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

Noise study to guide planning of new homes near Tengah Air Base
Tengah Air Base, as pictured last year. The relocation of Paya Lebar Air Base to the expanded Tengah site, which is scheduled to start in 2030, will free up some 800ha of land in the area, and efforts will be made to keep noise to a minimum. TODAY file photo
Published: 4:00 AM, September 12, 2017

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.