Council no to Tyabb Airfield noise law

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SHIRE councillors have rejected intro­ducing a noise control law for Tyabb Airfield.

At Mornington Peninsula Shire’s council meeting, nine of the 11 councillors voted to reject a proposal to adopt Environment Protection Authority noise control guidelines as part of the shire’s Local Laws, which were revised last year.

The move has angered and disappointed Tyabb and District Ratepayers, which is likely to take the matter further.

The council instead agreed to take up “the offer from Airservices Australia and Australian Mayoral Aviation Council to work through the issues” and called for yet another report.

A spokesman for Tyabb ratepayers said the group, with support of many residents, had been trying to get a noise law for about eight years.

“Tyabb Airfield operates in a regulatory void where federal bodies such as Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Airservices Australia have no coverage,” he said.

“This has been confirmed by successive federal transport ministers.

“The responsibility for noise at Tyabb lies with the EPA and the shire council.

“Casey Council has EPA-based noise laws for Tooradin airfield and Yarra Ranges Shire has laws for Lilydale and Coldstream airfields.”

He said the EPA “effectively controls aircraft noise from ground maintenance and has done so on a couple of occasions at Tyabb” but it did not cover noise of aircraft in flight.

“In May, council officers reported to councillors that they had written to various federal agencies and the EPA and were confident of their recommendation to incorporate the whole EPA guideline including aircraft and helicopters into the Local Law.

“Councillors chose to ignore the advice of officers and take up some vague offer from Air­services Australia. Thousands of Tyabb resi­dents have been sacrificed yet again at the al­tar of a few members of Peninsula Aero Club.”

Leading the move to reject the law were Cerberus Ward’s David Garnock and the mayor, Lynn Bowden, whose ward covers the airfield.

Cr Garnock said he wondered why the council was getting involved. “If we bring in this law it will just muddy the waters,” he said.

Both said there were enough organisations to control airfield noise.

Cr Graham Pittock, a former member of Peninsula Aero Club who once owned an ultralight, said he was against the law.

Controlling airfield and aircraft noise was the job of CASA, Airservices Australia and the EPA, he said. “It’s a ridiculous law; our compliance department is overworked.”

Cr Bev Colomb said several councillors were asking questions from a letter prepared by Peninsula Aero Club, which owns Tyabb Airfield and had vigorously lobbied against noise laws.

“We’ve been looking at this issue for a long time and the aero club and lots of other people have been involved. We have a responsibility to the airport and residents. It’s important residents know where they stand.”

The shire’s manager of environment and community safety, Claire Smith, said a noise law would help council officers deal with allegations.

Her colleague Mark Upton said the EPA, the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, and Airservices Australia all supported having local council laws for control of airfield noise.

The shire had a properly calibrated noise meter that could be used to investigate complaints, he said.

Cr Garnock asked if the airfield [operator] might appeal against a council decision on fines for noise and win, which might be potentially embarrassing.

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