NorthConnex health fears
There is a significant body of scientific evidence that breathing concentrated diesel emissions is extremely dangerous for human health – far worse than smoking cigarettes.
Using longitudinal ventilation, the Northern Stack at Wahroonga will pump concentrated toxic emissions out from the uphill nine kilometre tunnel tube. These concentrated emissions will be especially dangerous for pupils attending the nine schools within the one kilometre radius of the Northern Stack. Expert medical submissions made in response to submission requests for the NorthConnex Environmental Impact Study, raised health issues which have not been fully and properly addressed in the approval process.
As construction has been approved, it is now timely to deal with the lack of legal framework to provide required community protection against dangerous levels of vehicle emissions. Protection is required for drivers and passengers within the tunnel as well as affected resident and school populations along the tunnel corridor. The NSW Government has in place a strong legal framework for a Workplace, Health and Safety responsibility. For all road tunnel emissions, including NorthConnex, the NSW Government Planning process must also assume responsibility for a duty of care for Health Safety.
It is critical to now acknowledge that the science regarding the human exposure to concentrated ultrafine particulates is very real, but has not evolved into a legally binding regulatory framework for the design and operation of road tunnels.
Also, the NSW Government controlled classification of NorthConnex as ‘Critical State Infrastructure’ has removed the right to initiate legal action to expose this disregard for tunnel safety under proper rules of evidence.
This lack of a legal regulatory framework has facilitated approval of two road tunnels (NorthConnex and WestConnex) where the community is not adequately protected from health hazards, despite the continuing air quality failure of the M5 East tunnel. And more tunnels are proposed. People are fed up.