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Milford Noise Plan to create National Racket

12 October 2005
Aviation Industry Association Media Release

Proposed Noise Management Plan for Milford Aerodrome about to create a National Racket

The draft noise management plan for Milford Aerodrome released last week by the Department of Conservation is about to create a lot more racket in the Aviation Industry because of the detrimental impact it could have on “flight seeing” throughout New Zealand.

The total lack of a clear consultative process, the restrictions proposed and the demotion of Milford Aerodrome’s status to a private airstrip were a bad omen for aviation in Fiordland and for other areas where there were National Parks, the Chief Executive of the Aviation Industry Association, Irene King, said today.

“I find it incredible that DOC has chosen to ignore ‘best practice’ on noise management at airports and to recommend instead a regime which could potentially do a lot more harm to the natural environs of Fiordland National Park.

“This is the result you inevitably get when you don’t have a robust and transparent consultative process. While the plan remains draft policy, it is nonsensical to restrict stakeholders to commenting on ‘technical information’ when there are some fundamental flaws in the basic development of the plan.

“As an example of the flaws in the document, who proposed Milford Aerodrome should be re-categorised as a private airstrip? Private airstrips are found on farms for the spreading of fertiliser or non commercial activities. Milford is a busy commercial aerodrome with unique characteristics supported by a flight service. It is not some out-of-the way private airstrip,” Ms King said.

“Also, signalling the future use of quieter aircraft is one thing, but actually locking the industry into a particular technology and specific use of an aircraft type is quite another.

“If the Government is really serious about reducing aircraft pollution, why doesn’t it provide financial incentives to invest in quieter and more fuel efficient aircraft? The whole plan concentrates on reducing noise through rationing and use of a particular aircraft type. It doesn’t address how the industry might achieve this objective, and other equally important environmental objectives, in a sustainable manner.”

Ms King said the plan in many ways contradicted the Government’s stated objective of much greater integration of the various transport modes.

“We need a whole-of-government approach to managing and using our national parks rather than one government agency (DOC) claiming it can ration use on the ground while being in direct conflict with another (Civil Aviation Authority) that determines safety on the ground and in the air.”

The Aviation Industry Association held strongly to the view that the plan should not proceed without robust and transparent consultation with all stakeholders. This should be done within a framework that took equal account of the Government’s transport policies and the emphasis on environmental protection embodied in the draft plan, Ms King said.

ENDS

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