Environment and Sustainability

NorthConnex is committed to minimising the impacts of construction on the environment including noise, dust, flora and fauna, air quality, heritage and traffic. All work is carried out in accordance with the project's environmental approvals.

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green apple awards 2

NorthConnex wins Green Apple award

NorthConnex has received international recognition as the winner of a Green Apple Award for Environmental Best Practice. The project received the award for our work to protect and realign Cockle Creek, which crosses the North Civil site located in Wahroonga.

The work took 28 months to complete, and involved relocating a 395m section of the creek. Cockle Creek continues to be a major waterway supporting flora and fauna along its banks and a highly regarded environmental feature within the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

The awards ceremony was held at the Westminster Palace in London on the 12th November 2018 and was attended by Sarah Blagrove (pictured), LLBJV Sustainability Lead.

IECAA Recognition

NorthConnex has received international recognition for its environment and sustainability management, with the project given a Highly Commended Award for its realignment of Cockle Creek at the Northern Interchange by the International Erosion Control Association (IECA) Australasia.

The IECA is a non-profit, international, member organisation that provides education, resource information and business opportunities for professionals in the erosion and sediment control industry. The IECA Australasia Environmental Excellence awards aim to raise the standards of the erosion and sediment control industry by celebrating innovation and outstanding achievement.  

The project was recognised at the annual conference in New Zealand for extensive works carried out by the North Civil and Environment and Sustainability teams to realign Cockle Creek, which leads into Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

The realignment involved careful planning to maintain creek flows and prevent flooding during heavy rainfall. The package of works took 28 months to complete and was essential to allow the southbound dive on the M1 Pacific Motorway to be constructed.
Cockle Creek
A kibble is used at the Southern Compound to lift spoil to the surface where it is stockpiled and put onto trucks


Noise impacts were assessed as part of the project's Environmental Impact Statement. Mitigation measures are in place to reduce the impact of noise during construction. Acoustic sheds have been built to house each of the four tunnelling sites. These sheds are manufactured from steel and lined with acoustic insulation. Work is carried out around the clock in the sheds , including stockpiling and movement of spoil excavated from the tunnels.

Where work is carried out above ground, mitigation measures include noise barriers and blankets, scheduling noisier activities during the day where possible, turning off vehicles and equipment when not in use and using non-tonal reversing beepers on machinery. More information on mitigation measures for specific work activities can be found in project notifications
Installation of a nest box built by the Hornsby Men's Shed

Fauna and flora

NorthConnex is being built within a heavily urbanised area but there are some areas of native vegetation within the project alignment. We are committed to minimising removal of vegetation where possible. Through design changes, we have been able to save more than one hectare of threatened vegetation which was previously approved for removal in the EIS, including more than 470 square metres of endangered Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest and 742 Epacris Pururaescens

To compensate for the removal of some native trees, a biodiversity offset package is being developed, which involves the purchase of biobanking credits through NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. 

Hollow bearing trees provide habitat for native fauna including possums, lorikeets, microbats, cockatoos and owls. NorthConnex engaged Hornsby Men’s Shed to build 72 nest boxes to offset the removal of trees along the alignment. 29 nest boxes have been installed in the reserve next to Haines Avenue at Carlingford and Blue Gum Creek. Another 43 nest boxes have been installed throughout Wahroonga and Normanhurst. A survey in October 2016 showed a 60 per cent increase in occupation of the nest boxes compared to survey data of the original tree hollows.
Water is sprayed onto spoil to keep dust from leaving the site


With about 2,250,000 cubic metres of rock to be removed from the tunnels as well as earthwork for surface road adjustment, dust is the key particulate matter which must be managed. Dust is controlled on site through the use of water carts to keep soil wet, maintenance and management of haul loads and covering exposed and heavily trafficked ground with geofabric.

Dust gauges have been installed at construction sites and are monitored to ensure compliance. At tunnelling sites, acoustic sheds are used for the storage and management of spoil and tunnel ventilation systems include dust extractors and filtration systems. Tunnelling machines are also fitted with individual dust suppression mechanisms for the health of workers underground. 

Canary Island Palm Tree being moved by a crane


The management of significant heritage items located throughout the project footprint is an essential sustainability practice, which ensures future generations can continue to benefit and learn from the past. The project has put in place various mitigation measures and used innovative technology to preserve these items. We have recently relocated an historic Canary Island Date Palm at Pearces Corner, which has been recognised as having local historic significance. 

Darling Mills Creek runs beneath the M2 Motorway

Water quality

The protection of local waterways is a key objective to ensure there is no impact to surface or groundwater. Water treatment plants and water testing ensures all groundwater leaving the project meets standards. Surface water is managed through the use of onsite detention basins which capture all site water for testing and management before discharge. Where possible water collected on site is reused for dust suppression. We are aiming to recycle 60 per cent of water used on site.

Earlier this year a milk truck spilt its load and the NorthConnex traffic team responded


While our tunnellers are busy below ground building the new motorway, NorthConnex has established a dedicated traffic incident response team to keep surface roads moving. Three incident response vehicles including a purpose built van are used to respond to incidents such as breakdowns and crashes. Traffic cameras have been installed and are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year so the response vehicles can be dispatched as soon as possible. The traffic incident response team has responded to about 1000 incidents in their first year since establishment on major arterials including Pennant Hills Road, Hills M2 Motorway and M1 Pacific Motorway. We coordinate our response with the Transport Management Centre and will organise towing, direct traffic or assist police and emergency services if required. 

Environment approvals

This section contains environmental approval documentation.

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Environmental Protection Licence and monitoring

Environmental Protection Licence, monitoring and PIRMP summary.

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Construction Environment Management Plans

This section contains the Construction Environmental Management Plans.

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This section contains details of the project's approach to sustainability.

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