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.
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 Melbourne Airport Master Plan (2013). 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.
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.
- National Airports Safeguarding Framework Guideline A - Measures for Managing Impacts of Aircraft Noise
- The revised Australian Standard 2021 was published in March 2015 and is available for purchase from SAI Global Ltd
- Melbourne Airport Noise Tool
- Aircraft noise website - an initiative of Airservices Australia and the Australian Airports Association
- Airservices Australia - Aircraft noise
- Department of Defence - Aircraft noise