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.
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.”
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.