Urban green spaces in Northern Ireland

The role of nature-based adaptation continues to be a topic of interest, both here in Northern Ireland and internationally. In February 2023, new research published in the Lancet demonstrated that planting more trees could reduce premature heat-related deaths in European cities by a third.

From our own work with the Met Office on Belfast’s Heat Pack we know that Belfast is getting warmer, with examples of heat events including July 2021 when temperatures exceeded 30°C for 3 consecutive days and a record of 31.3°C was recorded in Castlederg. Future trends indicate that heatwaves will happen more frequently, be longer in duration and hotter when they occur.

The presence of green spaces and bodies of water has a cooling effect. In Northern Ireland, the future of urban green spaces is being explored through a joint project between Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL) and the National Trust. The project aims to co-create a vision and action plan to 2030 – engaging with a wide range of stakeholders across government, health, voluntary and business sectors, as well as greenspace users and urban residents to understand needs, opportunities, and views.