Overview of New M5 Air Quality Issues
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Approval has been given for the new M5 to be built with three unfiltered smokestacks. The locations are as follows:
- Near the Kingsgrove portal, about half way between King Georges Road and Kingsgrove Road.
- In Arncliffe near Marsh Street
- At the St Peters interchange
According to the
Environmental Impact Statement, section 10.8.2, table 10.23, the height of the stacks
will be 30 meters for Kingsgrove, 35 meters for Arncliffe and 20 meters for St Peters.
A committee, called the New M5 Air Quality Community Consultation Committee, has been established
to deal with air quality issues (I am a member). The first meeting was on September 19. The next one will be on
October 17 (postponed from October 10). Air quality will be monitored and the first major task of the
committee will be recommend locations for the air quality monitoring stations.
There was an air quality expert at the September 19 meeting who gave a whole lot on information and explanation.
This is some of what he said:
- Ground level emissions through the portals (tunnel entrances and exits) are not acceptable.
- The moving traffic will push the air along in the direction of travel. This process
will be assisted by fans within the tunnels. The ends of the tunnels are logical locations
for smokestacks, so that the dirty air can be sucked up through the stacks before leaving the tunnel
with the traffic.
- Because of the huge amount of air being blown out of the stacks, it will have quite a bit of momentum
and will continue to rise. He described the rate in terms of swimming pools per minute.
- The harmful health impact of very fine (fraction of a micron) particles is acknowledged.
- Small particles behave like gases and don't really settle.
- Emissions of particles from vehicles and nitrogen oxides has been falling and will continue to fall
because of improving vehicle technology. However particle emissions are not expected to fall to zero because some
particles come from tires and brake pads.
- If air quality monitoring shows that the modelling is wrong and air quality is worse then expected,
placing Westconnex in breach of consent conditions,
the potential is there for filtering to have to go in after all.
Air quality monitoring will be covered in a separate topic, because it such an important topic.
- He lives in St Peters, so he has a personal interest in air quality remaining acceptable.