Air pollution at York Station to be tracked over public health concerns
New equipment is set to be installed at York Station amid concerns about railway-related air pollution.
The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) wants to measure pollution levels at the city’s station as part of a national project, and is testing new equipment to see how effective it is.
It wants to install some equipment at York, against a wall on the concourse near the beginning of Platform 8.
An application has been submitted to City of York Council by engineering firm AECOM, on behalf of the RSSB.
In a supporting statement, AECOM says: “Poor air quality is the greatest environmental risk to public health in the UK. It is known to exacerbate the impact of pre-existing health conditions, such as respiratory and cardio-vascular illnesses.
“The railway causes air pollution, particularly through its use of diesel, but also abrasion products and it can be a major contributor to certain air pollution hotspots.
“There are areas of particular concern such as enclosed stations, where rail staff and the public may be exposed to high concentrations of air pollutants.
“Currently, there is no established air quality monitoring network specifically designed for the rail network.
“Previous studies have shown that air quality inside enclosed train stations is of concern, especially when idling diesel trains are present. However, there is limited monitoring data to confirm this.
“As a result, a project has been developed to establish a monitoring network for the train stations in the UK.”
The national project was announced last year, and involves various types of equipment being installed at 105 stations around the UK. It will monitor various pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matters.
The York application is to enable testing to be carried out for three months, to see whether the approach is effective.
The project aims to:
- Provide information on the current state of air pollution across the network
- Provide localised data to identify priority locations
- Assess how effective the improvement policies and measures are
- Inform the public about the issue
- Establish the most accurate and cost-effective solutions.
Announcing the project last year, the RSSB’s Air Quality Specialist Philbert Chan said: “We have to ensure air quality is at an acceptable level to protect passenger and workers’ health.
“This is the first large-scale organised air quality monitoring campaign on the railway network, using state-of-the-art equipment, to ensure data obtained is as robust and reliable as possible.”