Part 3 Chris Standen : Forty reasons why Westconnex fails to meet objectives

(Ed.: This is part three of a submission to the New M5 EIS process by Chris Standen, a transport modeller and specialist. Read Part One and Two.) 

Westconnex has key objectives that the whole project is supposed to meet.

The stated objectives for the project were contrived to fit the project after it had already been announced. In a democratic strategic planning process, objectives are set first based on the needs and desires of the community, and then alternative projects/policies are appraised against their ability to meet those objectives.

Westconnex’s stated objectives have no associated targets by which their achievement can be ever be determined. For example, how can it ever be determined if the objective to “maintain regional air quality” has been met?

Objectives/targets need to be:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Relevant
  5. Time-bound

Even though the objectives of Westconnex have been contrived to fit the project, the project still does not meet them.

Each objective below is accompanied by an explanation of why the project does NOT meet that objective. ( Ed: We counted them and there are 40) 

  1. Support Sydney’s long-term economic growth through improved motorway access and connections linking Sydney’s international gateways and south-western Sydney and places of business across the city. 
  • There is already an extensive and high–capacity road and motorway network linking Sydney’s international gateways (Sydney Airport and Port Botany), Western Sydney and places of business across the city. The operation of this network could be improved significantly with demand management such as road pricing reform. There is no need for costly and destructive new motorways.
  • The most efficient and economical way to link large trip generators is with mass transit. A single motorway lane can transport only 2000 passengers per hour, under ideal conditions. A single railway line can transport 20,000 passengers per hour.

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Part 2 Chris Standen: New M5 EIS fails to meet requirements

(Ed: The New M5 is being assessed under State Significant provisions of the NSW Environment, Planning and Assessment Act. Under this law, the Department prepares  the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs). You can read a full copy of the SEARS here.

This is the second part of  Transport planning and modelling specialist Chris Standen’s  four part submission. In this part, Standen analyses the SEARS and finds the EIS does not meet a number of requirements. It’s worth noting that some local Councils and other experts agreed with Standen that the M4 EIS requirements were not met by the Westconnex EIS.  The failure to meet requirements should be a serious matter that if allowed to pass without examination undermines the entire assessment process. No decision has been made on the M4 East project yet.

( If you have missed the first part of his submission, read it here.)  

The submission has been presented by the People’s M5 EIS is a format that suits wordpress. The full submission will be uploaded later on the People’s M4 EIS. You can use this and other submissions on the People’s M5 EIS to develop your own response. 

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SEARS

Alternatives

The SEARS provide for  an analysis of feasible alternatives to the carrying out of the proposal and proposal justification, including:

  • an analysis of alternatives/options considered, having regard to the proposal objectives (including an assessment of the environmental costs and benefits of the proposal relative to alternatives and the consequences of not carrying out the proposal), and whether or not the proposal is in the public interest,
  • justification for the preferred proposal taking into consideration the objects of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979,
  • details of the alternative ventilation options considered during the tunnel design to meet the air quality criteria for the proposal,
  • details of the short-listed route and tunnel options from the tender process and the criteria that was considered in the selection of the preferred route and tunnel design, and staging of the proposal and the broader WestConnex scheme, and in particular access to Sydney Airport and Port Botany and improved freight efficiencies.

Standen’s finding: FAIL 

Comment: The EIS does not include cost-benefit analysis, modelling, or any other objective analysis of feasible alternatives. Only cursory descriptions are provided.

No alternative staging strategies are described or objectively assessed. Continue reading