Noise Expert Calls for Cruise Terminal Changes

Tuesday, 31 January, 2017

Real time noise monitoring for ships berthed at the White Bay Cruise Terminal is essential to improve outcomes for residents according to a noise mitigation expert.

With the public exhibition of Sydney Port’s proposed noise mitigation strategy closing 31 January, Council engaged independent contractor Rodney Stevens Acoustics to carry out an acoustic review of the Terminal’s noise impacts and to report its findings to residents.

Review author Rodney Stevens told a public meeting at Balmain Town Hall last week that a real time noise monitoring system would have already solved the ongoing problem of the impact of cruise ship noise on residents living near the Terminal thanks to a three strikes enforcement policy.

This refers to a Sydney Ports’ policy banning offending vessels from the Terminal subsequent to their issuing three warning letters for evidence based noise breaches.

“Noise data would back up complaints from residents,” he said.

“It will give you frequency, time of day, the level of noise and the direction it is coming from.

“It would have solved the problem two or three years ago.” 

Mr Stevens told the audience the next most vital priority to mitigate noise and pollution impacts on residents is shore to ship power.

“That would immediately cut noise significantly, and the 25 per cent of ships that already have the capacity to use shore based power should have priority access to White Bay over ships that do not,” he said.

“New ships being built today have capacity for shore based power, and ships without the capacity can be converted.

“Cruising is a multi-billion dollar industry, and those ships that use the Terminal would essentially pay for the costs of installing shore based power over time. 

Mr Stevens also recommends further investigation of a noise wall to protect residents who want to enjoy their back yards without noise from the ships.

“Noise walls have also come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of years,” he said.

“You can get a beautifully designed, transparent noise wall that will reduce decibel level by 10 to 12 decibels – that’s a significant improvement.”

The review findings will form part of Council’s submission suggesting improvements to Sydney Ports’ noise mitigation strategy which largely relies on double glazing and other insulation measures at residential properties.

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Page last updated: 20 Nov 2018