Air quality monitoring commences at rail stations

'Diffusion Tubes will be placed around Ely and Cambridge rail stations to measure the levels of the pollutant nitrogen oxide.

'Diffusion Tubes' (pictured) will be placed around Ely and Cambridge rail stations to measure the levels of the pollutant nitrogen oxide. - Credit: Greater Anglia

A number of rail stations have become part of a national study aimed at measuring air quality on the railway. 

In Cambridgeshire, monitoring for levels of the pollutant nitrogen oxide commenced at Ely and Cambridge stations this week.

‘Diffusion tubes’ will be placed around different areas of each station and will be changed each month and analysed over a two-year period, with a review after the first year. 

The use of diffusion tubes to monitor ambient air quality is a well-established way to determine long-term pollution concentration levels. 

Greater Anglia’s energy and environment manager, Steph Evans, said: “I’m pleased Greater Anglia is involved in this study.

'Diffusion Tubes'will be placed around Ely and Cambridge rail stations to measure the levels of the pollutant nitrogen oxide.

'Diffusion Tubes' (pictured) will be placed around Ely and Cambridge rail stations to measure the levels of the pollutant nitrogen oxide. - Credit: Greater Anglia

"We’ll be able to gain a greater understanding of air quality at some of our stations so we can ensure they are clean, healthy places to wait. 

“Thanks to our new bi-mode trains, we are already improving air quality at our stations because these trains can switch from diesel to electric power when waiting at the station if overhead wires are available.” 

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Once complete, the study will provide information on the current state of air quality in stations across the rail network and provide location specific air quality data which will help inform the public about air quality at train stations. 

It will also help determine baseline air quality levels, which can then be used to prioritise improvements if necessary, and will also assess how effective measures are to minimise pollution and improve air quality. 

RSSB air quality specialist, Philbert Chan, said: “RSSB’s analysis of the data collected will provide valuable information on air pollution at stations across the country, allowing action to be taken to improve air quality where necessary.” 

Norwich rail station is one of over 100 Greater Anglia rail stations taking part in the air quality national study.

Norwich rail station is one of over 100 Greater Anglia rail stations taking part in the air quality national study. - Credit: Greater Anglia

Steph added: “We look forward to seeing the RSSB’s report and baseline data - we'll see how we're performing and if there is anything we can do to improve air quality.” 

The two stations will join Ipswich, Norwich and Stansted Airport rail stations as well as 100 others across the country in contributing to the stations air quality monitoring network.

The monitoring has been organised by the rail safety and standards board (RSSB) and funded by the department of transport.

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