Air is free, but more pollution from West Gate Tunnel is deadly

You can help Spotswood South Kingsville Residents Group push for the highest air quality standards possible for Melbourne’s inner west in their submission to the Environment Effects Statement (EES) for the West Gate Tunnel project.

A little bit of context

Spotswood and South Kingville is a small community in Hobsons Bay in the inner west of Melbourne. We already live with increasing noise and pollution from the West Gate Freeway which carries approximately 200,000 vehicles per day including 30,000 trucks.

In 2014, the Andrews Government won government in Victoria with a mandate to implement and fund the West Gate Distributor project, a relatively small proposal to resolve freight issues and take trucks off residential streets.

Fast forward to 2016, and the Victorian Government has agreed to partner with Transurban, a private tolling company who will receive tolls from the new roads in return for funding a much bigger project, the West Gate Tunnel project (the Project). The Project is now subject to an EES where its assumptions and benefits will be scrutinised by all interested parties. Final approval from the Minister for Planning and the Victorian Parliament is required through this process. Construction is due to start early 2018 and end in 2022.

But there’s a problem

We are concerned the air quality standards outlined by the Project will not sufficiently safeguard our community.

Vehicle emissions and air quality standards in Australia do not meet international standards. The Australian truck fleet using the West Gate Tunnel Project’s truck ramps, freeways and tunnel is aged and a very large proportion are not even compliant with Australia’s poor standards, (Euro V), hence they are likely to be a very significant emitters of diesel particulate matter. Diesel exhaust has been classified as carcinogenic to humans.

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