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Levels of toxic gas from Rotherhithe Tunnel blowing into homes dramatically drop after residents’ campaign

Levels of harmful fumes coming from the Rotherhithe Tunnel into nearby homes have dropped significantly following a campaign by local residents, according to figures released last week by TfL.

As the News has reported, concerns were raised by campaigners and constituency MP Neil Coyle in September about toxic gases blowing into their homes after local residents noticed the tunnel was spewing out even more fumes than normal.

An apartment block on Rotherhithe Street is just eight metres from the tunnel’s shaft number two, used to ventilate the busy route.

Mr Coyle said: “The latest figures from TfL show a big drop in toxic fumes spewing out of Rotherhithe Tunnel into the local environment – this is a big win for local campaigners and the News’ coverage!

“I have secured these figures on a monthly basis to ensure that people living around the tunnel shaft aren’t subjected to dangerous levels of NO2 pollution and I am glad TfL have listened and acted.”

The figures, in a report secured by Mr Coyle and shared with the News, reveal that the level of NO2 gas has dropped to an average of 43.4µg/m3 in December.

In August, the month before size and weights restrictions were introduced, the average was 52.9 µg/m3, compared to a UK air quality target of 40 µg/m3.

The transport agency is planning to refurbish the Tunnel’s ventilation systems within the next five years.

READ MORE: Rotherhithe Tunnel: TfL cameras leave drivers facing £130 fines in restrictions crackdown

The news comes after TfL announced that it will install cameras in the tunnel in a crackdown on the size and weight restrictions, leaving motorists facing fines of £130.

TfL said the cameras, to be installed next month, were necessary to enforce restrictions introduced in September, adding it had turned away an average of 600 cars a day from using the tunnel.

The tunnel, built in 1908, was not designed for modern levels of traffic and TfL has warned that drivers breaking the restrictions are risking the safety of themselves and others.


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