Northern Ireland countryside
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The UK's ecosystems have helped the country in its energy production strategies, reducing pollution and increasing revenues from services provided, according to the latest data released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Farmland all over the country has been widely used to produce solar energy. The UK is required to meet an EU renewable energy target, producing 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The energy flow from these habitats has increased massively, with the UK producing 600 times more solar energy than in 2007, topping 5,647.9 gigawatt hours.

However, the government has recently reduced its financial support for solar farms and this could have an impact.

Pollution

Two other habitats have contributed to the reduction of pollution – freshwaters and woodlands.

Freshwater habitats include reservoirs, canals, ponds, lakes and rivers, which cover 12% of the total environment. Woodlands covered 3.16 million hectares in 2015.

New data reveals that woodlands have removed an estimated £1.8bn worth of harmful pollutants from the atmosphere, with an overall reduction of the most dangerous chemical agents.

However, freshwaters have seen a deterioration in the quality of the habitats. Since 2008 the number of rivers and lakes classed as in poor condition has increased. In 2014, 69% of rivers and 62% of lakes did not meet all the criteria to receive a 'good' status.

Farmlands have also shrunk with a reduction in organic farming. The June Survey of Agriculture and Horticulture records 17.6 million hectares of land in the UK as farmland with a decrease of 2.6% since 2007.

Despite the ecosystem problems, the amount of time spent on visits to woodlands in the UK has increased.

Subsequently, the revenue from these activities has increased, with freshwaters total from cultural services now at £10.1bn and woodlands at £13.2bn.