As a result of that investigation, Airservices Australia put in place a new noise abatement procedure for the airport.

This month, Mr Pehm told Brisbane residents who lodged complaints with Airservices Australia of his review.

The scope includes Airservices Australia’s environmental assessment of the impact of the flight paths associated with the new runway at Brisbane Airport, and its community engagement as part of the flight path design process.

Mr Pehm gave Airservices Australia until the end of January to provide the “extensive information” he requested to begin the independent investigation.

In his letter, Mr Pehm acknowledged that the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman had “no power to change flight paths”, and he warned residents that his investigation, which would begin after documents were provided from Airservices Australia, was “likely to take some time”.

Brisbane City Council, which received a report into the population increase in suburbs under the new flight paths in July, also believed an investigation was timely.

“There are many Brisbane residents who are currently experiencing noise issues due to the recent changes in flight paths,” a council spokeswoman said.

Balmoral resident Dr Sean Foley measured the noise from 117 flights directly over his home in August. 

Balmoral resident Dr Sean Foley measured the noise from 117 flights directly over his home in August. Credit:Tony Moore

“Council believes it is appropriate that complaints are now being investigated by the appropriate authorities.”

Balmoral man Sean Foley, who in October publicly questioned the new flight paths after taking decibel readings of planes flying overhead, also welcomed the decision.

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Dr Foley has joined a new group, the Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance, which is preparing a submission to the latest inquiry.

“It shows that in one way, the system is working,” Dr Foley said.

“Let’s see what the result is. You’ve seen the number of people who are affected.”

There were 341 noise complaints about Brisbane Airport in October and 216 in November, according to Airservices Australia.

Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance spokesman David Diamond, a retired oil and gas industry executive living in Hawthorne, said residents from across Brisbane welcomed the decision for an independent investigation.

Mr Diamond said residents did not oppose the airport expansion and understood its contribution to Brisbane’s economy.

Former Shell and Anglo-American executive David Diamond is now spokesman for the new Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance.

Former Shell and Anglo-American executive David Diamond is now spokesman for the new Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance.

The alliance believes Brisbane in 2020 is a far different, more densely urbanised city than it was in the lead-up to the 2007 environmental impact study.

“I think the frustration is that while most people are supportive of having a strong airport and aircraft system – for economics, jobs and tourism – the issue of the noise has been very, very silent,” Mr Diamond said.

“It has caught the residents unaware in terms of the frequency and the level of noise.”

Mr Diamond questioned the role of Airservices Australia as an investigator, since it approved flight paths.

“What we are looking for is someone independent to look and say, ‘hey, there is a problem here’.”

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