Monday, June 21, 2021
PUrE Case Studies
A number of case studies have been undertaken looking at various sources of pollutants in the urban environment.

The case studies, detailed below demonstrate the versitility of the PUrE Framework to assess global and local impacts in a wide range of situations.


Real-World examples of PUrE in use


Using the historical industrial processes at the Avonmouth site in the UK the PUrE Framework was used to investigate the effect of policy decisions on the health and ecological impact of pollution due to the industrial activity.

The PUrE sustainability assessment methodology has been applied to study the impacts of pollution in an industrial area of Bristol, UK. The effects of several regulatory/policy-related changes on a smelting facility sited in Avonmouth were investigated. Impacts considered in the investigation related to levels of air pollution, human health effects and impacts on the local ecology. In the study the main driver or key question addressed is: what are the implications of various emission policies on ecological and health impacts? Several scenarios which represent a suite of regulatory changes imposed on the smelter over the operating period were considered.

  • A first scenario models fate and transport of emissions with real site data.
  • A second scenario considering constant emissions at 2002 levels investigates the impact of the smelter if a high level of intervention had been made from the start of the operations.
  • A scenario with constant emissions at peak levels allows consideration of the potential impacts if none of the interventions had been implemented.

Actual Cd, PM10, As, Zn and Pb emissions data and associated information on the operating parameters and regulatory policies during each stage of the operating period were identified. Life cycle assessment modelling wass carried out to examine the environmental burdens and associated life cycle impacts of the smelting operations on the local area and the wider environment. Air dispersion/deposition modelling were performed to identify the fate and transport of pollutants in the surrounding area. Results of this modelling work are then used in ecological impact assessment and human health impact analysis.

The PUrE Framework allowed a thorough analysis of the scenarios considered and assessment of the impact of the policy decisions on human and ecological health.


The PUrE Framework was used to assess the role of vegetation in mitigating the effects of PM10 pollution using an area of London as a case study.

Reduction in PM10 pollution has been highlighted as one potential benefit of urban greenspace. The PUrE Framework has been used to provide an integrated modelling approach which utilises air dispersion and particulate interception to predict the PM10 concentrations both before and after greenspace establishment. The study focused on a number of vegetation studies applied to a 10 by 10 km area of the East London Green Grid (ELGG).

The corresponding health benefits, in terms of premature mortality and respiratory hospital admissions, as a result of the reduced exposure of the local population were modelled. As an example of the results obtained, PM10 capture from the scenario comprising 75% grassland, 20% sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) and 5% Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) was estimated to be 90.41 t yr1, equating to 0.009 t ha1 yr1 over the whole study area. The human health modelling estimated that 2 deaths and 2 hospital admissions would be averted per year.


Details of a case study focusing on the city of Sheffield will appear here soon.

Case studies
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Dr Martyn Jones

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