Bushy, hairy-leafed cotoneaster can help soak up pollution on busy roads and ease environmental problems, horticultural experts have said.

A one metre length of cotoneaster hedge absorbs the same amount of pollution in a week that a car emits on a 500 mile drive.

Scientists at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) looked at the effectiveness of hedges for soaking up air pollution comparing different types of shrubs, including cotoneaster, hawthorn and western red cedar.

The study forms part of work by the charity to ease environmental problems such as air pollution, flooding and heatwaves, boosting the benefits of garden and green spaces.

On roads with heavy traffic, the denser, hairy-leaved cotoneaster franchetii was at least 20 per cent more effective at soaking up pollution compared to other shrubs, the researchers said, though it did not make a difference on quieter streets.

Read more here – this link takes you to the Royal Horticultural Society website