Democrat urges new aircraft noise laws

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 12:00am

A lawmaker has urged the Government to introduce new aircraft noise-control laws, including a ban on high-rise developments in affected areas.

Democrat Albert Chan Wai-Yip said a Civil Aviation Department proposal to outlaw certain old and noisy jets from May, introduced to Legco on Monday, was merely a catch-up exercise with other countries.

After a meeting with the department, he said more measures were needed, as residents of some areas continued to be woken at night by planes overhead.

Breaches of noise limits should be measured and investigated by law, and non-complying airlines taken to court, he said.

New developments should be banned in areas that had a Noise Exposure Forecast (NEF) measure of 20 or more. This would restrict building in parts of North Lantau, Ma Wan and Castle Peak Road.

Present limitations only apply if there is an NEF measure - a complex calculation involving loudness, frequency and duration of aircraft noise - of more than 25.

The Civil Aviation Department refused to comment on Mr Chan's calls for legislative change, but noted complaints from residents had fallen dramatically, from more than 500 a month in 1998 to about 20.

The department had made some planes fly higher before going over residential areas, a spokesman said.

Mr Chan said residents no longer bothered complaining as they felt it was fruitless and only got standard letters in reply.

The Planning Department said the advice of other government departments would be taken into account in setting guidelines on appropriate areas for new residential buildings.