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    Environment at Melbourne Airport

    Melbourne Airport recognises that a sustainable and environmentally responsible approach to business is vital to our success. This responsibility extends to our staff, airport tenants and other stakeholders.

    Melbourne Airport's Environment Policy outlines our environmental principles and management objectives.

    In accordance with the Airports Act 1996, Melbourne Airport is required to prepare and implement an Environment Strategy every five years. Our 2013 Environment Strategy forms part of the Melbourne Airport Master Plan, which was approved by the Commonwealth Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development on 18 December 2013.

    We are committed to continuous improvement in environmental management. In June 2004, Melbourne Airport became the first Australian airport to achieve international certification of its Environmental Management System (EMS). Our EMS continues to be certified to the international standard ISO 14001:2004.


    It takes a lot of energy to run our airport facilities, and we’re always looking for ways to use less. Reducing our energy consumption will also reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions and help us move towards carbon neutrality.

    In 2017 we began operating a tri-generation power facility, to produce power, gas and cooling. The benefits include:

    • an estimated reduction in CO2 emissions of 920,000 tonnes over 15 years
    • turning excess heat into chilled and hot water.

    All lights in T3 and in our staff car park are energy efficient LED.

    Environmental guidelines have been developed as part of our procurement strategy for new electrical and IT equipment.

    We used heat reflective paint (Skycool Paint) on the roof of T2 and T3, reducing cooling costs by 30%.

    Dyson Airblade hand driers were installed in the airport bathrooms reducing energy consumption by 80 per cent.

    We offset the carbon generated from 100 per cent of staff cars and flights.

    Water conservation

    Water is an incredibly precious resource to us. As our passengers continue to increase we have been able to keep out total water consumption relatively constant.

    Our T4 precinct was designed and constructed to incorporate rain water harvesting for use in toilet flushing (greywater) to reduce water consumption.

    We follow Water Sensitive Urban Design practices in all new designs, ranging from carparks to warehouses.

    Rain gardens are used to reduce the required size of water mains and to improve water quality through on-site treatment.

    We’ll continue to investigate alternative water supply options, such as harvesting rain water and recycling stormwater to reduce potable water demand.


    Most of our stormwater is collected in an extensive network of drains, and landscaped areas before being discharged to local waterways or the municipal drainage network. We monitor the quality of our stormwater and look for ways to continually improve our stormwater network.

    In 2015 we won the Excellence in Infrastructure Award at the Stormwater Victoria Awards for our work in improving our stormwater quality flow to Steele Creek North.

    In collaboration with Melbourne Water, we have improved the habitat along the reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek and Deep Creek through weed control and planting of native vegetation.

    To reduce peak flows at Annandale Road and Sharps Road we installed retarding basins.

    A Stormwater Quality Improvement Device was installed which has resulted in an improvement to the quality of stormwater that discharges to Moonee Ponds Creek.

    Water quality - groundwater

    Maintaining the groundwater on our land is important to us. We are located within the Port Phillip groundwater basin and have steps in place in the event of a spill, leak or contamination.

    Air quality

    Ground-based air emissions, including aircraft movement, maintenance, stationary and mobile plant and vehicles are the responsibility of the airport. Aircraft air emissions are regulated under separate legislation by Airservices Australia.

    It is our aim to minimise and manage the air emissions from our ground based operations and activities to achieve compliance with commonwealth and state legislation.

    Our construction projects include dust suppression and other measures to prevent air emissions.

    We have an alternative fuel facility (liquid petroleum/propane fuel) that is mainly used by buses and taxi operations.

    Biodiversity and conservation

    Ecological values at Melbourne Airport include wetlands, waterways and areas of native vegetation, all of which provide habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna.

    One of the most significant ecosystems on our land is the Grey Box Woodland, located at the northern end of our property. The Grey Box Woodland is identified as a matter of National Environmental Significance by the Federal Government. At Melbourne Airport it covers 136.57 hectares on our land and we work to protect the vegetation including rehabilitation and revegetation. We’re proud that our conservation efforts have resulted in a greater diversity of native species on airport land.

    We also support tree planting and weed and pest control programs onsite and in partnership with local land owners.

    While promoting biodiversity, we also manage the risk of wildlife strikes from aircraft. To achieve this we follow a vegetation planting guideline.

    Land management and hazardous materials

    Land management at Melbourne Airport refers to the management of soil and the protection of significant hydrogeological and geological features within and adjacent to the site boundary.

    All material brought to the airport site is classified as clean fill in accordance with EPA Victoria requirements.

    Material reused onsite meets the requirements of the Airport (Environmental Protection) Regulations 1997.

    The Melbourne Airport Emergency Plan details the standard operating procedures for cleaning up hazardous materials and spills.

    Melbourne Airport business operators are required to develop and implement Operational Environmental Management Plans where adverse impacts on the environment may occur, this includes land management and hazardous materials.

    The location of contaminated land is communicated to those undertaking earth excavation or drilling works.

    Assessment of potential soil contamination is required prior to construction activities. Any identified contamination is required to be managed in accordance with relevant legislation and guidance.

    Ground based noise

    We manage issues regarding ground-based noise associated with airport operations. Any aircraft noise, including during a flight, take-off and taxiing is regulated by Airservices Australia.

    We hold quarterly meetings to review aircraft noise exposure impacts and any aircraft ground-running activities are audited on a semi-annual basis.

    Cultural heritage

    Heritage values that exist within Melbourne Airport include:
    • large intact Indigenous landscapes containing items such as artefact scatters, tree markings and stone quarries
    • remains of early European homesteads and infrastructure.
    We manage the heritage value at Melbourne Airport under the Commonwealth legislation, and in consultation with state regulatory authorities and the Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP).

    We manage a cultural heritage site register to protect our cultural heritage.

    Before beginning any major works we consult a number of stakeholders including:
    • cultural heritage advisors
    • Heritage Council of Victoria and local heritage interest groups
    • Aboriginal Victoria
    • Wurundjeri Tribe Land
    • Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Inc. (the registered Aboriginal Party for Melbourne Airport land).

    Environmental incidents

    An environmental incident is any event resulting from activities, products or services which may adversely impact on, or change the environment; that being the surroundings in which the airport operates, including air, water, land, natural resources, flora, fauna, humans and their interrelation. It is a requirement that all of our tenants and operators are trained in how to handle environmental incidents.

    We report incidents to the Airport Environment Team using the Environmental Incident Report Form. We collate, review and analyse the information, respond accordingly and introduce measures to minimise or avoid similar incidents in the future.

    Any spill greater than five litres, or spills that enter a waterway or damage an environmentally significant area, must be reported immediately to the Airport Coordination Centre on (03) 9297 1601.

    Environmental Incident Forms should be returned via email or mail to the following:

    Email: [email protected]
    Mail: Melbourne Airport Environment Team, Locked Bag 16, Tullamarine VIC 3043

    Melbourne Airport also encourages the public and community to report any environmental incidents at Melbourne Airport.