New run­way means more noise

Build­ing height re­stric­tions would now af­fect more prop­er­ties

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS - Grant Bradley

Auck­land Air­port’s sec­ond run­way plans will cre­ate height re­stric­tions and noise for more prop­er­ties. The sec­ond run­way is 833m longer and fur­ther to the north than the one orig­i­nally ap­proved, mean­ing the air­port was yes­ter­day morn­ing pub­licly no­ti­fy­ing the plans and will go through a new round of con­sent hear­ings. Build­ing height re­stric­tions would now af­fect more prop­er­ties, but they would only ap­ply to ex­tremely tall struc­tures. Build­ings within the lim­its of the Uni­tary Plan would not be af­fected. The “Ob­sta­cle Lim­i­ta­tion Sur­face” (OLS) ex­tends out from the run­way cen­tre­line re­strict­ing the max­i­mum height of build­ings and trees to en­sure the safe op­er­a­tion of the airspace sur­round­ing the air­port. It en­sures that air­craft main­tain a level of safety while ma­noeu­vring at a low al­ti­tude. About 500 more prop­er­ties, mainly in Man­gere, Flat Bush and Otara, are af­fected by new noise con­tours.

Con­sent was first granted in 2002, but the plans were de­layed when the vol­ume of traf­fic dipped around the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

How­ever, the air­port com­pany says the 2014 mas­ter plan pre­dicts growth in pas­sen­ger num­bers and the air­craft that will be needed to cater for that growth, so it now has to build the run­way 72m fur­ther north than what was ap­proved 16 years ago. About 19 mil­lion pas­sen­gers passed through the air­port last year and this num­ber is pre­dicted to dou­ble by 2044.

The sec­ond run­way will pro­vide greater op­er­a­tional re­silience should one of the run­ways need to be closed at any time. By max­imis­ing the use of the ex­ist­ing south­ern run­way, it hopes the sec­ond run­way will be op­er­a­tional by 2028.

The in­tro­duc­tion of the sec­ond run­way will, how­ever, ex­pand the im­pact of the air­port on neigh­bour­ing ar­eas. Close to 3000 prop­er­ties are al­ready di­rectly af­fected by the south­ern run­way and the new one will re­sult in new flight paths over the rest of the city.

The Her­ald re­ported in July that those di­rectly af­fected would be of­fered be­tween $7000 and $8000 noise mit­i­ga­tion per house, in­clud­ing in­su­la­tion and heat pumps al­low­ing them to have win­dows closed dur­ing sum­mer.

The new run­way has been on the draw­ing board for decades and the fi­nal pro­posal will need a tun­nel be­neath it for road traf­fic on Ge­orge Bolt Memo­rial Drive. The cut-and-cover tun­nel will also pro­vide space for a train track to reach the air­port ter­mi­nal that will link do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions as part of the “Air­port of the Fu­ture” plan.

Pas­sen­ger charges will also in­crease from 2021 to pay for the new run­way work.

The Auck­land Air­port Noise Con­sul­ta­tion Group has been vo­cal in its op­po­si­tion to the project, ex­press­ing con­cerns about the noise it would cause.

The air­port has also said it will need both run­ways (ex­ist­ing and pro­posed sec­ond run­way) to be used by long-haul in­ter­na­tional flights, and a larger sep­a­ra­tion dis­tance is re­quired be­tween the run­ways to ac­com­mo­date wide-bod­ied air­craft. In or­der to make these changes to the ap­proved lo­ca­tion and length of the sec­ond run­way, it has sub­mit­ted plans to Auck­land Coun­cil be­fore public hear­ings.

A fi­nal coun­cil de­ci­sion could be ap­pealed to the En­vi­ron­ment Court.

Sub­mis­sions close in a month.

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