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Noise impact of no curfew airport revealed

Residents in a 20 kilometre stretch of land around the new western Sydney airport which will operate around the clock with no curfew will experience noise levels of around 70 decibels, data shows.

Photo: AAP/Joel Carrett

Photo: AAP/Joel Carrett

Construction began three years ago for the $5.3 billion international airport, also known as Nancy-Bird Walton Airport, at Badgerys Creek, 45km from the Sydney CBD and which is due to open in late 2026.

It will be the first airport in NSW with no curfew, allowing flights to operate around the clock, seven days a week.

The proposed flight paths, along with estimated aircraft noise impacts, became available on Tuesday for surrounding communities through an online interactive Aircraft Overflight Noise Tool.

The tool allows people to type in their address to get a picture of the preliminary flight paths, including the expected altitude at that location, daily aircraft numbers and the predicted aircraft noise.

People living in Mount Druitt, Penrith, Windsor, Bankstown, Luddenham and Prospect are likely to be the most impacted.

A 20km stretch of land will be subjected to noise levels of around 70 decibels, according to noise assessment modelling.

The suburb of Erskine Park will be particularly hard hit, with up to 49 flights exceeding 70 decibels expected in a single day.

About 25,000 flights are expected to fly in and out of the airport each year.

Transport Minister Catherine King says community information and feedback sessions will be held across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains in the coming months.

“Communities will be able to find out more information and speak with the flight path design team at these events,” she said.

“The Albanese government is committed to balancing the needs of the community, environment, industry and users of the broader greater Sydney airspace, while maintaining safety as a priority, in the design of [the airport’s] flight paths.”

Labor MP for Macquarie Susan Templeman says numerous flight paths will impact the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury.

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“These are not the same flight paths that were included in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of 2015, which had every incoming flight pass over Blaxland,” she said in a statement.

Many residents will be shocked and upset about planes flying over a pristine and quiet World Heritage area, she said.

“It’s the last thing people (and) tourists would want.”

The preliminary flight paths were developed according to airspace design principles reflecting community feedback from “proof-of-concept” flight paths released in 2015.

These include minimising flights over residential areas and reducing the impact on the community of aircraft operations at night.

Business Western Sydney executive director David Borger said the airport and its associated flight paths had been in planning for the past 30 years and no one should be shocked.

“Of course, there will be impacts,” he said.

“But it nowhere near compares to Sydney (Kingsford Smith) airport.”

The airport has been designed to avoid as much residential noise impact as possible, he said.

“It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to generate employment and connect Western Sydney with the world.”

Later this year, the federal government will release a new draft environmental impact statement examining the noise, social and environmental impacts of the flight paths.

-with AAP

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