M5 East Single Exhaust Stack
The Hon. E. M. OBEID: On 4 April the Hon. P. J. Breen asked me a question regarding the M5 East single exhaust stack proposal. The Minister for Transport has provided the following response:
There is no proven system in a tunnel anywhere in the world for treating the range of gaseous emissions from vehicles. Electrostatic precipitators are available for removing only some particulate and they do not remove gaseous emissions.
The stack is, therefore, required at Turrella to disperse the gaseous emissions to meet the stringent air quality goals set out in the conditions of approval for the project, set by the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning and the Environment Protection Authority.
It is not correct that the people living within three kilometres of the stack will be exposed to a health risk. The tunnel ventilation system must comply with strict air quality goals stipulated in the conditions of approval, set by the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning and the Environmental Protection Authority.
The air quality goals are amongst the most stringent in the world and have been set to protect public health. The tunnel ventilation system design will be independently checked by designers with expertise in tunnel ventilation and air quality.
To confirm that air quality goals are achieved, a comprehensive air quality monitoring network will be installed, including dedicated stations at Turrella and Undercliffe. Monitoring will be undertaken by an independent organisation and will continue during operation of the tunnel. Work has not commenced on the foundations of the ventilation stack. Work has commenced on the vertical shaft between the fan house and the ventilation tunnel to the main tunnels. This work does not prevent the application of alternative air treatment systems and has been approved by DUAP.
As the Government’s response to the parliamentary inquiry into the M5 East ventilation system indicated, the Roads and Traffic Authority will hold an international workshop on tunnel ventilation practices to examine world’s best practice in this field and available technologies with particular reference to design of the M5 East.
I have therefore written to my colleague the Hon. Andrew Refshauge, MP, Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning, asking that any final approval of the M5 East ventilation system be delayed until after the workshop is held.