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Pollution worry for homes that overlook King’s Cross station

Toxic mix of car fumes and steam train pollution causing breathing issues for resients

24 November, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Alem Abay looking out of the window 

PEOPLE living in flats near King’s Cross say they have difficulty breathing because of pollution from diesel and steam trains at the station and are calling for better protection from their housing association, which owns their homes.

Alem Abay, 60, has lived in his Peabody Estate flat in Wharfdale Road for 10 years but says living a stone’s throw away from the tracks means his flat is flooded by emissions. He says his home overlooking York Way is also hit by pollu- tion from lorries working on the transformation of the railway lands.

“I have difficulty talk- ing because the smoke is accumulating in my throat and in my chest. I cannot sleep and when I do I have to wear a face mask. I am worried for my health,”said Mr Abay.

The former charity worker has called for his windows to be replaced and made more airtight and a ventilation system installed in his flat to filter out pollutants.

“I have to clean my TV every day because of a layer of dust. My curtains go black, too,” he said.

The view from Mr Abay’s window to King’s Cross where steam trains come in on the weekend 

Other residents in the block say they have to vacuum their carpets every day to prevent a layer of dust forming.

Steam and diesel trains regularly leave and enter King’s Cross station, less than 100 metres away from Mr Abay’s window.

“When the steam trains are there it’s too loud for me to watch TV and I have to leave the room because of the smoke,” he added.

Even with the introduction of low-sulphur diesel, diesel train engines can still produce high levels of nitrogen oxide and particulates, which are minuscule particles that can go deep into the lungs. Constant exposure to both can cause respiratory diseases, including lung cancer.

A spokesman for Peabody said: “Our contractors are currently on-site at Wharfdale Road delivering our planned programme of investment and upgrades to homes. This includes new double-glazed windows, improved ventilation and redecorating.

“We have offered advice to residents on reducing condensation and hope to have the upgrade works completed in the near future. We have no plans to install triple-glazed windows in these blocks.”


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