As part of its ongoing commitment to improving air quality, Aggregate Industries has implemented a programme to lower airborne emissions at its Horn Lane Goods Yard, Acton site in Ealing, London.
Historically, high concentrations of the particulate matter PM10, a pollutant linked to 40,000 early deaths each year, were recorded at Horn Lane, making it one of Britain’s most polluted areas.
With Ealing Council stating the borough as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), some of this pollution was due to dust emissions coming from Horn Lane Goods Yard, a narrow strip of land used by a number of firms involved in waste management and the movement of freight by rail.
Five years ago, Aggregate Industries started a voluntary programme of improvements, costing in excess of £350,000, seeking to tackle air pollution from its Acton Depot, which handles more than 500,000 tonnes of rail delivered aggregates every year and recycles used ballast delivered by London Underground.
Working with the Environment Agency, the local council and residents, the leading building materials supplier has introduced measures including the installation of an improved dust suppression system to guarantee that water sprays better cover the aggregate stockpiles and roadways, as well as upgrading the site’s air quality monitor so it now measures and provides live data streaming and a real-time facility.
The initiative also saw a new wheel wash installed to clean all delivery vehicle tyres before exiting the site, while a tractor and bowser were bought to offer roadway dousing and cleaning as required.
The bowser, in particular, has been fitted with high pressure jets and a directional water spray gun for additional deep cleaning of roadways and targeted dust suppression. Meanwhile, the site drainage and surfaces have been enhanced to assist with cleaning and prevention of airborne dust.
As a result, in 2017, Aggregate reduced total PM10 particulate pollution levels at the Acton depot to meet Air Quality Objectives for the third year running.
Dan Stevenson, Area Operations Manager at Aggregate Industries, commented: “The environmental benefits of the use of the railways to provide construction materials essential to London’s economic wellbeing are well documented.
“However, it’s no secret that the poor level of air quality in the UK, particularly in urban areas like London, is a massive concern to local residents’ health and wellbeing.
“It’s something that we feel very passionate about and in order to tackle the problem head on, since 2013 we’ve proactively looked at ways to slash airborne emissions at our Horn Lane depot in Acton.”
He added that the company was delighted at the ‘fantastic progress’ of how the time, money and resources invested have improving air quality in recent years, but said that the ‘journey does not end here’, with commitments to continue monitoring particulate matter at Horn Lane, plus its our other sites, whilst persistently seeking opportunities to further minimise it.
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