20/09/2017 - 13:15

Transport noise policy revamp

20/09/2017 - 13:15

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Striking a balance between transport corridors and urban development is the main objective of a revised planning policy that aims to mitigate road and rail noise for new residential projects.

Allison Hailes says UDIA is currently reviewing the revised policy. Photo: David Broadway

Striking a balance between transport corridors and urban development is the main objective of a revised planning policy that aims to mitigate road and rail noise for new residential projects.  

Transport and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti recently released the revised ‘State Planning Policy 5.4: Road and Rail Noise’ and its associated guidelines for public comment, with submissions closing December 15.

The revised policy, which was originally gazetted in 2009, seeks to provide clearer guidance to minimise unreasonable levels of transport noise while protecting the state’s major transport corridors, such as the Metronet rail project.

The policy broadly applies to new residential developments proposed within a range of 60 to 300 metres from a specified transport corridor, and places a greater focus on road and rail noise earlier in the planning process to create better land-use and development outcomes.

Key changes to the policy include: an emphasis on simplifying the noise criteria and assessment process; providing standardised templates for noise management plans; local planning scheme provisions; and notification on title wording, which advises prospective purchasers of the potential for noise impacts.

Providing new noise exposure categories that correspond with quiet house design requirements, such as building orientation, window glazing and insulation, is also on the list of proposed changes.

Urban Development Institute of Australia WA chief executive Allison Hailes said the organisation was currently reviewing the draft road and rail noise policy, but was disappointed with some aspects of the proposal.

“While UDIA welcomes the state government’s attempt to ensure the community is not unreasonably affected by excessive noise generated from freight transport, the policy response needs to recognise that complaints about freight noise have been largely limited to a small number of ‘hotspots’ adjacent to freight lines within the Metropolitan region,” Ms Hailes told Business News

These hotspots included LandCorp’s Cockburn Coast, as well as areas across Spearwood, Midland and Fremantle, according to UDIA research. 

“Therefore, the identification of areas within 200 metres of secondary roads as noise sensitive is likely to mean that significant numbers of projects are unnecessarily going to become caught up in the policy in its current form,” she said.   

“Furthermore, it is disappointing that the measures to mitigate noise will be borne solely by businesses and homeowners, as there are no requirements on freight operators to improve their operations, despite mitigation at source being proven to be the most effective and efficient solution.”

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