Reducing urban temperatures

Under the right circumstances, our canals and rivers can help to reduce the temperatures in our towns and cities.

The Urban Heat Island effect increases temperatures in city centres, and this is set to worsen as temperatures rise. By 2050, extreme heatwaves are expected to happen every other year in the UK causing difficult living conditions across the country, but particularly in urban areas.

Bodies of water have a natural cooling effect through evaporation and provide resilience to the urban infrastructure. This makes urban areas next to waterways more pleasant spaces to live and work. Trees along the waterways also provide much needed shade for people and wildlife.

Urban Cooling research

We've carried out a study with the University of Manchester, which shows how the presence of canal water in urban areas can cool Britain’s overheating cities during heatwaves by up to 1.6 degrees.

Last date edited: 20 July 2022