After 40-year decrease, figures show rise in UK acid rain pollution
The UK Government has revealed a year-on-year increase in the amount of sulphur dioxide emissions, which reverses a 40-year downward trend.
For the first time since the Seventies, official statistics show a small increase in the emissions of the sulphur dioxide of 2.3 per cent between 2009 and 2010.
The Defra report blamed the rise on a harsher winter and resulting increases in fuel consumption for heating and electricity generation.
However, the release pointed out that emissions of sulphur dioxide had still fallen by 89 per cent between 1990 and 2010, from 3.7 to 0.41 million tonnes.
The main source of sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions is from combustion in energy production and transformation (58 per cent in 2010), followed by combustion in manufacturing industries (18 per cent in 2010).
It is these sources that have been the strongest drivers for the long term trend of falling emissions, by switching from coal to gas and improved efficiency.
Sulphur dioxide triggers chemical reactions in the atmosphere, which creates acidic air pollution which can cause harm to vegetation and buildings, including as acid-rain.
The report reveals the UK is still ahead of meeting current international targets to reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide and are 31 per cent below the lowest goal.
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