Managing noise at the Port of Bell Bay

Aligned with its commitment to minimise environmental and community impact from noise across its multi-port system, TasPorts recently completed noise assessments at the Port of Bell Bay.


28 May 2024

Noise assessments, modelling and testing at Bell Bay last week concluded TasPorts’ latest round of compliance testing across its major ports.

TasPorts’ Manager Environment and Sustainability Susan McLeod said the testing was part of TasPorts’ commitment to the noise management standard established in 2018, which recognises ports are 24-hour operations and have the potential to generate noise that can have an impact.

“We know that noise can be an environmental issue with impacts on ecosystems, human health and wellbeing, which is why we take a proactive approach to manage and mitigate those impacts.

“We have a range of minimum noise standards which support TasPorts to minimise noise across a range of operations,” she said.

“It applies to our staff, contractors, customers, licensees, tenants, port users and the planning to undertake activities that have the potential to generate noise and or vibration across our facilities.

“These activities include the procurement of plant, equipment and machinery, including vessels, the operation and maintenance of plant, equipment and machinery, and construction activities both on land and in-water.”

To undertake the assessment, TasPorts uses a specialist consultant to install noise monitoring equipment at different locations around the port.

Susan said part of the assessment was developing noise modelling, which includes assessing topography, operations across different environments and in varying weather conditions.

“This helps TasPorts to understand how different noises can be impacted by location and environment to ensure we thoroughly understand impacts and can take proactive steps to mitigate them,” she said.

“For example, a noise can be buffered by the presence of a building or other infrastructure, so it’s not a one size fits all approach across our ports.

“Noise and vibration risks and current controls identified from the baseline assessments are then incorporated into site environmental risk registers and management plans.

“Where improvements are required we take action, implementing design solutions, technology or controls that can mitigate or reduce the noise. For example, anti-vibration, sound absorbent surfaces, or even replacing common sounds with a less invasive one – such as the reverse beeping on forklifts on our wharves is replaced with a broadband alarm, which maintains a high safety feature but reduces the noise impact.”

Susan said this is reinforced through TasPorts’ procurement policy which incorporates a buy/hire quiet protocol to ensure plant and equipment is as quiet as possible.

TasPorts is committed to safe and sustainable port operations, and moving beyond compliance to a solutions-based approach to manage noise is a great example of that.