Laura Sharman 21 November 2019

Hedges around parks can halve pollution, study finds

Planting a hedge in front of a park can cut air pollution in half, a new study has found.

Experts from the University of Surrey measured traffic pollutants with the use of emerging pollution sensing technology behind and in front of a hedge around a children’s park.

Over a period of five months they found a reduction in pollution concentration levels behind the hedge by more than 50% in late April.

Professor Prashant Kumar, founding director of GCARE at the University of Surrey, said: ‘We believe our study is the first to look at how a hedge affects the pollution from traffic – assessing the influence of the vegetation lifecycle, wind direction and other variables. The reduction in pollution after the green-up stage gives valuable information regarding where to install green infrastructure across our communities.

‘This study has not only produced unique evidence and support for our advocacy to install hedges and other forms of green infrastructure (where appropriate) along busy roadsides to protect schools, playgrounds and pedestrians/cyclists from air pollution exposure; it has also provided a clear indication that evergreen species should be favoured for barriers against air pollution to exploit their year-round performance.’

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