Vales Point power station will continue to be a major source of respiratory illness for children on the Central Coast after the Environment Protection Authority granted the facility a further five-year exemption from air quality standards.
While the EPA did marginally tighten standards in the licence, the changes will not require the company to use technology to remove toxic NO2 and will not reduce the annual average level of exposure of Central Coast residents to hazardous gasses, including nitrogen dioxide, and fine particles.
“The EPA decision will be a bitter disappointment for the Central Coast community, which had hoped participation in public consultation would result in real change,” Nature Conservation Council Acting Chief Executive Jacqui Mumford said.
“Instead, the EPA has locked in another five years of respiratory disease for the Central Coast community.
“An estimated 650 children on the Central Coast and at Lake Macquarie suffer asthma because of the pollution that comes from coal-fired power stations like Vales Point.
“The EPA has squandered an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of thousands of people, and further diminished its public reputation as a consequence.”
NSW residents will unnecessarily suffer asthma attacks and reduced life expectancy after the EPA granted Vales Point coal-fired power station an additional 5-year exemption to NSW Clean Air laws according to the NSW Nature Conservation Council.
“The EPA has failed to bring this coal power station into line with modern pollution standards,” Ms Mumford said.
“The levels of pollution granted to Vales are illegal for coal power stations in other countries.
“We can power our state without causing asthma and cutting life expectancies, yet this decision locks in dangerous pollution for another five years.
“If the EPA actually stood by the limit in the NSW laws, Vales Point pollution would be cut by 50%.
“That would mean hundreds of cases of childhood asthma could be avoided in the Lake Macquarie region, and days would be added to the average life expectancy of people throughout Sydney.”
Thousands of people made submissions to the EPA in the lead up to today's decision.
Vales Point is the most urban power station in NSW, sitting right in the middle of Central Coast suburbs.