News in March

The Beaches Link is not popular

Submissions on the Beaches Link environmental impact statement (see News in January, below) closed on 1 March.

There are many impressive, comprehensive submissions, the result of collective effort, research and hard work, including submissions from many North Sydney precinct committees.

To find them, start here:

https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/project/10456

There are 1437 submissions from individuals, 95% opposing the project.

Amongst the 98 submissions from nongovernment organisations there are two from sports clubs benefitting from minor local open space improvements. The rest either make comments (a quarter of the submissions) or express objections (three quarters).

The submission of the Committee for North Sydney is here.

Deficiency in assessment of air quality

The NSW Chief Scientist commissioned an independent expert assessment of the impacts of the Beaches Link on air quality. The full report is on the DPIE planning portal — read it here. These are the main findings:

Overall, the project (as assessed) seems to deliver a small improvement in ambient air quality at a slight majority of receptors, and a slight worsening in air quality at a slight minority of receptors… The largest improvements in air quality appear to be associated with predicted reduction in traffic volumes along the Warringah Freeway… However, this is only true if the predicted traffic reductions actually occur… It is reasonable to expect a high degree of additional demand induced by the project, and the additional economic growth it is likely to enable. Whereas the EIS indicates that such induced traffic growth is included in the traffic modelling, the EIS does not explicitly indicate the sensitivity of the air quality impacts of the project on that induced demand, nor the magnitude of the potential error in predictions of traffic [emphasis added].

‘Assessment conclusions and equity issues’ in the NSW Chief Scientist’s Review of the Beaches Link EIS at https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/submission/783631

How credible is an environmental impact statement if it doesn’t adequately measure and explain its predictions of the actual traffic flows that pollute the air?