No air-pollution monitor needed: Parker

ENVIRONMENT Minister Robyn Parker has dismissed the need for a public air-pollution monitor in Lake Macquarie.

Ms Parker told State Parliament that Eraring and Vales Point coal-fired power stations were doing "extensive air quality monitoring" in Lake Macquarie.

The Newcastle Herald reported earlier this week that councillors had called for a public monitoring station in Lake Macquarie.

Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper raised the matter with Ms Parker.

Mr Piper said there was a strong public perception that air pollutants in parts of Lake Macquarie were too high and posed legitimate health risks.

"The minister indicated she had faith in the industry monitors in place, which are operated by the power stations and other major industries, and argues that there is no air-pollution problem," Mr Piper said.

"However, when figures regularly show levels of significant air pollutants in Lake Macquarie are among the highest in the state, then people are justifiably concerned."

Mr Piper said an independent, government-operated air-quality monitor would "either verify concerns or go a long way towards putting the minds of residents of Lake Macquarie at ease".

"I am not suggesting the information provided by Eraring Energy or other industries is unreliable, but it is a public-confidence issue.

"The air-quality monitors operated by the EPA are more comprehensive and the information they transmit is updated on their website on an hourly basis."

Mr Piper said the Environment Protection Agency could install monitors in Lake Macquarie for a "relatively modest outlay" .

He said long-term plans to reduce emissions and investigate cleaner technologies were the preferred option and should continue.

"In the meantime, this simple measure would give us a clearer picture of the issues we are dealing with in Lake Macquarie," he said.

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