Commuters exposed to ‘extreme air pollution’ on train

Residents living near a commuter train line running through the Chilterns are being exposed to dangerous levels of pollution, councils warn.

Westminster, Birmingham councils and Oxfordshire County Council have written to Chris Heaton-Harris, a transport minister, and Edward Argar, a health minister, requesting that Chiltern Railways be asked to switch to alternative fuels to cut emissions.

According to an air quality monitoring station on Boston Place, outside Marylebone Station, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels peaked at 81 µg m-3.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline level is 10 µg m-3. Particulate matter (PM2.5) peaked at 40 µg m-3, where the WHO’s guideline level is just 5 µg m-3.

At Moor Street station in Birmingham there are also very high levels of air pollution with NO2 levels exceeding 100 µg m-3 at times, more than 10 times the WHO limit.

Cllr Rachael Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, said: ‘Promises of road maps to decarbonisation on rail with no clear timescale are little comfort to those local people who are being subjected to unacceptable levels of pollution.

‘We have an opportunity to act now or the Government will have missed a clear chance to protect public health. When pollution is exceeding World Health Organisation limits on a daily basis, you don’t need a diagram drawn to recognise the risk.’

Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward commented: ‘Councils along the Chiltern Line are working hard and making tough decisions to tackle air pollution, but our efforts must be matched by others. Cleaner air is a public health priority and, if diesel cars are being progressively phased out, the same must apply to diesel trains.’


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Mikael Rosén
Mikael Rosén
2 years ago

Living in a port town in Sweden I am familiar with the problem but luckily for us it is just a few “harbour trains” polluting the air. They will probably not be electrified from above. Do train batteries exist?

Last edited 2 years ago by Mikael Rosén
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