New Clause Could Stop Housing Around Western Sydney Airport

A new clause has been inserted in the final District Plans that could have the effect of stopping thousands of new homes around the Western Sydney airport, says the Urban Taskforce.

New Clause Could Stop Housing Around Western Sydney Airport
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A new clause has been inserted in the final District Plans that could have the effect of stopping thousands of new homes around the Western Sydney airport, says the Urban Taskforce.

“The draft Western City District Plan made no reference to the National Airports Safeguarding Framework (NASF) that defines excessive new noise contours around airports but a new clause has appeared in the recently released final plans that could have dramatic impacts on new housing up to 25 km from the Western Sydney airport,” says Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson “The new clauses is 28k on page 70 in the Western District City Plan and it requires ‘giving effect to the National Airports Safeguarding Framework, incorporating noise...measures’. This introduces a new method for measuring noise that could stop new housing that is currently permissible, across an extra 240 square kilometres around Western Sydney Airport.”

“The Urban Taskforce has been trying to stop these excessive measures since 2012 when we produced a 60-page report by acoustic and property experts that assessed that as many as 134,000 new homes could be stopped around all of Australia’s airports without including Western Sydney Airport. In December 2015 we issued a media release in response to the Federal Government’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Western Sydney Airport saying ‘Western Sydney airport noise contour option could stop 10,000 new homes’. The Federal Government’s own draft EIS contained contour maps showing the current approach to measuring noise (the ANEF system) as well as those from the NASF approach which covered a vast additional area around the airport.”

“For three decades Australia has used the ANEF system for measuring noise around airports and this system is one of the most stringent in the world. For some reason, the Federal Government decided in 2011 to overlay a new method of measuring noise with little understanding of the impact of this on land use planning. Despite our significant concerns the draft EIS for the Western Sydney Airport issued late in 2015 contained the NASF system with drawings indicating significant impact on proposed housing areas.”

“The Urban Taskforce has written to a number of NSW Planning Ministers on this issue. We wrote to Minister Robert Stokes on 25 June 2015 and again on 5 January 2016 but despite meetings, no action seems to have followed. We even forwarded a letter from his predecessor, Brad Hazzard, stating that ‘the NSW Government has not indicated support for the draft noise metrics being proposed as part of the Safeguarding Framework’ (8 April 2014). The Urban Taskforce has been alerting the NSW Government of the dangers of adopting the NASF approach since 2012.”

“In 2015 the Federal Government attempted to have NASF incorporated in the Australian Standard (AS 2021 2015, Acoustics – Aircraft Noise Intrusion – Building Siting and Construction) but this was rejected. The Australian Standard makes it very clear that ANEF is the only noise assessment system to be applied and that it is unacceptable to have houses, flats or home units in zones greater than 25 ANEF (Table 2.1, page 12)”

“Despite our continual objections it now appears that under the Western City District Plan section devoted to ‘managing the interfaces of industrial areas, trade gateways an intermodal facilities’ a new clause has appeared (28k) requiring the local councils and State agencies to ‘give effect’ to the National Airports Safeguarding Framework in relation to noise. This is quite different to the Section 117 Direction from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment issued on 14 April 2016 that set the 20 ANEF contour as the one to be used to avoid incompatible development within.”

“The biggest impact will be around the Western Sydney Airport which has no curfew. The NASF guideline says that no more than 6 events between 11 pm and 6 am which create a 60 db(A) or greater noise impact should be allowed where noise-sensitive development can be built. The Western Sydney Airport EIS maps clearly illustrated (figure 31-34) the impact of noise contours for Prefer 05 option where 10 events at 60bd(A) occurred. This would appear to impact on the proposed housing release areas of Austral, Marsden Park and existing housing in Blacktown and south of Penrith.”

The Urban Taskforce calls on the NSW Government to remove references to the NASF system in relation to noise from its Western City District Plan to ensure that there is no confusion over where housing can be located around the Western Sydney Airport. We understand that this is likely to occur.

“The Eastern City District Plan has also included a new clause (36K) on page 71 since the draft was issued which could have an impact on new housing around Sydney Airport. The new NASF noise contour would add an extra 60 square kilometres of land that could be deemed not suitable for new housing and that this should be disclosed to new residents. Clause 29 of Guideline A of NASF states that State and Local Governments should support effective disclosure of aircraft noise to prospective residents. This should be required where ultimate capacity noise modelling for the airport indicates 20 or more daily events greater than 70 db(A). At the very least this notification (now that it is in the District Plan) will devalue new residential properties within the expanded area defined by the 20 events at 70 db(A) contour. This could impact on new housing at Green Square, along Anzac Parade and other areas around the airport.”

The Urban Taskforce calls on the NSW Government to remove the requirements to give effect to the NASF system in relation to noise from all District Plans and to continue to only utilise the long-term and respected ANEF system for land use planning. The Federal Government should withdraw NASF in relation to land use planning.

Map indicating the impact of the NASF noise contours (blue line) compared to the existing ANEF controls (orange line)


6 March 2012
60-page report – Economic Analysis of Airport Noise Guidelines (Draft National Airports Safeguarding Framework) By, MacroPlanDimasi, Wilkinson Murray, Gadens, CBRE.

15 March 2012
Report and letter sent to Federal Government (Scott Stone GM Aviation) and to NSW Government (Brad Hazzard, Minister Planning and Sam Haddad (DG Planning).

8 April 2012
Letter from Minister Brad Hazzard, NSW Government not indicated support for draft noise metrics in NASF.

17 October 2012
Letter to Colin Blair, CEO Standards Australia redo not support NASF being included in AS2021.

25 June 2015
Letter to Planning Minister Rob Stokes raising concern that the Western Sydney EIS could include NASF – a staff meeting followed on 18 August 2015.

18 December 2015
Letter and submission to Federal Government, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development raising concern that NASF was in the draft EIS for Western Sydney Airport.

24 December 2015
Media Release, “Western Sydney airport noise contour option could stop 10,000 new homes” – raising concerns about NASF.

5 January 2016
Letter to Planning Minister, Rob Stokes, raising concern that the Draft EIS included NASF as a land use planning tool.

October 2017
Draft District Plans issues. No reference to NASF in Draft Western District, Eastern or Southern District Plans.

March 2018
District Plans released and a reference to Giving effect to NASF included with the responsibility being Councils, other planning authorities, State agencies.

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