what happened, and the fairest way to re-do the EIS, and then come back with the right answer.

“We’re not saying what the right answer is, all we’re saying is we need to go back, have a look, and make sure we’ve got the right facts and figures, and the community has had their engagement in this.”

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.

In response, earlier this 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.

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10 Comments

  • AVIJOY

    says:

    who was here first ???
    most certainly the airport
    so why did you come too live here ?
    don’t like it -> pack your bags, get out and live in the desert
    go complain about traffic noise – cars, motorbikes, and yes TRUCKS !!!

    • Vannus

      says:

      Yes, AVIJOY, the BNE Airport has been there for decades’, & the plan for it even further back.

      These whingers’ wanted to live in ‘elite’ suburbs, but with that comes reality of flight paths’, which they chose to ignore upon purchase.

      I live on main N-S, & NE flight paths’, but as have done so all my life, I do enjoy hearing, & watching the aircrafts’.
      Have been an ‘avgeek’ since teenage-hood, & the wonder of flight never ceases to amaze me!
      Planes’ are majestic in flight, I think.

    • Hamilton_Resident

      says:

      Completely agree!
      It took over 10 years to build the second runway
      Do not like it – you had 10 years to sell your house and move away.
      Do not cry now that your properties are affected, it is pathetic.

  • Jim

    says:

    Airport and local communities can coexist and there are successful examples of that all around the world. Having said that, what we are seeing in Brisbane is a private and partially foreign-owned organisation pushing for growth at the cost of impacting tens of thousands of Brisbane residents. BAC’s EIS and noise map data have been severely flawed. People in many neighbourhoods (“New Farm” for instance) had never been consulted and are now experiencing low flying planes every few minutes 16 hours a day. The number of flights are already exceeding what was promised and it’s still quiet times due to Covid. The airport is boasting about Hong Kong and Changi level capacity but what they never mention is those airports do not have runways angled towards 100-year-old timber houses with tin roofs that cannot be sound insulated. Not many “first world” countries let planes fly over their CBD and inner city suburbs, especially in this day and age, and yet in Brisbane, we are seeing opposite of that. Just another example of poor planning followed by a wishy-washy approach.

    • Jane Jones

      says:

      The newly designed flight paths, first hit Brisbane residents mid 2020,. They go over Brisbane’s most densely populated areas. The 10’s of thousands of homes contain 10’s of thousands of suffering people (loud, loud, 60-90 db way above WHO standards). The houses were in place before the Brisbane Airport Corporation expanded its jet engines low in the skies directly over their rooftops. The shocking thing is that children’s lives are being ruined and that fact is cruel and unacceptable conduct – and the newly introduced noise pollution will have to be thoroughly addressed. Basically that it’s gone on for a year with all the reported health and sleep deprivation problems is disgraceful.

  • Brett

    says:

    Airports and communities do indeed co-exist around the world. New Farm had aircraft flying over it before the new runway and it continues after as well. Aircraft are becoming quieter all the time but the reality is that air travel does and will increase. If you live near an airport then you are going to have noise. You may well have a timber and tin house but you can still mitigate the noise substantially if it is that much of an issue for you. It is just the cost you have to pay for deciding to live in an area with aircraft overflights. If that is not acceptable and the noise annoys you too much then you should move elsewhere but do not be hypocritical about aircraft noise and then use aircraft for your travel.

  • Tess Bignell

    says:

    We moved away from the city for the clear country air and the peace and quiet. Now being 45km away from the airport we are being bombarded by flights incoming and outgoing. It’s not just Noise. It’s the aircraft emissions received on our food bowl, some organically certified and our drinking tank water.
    Statistics BAC and ASA used in advice to residents were simply incorrect, false and I would say misleading.
    I’m not anti aircraft. BAC and ASA need to give us a fair go. Put listening devices out here as promised and see for yourself.

  • Mick

    says:

    It would be an interesting excercise to investigate the real estate history of people who are complaining of aircraft noise due to flght path changes. Real estate subscription sites can display the timeline of purchases of real estate. If you were to look at when some of the addresses were purchased and now the owners are complaining about flight path noise , you will find some of these addresses are recent purchases. I will leave you to your own research. This is no different to people who bought property near tanneries and then complain about the smell. Estates were opened up near tanneries of old and they sold out quicket than you could tan a hide. Then the complaints followed. Empty vessels make the most sound. Heard of that before.

  • Debbie Laurence

    says:

    This reminds me of a remark made by an American tourist (of course) on visiting Windsor Castle asking:
    ˋWhy did they build it underneath a flightpath? ´.

  • John

    says:

    These complaints really do make me laugh. So they are happy to accept an increase in tailwind allowance even though it makes landings and takes offs more dangerous and increases the risks of accidents.
    I love the complaint from 45 km away, soooo no aircraft below 20,000 feet are allowed to fly over any food sources… Also its interesting that this group arent complaining about the pile driving from construction sites that start at 630am and go for 12 hours, or complaining about old mate and his Ferrari that drive at 100km/h down the local street alerting everyone to his car at 6pm.
    Its an airport, aircraft take off and land. Happens everywhere around the globe. Accept that change happens, sound proof your house and move on with your lives.

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