Increased enforcement commences in Sydney’s M5 East Tunnel

New South Wales' Roads Minister Duncan Gay has announced the start of a new 'Smoky Vehicle Enforcement Program' with substantially increased fines to help improve air quality in the M5 East Tunnel in Sydney.

Following an 18 month trial of an air filtration plant in the M5 East tunnel which found it had only a minor impact on air quality, the Government announced it would crack down on heavy vehicles emitting excessive smoke. The filtration plant was installed in 2010 after community concerns were raised about haze in the tunnel.

“In October last year the Government announced it was serious about improving air quality in and around the tunnel, announcing increased fines effective from March 1 this year,” Mr Gay said.

“The Smoky Vehicle Enforcement Project will be rolled out by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to encourage operators to take greater responsibility for the condition of their vehicles,” he said.

“We have increased fines for operators of smoky vehicles. They will now face fines of $2,000 for the first two offences. A third offence will attract a $2,000 fine as well as an automatic three month suspension of vehicle registration.

“The Increased Enforcement Project targets air quality offences through warning letters, penalty notices, registration suspensions, and invitations to join the Diesel Retrofit and Repair Initiative. For those heavy vehicles that qualify, the Government will pay 50 per cent of costs to assist with engine repairs and the fitting of a diesel retrofit device to the exhaust of the vehicle, up to a maximum of $10,000.

“The M5 East Air Quality Improvement Program addresses pollution at its source. I encourage heavy vehicle owners and operators to take note and improve their vehicles performance to avoid penalties,” Mr Gay said. Mr Gay said the air filtration plant will continue to operate for a further three months by which time the effectiveness of the new measures can be determined. The Government will publish in-tunnel air quality data on the RMS website.

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