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Devon trees top table...

Tuesday, 28 August 2018 08:01

By by Daniel Clark, local democracy reporter, and Paul Nero

...for soaking up pollution (after North Yorkshire)

Devon is the best place in the UK when it comes to plants and trees ridding the area of harmful pollutants, after North Yorkshire.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that more than 45 million kilograms of pollutants – including nitrogen dioxide, as well as substances from vehicles, aeroplanes and power plants – were removed by vegetation in the county in 2015.

Around £9.4 million of health-related damages costs were saved in Devon as a result.

Exeter's Green Party welcomed the news, but has called for more to be done to stop air pollution from vehicles. Diana Moore, Green Party candidate in St David’s, Exeter, said: “It’s good that Devon’s vegetation is playing an important part in cleaning our air. But we need to be on our guard against the constant threat to our trees – especially mature trees, soils and green spaces from Exeter’s development and heavy traffic.

“Councils need to take real action to tackle the poor air quality that’s affecting our health and natural environment. Almost all the air pollution in our cities is caused by vehicles. Greens want bold action to reduce the congestion responsible for poisoning our air. This must involve the county and city councils working together to transform Exeter into a city where it is safe and easy to walk and cycle; initiate a workplace parking levy – charging large organisations and businesses for the parking spaces they provide – and using the revenue to fund sustainable transport solutions; and limiting or excluding lorries on more roads within the city.”

Overall, in the UK, an estimated 1.4 billion kg of air pollutants were removed by woodlands, plants, grasslands and other UK vegetation in 2015
This pollution removal saved the UK around £1 billion in avoided health damage costs.


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