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Blue Mountains takes the hit: Hawkesbury largely escape new flight impact

Jun 27, 2023

The Hawkesbury has largely been spared from the most damaging impact of noise and air traffic for the new Western Sydney International (WSI) airport at Badgerys Creek according to new preliminary flight path information released today. However, the noise and flights will be spread over a larger area of the neighboring Blue Mountains and the pristine World Heritage listed National Park.

Unlike Sydney’s Mascot Airport the new airport at Badgerys Creek will be open 24 hours a day 7 days a week by 2026.

Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman said while some people may feel relief, others will be surprised and concerned to see their area impacted.

“As we digest the impact of the preliminary flight paths, I know people will feel angry. I know people will be upset. I also know we need to work together as a community to have effective input into this process,” she said.

Residents can view where the flights will go and use a noise tool which shows how much noise will impact individual areas under the preliminary plans. To see how the flight paths impact you click here: https://www.wsiflightpaths.gov.au/

Ebenezer, Maroota, Sackville, Cattai and Pitt Town fall under the norther arrivals flight path.

The RAAF base at Richmond has largely protected the Hawkesbury from commercial flights but not everyone will be spared. Ebenezer, Lower Portland, Cattai, Pitt Town and Oakville fall directly under flight paths. On one path – Runway 23 – aircraft will be descending between 8000 feet and 5000 feet. On average there will be 16 upto a maximum of 37 flights during the day and evening period when this flight path is in use. On another path – Runway 05 – there will be on average eight flights a day and a maximum of 19 under that path. Residents will hear aircraft flying to and from WSI at a noise level of about 42 decibels from aircraft descending between 17500ft and 13300ft.

Flights will also skirt close to the eastern side of Windsor, Windsor Downs, Oakville, Mulgrave and Bligh Park.  There will be a path crossing near Yarramundi  and over Grose Wold with a few flights when that path is in use. In the mountains flights, at times will cross near Kurrajong and Bowen Mountain and Kurrajong Heights.

Overall, residents in the south west of Sydney will be most affected by noise from the new curfew-free airport, with areas including Erskine Park, Blacktown and Penrith some of the hardest hit. For example, in Penrith there will be up to 37 departures per day over central Penrith at between 5000-8000 feet and 68 landings over Cambridge Park area between 2500 and 5000 feet.

In the Blue Mountains, mapping shows areas from Faulconbridge to Woodford fall under the flight paths while Blaxland bears less of the burden than it did under modelling released in 2015.

Currently there is very little ambient noise in the pristine world heritage area used for low impact recreational pursuits by residents and tourists. Under the new flight paths plans would fly frequently and at much lower levels over the National Park. Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill has vowed to fight the plans warning that the area’s World Heritage listing could be threatened by the plans.

“If our World heritage Listing is pulled because aircraft noise adversely impacts the World Heritage values of the Blue Mountains, the four million tourists a year who come to the Blue Mountains will evaporate – and so will the jobs they create,” he said.

Member for the Hawkesbury Robyn Preston has been contacted for comment.

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