Bats, lichen and water features hit by hot summer

time:2023-06-03 02:22:38source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center3

Bats, lichen and stately gardens have been hit hard by the hot summer weather, the National Trust has warned.

The conservation charity said issues caused by the heat had been reported at a number of its sites.

Its climate change adviser said the impact of extreme weather was "stark".

Temperatures in parts of the UK exceeded 40C for the first time in recorded history in July and a four-day amber extreme heat warning has been issued for Thursday onwards.

Issues at National Trust sites have included:

The National Trust said it was responding to the conditions with short-term measures including giving the dehydrated bats water using pipettes and moving them into a cooler spots, stopping mowing, and discouraging barbecues.

It said it was also implementing longer-term strategies such as selecting drought-resistant plants in its gardens, increasing tree cover and shade, planning 20 million new trees by 2030, and creating wetlands to hold more water in the landscape.

The trust cited the success of reintroducing beavers at Holnicote Estate in Somerset in 2020 where the animals' engineering had seen the wetlands retain water despite low river levels.

Keith Jones, the National Trust's climate change adviser, said the high temperatures should not be a surprise as "it's what the science has been saying for decades".

"But even with years of planning, some of the effects are stark and we are still learning of the precise impacts extreme weather events like this can have," he said.

Richard Millar, head of adaptation at the UK's advisory Climate Change Committee, said: "We have long known that climate change is making UK heatwaves more frequent and more intense.

"These amplified heatwaves are just one of the impacts on the UK's significant cultural heritage sites and landscapes.

"Addressing these impacts requires conservation and heritage planning to be undertaken on the basis that the UK's climate is changing."

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