New research by scientists at the University of Southampton has shown how London’s trees can improve air quality by filtering out pollution particulates, which are damaging to human health.
Urban trees of the Greater London Authority area remove somewhere between 850 and 2000 tonnes of particulate pollution (PM10) from the air every year, according to the study.
An important development in this research is that the methodology allows the prediction of how much pollution will be removed in the future as the climate and pollution emissions change. This shows the real benefits of the planned increase in the number of street trees in London and throughout England, including the authority’s plan to increase the area of urban trees by 2050 and the current government’s ‘Big tree plant’ initiative.
The research found that the targeting of tree planting in the most polluted areas of the GLA area and particularly the use of a mixture of trees, including evergreens such as pines and evergreen oak, would have the greatest benefit to future air quality in terms of PM10 removal.