[received 23rd January 2007]
JANUARY 2007 NEWS RAPS #1
HAPPY NEW YEAR! HERE WE ARE AGAIN!
IEMMA DELAYS PLAN FOR M5E PORTAL EMISSIONS
In an obvious politically-motivated move with the March elections fast approaching, the Premier has delayed plans to pump toxic fumes from the Bexley and Arncliffe portals until the installation of the proposed $50 million pilot filtration plant later this year.
RAPS has argued that the filtration plant will not be adequate enough to significantly dilute pollution pumped out of the portals, and local residents are naturally worried about being exposed to a lethal cocktail of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other toxins, if permission is given
The RTA plan, which is currently being assessed by Planning, is receiving criticism from NSW Health and CSIRO experts over possible health risks.
Congratulations to Minister Roozendaal on recent changes to P-driver regulations because of evidence presented to him - let's hope he does the same re the filtration trial!
RTA M5 EAST AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PLAN
On 16th June 2006, the Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal announced the NSW Government's air quality improvement plan for the M5 East tunnel. These improvements include :
+ Video identification of pollution causing heavy vehicles and the Clean Fleet Program.
This part of the project has been in operation for some time however. As of early November 2006, there have been 567 detections by the camera (including multiple detections of the same vehicles.) Although useful, it is clear that the detection effort will have little effect on the real problems of the tunnel. Even well tuned diesel engines emit harmful particles in their exhausts. The RTA plan only detects grossly bad polluters.
+ increased ventilations flows with an extra 12 fans.
The "increased ventilation flows" are an attempt to fix a long standing problem with the ventilation system in the east bound tunnel where trucks push the air more quickly than intended. The jet fans are used to overcome this.
+ a trial of filtration technology. This is what requires planning approval as hidden in the innocuous sounding "trial" is the proposal to use unfiltered portals emissions as a routine ventilation strategy to limit pollution in the tunnel by pumping it out of the portals. This allows more fresh air to be sucked in , diluting the pollution.
+ RTA FACT SHEET STILL MISLEADING
The fact sheet entitled "Modifications to the M5 East Motorway - Air quality improvement plan" with addendum, is actually the third attempt to produce a brochure which did not mislead the public by making inappropriate and misleading claims about the likely impact of the emissions. The RTA was forced to change what it had on its website originally. However, the current version, containing the addendum which is supposed to correct it, is still grossly misleading and compares life time risks with daily risks, without making that situation clear. See: http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/constructionmaintenance/completedprojects/m5east/index.html
RAPS has made strong protests about this along with its recent submission to Planning. However no time frame for a decision has yet been given, nor have we been able to interview the Planning appointed expert assessing the project.
+ WHO CHALLENGES GOVERNMENTS WORLD-WIDE TO REDUCE AIR POLLUTION
Approximately 2 million premature deaths a year world-wide are caused by air pollution, according to the World Health Organization. WHO is challenging international governments to reduce air pollution in their cities to improve public health substantially by reducing the incidence of respiratory and heart disorders and lung cancer, (for example by lowering particulate goals to 20mg per cubic metre). The NEMS for particulates in Australia is at present 50mg per cubic metre. There is no safe level for particulates. See : http://www.centralchronicle.com/20061229/2912304.htm
+UNFILTERED LANE COVE TUNNEL SET TO OPEN
According to the RTA, the opening of the unfiltered Lane Cove Tunnel will cause traffic jams and confusion as motorists try to sort out the changes in the road system. There will be traffic jams on the harbour approaches in the morning and westbound section in the evening until motorists become used to See: http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2007/01/11/1168105115846.html and
The M2 extension, approved post haste and with consultation a 'fait accompli', will now be minus a 5 kilometre stretch of cycleway between Lane Cove and Beecroft Roads. This change, approved by the government, will create an extra west-bound traffic lane.
+ CAR INDUSTRY COMPARED TO TOBACCO INDUSTRY
A senior Toyota executive is reported as stating that the car industry was in danger of becoming "the new tobacco industry" and a recent parliamentary report names car exhaust fumes as the major contributor to up to 1400 death a year. See : "Go the green route", Sydney Morning Herald, 20-21 January, 2007
+ I DID IT MY WAY SAYS SCULLY
Last week Carl Scully announced he was quitting NSW parliament while congratulating himself for his work, especially in the road and tunnel building area. "I did it my way" he told the media during several interviews. But on ABC radio, a prominent spin doctor summed up what a lot of people have thought for a long time - Scully's assessment of himself is very much at variance with what others think of him.
The people affected by the toxins from the M5 East are not happy with the way he did it when he built a 4m tunnel complete with the world's worst practice ventilation system, neither are the people who will be affected by the toxins from the unfiltered Lane Cove Tunnel when it opens in a few weeks' time.
In RAPS' dealings with Carl Scully, we found him to be arrogant – a politician who inevitably dismissed community concerns as trivial in his determination to be known as the great road builder - and it was this arrogance which led him to believe his own spin even to the extent of lying to parliament once too many times that bought about his downfall.
Certainly, nothing to be proud of. when he looks back on his political career! See also Joe Hildebrand's views "Carl departs in a dense cloud of fertiliser" 15.01.07 http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph
RAPS is an incorporated community group representing residents and workers affected by the M5 East tunnel, ventilation stack and portals. We meet on one Tuesday night of the month at Earlwood Bowling Club, Doris Ave Earlwood NSW, Australia. RAPS Inc is funded entirely by $10 membership fees and community donations and volunteer time.
We currently have significant costs, and need to build up funds for ongoing outlays such as public liability insurance well and professional advice and help. Please help us to keep going by sending a donation to:
PO Box 270 Earlwood NSW 2206 Australia Telephone: 061 02 9558 8863, 061 02 9573 0052, 061 02 9559 1278
RAPS Inc is a member of GASP, Groups Against Stack Pollution, a coalition of community groups with similar aims and objectives affected by similar stacks from around Sydney's Cross City and Lane Cove tunnels.
Our email list is maintained in confidence [refer website above]