Air quality monitor to be installed in Lake Macquarie

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An independently-operated air quality monitor will be installed in Lake Macquarie to address concerns over pollution caused by coal-fired power stations and other industries.

Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper, who had campaigned for more than a decade, said he was advised today by the NSW Environment Minister, Matt Kean, that the government would fund the construction of a new monitoring station.

“This is a significant win not just for the local community, but for the local environment,” Mr Piper said.

“Air pollution is a real issue in Lake Macquarie where residents have at times had to contend with dust from coal-fired power station emissions, dust from coal haulage and pollution from other industry sources.

“Emissions are currently measured by about 20 industry monitors but there is no independent ambient air quality monitor operated by the EPA. The closest are at Wyong and Wallsend.

“I’m not criticising those industry monitors, but it’s understandable that people living in this area have genuine concerns about the emissions coming from the power stations and other industries and they deserve to have some comfort in knowing it’s being properly monitored and managed.

“Data collected from the industry monitors, in addition to this independent monitor, will give us the best possible picture on local air quality.”

Minister Kean said he had already opened discussions with Lake Macquarie City Council to find an appropriate site.

Community recommendations will also be welcomed, with Mr Piper saying he believed the best location will be in the south-western area of the lake near Morisset.

Once a site is identified and a lease agreement is signed, NSW Public Works will be allocated the 14-week construction job, meaning the monitor may be operational before the end of the year.