Clean Air Day Campaign to Reduce Pollution at Level Crossings

Sandy Burn and the station adopters handing out leaflets when the campaign first started June 2021

A campaign to help reduce pollution generated by cars idling at level crossings is happening on Clean Air Day in conjunction with train operator Greater Anglia and the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership.

An action day will be held at Westerfield level crossing on Thursday 15 June, with leaflets handed out to drivers in a bid to reduce pollution there.

Station adopter volunteers at Westerfield – who work with Greater Anglia and the East Suffolks Line CRP to improve their local station – are hoping to encourage car drivers to consider the houses and businesses next to the level crossing and switch off to reduce pollution and noise.

An idling engine can produce up to twice the emissions of a car in motion, churning out sulphur dioxide, particulate matter and nitrogen oxide. All of these are thought to contribute to asthma, heart disease and even lung cancer and have a negative effect on the environment by contributing to poor air quality. 

There are over 800 level crossings in East Anglia which are used by thousands of vehicles every day.

Just one car idling at a level crossing could fill up to 150 balloons per minute with exhaust fumes.

Sandy Burn, who volunteers at Westerfield rail station as part of Greater Anglia’s Station Adoption initiative, said, “When you get a queue of cars and they are all running their engines on a small street surrounded by houses, it is extremely unpleasant in terms of the nasty fumes and the noise.

“It would be wonderful if people could take note of our campaign and be more considerate of those around them when they are sitting in traffic. It may not seem worth switching off the engine just for a few seconds, but I can assure them it really would make a huge difference.”

Greater Anglia’s Managing Director, Jamie Burles, said, “We are working really hard to become ever more sustainable – cutting our CO2 emissions by 22% between 2019 and 2021 in addition to already being the most environmentally friendly form of transport after cycling and walking – and signing up to the Department for Transport’s Sustainable Stations pledge.

“I hope the communities we serve will see improvements as a result and hope that everyone who uses level crossings in the region will take note and help reduce air pollution even further.”

For more information see the Network Rail ‘Switch if Off’ page