During the 1800s the Industrial Revolution spread throughout Britain. The use of steam-powered machines led to a massive increase in the number of factories in northern Britain including around the area that became known as the Peak District National Park.
Nitrous and sulphurous oxides released in the smoke from chimneys in South and West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester were deposited on the moors with devastating effect.
- Sulphurous oxides were responsible for killing off sphagnum moss – the main peat building material. However, the introduction of the clean air act in 1956 and subsequent amendments in 1968 and 1993 have all but eliminated this problem.
- Nitrous oxide emissions (from vehicle exhausts and agricultural practices) still remain today, and whilst it doesn’t kill off sphagnum the resultant nutrient enrichment that occurs benefits grass so that they out-compete the mosses.
For more information into air pollution research visit our Science and Research pages.
Click here to view our Research Note on air pollution in the Peak District that explains the current state of the issue.