Emission remission

A RECENT government decision which will -force power companies in the UK to bring down emissions of sulphur dioxide drastically,- could help large areas of land affected by acid rain to make a recovery. The two main electric power stations, National Power and PowerGen, have been asked to, bring down emissions by 85 per cent by the year 2005.

The ruling could allow for the growth of sensitive lichens in lands affected by acid rain and could also persuade trouts to frequent nearby upland streams. Toads may also make a comeback to their erstwhile colonies in farm ponds. However, the rate of recovery of the land will be based on local geological factors. For instance, easily eroding rocks can help in the neutralisation of the acid faster than slow-weathering rocks like granite.

The government's decision is based on the fact that power stations in UK account for two-thirds of sulphur oxide emissions which in turn cause about half the country's acid rain. The rest is caused by nitrogen emissions, mainly from vehicles.