William Eichler 22 November 2021

Commuter train line exposed to ‘extreme levels’ of pollution

Commuter train line exposed to ‘extreme levels’ of pollution image

Three councils have warned that residents living near the commuter train line running through the Chilterns are being exposed to dangerous levels of pollution.

Westminster and 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 (where the Chiltern line terminates) 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.

‘I hope that you will work closely with your Government colleagues to apply tangible, meaningful solutions as part of the contract renewal, as well as delivering our residents a clear timetable for improvement,’ the letter read.

‘This will ensure they do not suffer the inevitable health consequences long term, should these extreme levels of pollution be allowed to continue.’

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.’

Cllr Liz Leffman, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, added: ‘It’s clear that diesel trains must be consigned to history given the nation’s aims to become carbon zero. We have a golden chance right now to make progress in that direction by ditching diesels on the Chiltern Line.

‘We urge the Government to stand by its net zero commitment and make this decisive move, while at the same time improving air quality through the beautiful Chilterns area and beyond.’

Social care reform: what lies ahead? image

Social care reform: what lies ahead?

Sally Warren lays out four principles that should be at the centre of a ‘radically realistic’ White Paper on social care reform and asks if its vision will be the right one?
A bold local route to better mental health image

A bold local route to better mental health

Local Living Well sites put people with complex mental health needs in control of their support and encourages them to set their own recovery goals. The programme is proud of its success, says Tally Daphu.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Environmental Health/Environmental Protection Officer - Noise

Tower Hamlets London Borough Council
£41,607.00 - £44,598.00
This post attracts an essential car user allowance. The post holder is able to take part in the Council's flexible working scheme. Tower Hamlets, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tower Hamlets London Borough Council

Director of Financial Services (Deputy Section 151)

London Borough of Waltham Forest
£110,118 to £118,864
his is a great opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge that will lead to becoming a Section 151 Officer. Waltham Forest, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Waltham Forest

Director of Business Development

North Yorkshire County Council
50-60k + relocation allowance
We are looking for a dynamic and innovative person to help us deliver our ambitious new strategic objectives set out in... North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Strategic Service Manager - Bridgend Youth Justice Service

Bridgend County Borough Council
£44,863 - £45,859 per annum
An exciting opportunity has presented to lead Bridgend Youth Justice Service. Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recuriter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Corporate Property Surveyor

Ashford Borough Council
£34,476 to £37,158 pa - plus Lease Car or Cash alternative of £2,080 pa
Ashford Borough Council has a long and proud record of driving high quality place making. Ashford, Kent
Recuriter: Ashford Borough Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue