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Federal policies clearing Launceston skies.

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Particle pollution levels in Launceston are falling and national air quality standards for particles are likely to be met within two years as a result of a reduction in the number of polluting woodheaters.

Federal Member for Bass Michael Ferguson said that proof of the improvement is provided in a new CSIRO report released today, Woodheaters in Launceston - Impacts on Air Quality.

“This study shows that the Australian Government’s $2.05 million Launceston Woodheater Replacement Programme is responsible for considerable air quality improvements in the Tamar Valley,” Mr Ferguson said.

“It shows a significant drop in the average levels of PM10, particles of less than 10 microns in diameter, the major cause of air pollution in the region.

“Levels of PM10 have been reduced from an average of 29 micrograms per cubic meter in 2000 to 17 micrograms in 2004. The number of days that the national air quality standard for PM10 has been exceeded has also dropped - from 38 in 2000 to 10 in 2004.

“Launceston has the worst air quality of any city in Australia in winter, because of the reliance on woodheaters for warmth.

“Since 2001 we have replaced more than 2200 older, polluting woodheaters with cleaner sources of heating - and this report shows it’s making a big difference.

“Clearer air is on the horizon which is great news for the environment and the people of Launceston.”

Mr Ferguson said the Australian Government was still working to meet national air quality benchmarks in Launceston by implementing his election initiative, the Launceston Clean Air Industry Programme to target industrial sources of air pollution.