Urban Air Quality  

Join In

Take part in Edinburgh's Lichen and Air Quality survey:

Step 1. Use our Lichen Air Pollution Survey to help complete your assessment;

Step 2. Enter your results using the on-line Lichen Survey (Feedback) Form;

Step 3. Examine air quality results on the Edinburgh Map, and see how your area compares to other parts of the city.


Air pollution is responsible for c. 40,000 early deaths per year in the UK, and costs the health service an estimated £8.5 billion to £20 billion.

Lichens are highly sensitive to air pollution and are widely used as bioindicators for environmental health.

Contributing to the Edinburgh Living Landscape Project, RBGE developed the guide to urban air quality in Edinburgh, using lichens as indicators.

This is an educational tool seeking to engage individuals and communities with their local environment (Figure 1), as well as encouraging action for cleaner air.

Our guide to lichens and air pollution was developed by Frances Stoakley (Figure 2), a TCV Natural Talent apprentice based at RBGE during 2015/2016. See France's blog describing the project.

Further Information

For more information see our list of Frequently Asked Questions relating to lichens, and some specific details about the Sampling and Analysis under-pinning the survey.

Figure 1. Frances Stoakley explaining the use of lichens as air pollution indicators.
Figure 2. Frances sampling lichens during project data gathering.