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Hong Kong's third runway proposal

Hong Kong green groups, residents concerned about noise from third runway

Residents of Ma Wan say they're already subject to noise pollution with just two runways going

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 April, 2015, 11:40pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 April, 2015, 10:55am

Aviation authorities are being urged to be forthcoming about whether more planes will fly over Ma Wan when the third runway is built, as residents in the Park Island estate on the island are already complaining about worsening noise pollution.

The advocacy group Green Sense said if Shenzhen refused to let Hong Kong use some of its airspace, there would be no option but to have more planes fly over the community of more than 15,000 people.

If that was the case, Green Sense warned, noise may exceed the permitted level set out in the environmental impact assessment report on the runway and it could be challenged in court.

Watch: Hong Kong’s third runway project causes controversy among Ma Wan island residents

There are concerns whether a three-runway system at Chek Lap Kok airport could handle 102 flights an hour, compared with the current 68, an increase that would require Shenzhen to cede some of its airspace to Hong Kong. Officials said they were working to resolve the issue with mainland authorities.

However Park Island residents said they already had enough noise pollution, and said they would protest the HK$14 billion project unless their concerns were addressed.

The government did not respond by press time to a request for comment submitted yesterday through its Information Services Department.

"It's like an air-wave bomb when plane flies above us," said Sylvia Lee Siu-fong, a resident of Park Island for 10 years. "The echo generated is even louder than the music we are playing in the garden."

Another resident, Wong Chi-ho, 60, said: "The problem is getting worse. The planes are flying above us more frequently, one after another. During winter time when the windows were open, I was awakened in the middle of the night by the planes."

At the moment, aircraft leaving Hong Kong fly to the South of Ma Wan after taking off. The South China Morning Post yesterday observed decibel levels from 70 to just above 80 - similar to a passing truck - when planes flew near the estate.

Green Sense president Roy Tam Hoi-pong said he had spoken to a pilot who said once the new runway was built, some planes would be flying directly over the area after taking off if they could not head north into mainland airspace.

"Will the residents suffer greater noise pollution?" he asked. "If the planes are not flying above Ma Wan where could they go when you can't head north?"