Train leaving train station

Air quality monitoring programme introduced across Britain's railways

The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) is helping the rail industry improve air quality across Britain’s railways.

Issues around climate change, sustainability and air quality are still hot topics following the conclusion of the recent COP26 climate conference.

RSSB launched the Stations Air Quality Monitoring Network (AQMN) earlier this year.

AQMN is a £4.5m programmed funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) and is the rail industry’s first ambitious attempt to better report on air quality at stations.

RSSB’s independent analysis of AQMN data will aid in the monitoring of air quality hotspots across the rail network.

The rail industry will be able to act upon this information collaboratively and make effective decisions on where ‘air quality improvement plans’ are required.

This is in accordance with the DfT’s Rail Environment Policy Statement (REPS).

Diffusion tubes are currently being deployed at over 100 stations in England and Wales.

This is the first of a three-stage equipment installation process.

Reference monitors and low-cost sensors will be deployed in phases over the next two years.

RSSB commented on how the programme will help improve air quality for everyone involved in the rail network.

Philbert Chan, RSSB Air Quality Specialist said: “We have to ensure air quality is at an acceptable level to protect passenger and workers health.

“Using state-of-the-art equipment, [the campaign will] ensure data obtained is as robust and reliable as possible.

“RSSB’s analysis of the data collected will provide valuable information on air pollution, at stations across the country.

“[This will allow] action to be taken to improve air quality where necessary.”

The programme also highlights the Government’s commitment to ensuring rail is greener and more eco-friendly mode of transport.

Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris said: “Railways have long been the cornerstone of British travel.

“As the country continues to rapidly decarbonise, we’re committed to establishing rail as the backbone of a greener and modern public transport system.

“That’s why we’re investing £4.5 million to monitor air quality at stations across the UK with a view of using it as a basis to target air quality improvements ensuring cleaner and healthier travel for staff and passengers.”


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