The impact of urban climate change could be reduced by as much as 2.5°C by increasing green space in town and cities, according to a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) information paper published today.
By sustainably increasing the amount of green space and planting vegetation on roofs and walls in urban areas, the impact of the “urban heat island effect” could be reduced by as much as 2.5°C.
Removing just 10% of the green space from a built-up area could see maximum temperatures increase by as much as 7°C, the report said.
Green space in towns and cities is being eroded, as playing fields, gardens and general green space increasingly make way for roads and new development.
Temperatures in urban areas are currently up to 6°C higher than rural areas and more should be done to alleviate this growing problem, RICS said.
Current climate change predictions suggest that summer temperatures in the UK may rise by up to 3.5°C by 2050 and urban areas are particularly susceptible.
RICS said it would like to see the government, local authorities, land owners and developers create and safeguard existing green spaces, and pay greater attention to the growing problem of urban climate change.
In order to allow for this the adoption of green infrastructure strategies, that have long term environmental and economic benefits, should be factored into development plans, the institution said.
RICS Green Infrastructure working group chair Paul Collins said: “It is crucial that the government, local authorities, developers and individual property owners 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 by as much as 2.5°C.”
RICS associate director Tony Mulhall said: “Increasing green space can not only lower urban temperatures, but can also help prevent flooding, improve air quality, reduce noise and support biodiversity.”