Wildlife warning over emissions
A new report led by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has warned that nitrogen pollution is posing a threat to wildflowers in the UK.
Nitrogen leads to a reduction in the number of plants found across the country, with grasses and weeds spreading at the expense of wild flowering plants
Plants are also coming under increasing threat through rising background levels of ozone, which could lower wheat yields in southern Britain by up to 15%, the report warns.
Background pollution in the UK has been increasing in recent years due to higher emissions in the northern hemisphere, cancelling out efforts made by the UK and Europe to cut nitrogen and ozone emissions from vehicles or power stations.
However, Britain has made significant progress in reducing sulphur emissions from coal-fired power stations, achieving a 90% reduction in emissions since the 1950s.
The report's chairman Professor David Fowler said this has made British soils less acidic and helped the fauna and flora to recover, meaning the UK is no longer the "dirty man of Europe" when it comes to sulphur pollution.