Friday, 6 August 2010

Covers for Hunter coal trains

From The Herald...


THE noise and dust from coal trains rumbling through the region could warrant new mitigation and prevention measures such as wagon covers, Newcastle lord mayor John Tate says.

Cr Tate suggests forming a committee bringing together residents and the industry to address coal transport concerns, particularly those of residents in suburbs such as Tighes Hill.

He said port terminals had dust-suppressant measures, but ones specifically for dust were needed to ensure air-quality during windy weather.

"It seems to me that the covering of the coal wagons is not an onerous cost to the industry," he said.

Cr Tate also questioned if sound-reduction barriers were still effective given the extra size and power of trains.

At a meeting last month, the Tighes Hill Community Group heard from Australian Rail Track Corporation representatives.

The representatives reportedly told the group that an environmental-protection licence governed its operations, and it had pollution-reduction plans in place.

Greens candidate Michael Osborne said he put a motion forward this year, which councillors did not support, calling for a report on coalmine impacts on residents, including coal transport.

Cr Tate said the motion did not suggest a course of action.

Train operator Pacific National or the track corporation did not comment to the Newcastle Herald.

A Queensland Rail spokeswoman said environmental responsibilities were taken "very seriously".

A NSW Minerals Council spokesman said Australian air-quality monitoring studies "have not found the potential for impacts on human health or amenity from dust emissions from coal either inside or outside of the rail corridor".

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