Train halts at station

Rail Minister launches review into air quality across rail network

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP has launched a review looking into the quality of air standards at stations and on-board services.

This comes as research conducted by the Rail Safety and Standard Board (RSSB) found air quality levels on diesel trains to be lower than desired.

The RSSB report found that on-train levels of nitrogen dioxide can peak at levels 1 to 13 times higher than levels found on some major central London roads.

These levels occur most frequently when trains are in tunnels or halting at stations.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has requested the RSSB publish their findings and has commissioned a review into air pollution regulations on the rail network.

Mr Heaton-Harris elaborated on how the wellbeing of all staff and passengers at stations is a main concern.

Mr Heaton-Harris said: “While these findings are within limits, I do not believe people should have to accept anything less than the highest levels of air quality.

“I have asked the industry to immediately conduct further research and explore all engineering modifications and options to rapidly improve air quality on trains and in stations.

“I have also launched a comprehensive review of the current standards… related to air quality on the rail network.

“We will not hesitate to strengthen legislation to ensure the highest standards of air quality are met and maintained.”

DfT has commissioned further research managed by RSSB to better understand the scale of air pollution on trains.

This research will look to identify the causes of air pollution and provide solutions.

This work forms part of the Air Quality Strategic Framework.

The Air Quality Strategic Framework details RSSB’s recommended approach for monitoring, modelling and mitigation.

George Davies, RSSB’s Director of Sustainable Development explained how the research will help the rail industry address issues around air pollution.

Mr Davies said: “Our important research is helping us understand the issue in much greater depth enabling the rail industry, government and regulator to take the necessary steps.

“We look forward to continuing this work and ensuring the rail network plays its part in addressing poor air quality.”

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