Penrith City Council has reiterated its support for Western Sydney International Airport, but is demanding a number of issues be addressed before its opening in 2026.
On Monday night, Councillors endorsed Council’s official response to the Airport’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which was released last year.
But not before concerns were raised about noise impacts on a number of local suburbs, specifically St Clair.
St Clair resident Ken Mott spoke at Council’s meeting, slamming Council’s response and airing concerns that the noise impact on his suburb would be dramatic and result in sleep deprivation.
“The impact on residents is only mentioned briefly in Penrith City Council’s submission,” he said.
Mott claimed increased noise in the years after the airport opened would have significant health impacts on St Clair residents, and impact quality of life for locals.
Councillor Kevin Crameri asked for a response back to Council in relation to Mott’s concerns.
“I think our submission is not really good enough,” he said.
Councillors agreed to include additional concerns and submissions from residents in its own submission, with a memo back to Councillors on the additional inclusions. The submission is due to be submitted on Wednesday.
In its response, Council notes that the EIS only includes impacts associated with the first runway, meaning that the impacts of the second runway are not known.
“Council’s submission calls for information on both runways to be made available so that the community can consider the cumulative impact of both runways and to better inform future land use planning decisions,” Council said in a summation of the submission presented to Councillors.
“Building on the first point, the Draft EIS identifies that there will be noticeable noise impacts for Penrith resulting in changed flight movements from Sydney International Airport (SIA). The information in the EIS should be presented in a way that allows the cumulative impact of both WSI and SIA to be assessed.”
Council also noted the EIS adopted night time noise criteria are determined by the curfew of SIA. That is, the night time noise period for WSI is 11pm to 5.30am rather than the typical industry standard for sleep disturbance of 11pm to 7am for airports. The Council submission calls for an alignment of the night time noise period.
In addition, Council says the Flight Path and Noise Insulation Policy accompanying the EIS is high level and requires more detailed work to allow for it to be fully assessed.
“The Policy is intended to generally align with the ANEC (Australian Noise Exposure Concept) Contours for Land Use Planning controls. However, it is expected that there will be noise impacts beyond the ANEC contours,” Council said.
“Council’s submission calls for the Policy, including financial support for retrofitting insulation measures, to be extended beyond the ANEC contours.”
In addition, Council’s response says: “Council has been notating properties advising of the likely impacts of aircraft noise for a number of years. These notations have been broadly based around the ANEC noise contours. Based on the exhibited EIS, it appears as if there are areas, particularly within St Clair, that will be impacted by noise that do not currently have notations. This will need to be managed by all levels of Government.”
Council is pushing for all properties in the Penrith Local Government Area to have a notation applied to Planning Certificates, directing potential landowners to the Australian Government’s Aircraft Overflight Noise Tool.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.