The Hunter New England area has a number of coalmines and coal-fired power plants operating in the region. It is understood that mining and power plants generate particulate matter and other pollutants that are emitted into the ambient air. A number of studies and reports have been published in regards to air quality in the Hunter New England Area:
The Lane Cove Tunnel is a 3.6 km twin tunnel motorway under Epping Road that links the M2 Motorway at North Ryde with the Gore Hill Freeway at Artarmon. The Woolcock Institute undertook ‘The Air Quality & Respiratory Health Study’ (AQRHS), which monitored the respiratory health of 3000 people living near the tunnel prior to its opening, in 2006, then repeated in 2007 and 2008. It aimed to determine whether the effects of changes in air quality arising from traffic-related air pollution are associated with changes in respiratory health in people living around the Lane Cove Tunnel.
The M5 East tunnel is a 4km twin tunnel connecting Sydney airport with the south-western freeway at Bexley. It opened to traffic in December 2001. Due to community concerns about air quality associated with the tunnel, NSW Health has undertaken two studies: the M5 East in-tunnel monitoring study and the M5 East health investigation. In 2010, the local Public Health Unit was approached by a community group with health concerns that local cases of leukaemia were due to air pollution from the stacks. In response, a cancer registry data study was undertaken. The reports of the studies are: