Air quality measurements on the London Underground network

[Name Removed] (Account suspended) made this Freedom of Information request to Transport for London

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was successful.

[Name Removed] (Account suspended)

Dear Transport for London,

Please kindly disclose all records of air quality measurements on the London Underground network.

Preferably for each entry the following data would be provided:

Location
Time
Date
Air quality measurement

Yours faithfully,

[Name Removed]

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Nerberka

 

Our Ref:         FOI-2685-1819

 

Thank you for your request received on 11 January 2019 asking for
information about air quality on the London Underground.

 

Your request will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the
Environmental Information Regulations and our information access policy. 

 

A response will be sent to you by 8 February 2019. We publish a
substantial range of information on our website on subjects including
operational performance, contracts, expenditure, journey data, governance
and our financial performance. This includes data which is frequently
asked for in FOI requests or other public queries. Please check
[1]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar... to see if this helps you.

 

We will publish anonymised versions of requests and responses on the
[2]www.tfl.gov.uk website. We will not publish your name and we will send
a copy of the response to you before it is published on our website.

 

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[3][TfL request email]

 

 

show quoted sections

FOI, Transport for London

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Nerberka

 

Our Ref:          FOI-2685-1819

 

Thank you for your request received on 11 January 2019 asking for
information about air quality on the London Underground.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Environmental Information Regulations and our information access
policy. I can confirm we do hold the information you require.

 

We routinely monitor and undertake dust surveys across in the network to
evaluate staff and customer exposures to respirable and inhalable dusts.
The composition of London Underground dust has been a topic for discussion
for many years and over that time the main characteristics have not
changed. The particulates below ground in London Underground
infrastructure are predominantly iron oxide particles from track, wheel
and brake wear.

We are committed to maintaining the cleanest air possible for our staff
and customers when using the Tube. London Underground continues to operate
well within the Health and Safety Executive exposure limit in spite of the
increased demand, higher level of service and increased level of upgrade
and maintenance works being delivered in recent years. In addition TfL has
informally adopted a much stricter target to meet the recommendations of
the Institute of Occupational Medicine (May 2011) to limit inhalable dust
exposures to less than 5mg /m3 and Respirable Dusts to 1mg/m3. Moreover,
with staff shifts running for 7-8 hours, it is assumed that any exposures
by non-employees, primarily customers, will be significantly lower than
that for employees.

 

Dust levels fluctuate from year to year. To ensure that dust levels remain
low and within acceptable levels, London Underground has a stringent
cleaning regime. This is to ensure a more pleasant environment for
customers and staff, and prevent dust from interfering with the
functioning of electrical equipment. As new trains are commissioned,
London Underground requests the installation of “rheostatic” braking,
which reduces the friction action of brakes on wheels by using the engine
power to brake the train, thereby reducing the amount of dust produced.

The main pollutants we measure on the London Underground are respirable
dusts (PM 4.0) and specific metals. The source of these are track, wheel
and brake wear. We do not routinely measure surface pollutants (Nox, Ozone
etc) as these are not generated inside the network.

 

The bulk of monitoring is undertaken in train driver cabins and at
stations. Measurements are generally taken for whole work shifts and are
considered against the Health and Safety Executives EH40 document
(workplace exposure limits).

Please find attached additional information (FOI-2685-1819) that
summarises dust levels on the London Underground. All measurements are in
mg/m3. All samples are taken over work shift periods of 8 hours.

Slide 1:

Average driver exposures to respirable dust for each deep tube line – 2017

Average exposure to respirable dust for a selection of stations – 2017

 

Slide 2:

Historical exposures (respirable dust) 2005-2017. Jubilee, Piccadilly and
Northern Line

 

Slide 3:

Historical exposures (respirable dust) 2005-2017. Bakerloo, Victoria and
Central Lines

 

Slide 4:

Average respirable dust exposures at deep tube stations 2005-2017

Slides 5, 6 and 7:

Respirable dust levels at selected deep tube stations

Please also find attached a summary of the recent work we have done
measuring passenger journey exposures (Simulated Passenger Journeys –
Summary of Results) as well as information on historical metal dust levels
– the exposure groups are drivers (Summary of LU Operator Metal Exposures
in mg-m3 (8hr TWA)). The predominant compound in rail dust is iron oxide.

 

These are the exposure limits published in EH40/2005 for those specific
metals:

 

[1]https://www.hseni.gov.uk/sites/hseni.gov...

 

Please note that there is no data for 2015 as sampling was not funded.

 

The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) have also
recently published an article on air quality on the London Underground
that might be of interest:

 

[2]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

 

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable
to access it for some reason, please feel free to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

[3][TfL request email]

 

 

show quoted sections