Planting hedges around playgrounds adjacent to busy roads can reduce children’s exposure to traffic pollution, a study has found. Various schools have planted hedges around their playgrounds to protect children from toxins, but this was the first study to investigate whether their efforts are worthwhile . The researchers, from the University of Surrey, monitored the air quality on either side of a large hornbeam hedge that shields a children’s park in Guildford. They found that levels of fine particulate pollution (PM2.5) were significantly lower on the non-road side – and more than 50% lower in April, when the hedge was in full leaf. This, they say, suggests more hedges should be planted along busy roads, and in particular evergreen varieties, “to exploit their year-round performance”.