Neighbours of Beijing new airport to be moved

Neighbours of Beijing new airport to be moved

BEIJING - Beijing is planning to relocate 11 villages in the south of the capital because of expected noise pollution at the city's new airport, which is under construction and set to begin operations in 2018.

Another 48 villages, schools and health centers will adopt sound-control measures to soften airport noise, according to construction managers.

Located in Daxing district, which borders Hebei province, the new airport is expected to spur the development of Beijing's southern suburbs while easing traffic pressure at Beijing Capital International Airport, the second-busiest airport in the world by passenger count in 2012.

Airport authorities published the environmental impact assessment of the new facility on Wednesday and invited members of the public to come up with their own opinions and suggestions about the projects to enhance oversight, Daxing district's environmental protection bureau said.

People can go to the official websites of the bureau, Daxing district government, Capital Airports Holding Co or China National Aviation Fuel Group to make a suggestion via e-mail, telephone or letter from March 19 to April 1, it said.

The environmental assessment was conducted from Feb 17 to 28 and mainly focused on noise pollution, air quality, water resource protection, refuse disposal and risk management.

The assessment said construction is feasible from an environmental perspective.

The noise impact of aircraft operations can be muted with certain measures, and new hazards will not be presented to the ecology of the area, it said.

It did not elaborate on the specific measures that could be taken to reduce the impact of noise.

According to the assessment, 11 of the villages around the new airport will be exposed to aircraft noise of more than 80 decibels, and 24 others to between 75 and 80 decibels.

As many as 23 schools would be troubled with aircraft noise of more than 70 decibels, while one health centre would experience noise greater than 75 decibels.

The government said it will relocate the 11 villages that will be exposed to the greatest noise pollution and take sound-dampening measures at the rest.

Feng Yongfeng, founder of the Beijing environmental NGO Green Beagle, urged the government to take measures to ensure that all stakeholders in the projects are informed.

"In fairness, the government needs to make sure more of the public, especially those in the neighborhood of the airport, participate in the assessment," he said.

Longtime exposure to noise pollution will raise serious hazards for people's nervous systems, as well as damage to the heart and cerebral vessels, he said.

However, the assessment shows that noise pollution is controllable.

In addition to the noise measures, the government also vows to further reduce aircraft emissions and adopt natural gas for boilers in buildings.

It also promised that surface and underground water won't be polluted, and that neither waste disposal nor electromagnetic radiation will affect nearby residents.

The new airport will cover an area of 3,032 hectares, with 1,807 hectares of that within the capital and 1,225 hectares in Langfang, Hebei province.

The project was approved by the State Council and the Central Military Commission at the end of 2012.

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