A POTENTIAL dust storm and unsettled weather conditions forecast over the next two days could exacerbate pre-existing respiratory conditions in people with asthma. Vanessa Johnston, acting ACT chief health officer, said dust storms can significantly […]
SHANE Rattenbury has welcomed the statement by Acting Cities Minister Greg Hunt, who yesterday announced that he plans to work with cities to increase urban canopies in an attempt to reduce the heat in our suburbs and improve health and quality of life.
“Trees in urban areas provide shade for buildings, and by limiting direct sun exposure people are able to walk, cycle and use our parks more comfortably during hot weather,” Shane said.
“Trees also help with general urban cooling, reducing the overall temperature in a city, which is particularly important for the elderly and the young, who are more susceptible to heat stroke and other heat related health issues.
“Managing the urban forest is a dynamic process and there are times when we need to replace trees and select new species over time.
“I have, however, been disappointed to see trees being unnecessarily removed during the development of inner city areas such as Braddon, particularly along Lonsdale Street.
“I have asked that TAMS work with developers to find alternative approaches that mean the existing trees can be preserved and protected.
“It is vital that, as the temperatures continue to rise, we are doing everything we can to protect our urban environments and prevent them from becoming concrete hot-boxes that discourage activity. Braddon is a vibrant and exciting new urban development, we need to protect and enhance its tree canopy to avoid it becoming an urban heat island in our city centre.
“The impacts of climate change are becoming more and more apparent in our everyday lives and each summer we seem to be breaking new temperature records.
“It is a welcome change to see that the Commonwealth Government now recognises the reality of climate change and the need to adapt,” said Mr Rattenbury.
“While Canberra is known as the ‘Bush Capital’ due to the vast bushland surrounds, it is important that we take steps to keep our urban areas cool and prevent the heat island effect that is amplified in treeless streets.
“I’m keen to see this issue factored into considerations about tree management across our city, particularly in more built up areas.”