This article was originally published on ONS


“Explore how air pollution removal varies across the UK and use our interactive map to see how much pollution was removed from your area in 2015.

Overall, an estimated 1.4 billion kg of air pollutants were removed by woodlands, plants, grasslands and other UK vegetation in 20151, according to a study produced for the UK Natural Capital accounts by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

To put this in context, over five times as much PM2.5 was emitted in the UK in 2015, than was removed by vegetation in 20152.

This pollution removal saved the UK around £1 billion in avoided health damage costs3. It is estimated there were 7,100 fewer lung and heart-related hospital admissions, 27,000 fewer life years lost and 1,900 fewer premature deaths in 2015 as result of nature providing this service.

Trees in particular provide a wide range of services and account for most of the volume of air pollutants absorbed by natural vegetation in the UK but can have adverse effects also4.

The study looks at the role of vegetation in removing air pollutants, and the benefits they provide to human health through reductions in exposure. Most harmful is PM2.5 (fine particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres, or 3% of the diameter of a human hair), but the study also covers PM10, nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone, ammonia and sulphur dioxide.

Even though vegetation will not solve the whole issue of air quality in the UK, and in some cases vegetation can have adverse effects on air quality, the service of air pollution absorption by vegetation is nevertheless an important one…”

Read on at: ONS.