Heatwave signals the need for urban trees

Martin Emmett

Does anyone doubt that the present heatwave is giving us a taste of things to come? Excessive temperatures, peaking (possibly) above 40C, have a grotesque effect on living conditions with the most extreme effects being felt in those neighbourhoods lacking any of the shade and cooling effects of an overhead tree canopy – providing some outdoor space that offers a respite from intolerable heat.

The current conditions are exposing the vital role that green spaces are playing in our urban communities and why they need to be a central component of the levelling up agenda. If there are any MP’s unconvinced that more trees are needed in our urban centres, I suggest they take the short walk from Parliament to St Johns Gardens on the Horseferry Road – a real urban oasis. We need to be planting more areas like this now to be ready for the extreme heatwaves of the future.

Martin Emmett is strategy director at Tristram Plants and chair of the NFU Horticulture & Potatoes Board

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