Residents in Auckland, New Zealand, fighting the noise nuisance of planes over the city
People in Auckland New Zealand, are fighting the nuisance of aircraft noise, which has become a serious problem in recent years. The airport is close to the city, and aircraft frequently use flight paths over densely populated areas, as they turn either when landing or taking off. The problem has been made worse in the past year, because concentrated flight paths are being used, in the same way that is happening in UK, Europe, USA and everywhere. The concentrated routes are causing a lot of anger and distress. The local group is Auckland: The Plane Truth (ATPT), working hard to restore some peace and quiet for Auckland residents. ATPT says: “At the least, the noise is physically and emotionally taxing: at the worst, unbearable. Unable to cope, some residents have been forced to move house or to take medication for depression and anxiety, and so they can sleep.” There is a petition, asking for a curfew at night, between 10pm and 7am because of the recent changes to flight procedures over Auckland, and the planned significant increases in traffic through Auckland Airport. The type of houses in Auckland, have weatherboard with tin roofing and single glazing. These are difficult to insulate against noise, exacerbating the problem.
ATPT – Auckland: The Plane Truth
At the least, the noise is physically and emotionally taxing: at the worst, unbearable.
Unable to cope, some residents have been forced to move house or to take medication for depression and anxiety, and so they can sleep.
The extent of the problem is evidenced by the huge number of complaints received by the Airport – up to December 2013, 1100 individuals had already complained of excessive noise. Residents from areas as far-flung as the Te Atatu peninsula and Dannemora are affected, as well as the more central suburbs of Mt Roskill, Mt Eden, Epsom, Mangere Bridge, St Johns, Remuera, Oranga, One Tree Hill, Mangere East, Ellerslie, Royal Oak, Titirangi, Glendene, Blockhouse Bay… the list goes on. Will yours be next?
We are ratepayers yet we have had no voice in this. Auckland City Council and the Airport are jointly responsible for aircraft noise in our city but neither will take any action.The Airport is paying lip service to us; the Council simply doesn’t want to know.
ATPT has made a submission on the Unitary Plan, as have many individual members of the group, and we pursue all avenues that may lead towards the restoration of peace to our suburbs.
Fighting the well-oiled PR machine of Big Business doesn’t come cheap, and we are actively seeking support. Membership costs $10.00 and we need donations.Please do be generous: givealittle.co.nz ‘For the love of Auckland’ is our donation site.Every little helps.
For membership (and another way of making donations), our account number is 06 0177 0313619 00. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details so you can be added to the mailing list.
There is a flyer suitable for printing out. If you have access to a printer, it would be fantastic if you could make some copies and distribute them round your neighbourhood, and pin them on noticeboards at work, playgroups, community centres, libraries and the like.
The Auckland petition:
INSTITUTE A CURFEW FOR AUCKLAND INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
We the undersigned request that Auckland Council, through the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan and section 9 of the RMA, institute a curfew at Auckland International Airport.
The requested curfew is between the hours 10pm and 7am. We consider a curfew has become necessary due to the current changes to flight procedures over Auckland, and the planned significant increases in traffic through Auckland Airport.
A curfew does not necessarily involve a ban on all flights. Emergency flights and essential freight are usually excepted. It can also relate to certain types of aircraft or to altitude (a quiet night flying curfew).
The hours requested for a curfew are identical to those prescribed by AIAL and the stakeholders for the Smart approaches trial. Smart approaches will recommence early 2015. Should they become permanent, and in light of the noise created by the Arrivals Manager, these hours are a starting point in future negotiations with Council.
Funds are needed to continue the fight to restore our environmental amenity. Donations can be made to givealittle.co.nz ‘For the love of Auckland’. Please do be generous.
Residents plan protests over noisy flight paths
by JOE DAWSON
Aircraft noise campaigners will take to the streets tomorrow to protest against what they say is ruining any chance of Auckland becoming the world’s most liveable city.
Mt Eden resident Robin Scott and Sarah Scobie of Epsom South say changes made in the last year to the way airlines approach Auckland Airport have increased aircraft noise and adversely affected their quality of life.
They say aircraft using a new “condensed” flight path, continuous descent and fuel saving engine modes create a huge overhead racket at all hours.
A public meeting held in Royal Oak last year attracted 200 residents concerned about the noise increase.
Ms Scott says it is an Auckland-wide problem affecting people from Titirangi to Remuera.
“Auckland is a narrow, small area with an airport in the middle of the city.
“Noise reduction should be a key factor.
“We have so much sea around us it should be used at all times – but no – it’s profit before people’s mental and physical state.”
She says tomorrow’s gathering will be a “friendly vigil” to draw attention to their plight. They would like to see a return to the flight paths and practices used before April 2013.
Ms Scobie says she expects a solid turnout.
“There is a perception it’s a few squeaky old ducks in the leafy burbs complaining, but it’s actually Auckland-wide.”
The protest vigil will be held at the corner of Mt Albert Rd and Dominion Rd from 11.30am till 1.30pm tomorrow
ATPT (Auckland, The Plane Truth) is staging a series of vigils – peaceful, family-friendly protests – around Auckland at various locations adversely affected by noise pollution from jet aircraft. The aim of these is to raise awareness in the media of just how widespread the problem is.
Auckland: The Plane Truth wrote:
Planes are now low and slow, air braking and accelerating above historic Auckland city. In this area housing is in the main stand alone weatherboard with tin roofing and single glazing.
In addition, many have little or no insulation as timber shingle clad bays and stained glass windows do not readily lend themselves to simple noise mitigation measures. Departures in a low slow near level continuous climb are terrible in these areas. To further complicate matters, the track is above a ridge with several volcanic cones. The resulting amplification of sound in the lower areas is plain to see in the complaints hotspot which surrounds the tallest cone.
In stark contrast, houses under the old flightpath are many years post airport (Auckland airport opened in1966) and building code requirements for housing have been instituted in these areas.
In addition, the council and airport have since spent millions in noise mitigation on the earlier constructed homes. There are no plans to noise mitigate old homes now exposed to significant aircraft noise as the airport company claims there is no noise.
To complicate matters further, a trial of Smart approaches from November 2012 to November 2013 has now paved the way for two new tracks to start mid and later this year. These tracks will be above the most vulnerable areas for noise penetration into housing.
ATPT fears for what the future holds for these areas as it is pretty obvious that the choice of the major way-point naturally lends itself to putting all arrivals into this low curved shortcut.
The noise signature of the planes has definitely changed, in most cases readily penetrating timber walls and tin roofing.
We have been told by Auckland airport CEO that “the difference in noise is barely perceptible to the human ear”. This is patently untrue for those areas which have never previously experienced aircraft noise.
We are due to begin a mitigation and hearings process via a Resource Management Act (RMA) review. However we are reliably informed we don’t stand a chance against the might of the airport and airlines and Auckland council which is the largest shareholder in the airport company.