Council reviews airport noise contours

Noise can impact our enjoyment within Greater Christchurch and it is important to ensure any nuisance noise effects are well managed. 

We have received updated noise contours we requested from Christchurch International Airport. Providing updated noise contours is one of the inputs to the review of the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement (CRPS), which must be done every 10 years. The CRPS was made operative in 2013. 

The draft noise contours report will now be peer reviewed by a panel of independent technical experts. It is important that a peer review is carried out to ensure that the noise contours align with good airport noise planning. The review is likely to be completed by the end of the year (2022).

While we have received the new noise contour modelling, nothing will change immediately. There is a process for considering the changes and how they should apply.

View process timeline
2013: Canterbury Regional Policy Statement (RPS) becomes operative. It must be reviewed every 10 years.
November 2021: Environment Canterbury receives a review of airport noise contours it requested from CIAL for the RPS review.
2022: Independent review of the contours is expected to be completed.
Early 2023: Public consultation on Greater Christchurch spatial plan, which will consider noise contours.
December 2024: We expect to notify the reviewed Canterbury Regional Policy Statement for public submissions and hearings.
2025-26: Decisions leading to the new RPS becoming operative.
2027 onwards: Once any appeals are resolved, district plans in Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri are amended, with appropriate public consultation, to give effect to the new RPS.

What are noise contours?

Noise contours help us, and local councils, identify areas exposed to aircraft noise – they are essentially a footprint an airport must operate within - so appropriate measures can be developed to mitigate any negative impacts.

This might include limiting development or requiring noise protection in buildings in areas likely to be adversely affected by the noise.

The current noise contours were developed more than 10 years ago to inform the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy, the 2013 Regional Policy Statement and the district plans for Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri.

How will the noise contours be used?

The noise contours will provide useful information to input into the Greater Christchurch spatial plan work programme, along with other environmental and hazard considerations.

This spatial planning will set the long-term direction for where and how our urban area will grow over time. Public consultation on the spatial plan is expected to happen in early 2023.

Once the spatial plan has been developed it will be given effect to in the Regional Policy Statement and then the Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri District Plans.

The Regional Policy Statement is expected to be notified in December 2024, leading to submissions and hearings before the new Policy Statement is approved.

District plans: