Ecological Impact Assessment (EIA) of pollutants in the urban environment

Research objective

The mission of this EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) Pollutants in the Urban Environment (PUrE) Research Consortium project is:

"To enable valid and transparent assessments of sustainable development scenarios by providing an improved scientific understanding of the behaviour and impacts of pollutants in the urban environment"

This will be achieved through the development of a decision-support framework capable of integrating the three critical steps defined by the consortium partners:

  1. Mapping the sources and flows of pollutants associated with human activities in the urban environment
  2. Modelling the fate and transport of pollutants in the environment
  3. Identifying and quantifying the impacts of pollutants on human and ecological health in the urban environment.

The PUrE framework will consist of three levels for problem analysis: Simple, Generic and Detailed.

Research overview

Forest Research is responsible for the development of the Ecological Impacts Assessment framework within the overall framework and software platform.

We are involved with three aspects of the overall project:

  • Core project
  • Demonstration of the PUrE framework for mixtures of pollutants
  • Development of models for detailed problem analysis.

Core project

This aims to establish the initial levels of the framework. These Generic and Simple levels will concentrate on the use of datasets and simple vegetation uptake models for the assessment of risk to terrestrial ecosystem receptors.

Demonstration of the PUrE framework for mixtures of pollutants

This will demonstrate steps 1 and 2 of the PUrE framework using particulate pollution as a case study, and will provide data for subsequent model development and validation.

Forest Research is responsible for assessing both the impacts of particulate pollution on terrestrial ecological receptors and the potential for using trees and other vegetation to intercept particles from air thus improving urban air quality.

More information about the demonstration of the PUrE framework

Development of models for detailed problem analysis

This will develop the more detailed levels of the framework (Simple and Detailed). It will concentrate on the use of models to predict food-chain transfer of pollutants in terrestrial urban ecosystems.

Funders and partners

The PUrE consortium is funded by:

Members of the consortium include:

Members of the Steering Commitee include:


This research began in 2005 and is due for completion in 2009.


What's of interest

Forest Research is a member of the EPSRC PUrE Research Consortium.

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