Pollutant Information: PM2.5 (Particulate Matter < 2.5µm) 

About PM2.5 (Particulate Matter < 2.5µm)

Category: Particulate Matter

Particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (µm) is referred to as PM2.5.

In general, emissions of finer particulates follow similar trends as for PM10. UK emissions of PM2.5 have declined by 55% since 1990 due mainly to a reduction in coal use, and the banning of crop residue burning in 1993. Emissions from coal-fired power stations have fallen by 99.7% since 1990. Residential sector emissions fell between 1990 (44kt) to 2002 (27kt), reflecting declining coal use. However, emissions from this source are now back at around 1990 levels due to increased use of wood as a fuel for homes (wood contributed 87% of domestic combustion emissions in 2018, compared with 13% in 1990). Industrial use of biomass fuels is also increasing and has, as a result, become a more significant contributor to UK emissions – 10% of UK emissions of PM2.5 in 2019.

Emissions of PM2.5 will need to be reduced by 17% based on the 2019 total to meet the 2020 National Emission Ceilings Directive and Gothenburg Protocol targets.

» View and Download PM2.5 (Particulate Matter < 2.5µm) emission summary data

Time series graph