Watchdog to keep eye on airport noise
A community watchdog upset over airport noise says it will keeping a close eye on Auckland Airport’s plans to lengthen its second runway.
Auckland Airport wants to add nearly a kilometre to the runway, which has been flagged for 16 years and already has basic consent.
However, the proposed changes would greatly boost the number of affected landowners, adding 475 home owners in the Mangere, Flat Bush and Otara areas, bringing the total to over 500.
Auckland’s Plane Truth Action Group spokeswoman Lorraine Clark said aircraft noise was an issue worldwide as new technology let planes fly differently and at lower altitudes.
People were being affected by changed flight paths all over Auckland but felt powerless to complain. And although the airport was offering those closest noise mitigation measures such as double glazing and insulation, it was far from ideal.
‘‘Who wants to live inside if you’ve got kids in the summer with the air conditioning? What do you do? It’s just not the way we’ve lived in New Zealand pre- viously, having an airport of that size with those massive widebodied jets coming and going.
‘‘When [the airport] was put there, the original path went over green space ... A lot of old housing that’s not properly protected, there’s just no way to mitigate them for noise.’’
Clark acknowledged the airport had a noise consultation committee, and said she had greater hopes for it now that it included representatives without links to the council, a major airport shareholder.
Mt Eden resident Robin Scott said aircraft noise never bothered her until flight paths changed a few years ago.
She had lived in the area for 45 years. ‘‘The only time you saw or heard a plane was if you had a military flyover or a helicopter now and again.’’
Now the noise was so bad, she had installed double glazing. She believed the airport should reimburse her, but was not hopeful. ‘‘Little people don’t count.’’
The airport has long planned a second runway to cope with an expected doubling of visitors over the next 25 years
Auckland Airport spokeswoman Lisa Mulitalo said noise mitigation packages would be offered to affected residents.
A Qantas Boeing 737-838 lands at Auckland Airport. Passenger numbers are forecast to increase to 40 million by 2044.