The British rail industry has launched its new air quality strategy document with key recommendations from across the sector.
The Air Quality Strategy Framework has been put together through the RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board) to establish an Air Quality Steering Group with the aim of developing a collaborative approach to better understand and mitigate air quality risks.
The RSSB said the issue of air quality has been brought into even sharper focus by the Covid-19 lockdown which has led to reduced emissions and cleaner air as a result.
The RSSV said that while overall emissions from rail are 2% of Nitrogen Oxides and 1% of Particulate Matter, at specific locations higher emissions may increase health risks.
Anthony Perret, RSSB head of the sustainable development programme, said: “The Air Quality Strategy Framework is a truly collaborative effort within industry to identify and address the risks that Air Quality poses to passengers, staff and the environment.
“There is still a great deal that remains unclear; however, the Air Quality Strategy Framework is a transparent step in the right direction for industry and I am excited to see what results we will be able to share in just over a year.”
The framework details a series of recommendations based around three key themes:
- Modelling: improving our ability to understand risks at a local level
- Mitigating: ensuring appropriate and effective measures are taken to reduce emissions
- Monitoring: establishing a programme to measure emissions and ensure improvements.
The industry has committed to report on progress annually.
Maggie Simpson, director general of Rail Freight Group, said: "The public’s appetite for improving air quality is only likely to increase following the reduction in air pollution during the coronavirus crisis.
"The Rail Freight Group has been pleased to be involved in the timely development of this new strategic framework to help the sector improve air quality. This will give rail freight customers confidence in choosing a mode of transport which not only takes lorries off the roads and out of the hearts of communities but is serious about further improving its own air quality.”