Leeds air pollution could be tackled with rooftop gardens

Leeds group want to reduce pollution with rooftop gardening.

By India Rose and Jaimie Kay

Rooted are a group at the University of Leeds who have set up a rooftop garden and encourage others to do the same to help reduce air pollution in Leeds.

But, Leeds City Council say they are not that effective at reducing air pollution in the city.

Kate Kirkpatrick helped to setup the initiative and has been a grower for 15 years.

She said: “If we don’t tackle air pollution in Leeds this will have a detriment on growing crops.

“We need to adapt and grow in urban environments to reduce it before it’s too late.”

Garden with skyline

‘People do care on some level’

Caroline Scott, who also works on the garden, said: “People do care on some level but they are bogged down in their own problems and issues”.

Leeds is one of 31 towns and cities with unsafe levels of air pollution, according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO)

report by the Department of Food and Rural affairs published in 2015, stated that Leeds, along with Birmingham, Derby, Southampton, Nottingham and London would not comply with the 2020 Nitrogen Oxide targets. Due to this, the government told cities like Leeds to implement a Clean Air Zone (CAZ).

Healthy Air Leeds, a campaign for cleaner air in the city said “restricting the use of motor vehicles in Leeds is the best way to reduce air pollution”

‘Rooftop gardens would benefit wildlife’

Several varieties of spinach in the garden.

Several varieties of spinach in the garden.


A Clean Air Zone would stop the most polluting vehicles from entering where the zone is located.

Leeds City Council’s Clean Air group said “Rooftop gardens would benefit wildlife, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and trap some air pollutants. However, they are not the most effective way to improve air quality because levels of some air pollutants (like NO2) decrease rapidly the further you get from their source.”

About the Author

This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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