Urban green space recommended to combat climate change effects

Research by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors champions green space in towns and cities.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has recommended a push for more green space in towns and cities to reduce urban climate change effects.

Figures published in a RICS information paper revealed high-density areas were up to 6 degsC hotter than surrounding countryside due to the "urban heat island effect", with the figure projected to rise in future.

Increasing city green space could reduce temperatures by 2.5 degsC and removing 10 per cent of urban green cover could raise maximum temperatures in those areas by up to seven per cent, it noted.

The paper advised developers, planners and landowners to explore opportunities for converting more urban land to grow food, installing green roofs and creating temporary parks or wildlife areas where development has stalled.

The RICS document highlighted successful sub-regional green infrastructure strategies in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire and stressed the importance of local green policies such as those adopted by Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council and Sheffield City Council.

RICS green infrastructure working group chair Paul Collins said it was crucial for the Government, councils, developers and individual property owners to give greater consideration to the benefits of green infrastructure. "Prioritising the likes of parkland, gardens, allotments and trees and planting vegetation on walls and roofs could cut the growing trend of urban warming," he said.

RICS associate director Tony Mulhall pointed out that increasing green space could not only lower urban temperatures but also help to prevent flooding, improve air quality, reduce noise and support biodiversity.

KEYSTAT

Temperature difference caused by "urban heat island effect" compared to surrounding countryside

+6 degsC


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