CALLS from Newcastle Greens councillors to cover coal wagons coming into town have been brushed aside until next year.
At the December 9 meeting councillors Therese Doyle and Michael Osborne wanted the council to call upon the NSW government to implement a policy to address coal dust concerns.
In a report to council, councillors Doyle and Osborne said airborne particulate matter in Newcastle frequently breached World Health Organisation recommended levels.
Long-term exposure to particle pollution can lead to detrimental health impacts, they said.
These can include asthma, respiratory and cardiovascular disease and congestive heart failure.
The Greens say the cost of covering the wagons would be about $8 per trip per wagon – less than one thousandth of the sale price of the coal.
Councillors decided to leave The Greens’ motion on the table until next year, until more information could be obtained.
The Greens’ council motion follows attempts by Labor’s Wallsend state MP Sonia Hornery to have the matter debated in NSW Parliament.
In November Ms Hornery tabled a petition with more than 10,000 signatures, calling for coal loaders across the Lower Hunter to be covered.
A Senate inquiry into health and air quality last year also recommended that coal wagons be covered.
On December 15 the Planning Assessment Commission approved the T4 fourth coal terminal for Newcastle, which will increase the annual coal export throughout of the Port of Newcastle by between 60 to 100 million tonnes per annum.
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