Nottingham City Councillors are calling on the Government to reverse its decision to scrap the electrification of the Midland Mainline in the interest of public health.
The Government last year cancelled the planned electrification, which would have reduced the number of high polluting diesel trains coming into the city centre every day.
Now as part of a range of activities to mark the second annual Clean Air Day today (Thursday, June 21), Council Leader Jon Collins will once again urge Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to fulfil the original promise.
Councillor Sally Longford, Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment, said: “We’ve talked a lot about the economic benefits of electrifying the Midland Mainline, but the environmental benefits are equally important.
“The health of our citizens is a top priority, and the harmful effects of air pollution are well known. We’re proud of the work we’ve been doing to address this; introducing greener transport, including one of the largest all-electric park and ride bus fleets in the country, and expanding our successful tram network, as well as investing in cycle infrastructure and ultra-low emission vehicles.
“But now we need the Government to step up and fulfil its promise to electrify the Midland Mainline, especially as they increasingly talk about the importance of clean air and put pressure on councils to address air quality. They need to practise what they preach.
“Our monitoring shows significantly higher emissions of nitrogen dioxide in the vicinity of the station, compared to other heavily trafficked roads elsewhere in the city, and its evident dirty diesel trains are contributing to this.
“The new trains being proposed by the Government – bi-mode trains – would continue to emit high levels of nitrogen dioxide into the city centre – an area of our city that the Government has already identified as having poor air quality. It’s simply not good enough.”
What is Clean Air Day?
Co-ordinated by the UK’s leading behaviour change environmental charity, Global Action Plan, National Clean Air Day aims to show what everyone can do to make a positive practical difference on air quality, protecting themselves and others.
Trying an electric bike, going car-free and planting trees are among a series of pledges made by city councillors today, and several will be visiting their local schools to promote a ‘don’t be idle’ message, encouraging drivers to turn off their engines while they wait.
Councillor Longford said: “We may not be able to see it, but air pollution is real and harms the health of thousands of people in Nottingham every year. Children are particularly vulnerable because of their height, which is why we’ve focused on activities around primary schools.
“It’s a national problem, but there are lots of simple things we can all do to help clean up the air we share.
“It could be as simple as walking or cycling to school, making sure you don’t leave the car engine running, or using public transport – it all helps.
Could you travel greener? This blog might give you some ideas