Wattle Grove residents call for alternatives to building third runway

Residents are calling for Perth Airport to rethink a third runway.
Residents are calling for Perth Airport to rethink a third runway.

WATTLE Grove residents are calling for Perth Airport to stagger flights more efficiently to reduce the need for a third runway.

Commenting on the Airport’s draft management plan currently out for public comment, Wattle Grove resident Tenzing David said the new runway would significantly disrupt the community by directing low-flying aircraft traffic overhead.

“Residents and children in Wattle Grove and neighbouring suburbs are entitled to have an active outdoor lifestyle, an uninterrupted sleep and wake up fresh for work the next day,” he said.

“There are long-term health risks for people living under the flight path including research that constant exposure to high levels of noise can lead to hypertension, hearing impairment, heart problems and sleep disturbance.

“Under the draft plan noise levels in Wattle Grove are expected to be between 70 to 80 decibels which is deafening.”

A Perth Airport spokesperson said it would continue to work with Airservices Australia, Commonwealth, State and local governments and industry to explore options to manage the exposure and potential impact of aircraft noise to residents surrounding Perth Airport, particularly during sensitive hours.

“Based on modelling, it is expected that on a typical weekday in 2025, Wattle Grove could experience between 18 and 143 departures in a 24-hour period, or an average of 71 flights,” the spokesperson said.

“Modelling identifies most of Wattle Grove could experience 50 to 100 noise events at or above 65 decibels.”

Mr David said Perth Airport needed to investigate alternative solutions.

“Noise management strategies should be further reviewed and enhanced through additional planning process,” he said.

“Clearly Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the busiest period for the airport because of the resource sector’s FIFO workforce requirements, and the need to time international flights to connect to other services at hub airports, Perth Airport experiences significant peak periods of departures and arrivals demand at certain times of the day and night.

“Why doesn’t the Airport negotiate with resource companies to stagger the workforce scheduling and deployment requirement throughout the week, which will increase the operational efficiency of the runway and mean a new runway would not be required for many decades?

“Alternatively why not consider an exclusive new runway catering for the resources industry at a feasible location that won’t impact on residents living around the Airport?”

The Airport spokesperson said the introduction of a peak pricing system in 2013 to manage the number of aircraft wanting to operate in the morning peak periods had little impact on airline scheduling.

“Due to the nature of the resource sector’s FIFO workforce scheduling and deployment requirements, and the need to time many international flights to connect to other services at hub airports, Perth Airport experiences significant peak periods of departures and arrivals demand,” the spokesperson said.

“Any change to airline scheduling would not only impact the Perth market but also the wider airline networks and add additional cost to passengers across all segments.”

Wattle Grove resident Raj Pandian said up to 100 planes overhead a day was far too many for a residential area.

“I call on the Airport to investigate building an airport for the resources sector elsewhere to ease the load on Perth Airport and then we won’t need third runway,” he said.

City of Kalamunda councillor Brooke O’Donnell has received more than 50 calls from residents concerned about the issue of aircraft noise when the third runway comes online.

“It’s really important residents take the time to have their say while public submissions are open because once the new runway comes online it will be here to stay,” she said.

“I hope Perth Airport takes all concerns from residents on board prior to proceeding to the next stage of seeking approvals.”

The requirement for the additional runway capacity is triggered when annual aircraft movements reach 145,000 per year.