Night flights may pass closer to Disco Bay to cut Ma Wan noise

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 February, 2009, 12:00am

Civil aviation officials will look into reducing aircraft noise at Ma Wan by 'fine-tuning' a night flight path that may take more flights closer to Discovery Bay and Disneyland.

But the potential impact of noise brought by rerouting flights closer to Discovery Bay and other areas and the safety implications were also sources of concern, the Civil Aviation Department said in a paper submitted to the legislature yesterday.

A consultant would be hired to look into the proposal, it said. Study results are expected at the year's end.

'The consultant will study the aircraft noise impact of introducing an earlier turn in Ma Wan and adjacent populated areas such as Discovery Bay and Peng Chau,' a department spokesman said. 'Due to the terrain of northeastern Lantau, introducing earlier south turns may bring about safety concerns too.'

Residents on Park Island in Ma Wan have complained about excessive aircraft noise, particularly between 11pm and 7am.

In the existing night flight path, planes taking off from Chek Lap Kok towards the northeast have to turn south towards West Lamma Channel when they reach Lantau's northeastern corner, if safety conditions allow.

The south turn had been introduced to avoid aircraft flying directly over Ma Wan and Kowloon to minimise noise. Other mitigation measures included banning noisy planes and requiring aircraft to climb higher right after takeoff.

But Ma Wan residents said the arrangements were too little to address their plight. They have demanded an earlier south turn, when the aircraft near Sunny Bay.

Park Island's monitoring station in 2007 recorded nearly 8,000 cases of noise exceeding the legal limit of 70 decibels - the highest among 16 stations manned by the department across the city.

The department said it had no plan to change the 1,200-metre flight limit over Disneyland, which Ma Wan residents had said might make the rerouting possible.

Albert Chan Wai-yip, a legislator from the League of Social Democrats who represents the New Territories West constituency and has been helping Ma Wan residents with the noise issue, cautiously welcomed the study. 'The department should take the study seriously and avoid manipulating the outcome to justify doing nothing.'