New runway means more noise
Building height restrictions would now affect more properties
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.