8.0 Objection to the impact of WestConnex, including the New M5, on climate change

WAG objects to the increase in emissions WestConnex, including the New M5, will cause, and the worsening of climate change that will result. WAG fundamentally rejects the proponents’ allegation that WestConnex will improve air quality and reduce emissions.

This beggars belief. Building and expanding motorways increases air pollution, as motorways induce traffic. No credible authority in the world today would suggest that building motorways is the solution to cutting national greenhouse emissions. 

The EIS assumes an increase in vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) in the WestConnex domain. Increasing road capacity will directly increase VKT. As a result, air pollution worsens.

The EIS calculates the vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) for light vehicle traffic (cars, vans and motorbikes) and heavy vehicles (trucks and buses)  will increase if WestConnex is built compared with if it was not built.

The EIS also provides calculations made about vehicle types, their fuel consumption and their speed and concludes that, despite these massive increases in VKT, there will be a decrease in overall fuel use.

These predications of lower fuel use thanks to WestConnex underscores the proponent’s claims that vehicle greenhouse emissions will be lower with WestConnex than without it. The EIS predicts that PM2.5 emissions in the WestConnex domain will decrease by while VKT increases. 

The proponent alleges that because traffic will be flowing freely rather than stuck in a jam, less fuel will be used. This argument has been thoroughly discredited for years. What matters is VKT. Higher VKT means higher greenhouse emissions.

WAG formally and strongly objects to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions and the worsening of climate change that will result if the WestConnex, including the New M5, is built. We ask the Minister for Planning to reject the WestConnex New M5 project.


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