Tuesday, 4 July 2017

SMOKE, dust and pollen in Armidale’s skies will be further monitored under a new NSW Government monitoring program to be launched next year, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall announced today.

The remote monitoring program will provide real-time information to residents and researchers and will be used by the government to guide its 10-year plan to improve air quality across the region and state.

“Air quality in Armidale, particularly in the winter months, has long been a much discussed and debated issue,” Mr Marshall said.

“This is largely exacerbated by the town’s geography – nestled in a hollow with hills on either side. Limited air flow and weather inversions mean it can take a while for particulates to be dispersed.”

The Armidale site will be established in March 2018 as one of 35 monitoring stations across country NSW. It will be regularly testing the air for PM10 particles: liquids or solids that are less than 10 microns in diameter, or 1/7th the width of a human hair.

It will work in conjunction with a PM2.5 system currently operated by Armidale Regional Council – giving an unprecedented understanding of the types of particulate in the town’s air.

In addition to monitoring air quality, the sites provide information on erosion and smoke levels that guide NSW Government policy on burn-offs.

Mr Marshall said the station would provide valuable data for years to come.

“When the station is operational, it will become an important node in the Office of Environment and Heritage’s air quality network, with the information publicly available on their website,” Mr Marshall said.

“This monitoring program will give us a better understanding of Armidale’s variable air quality, allowing us to make better decisions around reducing air pollution and informing residents about quality on a day-to-day basis.”

Mr Marshall encouraged all those living in the Northern Tablelands to have their say on the government’s plan to ensure clean air.

“This planned station is just one part of the NSW Government’s plan for clean air across the state – and I’d suggest any interested person take a look at the Clean Air for NSW consultation paper and share their thoughts,” he said.

“Our air quality rates very well by international standards, but we’re committed to ensuring it stays fresh and clear as our industries and cities grow.”

Some priority actions identified in the Clean Air for NSW paper include:

  • A review of air quality monitoring networks to improve understanding of pollution issues;
  • Improved forecasting and advice during hazard reduction burning; and
  • Hosting a Clean Air Summit in Sydney in six months to allow stakeholders the opportunity to provide direct feedback on Clean Air for NSW.

The NSW EPA will manage the consultation process. Read the consultation paper and have your say at the EPA website:

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