Residents of Western Sydney are expressing deep concerns following the release of flight path details for the upcoming international airport.
The suburbs set to be most impacted by noise pollution have been identified, causing worry among local residents. According to the newly unveiled report, areas such as Mount Druitt, Bankstown, Prospect, and Rooty Hill will be subjected to noise levels comparable to that of a blender or a washing machine.
Gaurav Vaishnava, a resident of Rooty Hill, expressed his unease about the situation, emphasizing that living near an airport has always been undesirable due to the disruptive noise pollution generated by planes. He highlighted the tranquility that Rooty Hill is known for and the potential significant changes in the residents’ lives if the suburb is included in the flight path.
“Rooty Hill is known for its tranquility, and even the occasional complaints about nighttime train noise disrupt the peace. If Rooty Hill becomes part of the flight path, our lives would undoubtedly undergo significant changes that we can’t fathom. This situation is undeniably unfavorable and concerning,” Gaurav Vaishnava told Indian Link.
On the other hand, there are residents who hold contrasting opinions. Ragi Pandit, a Rooty Hill resident, expresses her acceptance of the flight path.
“I may not have a clear idea of how it will impact property prices, but I recognize the necessity of making sacrifices for development. Whether it’s Rooty Hill or another area, there will always be flight paths affecting certain regions. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me too much, but I’m eager to learn more specifics,” Ms Pandit told Indian Link.
Anita N., a resident of Baulkham Hills, shares a similar viewpoint as Pandit. In her words, “It comes as no surprise, as we are situated directly along the runway’s path. The confirmation of that runway was made several years ago, and we have already been accustomed to some flight traffic from Mascot airport following our flight path.”
Specific areas of Baulkham Hills will also be affected during the operation of Runway 5 between 5:30 am and 11:00 pm. However, residents can find solace in the fact that the suburb will not experience any disturbances during the night time, as flight paths between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am will not traverse over the Hills.
The Western Sydney Airport, expected to be fully operational by 2026, aims to handle over 25,000 flights annually and serve approximately 10 million passengers by 2031. However, the noise impacts will depend on various factors such as flight paths, aircraft type, time of day, and weather conditions.
The Western Sydney Airport Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which was mapped out in 2016, predicted that between 1,500 and 1,600 residents would experience frequent aircraft noise levels exceeding 70 decibels within a 24-hour period. The release of preliminary flight paths, along with an interactive noise tool, allows residents to assess the impact on their specific areas.
Minister for Infrastructure Catherine King highlighted the importance of community feedback in shaping the final designs of flight paths, taking into account Airspace Design Principles. These principles prioritize minimizing flights over residential areas and reducing the impact of aircraft operations during nighttime hours. The second half of 2023 will see further community consultation events, providing opportunities for residents to express their concerns and provide input. Noise Pollution
The Department of Infrastructure has released an interactive noise map, enabling residents to explore the expected noise levels in their vicinity and the specific times when aircraft will be overhead.
The map includes suburbs such as Austral, Badgerys Creek, Bringelly, Cecil Hills, Erskine Park, Glenmore Park, Greendale, Horsley Park, Kemps Creek, Leppington, Luddenham, Mount Druitt, Mount Vernon, Mulgoa Luddenham, Orchards Hills, Penrith, Rooty Hill, Rossmore, Silverdale, St Marys, Theresa Park, Twin Creeks, Wallacia, Warragamba, and Werombi.
The report indicates that noise levels will vary depending on the type of aircraft, with the loudest anticipated aircraft, the Boeing 747, predicted to produce noise levels ranging from 70 to 75 decibels. In some rural residences in Badgerys Creek, the maximum noise levels could reach 85 decibels.
As the project progresses, community engagement and ongoing dialogue will play a significant role in finding a balance between airport operations and maintaining the tranquility and quality of life in the affected suburbs.
Blacktown City Council for example, today expressed concerns on the issue.
Mayor Tony Bleasdale said, “This is particularly significant, given that Western Sydney Airport will operate without a night time curfew on flight movements. I am concerned that the 415,000 residents in Blacktown City will only be offered one public
consultation meeting to allow them to engage with the process of determining flight paths. There must be enough consultation to allow residents to fully understand the negative impacts of aircraft noise on them and to understand the mitigations the Commonwealth proposes.”