On Thursday 15 September 2016 the NSW Government released the Western Sydney Airport Environmental Impact Statement 2016 to the public.
The EIS contains new technical assessments and revised modeling as well as responses to the feedback gained from community consultations. There were close to 5,000 responses made by community members, community groups, local councils, government and other stakeholders from across Greater Western Sydney.
The proposed Western Sydney Airport is set to commence operations in the mid-2020s. The EIS states that the proposed airport will re-distribute employment opportunities towards Western Sydney. It also states that the proposed airport will reduce stress on transport infrastructure leading into the Sydney CBD. This will be achieved through the $3.6 billion road investment program and potentially new rail networks.
A range of views were expressed about the health impacts of a 24-hour airport without a curfew. Technical assessments concluded that a curfew would have adverse economic impacts, and therefore the report confirms that the airport will operate for 24 hours.
“It has now been confirmed that the new Western Sydney Airport will operate for 24 hours a day. It is vital that community consultation is regular, robust and that community views are taken into consideration. Social impacts and benefits along with economic indicators must be at the forefront of decision making. Not just around the 24-hour operation, but in relation to all elements of the airport’s development.” WSCF Chief Executive Officer, Billie Sankovic, said.
The EIS includes assessments of general health, disease, sleep disturbance, and learning impacts on children. It states that communities closer to the airport will experience increased health impacts, however, these are expected to be generally low.
“As the flight paths in the report are only indicative and not yet final, the true extent of health and environmental impacts on communities is still unclear. WSCF will continue to monitor developments and is very keen to see how these impacts, once determined, will be minimised.” WSCF Chief Executive Officer, Billie Sankovic said.
A final determination of flight paths will be made outside of the EIS process. A number of other details remain unclear in the EIS. These will be addressed through further assessment, which are expected to take place over the next several years. The first of these is the Australian and NSW Governments Joint Scoping Study on the rail needs for Western Sydney and is currently open for public comment.
Western Sydney Community Forum will be providing further analysis of the Joint Scoping Study on the rail needs for Western Sydney.
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