The role of parks and green spaces in mitigating the effects of climate change has been set out in a report entitled ‘Blue Sky Green Space’ by GreenSpace.
Our Parks’ positive contributions are manifold. They reduce harmful elements, energy use, urban heat island effect, flood risks and erosion. They also improve biodiversity and air quality and increase opportunities for local food production, alternative transport links and natural waste management.
They act as carbon sinks: one hectare of trees and shrubs can absorb one tonne of CO2, equivalent to 100 family cars, while a single tree will produce enough oxygen for 10 people. Within urban areas, a 10% increase in green cover could potentially eliminate the effects of climate change on increasing surface temperatures.
Parks support more sustainable patterns of transport. Of the 2.5 billion annual visits to the park, 10 per cent are to take a shortcut to another destination and more than 70 per cent of all journeys to parks are made on foot or by bike.
They also make a valuable contribution to a more sustainable urban drainage system. Green space and vegetation is capable of soaking up substantial rainfall, at the same time filtering storm water and recharging natural groundwater supplies.
The report summarises the contents of a wider document released by Blue Sky Green Space. Blue Sky Green Space is an open forum developed by GreenLINK, an initiative of GreenSpace, the national charity working to improve parks and green spaces by raising awareness, involving communities and creating skilled professionals.
To find out more, visit Green Space.