Tuesday, 9 August 2011

OUR GARDENS KEEP US COOL IN THE HEAT WAVE

A study by the Royal Horticultural Society has established that gardens can help cool the urban environment and therefore reduce the harm caused by heat waves(1).

Hazel Dawe, Kent Green Party campaigns officer has a Gold award for Wildlife Gardening. Hazel says:

“Our gardens are wonderful for enjoyment and relaxation, but now we know that they also keep us healthy by helping cool the air during heat waves. A study by the Royal Horticultural Society has established that gardens can help cool the urban environment and therefore reduce the harm caused by heat waves. The RHS recommends that fast growing deciduous trees are the best for shade and carbon capture. Most of our native trees fit that description and they are also good for encouraging native birds and wildlife into the garden.

Cities are warmer than the countryside because the hard surfaces, such as tarmac, concrete and brick, store more heat than planted areas. Plants, in particular trees and climbing plants, cool the air because of the shade they offer but also because of the water which evaporates from their leaves. Our gardens are therefore very important in keeping us cool and healthier in summer.

Trees and hedges can also reduce the need for heating in winter when they function as windbreaks and reduce heating bills and CO2 emissions.

The study also recommends growing perennial plants and reducing the area of lawn to increase carbon capture: two principles which I apply in my own garden.”

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FURTHER INFORMATION: Dr Hazel Dawe, a Campaigns Officer of Kent Green Party, can be contacted on 079444 71083 or 01732 355185. Contact address as above. Promoted by H.Dawe and published by Kent Green Party, both at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF

Note: The study can be found at: www.rhs.org.uk/urbangreening Advice on how to make your garden wildlife friendly can be found on the KWT web site at: http://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/our-work/wild-about-gardens/wildlife-gardening-advice/

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