Mitigating noise from Port operations, and its effect on our nearest neighbours, is our most challenging environmental requirement.
The Port Noise Liaison Committee, including representatives from Napier Port, port users, the local community and Napier City Council met twice during the financial year. Its purpose is to consider and address Port noise issues as required under the City of Napier’s District Plan.
Early in 2011, real time noise monitoring equipment was installed. This equipment confirmed that the two noise complaints received during the year were well below the allowable noise limits. The Port’s goal is to operate within allowable limits at all times. The sophisticated modelling and monitoring equipment has demonstrated that the noise profile of the Port has reduced in spite of higher throughput.
Over the last few years Napier Port has invested significantly in noise reducing initiatives, such as;
Napier Port will continue to make reducing noise a priority, by:
New capital infrastructure will be developed with noise reduction in mind:
On-going driver traing to reduce noise Purchasing container handlers that rev less
Custom-designed mufflers on tug boats
Napier Port and its neighbours have negotiated a break-through in their long-running bid to address noise issues, agreeing on a fresh approach involving acoustic treatment for some homes.
Napier Port, Seascape Environment Society, residents’ representatives and members of the Port Noise Liaison Committee have agreed on a noise mitigation package, which will be offered to those homes proven to be most adversely affected.
“This agreement recognises that Napier Port takes its wider responsibilities to the community, and its nearest neighbours in particular, very seriously,” says Napier Port Chief Executive Garth Cowie.
Using sophisticated computer modelling and noise monitoring, acoustic engineers have drawn contour lines across the neighbouring hill, carefully mapping sounds generated from within the port. The current Napier District Plan requires houses experiencing 65 decibels (dBA) or over to be offered mitigation. No homes have experienced 65dBA or over but the Port is voluntarily offering noise mitigation assistance to those within the 60 – 65dBA contour.
Homes most affected within the contour lines will be assessed first by acoustic experts, who will evaluate the affected properties and recommend solutions. Mitigation measures might include insulation, double glazing or air conditioning so that doors and windows can shut out any noise, even on a warm night so that residents can sleep without disruption.
The Port will contribute 50 percent of the cost of noise mitigation measures, up to a maximum of $50,000 for each property.
“This signals a new approach to how we work together with our neighbours and is a fresh initiative that goes hand-in-hand with the port’s endeavours to reduce noise wherever possible,” says Mr Cowie.
The Port has invested heavily in noise reducing initiatives including: container stacks on the port boundary to buffer noise, relocating buildings and container transfer operations away from the residential properties, installing heavier duty mufflers on tugs and investing in engine modifications for container handling equipment, installing new software on cranes to slow the lowering of containers close to the ground to reduce landing noise, restricting vehicle speeds, laying smooth paving to make vehicle movements quieter and having ship horns blasted only for safety reasons or emergencies.
Seascape President, Bruce Wilton, says the agreement is important so that Napier can move forward.
“The city has grown up around the port, which is vital to the local economy, but it is essential to negotiate a fair relationship in which residents and the Port can both live and work together, recognising that the residential area was established prior to the port becoming a 24/7 operation and that night noise became an issue,” he says.
Please note, some houses identified as receiving between 60dBA and 65dBA are likely to be new or renovated homes, which would not require further mitigation.
While we are confident we have identified the homes eligible for the Noise Mitigation Package (homes receiving between 60-65dBA), property owners neighbouring the Port who feel they are eligible can make a written submission to the Napier Port Noise Committee by writing to: Napier Port Noise Committee, c/o Napier Port, PO Box 947, Napier.
Napier Port wants to hear from residents experiencing disruptive noise coming from the Port.