Our mission is to help conserve the natural environment of the Greater Blue Mountains
and to increase awareness of the natural environment in general.
EIS RELEASED: WESTERN SYDNEY AIRPORT NOISE IMPACT
©Ross Coster (November 2016)
This airport will have a huge impact on our World Heritage National Parks and Wilderness areas, our townships and our tourist industry.
The EIS uses ideal numbers from modern aircraft (the A320) for noise modelling, and shows 60dBA over the lower Mountains National Parks and townships. If the plane doing the landing is a 747-400, then the noise level at Glenbrook will be 70dBA.
60dBA is equivalent to a normal conversation; 70dBA is classified as 'loud' and is equivalent to 'normal street noise'. A typical A380 (which the spruikers will have you believe is 'quiet') sits somewhere between these two numbers.
The Government anticipates that "noise levels around the western Sydney area will be manageable. They will generally be about conversational level in volume, and rarely would people be required to raise their voices because of the fact that there were aircraft movements in the area.
"Planes over the Penrith CBD (and Glenbrook) would be flying at 5000 feet which would mean a noise level below 70 decibels. "That is equivalent to the noise that you would hear from a passenger car travelling on a suburban road,". (SMH 18/10/15)
What will be the effect of this aircraft noise on our World Heritage National Parks and other quiet places?
Some studies of noise effect on bird life have crossed my desk in recent months.
Researchers (Halfwerk, Holleman, Lessells and Slabbekoorn) looked for evidence of bird abundance close to a heavily trafficked road (where 70 dBA would be expected) and found a marked drop off in bird numbers (about 30% less birds).
A different study (Francis, Kleist, Ortega and Cruz) found that noise reduced seed dispersal and pollination patterns around the noise source.
An article in the SMH (23-24/6/12) by Deborah Smith mentions that birds in urban (noisy) environments develop different calls, at higher frequencies, and with slower patterns, so they can hear each other over the noise. This leads to lower breeding success and shrinking populations.
Not only will we, as residents of the Blue Mountains, be bombarded with 24-hour intermittent noise as loud as a nearby conversation, but our birds will also be affected and reduced in numbers, and our plants will not be seeded and pollinated as often or as widely.
The proposed Airport at Badgerys Creek is a grand experiment in how much humans will tolerate in the interests of jobs and growth, and in what effect the Airport will have on birds and other wildlife.
This is an experiment we do not need or want conducted.