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.

‘‘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 air- port 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 reim- burse 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. Pas­sen­ger num­bers are fore­cast to reach 40 mil­lion a year by 2044.

Auck­land Air­port spokes- wo­man Lisa Muli­talo said noise mit­i­ga­tion pack­ages to af­fected res­i­dents would be­come avail­able.

‘‘What­ever they need, we will talk to them about it and it sort of varies de­pend­ing on the house size, when it was built, what they’ve al­ready got in the house,’’ she said.

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