Noise management and mitigation

Defence is open and honest about aircraft noise experienced by residents living near bases and training areas.

Defence meets its environmental obligations and is committed to reducing noise while balancing operational and training requirements. Transparent community engagement activities are an important part of meeting environmental requirements.

This approach is detailed in the Air Force Noise Management Strategy, the Fly Neighbourly Policy and land planning advice outlined below.

Individual Air Force bases also have Aircraft Noise Management Plans, which can be viewed via the Air bases page.

Additionally, homeowners wishing to reduce the impact of aircraft noise can refer to the advice on the Noise control page of the Australian Government's Your Home website.

Air Force Noise Management Strategy

Air Force Noise Management Strategy highlights the following activities and how each is to be achieved.

  • Minimise the impact of aircraft noise on local communities.
  • Continue proactive community engagement and consultation.
  • Manage noise complaints effectively.
  • Minimise urban encroachment on Defence airfields and training areas.
  • Conduct responsible environmental planning.
  • Integrate a comprehensive noise management system into Defence activities.

Air Force Aircraft Noise Management 2018-2023 brochure (PDF, 574.24 KB)

Fly Neighbourly Policy

Defence is committed to reducing aircraft noise around bases by minimising flights over existing, heavily populated residential areas.

The Fly Neighbourly Policy ensures that Defence is considerate of local communities when carrying out flying operations, while maintaining safe operation of aircraft and achieving required levels of capability.

The Fly Neighbourly Policy aims to:

  • comply with published airfield noise abatement procedures
  • maximise height flown over local communities
  • minimise the use of afterburners on fast jets during take-off
  • limit the speed of aircraft over populated areas
  • minimise flights over residential areas
  • minimised flights over noise sensitive buildings such as hospitals and schools
  • avoid low-flying over known noise-sensitive areas
  • minimise flying late at night or early in the morning
  • include aircraft noise awareness in pilot training and familiarisation
  • notify local communities of major exercises or other non-routine training and flying activities such as flying displays.

To further minimise noise at some bases Defence will:

  • limit continuous circuit training at night and on weekends and public holidays
  • use satellite airfields for repetitive aircraft circuits
  • vary flight paths to share noise
  • implement local engine run-ups procedures
  • minimise jet or turboprop engine testing at night.

Land planning

One of the most effective ways to reduce the impact of aircraft noise is through appropriate land planning by local town councils.

Defence provides Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) maps to advise councils and the community where locations are affected by aircraft noise. This can be both military and civilian aircraft noise. Local planning authorities use ANEF maps to determine if sites are suitable for residential, commercial or industrial development.

As the ANEF level increases, fewer types of development are acceptable, for example residential housing development is only acceptable outside the 20 ANEF contour. Details of building site acceptability based on ANEF zones is provided in Australian Standard AS 2021:2015 Acoustics (Table 2.1).