According to a study produced for the UK Natural Capital accounts by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in conjuction with the Office of National Statistics (ONS), East Kent removes more pollution from the air via vegetation than any other region in the UK. Figures produced by the Office of National Statistics in the chart below shows East Kent removes 77 Kilograms of deadly pollution per hectare.
Therefore to develop on Princes Parade, Otterpool Park will reduce the vegetation and thus increase the amount of deadly pollution. And what with CPRE announcement that Greenbelt land is being eroded at an alarming rate, means further development will probably only increase pollution levels in East Kent, and further afield.
All regions estimated to remove the greatest amount of pollution per hectare are in the South East of England and are fairly rural. Four of the regions estimated as removing the least amount of pollution are in London.
This pollution removal saved the UK around £1 billion in avoided health damage costs. 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.
Below is an interactive map, where you can enter your postcode (no data is captured by the Shepwayvox team); which will show you the Kilograms of pollution removed by vegetation and the Avoided costs relating to damaged health per person as a result of this pollution removal
We are privileged to live in area where pollution is reasonably low. However increasing the number of houses and cars, will no doubt increase pollution levels once vegetation is removed by increased development.
The Shepwayvox Team – Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful.