Azara Blog: Acid rain emissions have declined in the UK

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Date published: 2005/11/15

The BBC says:

Some of the UK's most environmentally sensitive upland lakes and streams are recovering from the impact of acid rain, the government has said.

Acidic sulphur in Britain's water has generally halved in the last 15 years, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said research showed.

In around half of 22 sites monitored by scientists, invertebrates and native algae were showing signs of recovery.

Environment minister Ben Bradshaw said the research was "encouraging".

It is thought that emissions controls and greater use of natural gas instead of coal is aiding the reduction and boosting fish, plants and insects.

Since 1970 there has been a 74% decline in sulphur dioxide emissions from 3.8 million tonnes to one million tonnes in 2002, and a 37% decline in emissions of nitrogen oxides.

These gases, along with emissions of ammonia from agriculture, are largely to blame for acid rain.
Ben Bradshaw said the research highlighted how measures brought in by government were starting to bear fruit.

Many of the changes which have meant less acid rain (e.g. the switch from coal to gas) have nothing to do with the Labour government. But at least the figures are going in the right direction. However, this is looking at the UK in isolation, and British citizens also indirectly contribute to emissions abroad by purchasing goods from the rest of the world. It would be interesting to see what the average British citizen's contribution was when the sums are done correctly.

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