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Managing the use and development of land surrounding airports protects flight paths from inappropriate development and limits the subsequent exposure of people to aircraft noise.

This is important to the ongoing viability of airports, particularly those with curfew free operations, but also to minimise impacts on surrounding communities.

The National Airports Safeguarding Framework addresses aircraft noise through Guideline A: Measures for Managing Impacts of Aircraft Noise.

Noise scale dB(A)
Source: Melbourne airport

120 dB(A) – Threshold of pain

110 dB(A) – Club or rock concert

95 dB(A) – pneumatic drill (un-silenced at 7m distance)

83 dB(A) – heavy diesel truck (40 km/h at 7m distance)

82 dB(A) International wide-body departure 3.6km from runway threshold, at an altitude of 1,450 feet

80 dB(A) – International wide-body arrival 3.6km from runway threshold, at an altitude of 600 feet

79 dB(A) – Domestic narrow-body departure 3.6km from runway threshold, at an altitude of 1,450 feet

78 dB(A) – Domestic narrow-body arrival 3.6km from runway threshold, at an altitude of 600 feet

70 dB(A) – Passenger car (60km/h at 7m distance

60 dB(A) – ordinary conversation

40 dB(A) – Library reading room

35 dB(A) – quiet bedroom

0 dB(A) – threshold of hearing

Source: APAM and NASF guideline A: Attachment 1

3.6k is approximately the distance from Runway 34R to the Calder Freeway. Aircraft noise values are based on modelling used in the M3R MDP.

Airport Environs Overlay and Melbourne Airport Environs Overlay

The Airport Environs Overlay (AEO) and Melbourne Airport Environs Overlay (MAEO) controls are used to limit noise-sensitive uses and the impacts of aircraft noise on development through measures designed to minimise the noise. These measures are guided by Australian Standard 2021-2015: Acoustics – Aircraft noise intrusion - Building siting and construction and include insulation and window treatments.

The areas where these controls apply are determined by an airport's forecast aircraft noise exposure contours (ANEF). These contours align with the flight paths in use when an airport is operating at its ultimate future capacity. Airservices Australia endorses each airport's ANEF for technical accuracy. The ANEF is included within approved airport master plans, including the 2018 Melbourne Airport Master Plan. The 2018 Melbourne Airport Master Plan, which includes a new ANEF, has been approved by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development after public exhibition concluded on 8 October 2018. The ANEF is the agreed metric applied in all planning jurisdictions for statutory planning purposes.

Melbourne Airport Environs Overlay Advisory Note

The New Planning Provisions for Melbourne Airport Advisory Note, 2007 provides information on the Melbourne Airport Environs Overlay controls and the key features of the controls.

To ensure Melbourne Airport's ongoing protection, the government has committed to review the declared Melbourne Airport Environs Area and associated Melbourne Airport Environs Strategy Plan, which was approved by Parliament in 2003. This will inform departmental advice.

Viewing overlays and property reports

A free property report is available that shows the proximity of overlays to any property, including the Airport Environs Overlay or Melbourne Airport Environs Overlay. Get a Property Report.

VicPlan, the state-wide map viewer for zone and overlay information, can also be used to search for a property and generate a report showing the property's proximity to overlays.

Alternative noise metrics

Victoria, in agreeing to include the National Airports Safeguarding Framework in the planning system, will implement the alternative noise metrics (known as 'N' Contours or 'Number Above' Contours) in strategic planning decisions only, where there is potential for future communities to be unnecessarily exposed to aircraft noise. For example, a proposal to rezone land to facilitate more intensive residential development within airport environs.

N Contours indicate potential noise exposure where the noise level from a single aircraft exceeds 60dB(A), 65dB(A) or 70dB(A) per day, as opposed to the annual average approach that informs the application of ANEF Contours. Where N contours exist, they should be examined when considering strategic planning proposals near airports. This is additional to the ANEF contours, which remain the metric applied in Victoria for statutory planning purposes through the Airport Environs Overlay and Melbourne Airport Environs Overlay.

More information

Page last updated: 09/06/23


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