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UK researchers suggest reducing council tax for environmentally conscious gardeners to combat climate change in cities.


Garden styles can be divided into those in which vegetation is minimal or absent (top left ‘gray’), vegetation is present but lacks diversity and is intensively managed (top right ‘intensive’) or vegetation is abundant and varied and simulates natural habitats (bottom left – “green”). The latter style can be applied even to completely utilitarian parts of the garden such as pathways (bottom right). credit: Urban forestry and urban greening (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.ufug.2022.127820

According to new research from the University of Sheffield, policymakers should introduce incentives, such as a council tax or water bill reductions, to encourage gardeners to use environmentally sensitive techniques to help combat climate change in cities and boost the health and well-being of communities.

The study published by Professor Ross Cameron in Urban forestry and urban greeninghighlights that as gardens become increasingly important in the battle against the extreme effects of climate change, financial incentives should be considered to ensure that gardens are well stocked with plants.

Professor Cameron said: “Parks represent a third of all our urban areas and are vital spaces in terms of keeping our buildings and city environments cool in summer, absorbing rain to avoid flash floods and providing important refuge for wildlife.

“Gardens need to be green and full of plants to be beneficial to the local environment, and some types of gardens are more beneficial than others.”

“The irony is that many gardens are not actually green and some trends in garden design can be very detrimental to the urban environment. We pave it over to shelter a car, or provide sterile patio space; factors that increase urban temperatures and increase flooding are a risk.”

The study calls on policymakers to promote more sustainable management of gardens and to help promote gardening activities that help us achieve important environmental and sustainability goals.

Professor Cameron identifies potential incentives that policymakers can provide to ensure gardens remain green and well-cultivated, including:

  • Offer financial rewards – such as reduced council tax or water bills – to homeowners who have more than 50 per cent of their garden area cultivated
  • Offer financial incentives for planting or maintaining trees in gardens, with appropriate choices based on the size of the garden
  • Prohibition or restriction of features that are detrimental to environmental operations, for example, having a maximum surface area that artificial turf can cover and prohibiting synthetic pesticides for home garden use
  • Recognizing that gardens with a high proportion of plants function as a sanitary facility, and that planning processes should have mandatory requirements to include and protect well-cultivated areas

Will Terry, 32, of Norton Lees and his family have planted a garden that provides a home for wildlife as well as a space to enjoy them at the same time.

He said: “When we moved into our house, we thought about how we can create a garden that helps us be more connected to nature, so the most important thing for us is that it benefits wildlife.

“Humans are responsible for a lot of wildlife habitat loss and we wanted to invite it back into the garden. Everything we try in the garden, whether it’s the plants we use, or we try to create different habitats in the garden, for example with an area or pond of woodland, needs value. for wildlife.

“The family gets a lot of enjoyment from it, the birds coming to nest, or watching the frogs and newts around the pond; it brings life to the garden, and is a source of excitement for the children.”

“I think like us, everyone can work with the space they have, have a small tree, unusual plants, create different habitats; anything other than hard paving can be an asset to wildlife, and benefit us too. So I think the incentives to plant a garden are It will definitely make people think about it!”

Unlike in earlier times, where the management of private gardens was left largely to the discretion of the homeowner, Professor Cameron argues that radical changes in policy and practice are now required if local authorities are to deal effectively with the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss at the city level.

He said: “Our research shows that some cities may have lost up to 50 percent of their ‘green’ lawn area over the past two decades. Many residents use artificial turf which kills a lot of the life of the soil underneath, and when the real plants are killed they exist, and we wrongly assume we need We have to hit them with a mixture of chemicals to keep them alive and free of pests. These chemicals pollute our waterways and harm the ecological function of our gardens.”

The research suggests that well-cultivated gardens not only provide high-quality habitat for wildlife, but also improve local air quality, improve health and well-being, provide people with the opportunity to grow their own food, connect with nature and reduce energy bills by better insulating homes.

Professor Helen Woolley, Chair of Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield, said: “The value of this research is that it states conclusively the value of a particular type of landscape and how this relates to different social and environmental agendas. Many citizens quickly realized the value of their home gardens during lockdowns epidemiological situation, and this academic paper builds on and reinforces what we have learned in that time. It is important that policymakers and planners take note.”

Professor Ross Cameron is also the author of a new book that explores the science behind how bringing plants into your life and space, no matter how much outdoor space you have, can promote a powerful, long-lasting, and positive impact on your well-being. . “How plants can save your lifeTo be published by Quercus on May 25, 2023.

more information:
Ross Cameron, “Do we need to see the gardens in a new light?” Policy and practice recommendations for improving ecosystem services derived from local parks, Urban forestry and urban greening (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.ufug.2022.127820

Provided by the University of Sheffield

the quoteUK Researchers Say (2023, April 19): Cut Council Taxes for Gardeners to Help Cities Tackle Climate Change, Retrieved April 19, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-04-council-tax-green-gardeners – city. html

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