Sydney road tunnels and air quality
Air quality in and around road tunnels
Roads and Maritime Services adheres to strict conditions set down by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure for the maximum allowable presence of vehicle emissions in the air both in and outside its tunnels.
Air quality monitors in and outside the tunnels constantly measure the presence of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, fine particles and visibility levels.
External air quality in the suburbs adjacent to tunnels will vary during the year due to seasonal climate variations, wind speeds and external events such as dust storms, bush fires and construction works in the area.
Australian ambient (outside tunnel) air quality is regulated according to standards set under the National Environment Protection Measure: Ambient Air Quality (NEPM). These standards were commissioned by the National Environment Protection Council.
Australia's ambient air quality standards are among the strictest in the world. The regulation and management of air pollution in Australia has meant that our air quality has been steadily improving since the 1980s. A recent study by the World Health Organization shows that Australia has some of the cleanest air in the world.
Cleaner Air Initiatives short video
Roads and Maritime Services is undertaking a range of initiatives to help keep our air cleaner.
The new Sydney Air Quality Improvement Program (SAQIP)
In June 2012, Roads and Maritime Services reinforced its commitment to monitoring and managing air quality in Sydney by implementing a new plan, known as the Sydney Air Quality Improvement Program (SAQIP).
SAQIP will adopt a broad-reaching approach that works to reduce the impact of the existing older heavy diesel trucks on both the M5 East tunnel and elsewhere.
Upgrading the smoky vehicle camera system, and expanding the diesel retrofit program, means RMS is continuing with alternative methods to reduce NO2 and PM in both the M5 East tunnel and the broader Sydney road network.