Air quality a science

AN AIR-QUALITY expert says an airport at Badgerys Creek may not have the detrimental impact on the area's air many residents fear.

Judith Cox, principal consultant on air quality at Pacific Environment says it is a common misconception that airports damage air quality of surrounding suburbs, but this is rarely the case in Australia.

She said because it was unclear whether the Badgerys Creek airport plan would now change from what was proposed in the 1990s she couldn't comment categorically on the effects the airport would have.

"But if you consider Sydney Airport, the air quality around there is no different from anywhere around Sydney," Ms Cox said.

"Usually aeroplanes only affect the upper air atmosphere and because they make a gradual descent the fumes disperse on their way down.

"Generally we look at the ambient air quality, which is what people are breathing, not what's happening in the upper atmosphere."

Ms Cox said her employer, Pacific Environment had been producing monitoring reports on the air quality surrounding Sydney airport and they had found that it had not had a significant impact.

Because of the Sydney basin effect, which has been blamed for poor air quality readings in south-west Sydney, the impact of an airport at Badgerys Creek may be more significant.

"Southern Sydney tends to get higher readings of nitric oxide and nitrogen oxygen in the air, mostly due to traffic congestion, which causes a lot of emissions," she said.

"But all of that will be taken into account in the environmental studies which will be done in the lead up to the construction of the airport."

She said her company may be approached by a larger company to be involved in the environmental impact study for the airport.

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