Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Data Analysis

The Dialogue has analysed long-term data to determine how air quality in the Upper Hunter has changed and how it compares with other locations.


In response to stakeholder feedback at the 2018 Community Forum regarding concerns about perceived air quality impacts in the Upper Hunter, the Dialogue’s Joint Advisory Steering Committee endorsed a project to analyse publicly available air quality data from 2013 to 2019, gathered through the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network, to provide an assessment of long-term trends of air quality.

In consultation with the Joint Environment Working Group, the Dialogue prepared a scope for the project with the objective to answer following two questions:

  1. Has the air quality in the Upper Hunter Valley changed since monitoring began?; and
  2. Is the air quality changes in the Upper Hunter Valley measured at the monitoring stations different from air quality changes measured at other locations in NSW?

ERM Australia Pacific Pty Ltd (ERM) was engaged to deliver this project on the Dialogue’s behalf, with Damon Roddis providing a presentation on the initial findings of the analysis at the annual Forum.

Melita Keywood at the CSIRO provided a peer review of the final draft, and additional analysis was undertaken by ERM in response to incorporate these comments and recommendations into the findings by way of a statistical analysis included in the report’s appendices.

The report found that air quality has changed in the Upper Hunter since the monitoring program began (i.e. concentrations have varied significantly over the period reviewed), but this change is in a manner that is generally consistent with monitoring data collected at DPIE stations across the remainder of NSW.

The report also found that the Upper Hunter air quality changes were broadly consistent with concentrations measured within the Lower Hunter and Central Coast and that the difference between the Upper Hunter and the remainder of NSW is small in scale relative to the variability in concentrations across NSW.

The Dialogue has also undertaken several supplementary updates by to the initial report to incorporate additional yearly data, with a 2020 update and a 2021/2022 update further reinforcing the initial report’s findings. Damon Roddis of Zephy Environmental continues to lead this project analysis, and the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue has now committed to undertaking annual reviews of the region’s air quality, and publishing this information on our website to provide transparent information to the community.

The initial detailed report, supplementary annual reviews, and supporting materials relating to this project are included in the ‘Resources’ tab below.

Resources:

2020 Air Quality Update

Following the release of the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue’s initial report, released in 2020, and analysing air quality between 2013…
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