Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Good spring air quality for Upper Hunter and Newcastle

Media release: 1 March 2017

Air quality in the Upper Hunter and Newcastle region was generally good and better than the previous four spring seasons, the latest air quality reports released by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) have confirmed.

The spring 2016 results showed that overall air quality was good by national standards during 1 September to 30 November 2016, although large bushfires in November caused some elevated levels of particles in air.  

EPA Director Hunter Karen Marler said the good results reflect the EPA’s work in progressing best practice dust management at Hunter Valley coal mines as part of the Dust Stop program and the ongoing work to reduce dust and particle pollution across industries in the Hunter region.

“Local weather conditions, such as onshore winds can play a big role in influencing our air quality results – for example onshore winds can direct salt and other particles inland,” Ms Marler said.

“The results for spring were generally good by national standards but there is always more work we can do to reduce pollution and particles in the air. The EPA continues to work with industry and the community to improve air quality across the Hunter region.”

Community representative and Chair of the EPA’s Upper Hunter Air Quality Advisory Committee and Newcastle Community Consultative Committee on the Environment John Tate said the Committees play a valuable role in reviewing air quality data and clearly communicating the results to the community.

“Collating this data and providing it to local community and industry on a quarterly basis allows us to keep the community informed of local conditions and to gather feedback,” Mr Tate said.

“We then work closely with the EPA on actions to address any key areas of concern.”

The EPA is currently reviewing submissions made during a public consultation on the NSW Government’s 10-year Clean Air Plan to improve air quality across the state.

To download a copy of the Upper Hunter Spring 2016 report in full visit the OEH website:
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/aqms/uhaqmnmonitoring.htm

To download a copy of the Newcastle Spring 2016 report in full visit the OEH website:
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/aqms/newcastle-monitoring.htm

PM10: particles less than or equal to 10 micrometres in diameter.
PM2.5: particles less than or equal to 2.5 micrometres in diameter.

Note to Editors:

The Office of Environment and Heritage operates six air quality monitoring stations in Newcastle and the Lower Hunter and 14 across the Upper Hunter region. The network is designed to provide real time information about local air quality. The information is published in 1 hour and 24 hour intervals on the OEH website and local residents can also sign up to receive SMS and email alerts about their local air quality. More information is available on OEH website.

Members of the Upper Hunter Air Quality Advisory Committee and Newcastle Community Consultative Committee on the Environment represent the interests of local communities, local industries, local councils, NSW Health and the Department of Planning and Environment.

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 01 March 2017