An alarming new heat map of Manchester has been revealed showing areas which are ‘more than three degrees warmer’ on the hottest days. The map, carried out by TerraSulis on behalf of Friends of the Earth, shows which parts of the city would benefit from trees and green spaces in order to cool down.
The new analysis helps visualise the stark temperature variances felt by communities living in different areas of five major cities – Birmingham, Bristol, London, Manchester and Newcastle- and the cooling abilities of green space and trees. In Manchester, the research finds that inner-city areas with fewer trees and green spaces were 3.12 degrees hotter than those with more tree cover and plant life during last year’s hottest day on record.
This research from TerraSulis and Friends of the Earth follows a year after the UK broke national heat records and reached a new all-time temperature high. The striking map illustrates a lack of cooling in the dark red of the city centre where there are few green spaces and very few trees.
The isolated green spaces at Whitworth Park and Annie Lees Playing Fields appear as spots of light yellow. But towards the northern and eastern parts of the city where more green spaces and trees are, the picture is quite different.
Queen’s Park, Clayton Vale, Broadhurst Park and Boggart Hole Clough contribute towards creating a cooler environment than the city centre, according to a report on the new analysis. The heat map also illustrates the role of green spaces along the River Medlock as it snakes through Manchester, although this disappears as it reaches the city centre.
The mapping is based on a model of summertime night temperatures and according to Friends of the Earth night-time temperature is particularly important for health. The campaign group said this is because when temperatures remain high overnight there is no relief from the heat, and the body’s ability to cool down and regulate its temperature is compromised.
Pete Abel, from Manchester Friends of the Earth, said: “Last month was the hottest June in the UK since records began and globally, we’ve seen deadly heatwaves and record-breaking high temperatures on both land and sea. Poorly insulated homes are more difficult and expensive to keep cool during heatwaves as well as to keep warm during winter and people on lower incomes are disproportionately impacted by a lack of natural cooling near their homes.
“The visual image for Manchester shows what an amazing job green spaces and trees do in helping to enhance quality of life, improve air quality and protect local communities from the climate breakdown that we’re already seeing across the UK; from heatwaves to flooding. We urgently need all local councils in Greater Manchester and countrywide to plant more trees - faster.”
The maps build on previous research by Friends of the Earth and TerraSuliswhich found that a shocking 43% of neighbourhoods in English towns and cities have less than 10% tree cover, while over a third lack adequate access to green space – strengthening the case for increasing tree numbers to help shield communities from the increasingly hotter temperatures caused by climate change.