Curfew4Canberra: Noise readings ring death knell on 24-hour airport hub

Curfew for Canberra a group formed  in response to Canberra Airport’s proposal to massively expand its operations to include a 24-hour passenger and freight hub, and become Sydney’s second airport without a night-time curfew to protect sleeping hours from aircraft noise, released the following media release on 19 July 2009:

First readings from the Hackett Noise Monitor1 confirm what residents’ ears have long been telling them – aircraft noise is experienced in North Canberra at levels that will disturb sleep if the proposed 24-hour freight and passenger hub goes ahead.

A new report by Airservices Australia shows that aircraft can generate over 70 decibels in North Canberra, with average noise levels from planes like 737s and 767s (both of which would be used in the freight hub) at about 60 decibels.

‘We can now prove that Canberra Airport is wrong,’ said Jenni Savigny, President of Curfew4Canberra. ‘Their claim that ‘no residents within the ACT will be exposed at any time to noise over 65 decibels as part of a freight hub’2 is self-serving rubbish.’

Curfew4Canberra (C4C), the community group at the forefront of the campaign against the 24-hour hub, is calling on political leaders to protect residents from unacceptable noise levels during sleeping hours.

‘We’re calling on the ACT Government to stand up for North Canberra residents’, said Ms Savigny. ‘The Chief Minister said in Question Time3 that he was waiting on evidence from the Hackett Noise Monitor before deciding whether or not to support the 24-hour freight and passenger hub. Now we have that evidence and it squarely shows night-time aircraft noise would threaten sleep and therefore public health.’

C4C points to a study published in the European Heart Journal4 last year, showing exposure to aircraft noise at night raises blood pressure while sleeping, even if you don’t wake up. The Hackett Noise Monitor readings indicate that aircraft noise in North Canberra would be way beyond the level at which people wake up and blood pressure starts to rise, if it were to occur during sleeping hours.

‘It’s urgent,’ said Ms Savigny, ‘because the Federal Minister must make a decision on the 24-hour freight hub proposal before 28 August. The Hackett Noise Monitor evidence is crucial to this decision. That’s why the Chief Minister appointed an independent noise expert – to settle the question of aircraft noise in North Canberra once and for all.’5

‘With 6 weeks or less until the Federal Minister’s decision, it’s time for the ACT Government to act decisively, or ask the Minister to delay a decision until the report from their independent noise expert is available,’ said Ms Savigny.

The ACT Government is yet to make public its submission on Canberra Airport’s 2009 Preliminary Draft Master Plan.

___________
1. Airservices Australia,
Noise & Flight Path Monitoring System Canberra Quarterly Report, January – March 2009
2. Canberra Airport 2009 Preliminary Draft Master Plan, page 80
3.
Questions Without Notice, 16 & 23 June 2009
4.
Oxford Journal, February 2008
5.
Chief Minister Media Release 22 November 2008

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