Green infrastructure can help to reduce the temperature of towns and cities across Europe, according to a new study.
With the UK government pledging to build 300,000 new homes every single year, researchers are concerned that many towns and cities will experience an increase in temperature brought about by more vehicles and building activity.
In a bid to tackle this, researchers from Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) have modelled how a UK town would be affected if its urban landscape included different types of green infrastructure (GI).
The researchers focused on simulating temperature increases in the town of Guildford, UK, they looked at how different GI cover, including trees, grassland and green roofs influenced the local temperature.
They set out to investigate five scenarios:
- What would happen if the town had no GI?
- What would happen if you replaced the current GI with only trees?
- What would happen if you replaced the current GI with only green roofs?
- What would happen if you replaced the current GI with only grassland?
The team found that trees are the best solution for the reduction in temperature spikes because they provide better shade to surfaces.
The researchers also estimated that Guildford would be 0.128o degrees Celcius cooler if trees replaced all forms of GI in the town.
Professor Prashant Kumar, director of GCARE at the University of Surrey, said: ‘As policymakers and political leaders rightly look to solve the nation’s housing crisis, it is vitally important that they consider how this influx of new urban infrastructure will impact our environment and our planet.
‘I hope that our study will give decision-makers the information they need when they are deciding which green infrastructure to establish in our communities. Our results suggest that, given a choice, trees are the most effective at reducing the urban heat island effect that many of our towns face.’
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