Environment

At Sydney Airport our ambition is to be an industry leader in sustainability, driving responsible growth that balances social and environmental needs with corporate objectives.

As one of the world's oldest continually operating airports, it’s essential we have a clear approach to environmental management across our operations.

Located only 8km from Sydney’s Central Business District, the airport is almost entirely surrounded by waterways. The natural environment at the airport has undergone dramatic change since 1920 when the site was first declared an aerodrome. About 25 per cent of the airport, including part of the two north-south parallel runways, is situated on reclaimed land, and extensive modifications have occurred through historic airport development activities. This included the redirection of the Cooks River, which originally flowed through the centre of the airport site. Despite this, the airport retains important environmental and heritage values.

All major airports have an impact on the environment and local communities. We recognise the need to manage the airport site in an environmentally sustainable manner for the benefit of people in Sydney, NSW and Australia. This responsibility extends to all our staff, airport tenants and other stakeholders.

Sydney Airport’s Master Plan 2039 sets out the longer term priorities for the airport, with a clear focus on the environment, sustainability and climate change. The Master Plan’s Environment chapter focuses on environmental issues and achievements.

Airport Environment Strategy

The strategic direction for environmental performance and management of Sydney Airport is set every five years in our Environment Strategy. Our current strategy covers the period between 2019 and 2024 and underpins the airport’s commitment to continual improvement of environmental performance at the airport.

The Environment Strategy contains information about the airport’s environmental context, site background and history, legislative context, environmental management and covers all ground-based environmental aspects associated with the operation of the airport including:

  • Sustainability and environmental management
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Air quality
  • Ground-based noise
  • Ground transport
  • Water quality and water use
  • Biodiversity
  • Heritage
  • Waste and resource recovery
  • Soil and land management
  • Spill response and hazardous materials

Please note that noise and emissions from aircraft in flight are addressed in the Master Plan 2039 and by relevant Australian Government legislation, rather than the Environment Strategy.

Sydney Airport’s Environment Strategy has been prepared in accordance with the environmental principles outlined in our Environment Policy and the requirements of the Airports Act 1996 and Airport Regulations 1997. It is also consistent with the Commonwealth Government’s Guidance Material for the Preparation of Environment Strategies by Airport Lessee Companies (2009).

The management of these environmental aspects is outlined in separate environmental action plans, detailed in Section 3 of the Environment Strategy. The Environment Strategy was approved by the Australian Government on 28 March 2019 following extensive community and stakeholder consultation.

Environment Policy

Sydney Airport’s Environment Policy is endorsed by our Chief Executive Officer and forms the basis for the environmental management of our airport. The policy establishes the principles for the environmentally sustainable use of the airport, from which the objectives, targets and environmental action plans in the Environment Strategy 2019 – 2024 were developed.

Airport tenants and operators

Airport tenants and operators are responsible for conducting their activities in an environmentally responsible manner.

Environmental information for Airport tenants and operators can be found here.