THE EFFECTS OF RECONFIGURATION OF THE RUNWAYS AT SYDNEY AIRPORT ON REACTION AND HEALTH
Job, S.R.F., Carter, N., Faunce, G., Hatfield, J., Morrell, S., Peploe, P., and Taylor, R., University of Sydney, Australia
it is well-established that exposure to high noise levels produces negative reactions (especially annoyance), and disturbance of activities (especially sleep). More physical health effects of noise exposure have also been demonstrated, and may be mediated by reaction. Much existing data is based on steady state noise levels, and so may underestimate immediate noise effects because of factors such as selective attrition of vulnerable individuals into low noise areas, and habituation/adaptation. In contrast, some noise effects may require chronic exposure. An opportunity to disentangle these effects arose with the reconfiguration of the runways at Sydney Airport, as a result of which some low noise areas became high noise areas (while others remained unchanged), and some high noise areas became low noise areas (while others remained unchanged). Residents in each of these 4 areas were surveyed before (N=1015), immediately after, and several years after the reconfiguration. Area differences and changes in reaction (annoyance, dissatisfaction, affectedness), activity disturbance, psychological health (anxiety, depression), and physical health (general symptoms, substance use) were assessed. Results are discussed in terms of the effects of acute and chronic responses noise exposure, habituation of these responses, and the role of reaction in these processes.