Airport to review recycling plant plans after bird-strike fears raised

By Katie Burgess – Canberra Times

8 June 2018 — 12:00am

Canberra Airport is reviewing the plans for a recycling plant in Fyshwick that residents say could increase the risk of bird strikes to low-flying aircraft.

However the company behind the proposal says opponents of the plant are corrupting the facts in order to scuttle its plans.

Residents say the proposed recycling plant is too close to the Canberra Airport.

Capital Recycling Solutions has been faced with intense opposition to its proposed recycling plant from Narrabundah residents concerned about traffic and smell to homes and businesses hundreds of metres away.

But at a recent meeting of the Inner South Community Council, the president of the Griffith Narrabundah Community Association, Leo Dobes, said the plant would fall foul of Australia’s international civil aviation obligations.

His presentation, provided to Fairfax Media, said the plant would be 2.5 kilometres from the main runway, despite Department of Infrastructure and ICAO guidelines stating a waste transfer facility within three kilometres of an airport was an incompatible usage.

This is because the risk of bird and bat strikes is increased around landfill sites.

“The question is what would Qantas, Virgin and Singapore Airlines say to that?” Dr Dobes said.

But Capital Recycling Solutions director Adam Perry said the proposed facility was 2.7 kilometres south-west from the nearest runway at Canberra Airport, and not in line with the any of the runways or approach routes.

“To put this into perspective, we can consider a larger facility in Sydney. The Veolia Banksmeadow transfer station is 2.4 kilometres from the nearest runway at Kingsford Smith airport in Sydney. That facility has been in operation for two years and handles 400,000 tonnes of household putrescible waste per annum,” he said.

“Our facility, which is farther from an airport, will handle some 90,000 tonnes per annum – less than a quarter of the Sydney facility – of putrescible household waste per annum. Our facility is entirely within a sealed building and uses rapid opening and closing doors.”

He said the company had twice formally applied to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on the issues of stack heights and turbulence created by venting, which required CASA to assess the location of the plant and its proximity to the airport and flightpaths.

“On both occasions CASA has responded in writing to advise that they do not see an issues with our proposal,” Mr Perry said.

A CASA spokesman said issues of bird strikes are in the first instance managed by the airport, but can be escalated to the agency if the problem can’t be managed.

Canberra Airport’s director of planning and government relations Noel McCann said it was looking at the draft environmental impact statement for the plant.

“We are yet to make a comment but will do so by the due date on June 27,” Mr McCann said.