The impact of coal on people

Professor Nick Higginbotham has been researching the impacts of coal on people in the Hunter for over two decades.

Nick Higginbotham is an Associate Professor at the University of Newcastle and has worked in the public health research group for 27 years. His research has involved looking at the impact of coal mining on the community and the social lives of people in the Hunter. 

Along with Linda Connor and Glen Albrecht, Professor Higginbotham developed the ‘Environmental Distress Scale’, which is now applied worldwide to evaluate people’s distress and sense of loss associated with landscape transformation. In recent years, his research has shifted to investigating the health impacts associated with the expansion of coal loading in the Newcastle area.

The proposed development of a fourth coal export terminal (T4) in the city of Newcastle threatens to expose an already vulnerable population to even higher levels of particle pollution.

Professor Higginbotham and other public health experts in the region have mounted a comprehensive case against the approval of the terminal, arguing the project threatens a key determinant of health and wellbeing for the Newcastle community: clean air.

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