HomeHSEQiMechE calls for urgent action over harmful emissions

iMechE calls for urgent action over harmful emissions

Listen to this article

Diesel and bi-mode rolling stock must be assessed to understand the effect that pollutants have on commuters and railway workers.

That is according to a new report from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (iMechE), which is calling for “urgent action” to reduce harmful emissions across the country.

Air pollution is responsible for one in ten of all deaths globally, according to the iMechE, which wants to see the introduction of a new ‘Clean Air Act’ to prevent illness and death caused by poor air quality.

Part of that plan includes Britain’s railway playing its part – despite generally being considered to be more environmentally friendly than other modes of transport – by introducing a number of initiatives.

Lead report author Philippa Oldham said that regular commuters encounter air pollution twice a day up to 250 days a year.

She added: “Even railway stations have relatively high levels of air pollution from diesel.

Like this story? Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date on rail industry news

“Major railway stations with high numbers of diesel-operated trains include: London Marylebone, Birmingham (New Street and Snow Hill), Manchester (Piccadilly and Victoria), Liverpool Lime Street, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle, Bristol Temple Meads and Cardiff (Central and Queen Street).

“While much of the media focus is on our capital, it is worth noting that this is a serious problem that affects us all.”

The report also contests transport secretary Chris Grayling’s claims that bi-mode trains produce the same benefits as electrification, and calls for the Government to work with Network Rail to deliver the complete electrification of the main lines between Britain’s principal cities and ports.

Some of the report’s other recommendations include:

  • Conducting trials on existing diesel rolling stock, new bi-mode trains and in major stations, to understand the level and effect that exposure to pollutants has on commuters and railway worker;
  • Retrofitting diesel trains to cut emissions while trains are standing at platforms;
  • Assessing emerging technologies for carbon emissions throughout its lifecycle;
  • Incentivising freight and logistic operators to make deliveries outside of peak hours;
  • Conducting trials to understand the impact that exposure to pollutants in overground and underground railway stations has to individuals.

Read the iMechE’s report, ‘A Breath of Fresh Air: New Solutions to Reduce Transport Emissions’, in full by clicking here.

Read more: Meet the HS2 innovators who want to introduce non-rail sector ideas