Deprivation based inequality in NOx emissions in England

Nathan R. Gray, Alastair C. Lewis, Sarah J. Moller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inequality in air pollution exposure is an established problem globally; this study evaluates inequality in NOx emissions in England. NOx is a class of air pollutants with a detrimental impact on human health. Emissions of NOx in 2019 from the major source sectors across England were linked to deprivation data from the English Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) using Lower layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs). The median NOx emissions in the most deprived decile of LSOAs was 16 tonnes per km2 per year compared with 7.0 in the least deprived. A linear regression model to account for the whole dataset showed higher inequality, with emissions of 19 tonnes per km2 per year NOx for the most deprived decile and 7.3 for the least deprived. All major emission sources, such as transport, domestic combustion, point sources and industry showed deprivation-based inequality. Geographic classifications such as region, city and Rural Urban Classification were shown to have inequalities within them, and the differences between them were shown to drive national inequality. Inequalities in the distribution of NOx emissions persisted at all levels of population density. Less densely populated, typically rural, areas had lower absolute emissions, but the highest emissions-based inequality due to point sources disproportionately affecting more deprived areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1261-1272
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science: Advances
Issue number9
Early online date28 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Department For Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The authors would like to thank Dr Katherine Manfred and Dr Jesmond Zahra for their support during the research process. This research was made possible by publicly available emissions data from the UK National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and census data from the UK National Archives.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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