More green space in London needed to tackle urban warming

19 July 2011


The impact of urban climate change could be reduced by increasing the amount of green space in ciites such as London.

Temperatures in urban areas are currently up to 6°c higher than rural areas and more should be done to alleviate this growing problem, according to an RICS information paper.

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. However, by sustainably increasing the amount of green space and planting vegetation on roofs and walls across London, the impact of the ‘urban heat island effect’ could be reduced by as much as 2.5°c.

Green space in London has been eroded over the course of many years as playing fields, gardens and other green space have made way for development as pressure on land has increased.

Although pressure on land supply in London continues to be intense, the capital has more open green space than many other world cities in its London Parks, community gardens and public spaces such as Hampstead Heath and Blackheath and much is already being done by government in London to combat the heat island effect, including a ‘green grid’ across the capital.

Gardens do now have some protection from development and there are plans for large scale tree planting in the capital. However the scale of the issue is immense. Planning to avoid the worst of the predicted urban temperature increases is essential as removing just ten per cent of the green space from an urban area can result in maximum temperatures increasing by as much as 7°c.

Extracts taken from