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Particularly troubling findings

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The 22 February edition of Channel 4 Television’s Dispatches show asked, “What’s Really in Our Air?”. One of the NOx-and-particulate pollution hotspots looked at by presenter Morland Sanders was Birmingham’s recently-renovated New Street railway station.

Alice Hickman researching air quality at New Street station (C4 Dispatches, 22 Feb 2016)

Professor John Thornes of Birmingham University told the programme of his concerns about air quality at New Street. He suggested that Network Rail needed to facilitate formal monitoring.

Professor John Thornes discussing air quality at New Street station (Dispatches, C4, Tx 2016-02-22)

The low-ceiling platforms at New Street are used by many diesel trains, and the recent £600+ million renovation appears to have done little to improve ventilation.

Network Rail, electrified track shown coloured green, 2009, Birmingham area

Network Rail told Dispatches it wanted the station to be a “safe and healthy environment” and that in the coming years “they will shift to less polluting electric trains”.

But the reality is that in ten years’ time, the number of diesel trains using New Street is likely to be much the same as it is now.

The programme did not look at Snow Hill, but given that station’s layout, it seems possible that similar air quality issues could be present there.

Of course, cleaning up Birmingham’s transport is not just a problem for the rail sector. Sadly, progress is likely to be glacial unless there is a change of priorities away from wack projects like ‘Airport Midland Metro’ and HS2.

Network Rail's HLOS electrification programme is unlikely to have much effect on air quality at Birmingham New Street

Written by beleben

February 23, 2016 at 10:01 am

Posted in Environment

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