In Climate Quarterly we highlight useful guidance, research and exemplary sustainable developments to inform best practice approaches to the built environment.

Climate ‘tipping points’ may have already been reached

A worrying new study reveals that thresholds for five climate tipping points may have already been crossed, with current levels of global warming at 1.1 degree Celsius. A tipping point is when a climate change impact results in a feedback loop that accelerates further climate breakdown, such as the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet or loss of mountain glaciers. Although this kind of news is tough to digest, it really highlights the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much and as quickly as possible. Every tenth of degree of further warming counts. Read on to learn about solutions. Link.

Net Zero Carbon family homes completed in Sittingbourne

Six new family homes in Sittingbourne, Kent have been completed to net zero carbon standard using an off-site construction process. The new homes will generate more energy than they produce via rooftop solar panels and guarantee households extremely low utility bills, demonstrating the importance of sustainable design in alleviating the cost of living crisis. Link.

Walking and cycling make society richer

A study has compared the economic costs of driving, walking and cycling in the City of Copenhagen. Considering health, taxation, pollution and a range of other impacts reveals that every kilometre travelled by car costs Danish society £0.62 whereas a kilometre cycled benefits society £0.57 and walking contributes £0.89 per Km. Although the exact figures for England would likely vary, studies such as this provide yet more evidence for the benefits of active travel, which is an important aspect of decarbonising the built environment. Link.

Boost to Green Infrastructure planning and landscape recovery in England

Nature recovery has never been higher on the agenda, with the release of new tools and funding to support projects across the country. Natural England has released guidance on Green Infrastructure planning and a useful interactive map, which can be used to understand existing green infrastructure in your area. Link.

Government funding has been announced for 22 pioneering landscape recovery and rewilding projects, including restoration of the Adur River in the South East. Link.

Do we need to reimagine our parks for a new climate era?

This summer, the worst drought in centuries saw green spaces turn into yellow deserts. With the expectation of hot dry summers ahead, should we be redesigning parks and open spaces differently? Perhaps replacing mown lawns with urban forests? An opinion piece in Dezeen has sparked a lively debate about the future of our urban parks in the face of climate change, suggesting that urban parks across Britain could accommodate 75 million new trees, with benefits for climate change adaptation and biodiversity. Link.


Image source: Ross O’Ceallaigh