Intervention of an Upgraded Ventilation System and Effects of the COVID-19 Lockdown on Air Quality at Birmingham New Street Railway Station

Matt Clegg, John Edward Thornes*, Debasree Banerjee, Christina Mitsakou, Azhar Quaiyoom, Juana Maria Delgado-Saborit, Revati Phalkey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

High NO2 concentrations (long term average of 383 µg/m3 in 2016/2017) recorded at Birmingham New Street railway station have resulted in the upgrade of the bi-directional fan system to aid wind dispersion within the enclosed platform environment. This paper attempts to examine how successful this intervention has been in improving air quality for both passengers and workers within the station. New air pollution data in 2020 has enabled comparisons to the 2016/2017 monitoring campaign revealing a 23–42% decrease in measured NO2 concentrations. The new levels of NO2 are below the Occupational Health standards but still well above the EU Public Health Standards. This reduction, together with a substantial decrease (up to 81%) in measured Particulate Matter (PM) concentrations, can most likely be attributed to the new fan system effectiveness. Carbon Monoxide levels were well below Occupational and Public Health Standards at all times. The COVID-19 pandemic “initial lockdown” period has also allowed an insight into the resultant air quality at lower rail-traffic intensities, which produced a further reduction in air pollutants, to roughly half the pre-lockdown concentrations. This study shows the scope of improvement that can be achieved through an engineering solution implemented to improve the ventilation system of an enclosed railway station. Further reduction in air pollution would require additional approaches, such as the removal of diesel engine exhaust emissions via the adoption of electric or diesel-electric hybrid powered services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number575
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This research received no external funding.
This research was part supported by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Environmental Change and Health, Public Health England.

Open Access: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Citation: Clegg, M.; Thornes, J.E.; Banerjee, D.; Mitsakou, C.; Quaiyoom, A.; Delgado-Saborit, J.M.; Phalkey, R. Intervention of an Upgraded Ventilation System and Effects of the COVID-19 Lockdown on Air Quality at Birmingham New Street Railway Station. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 575.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph 19010575

Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Diesel trains
  • Enclosed railway station
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Particulate matter
  • Upgraded ventilation system

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