People living close to Sheffield railway station at risk from noxious fumes, warns councillor

Residents on a Sheffield estate are being forced to breathe in dangerous pollutants from the railway station, says a councillor.

Research by Friends of the Earth found the station’s taxi rank had the second highest level of nitrogen dioxide.

The annual average 91 micrograms per cubic meter of air was more than double the recommended safe limit of 40.

Coun Ben Miskell says it poses a danger to people living nearby. “Nitrogen dioxide is a pollutant which mostly comes from traffic fumes and, along with other pollution such as particulate matter, is linked to health issues such as lung and respiratory diseases and early deaths.

Sheffield train station taxi rank.

“Significant amounts of emissions from taxis in Sheffield occur when the engines of our ancient Hackney carriage fleet are idling.

“Sheffield station is very close to my ward, with residents in Norfolk Park forced to breathe in these dangerous pollutants and I am very concerned about this.

“What can council officers do to encourage East Midlands Railway to extend the No Idling Zone, within the station roadway that it manages, and how could that be enforced?”

Coun Douglas Johnson, Executive member for transport, said one of the main drivers for the high volume of NO2 at Sheffield Midland Station was the proximity of the trains idling at the platforms and the umbrella effect on the station concourse.

He said: “We have, through many discussions with the Department for Transport, Network Rail and Transport for the North, explained that the poor rolling stock is in desperate need of upgrade, and that includes modern ways of powering, such as electrification of Sheffield Station and the Midland Mainline.

“I agree taxi idling is an issue and we are working with East Midlands Railway to find an operating procedure that will look to tackle this.

“I have, in the past, asked East Midlands Railway to use their powers of management over the areas of road space they control to take at least some steps to control taxi engine idling.

“Our licensing team also has enforcement powers. A joined-up approach is needed, and I would support further development of this.”