Noise study to guide planning of new homes near Tengah Air Base

ALFRED CHUA Today Online 12 Sep 17;

SINGAPORE — A noise study has been conducted by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to guide the planning of new residential developments around the expanded Tengah Air Base, as part of measures to mitigate “noise inconvenience”, Second Defence Minister Ong Ye Kung said in Parliament yesterday.

The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) has also been conducting about half of its flying training overseas, while most of its training here is carried out over water rather than land.

“When the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) flies over populated areas, it is primarily for taking off and landing only,” said Mr Ong.

“The RSAF deliberately flies at higher altitudes and lower air speeds when over land, so as to minimise noise to housing estates. Any deviations from these are usually for operational reasons.”

Mr Ong was responding to questions from Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Sun Xueling and Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Alex Yam about the impending phased relocation of Paya Lebar Air Base to Tengah Air Base. Among other things, the two MPs asked about the impact of the move on residents.

Mr Ong noted that “where it is possible and does not compromise operational effectiveness”, the RSAF adjusts its flying schedule in response to public feedback. For example, it reduces flying activities and ceases night flying earlier during examination periods so that students can “better concentrate and rest well”.

The RSAF will inform the public of periods when the frequency of flights is increased, such as rehearsals for the National Day Parade and events such as the RSAF Open House. The air force also publishes prior notice on the Mindef website for public awareness, Mr Ong said.

He reiterated that it would not be possible to reduce noise completely. “Government agencies will do all they can to minimise and mitigate the effects of relocation but we will not trade our continued peace and security for comfort and economic gains. That would be short-sighted and negligent,” he stressed.

The relocation of Paya Lebar Air Base, which will take place from 2030, will free up some 800 hectares of land in the north-east region — an area bigger than Bishan or Ang Mo Kio towns.

Mr Ong noted that the positive effects will extend beyond the land that the facility sits on: Buildings all the way to Marina South can be built higher, thus providing more homes, offices and retail spaces in the central, eastern and southern parts of Singapore.

“The relocation ... will have enormous positive impact on countless families, but most importantly, Singapore as a whole will benefit,” he said.

The relocation of Paya Lebar Air Base was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the 2013 National Day Rally.

Apart from Tengah Air Base, the Changi Air Base East will also be expanded to accommodate various assets and facilities to replace Paya Lebar Air Base.


Noise study to guide planning of new homes near Tengah Air Base
Jalelah Abu Baker Channel NewsAsia 11 Sep 17;

SINGAPORE: A noise study will guide the planning of new flats near the expanded Tengah Air Base to minimise the impact of aircraft noise, said Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung on Monday (Sept 11).

He was responding in Parliament to questions from Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC MP Alex Yam and Pasir-Ris Punggol MP Sun Xueling on how the relocation of Paya Lebar Air Base to Tengah will affect residents in the respective areas.

Some assets and facilities from Paya Lebar Air Base will be relocated to Changi and Tengah Air Bases in phases from 2019. Homes, offices, and retail spaces are expected to be built on the freed up land and development works will only be completed in 2030 and beyond.

Government agencies like the Housing and Development Board and National Environment Agency are aware of the noise environment that surrounding homes, offices and other premises will be subjected to, he said.

“We ought to be fair to residents who are moving into new premises built near the expanded Tengah Air Base and let them know that while some noise reduction can be achieved through mitigation measures, it is not possible to reduce it completely,” he said.

The relocation will free up will free up 800ha of prime land in the north-east region equivalent to a new town larger than Ang Mo Kio town, he added. The relocation is “complex” as Paya Lebar Air Base now houses one third of the The Republic of Singapore Air Force's fixed-wing squadrons.

These assets together with the operational infrastructure will need to be built up in or moved to the expanded Tengah and Changi airbases, he said.

MEASURES TO MITIGATE NOISE

The RSAF has moved about 50 per cent of its flying training overseas, he said, adding that for the local training, most of the flying is conducted over water rather than over land.

When the RSAF flies over populated areas, it is primarily for taking off and landing only, he added.

“The RSAF deliberately flies at higher altitudes and lower air speeds when over land, so as to minimise noise to housing estates. Any deviations from these are usually for operational reasons,” he said.

He also said the the RSAF does adjust its flying schedule in response to public feedback.

“For example, the RSAF reduces flying activities and ceases night flying earlier during examination periods so that our students can better concentrate and rest well,” he said.

The RSAF will continue to regularly engage residents living near the airbases and continue to explore new ways to minimise the inconveniences to public while meeting its operational and training requirements, he said.

AFFECTED LAND OWNERS WILL BE COMPENSATED

Mr Yam also asked how farmers affected by the land acquisition for the expansion of Tengah Airbase will be assisted and compensated.

Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said that the four affected owners will receive market value compensation for the acquired land, in accordance with the Land Acquisition Act.

Two ornamental fish farms, a food fish farm and nursery on Murai Farmway are expected to move out by 2019.

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority and Nationals Parks Board will also provide support for those who wish to continue their businesses, he added.

“There will be specific officers assigned to each establishment. They will advise owners on relocation options, business development, and technology adoption,” he said.
Source: CNA/ja

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