Newcastle Public Health Professionals urge the NSW Government to reject the proposed 4th coal terminal on health grounds

Newcastle Public Health Professionals have urged the NSW Government to reject PWCS’ proposed fourth coal terminal. They intend to present evidence to the Planning Assessment Commission public hearing in Newcastle in early 2014.

The group of seven public health researchers and practitioners submitted compelling arguments against the proposed fourth coal terminal in response to the T4 ‘Preferred Project Report’ which is on display until the end of next week (22/11).

“Particle pollution levels in Newcastle already exceeded the standard set by the World Health Organisation last years,” said Epidemiologist Dr Ben Ewald. “We urge the NSW Government’s Planning Assessment Commission to reject T4 to safeguard community health.”

“The additional pollution caused by a fourth coal terminal would increase particle concentrations in urban Newcastle where community members are already exposed to harmful pollution levels,” he said.

“We urge the NSW Government to conduct a thorough Health Impact Assessment for the proposed coal terminal to assess the risk of hospitalisation, symptoms, disease and death among local residents exposed to current coal loader operations and the additional attributable impact of T4,” said Dr Ewald.

“This is especially important for the more than 32,000 Novocastrians who live within 500 metres of the coal corridor and the thousands living in the shadow of the three existing uncovered stockpiles,” he said.

“The air quality modeling for T4 is based on pollution levels during 2010. Modelling based on just one year when pollution levels were at their lowest point during the last decade presents a misleading impression. The modelling should be repeated based on 10 years’ data.”

Two members of the Health Professionals group, Dr Ben Ewald and Associate Professor Nick Higginbotham, have provided advice for the two coal pollution studies undertaken during the last 12 months by the Coal Terminal Action Group.

The Health Professionals submission also recommends covering and washing all coal wagons, erecting wind barriers and ceasing coal handling operations during hot dry winds.

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