Plants and trees ‘not the solution’ to air pollution in cities


A major report by the government’s Air Quality Expert Group and the Office for National Statistics has concluded that natural vegetation only plays a small part in removing air pollutants – possibly as little as a fifth of pollutants emitted in the UK. The study looked at particulates and gaseous pollutant data and UK vegetation including farmland and woodland.

This has important ramifications in relation to air quality and existing and proposed residential development.

‘The report confirms that dense vegetation can be a useful tool in reducing particulate concentrations but has little effect on nitrogen dioxide levels’ says REC’s Air Quality lead – Conal Kearney. ‘There is clearly less scope for such measures in built up areas where concentrations tend to be highest and the majority of Air Quality Management Areas and Low Emissions Zones are located. However the adoption of measures such as landscaping, green spaces and green walls and roofs can prove effective and enable developments in these locations if used in conjunction with other measures such as green transport strategies’.

REC has undertaken numerous Air Quality Impact Assessments around the UK up to expert witness level

If you would like to discuss Air Quality relating to your area or scheme, then contact REC’s Air Quality team on t: 0845 676 9303 e: w: