UK gears up for hottest ever day, Friends of the Earth calls for more trees to protect us from extreme heat

“Having more trees in our towns and cities will lower temperatures, provide shade and absorb carbon emissions to help avert climate breakdown in the first place."
  Published:  25 Jul 2019    |      1 minute read

As the UK prepares for what may be its hottest day on record (Thursday 25th July), Friends of the Earth is calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take proper action on the climate crisis. Alongside cutting emissions in the first place, the campaign group is calling for doubled tree cover to protect people from the impact of extreme weather such as heatwaves and to help absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

Green spaces including parks and woodland are known to reduce excessive heat and, in towns and cities can help regulate the ‘urban heat island’ effect. Yet, urban green space in England has declined by 7% in recent years.

Emi Murphy, trees campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“Having more trees in our towns and cities will lower temperatures, provide shade and absorb carbon emissions to help avert climate breakdown in the first place. Trees have huge benefits for people and the planet but current government work on tree planting is depressingly negligible.

“There’s a serious risk of the temperatures that we currently define as extreme becoming the new norm. This goes way beyond what you could call a nice summer’s day – if we see temperatures like this become a regular occurrence then more and more lives will be at risk.

“It’s not just extreme heat that trees can help to defend us against, but also the heavy rainfall and floods that are a constant threat to many communities.”

Find out more about Friends of the Earth’s tree campaign, and sign the petition calling for the government to double tree cover.