Page last updated at 01:01 GMT, Monday, 5 October 2009 02:01 UK

London's 'fire and flood threat'

Sydenham Hill Wood
The report suggests planting more trees in the capital

London's natural habitats will suffer more droughts and flooding due to climate change, a report has warned.

The London Climate Change Partnership said a rise in temperature could expose the city's scarce wetland areas to drought and fire in summer months.

Warmer, wetter winters could also increase pressure on rivers, which in turn could flood and wash out important nesting and breeding sites.

"Urban greening" schemes were said to be the best way to combat this.

These would include river restoration, incorporating grass roofs and walls into building designs and increasing the number of trees planted in the capital.

Changing biodiversity

Alison Barnes, from the government's countryside watchdog Natural England, said: "Climate change is going to affect us all - both Londoners and the city's wildlife.

"We know that more habitats will increase the chances of vulnerable species being able to cope with the peaks of heat, drought and flood that the climate change predictions suggest.

"However, there is also growing evidence that greening London can protect people too, by helping to keep the city cool and by soaking up storm water thus reducing the incidence of flooding."

The report was released to coincide with United Nations World Habitat Day.

The London Climate Change Partnership (LCCP), represented by leading organisations in London's key sectors, was created to help London better understand and prepare for global warming.

Gerry Archer, chairman of the LCCP added: "We need to find ways to accommodate a rich and changing biodiversity which is vital for our future and this report shows how our adaptations to climate change can benefit Londoners directly whilst also being friendly to wildlife."



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