Loud as a hair dryer: Suburbs worst hit by aircraft noise

 

Fancy an alarm clock, hair dryer or coffee grinder going off from 6am, multiple times a day, every day?

That is the level of noise experienced in many suburbs since new flight paths came into effect following the opening of Brisbane's second runway last July.

Airservices Australia's online Webtrak site shows noise levels have shot up at a dozen monitoring sites from Nudgee in the east, to Bardon in the west and south as far as Salisbury.

Webtrak showed some of the stations routinely record noise levels above 70 decibels (dB) in the morning on April 20, for example - equivalent to a washing machine.

WEBTRAK RECORDINGS, 9-9.17AM, APRIL 20

QFA824, Eagle Farm 79dB; Hamilton 73dB; Bulimba 76dB; New Farm 74dB; University of Queensland 68dB; Bardon 60dB

QJE1775 Eagle Farm 78dB, Tingalpa 69dB

VOZ605 Eagle Farm 78dB; Hamilton 76dB; New Farm 71dB; UQ 65dB; Bardon 61dB

VOZ775 Eagle Farm 78dB; Hamilton 77dB; Bulimba 73dB; New Farm 71dB; UQ 67dB; Bardon 60dB

UTY860 Eagle Farm 78dB; Hamilton 73dB; Bulimba 73dB; New Farm 71dB; UQ 67dB; Bardon 60dB

 

But the figures are understating the true extent of plane noise in some areas, according to information uploaded on popular aircraft noise app explane.

The app, developed by the SchipholWatch volunteer group which has been fighting aircraft noise in Amsterdam, uses data uploaded from the phones of thousands of people in their homes and workplaces.

Dutch-owned Schiphol is the part owner and operator of Brisbane Airport.

The explane app's designers claimed calibrations in the "field'' showed readings from mobile phones with the app had a margin of error of only 2-3dB.

However, measurements could be affected by things such as coughing or a door slamming.

The app revealed 10 Brisbane and Logan postcodes with plane noise at or above 73dB, with the CBD right on top at 84dB - louder than a hair dryer.

Gert-Jan de Graaff, Chief Executive Officer of Brisbane Airport Corporation, on the finished second runway last year. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australia
Gert-Jan de Graaff, Chief Executive Officer of Brisbane Airport Corporation, on the finished second runway last year. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australia

 

10 NOISIEST POSTCODES (as reported on explane)

4000 (CBD, Spring Hill, Petrie Tce), 84dB

4170 (Cannon Hill, Morningside, Norman Park, Seven Hills), 78dB

4173 (Tingalpa), 78dB

4120 (Greenslopes, Stones Corner), 77dB

4011 (Clayfield, Hendra), 75dB

4054 (Arana Hills, Keperra), 75dB

4035 (Albany Creek, Bridgeman Downs), 75dB

4013 (Northgate), 74dB

4007 (Ascot, Hamilton), 74dB

4118 (Browns Plains, Forestdale, Regents Park, Heritage Park, Hillcrest), 73dB

 

The 5000-strong residents' lobby group, Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance (BFPCA) estimated 24 suburbs were significantly affected.

They included: Annerley; Brookfield; Bardon; Camp Mountain; CBD; Chapel Hill; Coorparoo; East Brisbane; Hawthorne; Kangaroo Point; Morningside; New Farm; Newstead; Norman Park; Northgate; Nudgee; Pullenvale; Rocklea; Samford Valley; St Lucia; Taringa; The Gap; Wavell Heights; Woolloongabba; and Yeerongpilly.

Bulimba resident, Majid Miri, said he regularly recorded noise levels of about 60dB, but people nearby at Hawthorne were enduring noise up to 80-85dB.

"It really depends where you are. If a plane flies only a few hundred metres to the left or right of your house it can make a big difference,'' Mr Miri said.

"There are anomalies where noise is lower in some areas closer to the airport, but higher further away, and it depends on a lot of other factors such as living on a hilltop.

"Even if it's only 55-58dB, which doesn't sound like a lot, it's the frequency that bothers people.

Aircraft noise since new Brisbane flight paths began has been unbearable for thousands of residents, who endure sounds up to 70-80 decibels every time a plane goes overhead.
Aircraft noise since new Brisbane flight paths began has been unbearable for thousands of residents, who endure sounds up to 70-80 decibels every time a plane goes overhead.

 

"I had 15 planes go over in an hour this morning (April 20) for instance.

"A garbage truck makes a lot more noise than a plane, but you only get that once a week whereas with aircraft it's frequent.''

Brisbane Airport Corporation, which oversaw the environmental impact statement for the new runway, has previously said noise levels have dropped in some suburbs.

But it conceded the estimates it told the public during the EIS process were inaccurate for some other suburbs such as New Farm.

Mr Miri said another problem with aircraft noise was that it was not constant.

Constant noise such as traffic sounds became, over time, "white'' or background noise which the brain learned to ignore.

"You never know when the next plane will fly overhead, and the sound can come from anywhere, which all makes it worse,'' he said.

 

Typical decibel (Db) levels from household items

Cars 60-80

Washing machine 70

Vacuum cleaner 73

Alarm clock 73-80

Coffee grinder 75

Hair dryer 78

Train 90

 

 

WHAT SOME BFPCA MEMBERS ARE SAYING:

Colin Dee Bee: Some quick stats from middle of the day today (April 16). My average background noise is 52-54dB. When the bus goes past or the neighbour parks with radio going that's about 56dB. Today at 12.08 EK 2670 flew directly overhead at 1700ft at 62-63dB. At 12:11 VA 1272 flew the same route and height for the same noise level. At 12:35 VA 608 on the same route and height also flew directly overhead for the same 62-63dB.

Martin Hesse: I clock on average 80-85dbs.

Karin Perisic

Big monster on the way 78db at Annerley.

Kirsty Ann

78db is kind of the norm here.

Originally published as Loud as a hair dryer at 6am: Suburbs worst hit by aircraft noise



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