Liverpool City Council has brought nature to urban neighbourhoods to help tackle the threat posed by extreme weather, a danger made worse by climate change. Ponds, trees, green walls and other natural features have appeared at more than 40 sites around the city, reducing the risks from flooding and heatwaves. The project is creating a greener, more pleasant city, something welcomed by residents and businesses.
Climate change brings higher temperatures and heavier rainfall – in response Liverpool has trialled a huge range of measures that protect communities by absorbing excess water and heat, as well as shading streets.
They were created as part of the European URBAN GreenUP scheme, in partnership with the University of Liverpool and nature experts Mersey Forest. Local businesses and charities were also involved in the initiative.
The measures ranged from simple tree planting to creating new ponds and innovative raingardens in small planted areas in and near the city’s streets. More eye-catching features include a blossoming green wall of vegetation at the St John’s Shopping Centre, and floating islands packed with plants.
The council rolled out its URBAN Green UP work alongside other climate initiatives. For example, work to plant trees for shade and create urban drainage took place at the same time as the council was transforming a key city-centre road to become more cycle-friendly.
In an initial survey residents expressed a wish for a greener city, with 92% of people surveyed stating that planting trees would benefit both businesses and people. Following completion of the project works, 12,000 households on three new green corridor routes now have better access to green space.
The council has run tours, webinars, school competitions and citizen science projects to engage residents with the initiative. An example of this inclusive approach is the scheme’s support for Roots in the City, a community garden run in a deprived neighbourhood run by local charity Faiths4Change and St Michael in the City Church.
The Council hopes to expand its greening work – and to inspire other cities to take action. Because of this, the impact of the measures was carefully monitored through the use of solar powered gadgets tracking air and soil quality, and human surveys into the impact on biodiversity.
This monitoring showed that surface air temperatures in some parts of the city were reduced by up to 7.5oC – while 5.2million litres of water were diverted from entering the city’s sewers every year. At one site, the number of pollinating insects rose by more than 900%.
1 November 2023
Ashden Award for Integrated Energy Africa
25 October 2023
Ashden Award for Natural Climate Solutions
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