The regulatory framework for environmental management at Brisbane Airport consists of:
- The Airports Act 1996 (Cth) and subordinate legislation, and other relevant legislation,
- The Brisbane Airport Master Plan. This includes the Airport Environment Strategy, which outlines BAC’s continuing commitment to world best practice in environmental compliance and sustainability. The strategy includes details of affirmative measures and actions to be implemented over a five year period to ensure continuous improvement in all aspects of environmental management at Brisbane Airport.
- Regulatory representatives of the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications including the Airport Environment Officer and Airport Building Controller
BAC maintains an Environmental Management System consistent with the international standard AS/NZS ISO 14001:2015 as a systematic approach to manage environmental issues across the business.
Tenants and third party operators conducting activities on Brisbane Airport are required to provide BAC with an Environmental Management Plan and audit reports based on the environmental risk of their activities.
BAC’s Environment and Sustainability Policies
Understanding and mitigating the sources and concentrations of air quality emissions is crucial to local air quality management. At Brisbane Airport, emission control has largely been undertaken through oversight of construction activities but advances in electrification of vehicles and equipment will also become a contributor to improvements in air quality.
Operational activities that can impact air quality at Brisbane Airport include:
- Aircraft operations (including ground-based movement, refuelling and electricity generation),
- Industrial and commercial processes, including construction and demolition,
- Plant, equipment and vehicles (including storage tanks for fuel and chemicals), and
- Aircraft and airfield maintenance (including painting, cleaning and fire training exercises).
Measures to prevent, control or reduce environmental impacts include:
- Increased use of electrical charging facilities,
- Regular compliance inspections, including mandatory CEMPs (Construction Environmental Management Plan) for operation and construction,
- Project specific CEMPs to include erosion and sediment control measures as well as dust suppression techniques and earthworks stabilisation,
- Increased dust monitoring on large earthworks projects, and
- The requirement for odour management plans for relevant development projects, including the modelling of potential odour producing activities.
- Reducing the sources of ground-based air quality emissions,
- Supporting sustainable transport and active living options.
Minimising Ground-based Noise
While the majority of noise issues relate to aircraft in the air, ground-based noise, if unmanaged, can potentially have an impact on the local community, airport tenants and the environment.
Examples of on airport activities which contribute to the level of ground-based noise include:
- Land transport sources such as rail and road traffic,
- Construction and demolition activities,
- Operation of plant and machinery, and
- Ground-based aircraft operations which can include:
- Operation of an auxiliary power unit of an aircraft,
- Ground-based aircraft running,
- Test-bed running of aircraft engines removed from airport (ground-running).
Measures to prevent, control or reduce environmental impacts include:
- All new developments on Brisbane Airport are assessed to determine whether noise sensitive design and attenuation measures are required,
- Complaints associated with engine ground-running or other noise complaints are investigated in a timely manner, and
- Noise generated from aircraft ground-running is managed in accordance with the Brisbane Airport Aerodrome Manual
- To manage ground-based noise emissions to ensure low to nil impact on airport tenants, the local community and environment.
Detailed information on Flight Paths & Aircraft Noise
Brisbane Airport is located in the lower Brisbane River and Kedron Brook catchments, which have been highly modified due to urban and commercial development. Both catchments flow into Moreton Bay – a wetland of international importance.
Moreton Bay is one of the largest estuarine bays in Australia and sits in an ‘overlap zone’ where both tropical and temperate species occur. It supports extensive intertidal areas of seagrass, mangroves and saltmarsh that provide vital habitat for waterbirds, including significant populations of migratory shorebirds.
Examples of on airport activities which may contribute to the local water quality include:
- Spills from aircraft and maintenance activities
- Urban wastewater discharge
- Construction activities
- Landscape maintenance activities
- Bulk liquids and hazardous materials storage
- Fire training exercises
- Hangar firefighting foam discharges
Potential impacts associated with stormwater runoff include:
- A reduction in water quality including sedimentation of benthic environments (the bottom surface of the water bodies).
- Decrease in water quality due to nutrient enrichment potentially resulting in excessive plant and algal growth.
- Chemical pollution impacting aquatic organisms and beneficial reuse of biosolids from sewage treatment plants.
Measures to prevent, control or reduce environmental impacts:
- Incorporation of stormwater quality modelling in the design of new developments
- Implementation of an ambient water quality monitoring program
- Implementation of best practice erosion and sediment control practices on new developments
- Establishment of an airport-wide site register for hazardous chemicals (including dangerous goods storage)
- Implementation of environmental incident and emergency response procedures when needed
- Maintenance of water sensitive urban design infrastructure and pollution control devices
- Monitoring of trade waste discharges from both Brisbane Airport and tenant controlled facilities
- Implementation of trade waste environmental improvement plans if required
- To achieve best practice in water quality management by protecting surrounding waterways and ecosystems from adverse stormwater runoff and pollution.
Brisbane Airport has a designated Biodiversity Zone that occupies over 10% (285 hectares) of the airport's total area. Brisbane Airport is situated on a reclaimed portion of the Brisbane River delta. The northern boundary of the airport forms the shoreline of Moreton Bay, a wetland of international significance. Thousands of migratory shorebirds feed on this shoreline at low tide from September to April of each year.
The designated Brisbane Airport Biodiversity Zone is made up of a number of vegetation communities and wildlife habitats in the largely undeveloped western and northern parts of the airport site including:
- Remnant and regrowth mangrove and saltmarsh communities in Jubilee/Serpentine Creek and Jackson Creek, and adjacent to the Pinkenba residential community.
- Intertidal sand flats which provide feeding grounds for migratory shorebirds and other wetland birds.
- Tall grasslands and sedgelands, home to the locally significant Lewin’s Rail and Eastern Grass Owl.
- Casuarina plantations that provide shelter to small forest bird species unlikely to present a hazard to aircraft safety (e.g. fairy-wrens, scrubwrens and whistlers).
Refer to the Biodiversity Zone Map for locations.
Comprehensive woody weed removal programs are undertaken in the Phragmites wetland/grassland communities to ensure the habitat remains viable for grassland bird species. The woody weed removal program is scheduled based on vegetation monitoring results – if the percentage of woody weeds increases above a certain threshold, weed removal is scheduled to maintain an open grassland community.
Migratory shorebird monitoring is also undertaken from September to April each year to record the numbers of shorebirds using the Brisbane Airport foreshore and the species present. Monitoring results continue to indicate the significance of the Brisbane Airport foreshore as an undisturbed feeding ground for migratory shorebirds. Interestingly, aircraft movements overhead do not disturb the shorebirds, however birds of prey overhead do.
- Maintain >10% of the Brisbane Airport landmass for biodiversity conservation
- To protect and maintain biodiversity values on the airport
- To minimise habitat for wildlife species that pose a risk to aircraft operations