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HS2: Update on air quality studies

Progress has been made on air quality studies vital to mitigating the impact of HS2 on Camden.

These studies continue to develop and we will keep residents updated in the lead up to the Council’s expected appearance at the House of Lords Select Committee in September.

Air quality monitoring

To manage the effect on air quality caused by the construction of HS2, HS2 Ltd committed to conducting an air quality study to establish baseline figures before construction commences. This is important to ensure that HS2 Ltd is held accountable for the impact HS2 construction traffic will have on Camden, and so that they can implement an action plan to reduce impacts. After receiving HS2 Ltd’s initial plans, we proposed eight additional monitoring locations, including sites at Netley Primary School and St Aloysius Junior School. HS2 Ltd accepted these proposals and is currently monitoring nitrogen dioxide at 51 locations across Camden.

However, we’re concerned that HS2 Ltd is not intending to provide real-time monitoring despite this being the Council’s specific request. Real-time monitoring provides greater accuracy and more regular data, which is especially important at sites of particularly sensitivity. We are continuing to push HS2 for some form of real-time monitoring, while also putting in place plans to conduct our own real-time monitoring. We will ensure that any monitoring we undertake is readily available to the community.

As the results of HS2 Ltd’s monitoring become available, they will be published on HS2 Ltd’s HS2 in Euston website. You can also find a detailed map of all the current diffusion tube monitoring locations on that website.

Euro VI assurance

To minimise the impacts on local air quality of HS2’s construction vehicles, HS2 Ltd has committed to ensuring that all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs - those weighing more than 3.5 tonnes) will be Euro VI compliant, the current standard for all new cars. HS2 Ltd will also set targets for the proportion of light vehicles (those weighing less than 3.5 tonnes) to be ‘ultra low emission vehicles’ (ULEVs), such as electric cars and vans.

HS2 Ltd’s report on the study into meeting this assurance has now been completed. The report states that the vast majority of construction HGVs can be Euro VI compliant, in part because the fleet size for HS2 is quite small (a lower number of vehicles doing a higher number of journeys). Exceptions will only be allowed on the grounds of specialism, unforeseen circumstances and triviality, and should not exceed more than 8% of unique vehicles per year.

We will continue discussions around the study with HS2 Ltd, TfL and the GLA to ensure that emissions from all construction vehicles are minimised. HS2 Ltd has committed to meeting all the headline recommendations of the study, and we will work to secure these commitments through additional assurances.

More information

Find out more about HS2 on our HS2 webpages.
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