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Upper Harbour Primary Board Concerned over Whenuapai Airport

 

The Board Of Trustees of Upper Harbour Primary School wish to share information arising from the proposal to convert Whenuapai Airbase to commercial aviation. The school (along with many other North Shore schools) is within the predominant flight-path and could therefore be negatively impacted.


WHENUAPAI AIRPORT / UPPER HARBOUR PRIMARY SCHOOL


The Board Of Trustees of Upper Harbour Primary School wish to share information arising from the proposal to convert Whenuapai Airbase to commercial aviation. This information was provided to us by the Whenuapai Airport Action Group.

 

Our school (along with many other North Shore schools) is within the predominant flight-path and could therefore be negatively impacted.

 

The latest research on the effects of chronic aircraft noise and children is concerning. The research indicates three main areas in which children could be detrimentally affected by chronic aircraft noise exposure:

 

              Cognitive Performance – problems are described particularly with reading, mathematics ability, attention and long term and working memory. This seems to be intensified as the class level  advances. Children in schools bombarded by frequent aircraft noise do not learn to read as well as children in quiet schools. Cornell University researchers have confirmed one major reason: children tune out speech because of the noise.

 

              Psychological health – a number of areas are negatively impacted including quality of life (particularly self-reported stress and annoyance). Decreased motivation and increased helplessness are also reported in numerous studies.

 

              Physical health effects include high frequency hearing loss, central auditory pathway deficits, as well as elevated blood pressure and heart rates.

 

With prevailing winds, being south-westerly, 90% of the air traffic will fly over our school (and city) dropping toxic fumes. Newer aircraft, even though emissions go relatively unseen, could be at least as bad at polluting as older aircraft for many reasons including production of smaller particulate matter, with different combustion processes and different formulations in fuel. Thus, the number of people exposed to aviation pollutants on the North Shore will likely increase.

 

Medical research has shown that cities in close proximity to just one airport display alarming statistics for hospitalisation rates of the following:

 

  • Asthma
  • Influenza/Pneumonia
  • Respiratory Disease
  • Pregnancy Complication
  • Infant Mortality
  • Genetic Disease

 

Mortality rates have also been shown to be higher for all causes of death including heart disease and cancer death rates. The average life expectancy appears to be lower and similar to that of developing nations.

 

In addition, aviation is the fastest growing contributor to climate change - 2% to 4% of green house gas emissions come from aviation. High altitude contrails are now considered to have twice the climate change impact of the same emission at surface level.

 

Upper Harbour Primary School Board of Trustees encourages you to take an interest in the proposed land use changes proposed  by the Waitakere City Council in its publicly notified Proposed Plan Change 22 (Whenuapai Airport Special Area).

 

More details regarding the Proposed Plan Change 22 can be obtained from the WCC Web Site: http://www.waitakere.govt.nz/AbtCnl/pp/draft-policies/whenuapai.asp or, you can obtain details from Waitakere City Council Civic Centre 6 Henderson Valley Road Henderson, and all Waitakere City Libraries.

 

Please attend the community meeting this Thursday 1st March at 7.00pm in the

Upper Harbour Primary School Hall to hear further information.

 

The closing date for submissions is 7 March 2007. We encourage you to have a say.