‘Hedge funding’ to help ease Capital traffic pollution

Edinburgh’s hedges will come under the spotlight as part of new research looking at traffic pollution.


A new study is set to highlight the importance of hedgerows in protecting Edinburgh’s residents from rising levels of traffic pollution.

SRUC will assess contaminant levels in the roadside hedgerows of the capital where, according to the latest figures, 3.7 per cent of deaths in adults over 25 are attributable to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution.

Hedges provide a ground-level barrier where traffic-related emissions are greater and more harmful to residents, pedestrians, and especially children.

The study, which will be led Dr Luis Novo, an SRUC Challenge Research Fellow, will compare the effectiveness of different hedge species as barriers to pollutants.

It is being kickstarted by a Small Research Grant of nearly £5,000 from the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).

Dr Novo said: “Road traffic contamination is a major concern in urban areas, where high pollutant concentrations and population converge. In this context, green infrastructure is receiving increasing attention for the broad array of ecosystem services it provides in urban settings, including the abatement of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution.

“This preliminary survey will look into PM2.5 and heavy metals concentrations in different hedge species and locations within the capital. The results will help us understand how factors like traffic volume, roadside distance, meteorology, and plant traits influence the hedges’ pollution abatement capacity.

“In addition to providing valuable information to authorities, practitioners, and the general public, this grant will also lay the foundations for a larger, more detailed study across the main Scottish urban centres.”

Professor Emerita Anne Anderson OBE FRSE, Chair of the RSE Research Awards Committee, Royal Society of Edinburgh, said: “The RSE Research Awards programme is vital for sustaining the knowledge and talent pipeline in our vibrant research and innovation sector across the length and breadth of Scotland.

“Funding enables awardees to deepen their research into significant global challenges, to support career development, and to make significant benefits to society and the economy. The RSE sends its congratulations to each of the award winners and wishes them good fortune in the conduct and outcomes of their research.”

Posted by SRUC on 03/11/2021

Tags: Climate and Environment, Funding and Grants
Categories: Research