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Urban natural capital accounts: developing a novel approach to quantify air pollution removal by vegetation

Jones, Laurence; Vieno, Massimo; Fitch, Alice; Carnell, Edward; Steadman, Claudia; Cryle, Philip; Holland, Mike; Nemitz, Eiko; Morton, Dan; Hall, Jane; Mills, Gina; Dickie, Ian; Reis, Stefan. 2019 Urban natural capital accounts: developing a novel approach to quantify air pollution removal by vegetation. Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy. https://doi.org/10.1080/21606544.2019.1597772

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Abstract/Summary

Air pollution presents a major risk to human health, resulting in premature deaths and reduced quality of life. Quantifying the role of vegetation in reducing air pollution concentrations is an important contribution to urban natural capital accounting. However, most current methods to calculate pollution removal are static, and do not represent atmospheric transport of pollutants, or interactions among pollutants and meteorology. An additional challenge is defining urban extent in a way that captures the green and blue infrastructure providing the service in a consistent way. We developed a refined urban morphology layer which incorporates urban green and blue space. We then applied an atmospheric chemistry transport model (EMEP4UK) to calculate pollutant removal by urban natural capital for pollutants including PM2.5, NO2, SO2, O3. We calculated health benefits directly from the change in pollutant concentrations (i.e. exposure) rather than from tonnes of pollutant removed. Urban natural capital across Britain removes 28,700 tonnes of PM2.5, NO2, SO2, O3. The economic value of the health benefits are substantial: £136 million in 2015, resulting from 900 fewer respiratory hospital admissions, 220 fewer cardiovascular hospital admissions, 240 fewer deaths and 3600 fewer Life Years Lost.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1080/21606544.2019.1597772
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Atmospheric Chemistry and Effects (Science Area 2017-)
Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
CEH Fellows
Unaffiliated
ISSN: 2160-6544
Additional Keywords: health, loss of life, particulate matter, natural capital accounting, atmospheric transport model
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 14 Jun 2019 15:13 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/523740

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