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NRMA Insurance helps Blacktown beat the heat with trees

NRMA Insurance helps Blacktown beat the heat with trees

Schofields and Mount Druitt are looking a lot greener since more than 100 trees were planted on Saturday as part of the Cool Streetsprogram.

The tree planting initiative saw Blacktown City Council work alongside NRMA Insurance with the aim to reduce local urban heat.

Urban heat is caused by increased temperatures triggered by large amounts of paved and dark coloured surfaces like roads, roofs and car parks as a result of urban development.

The sun’s heat is absorbed rather than reflected and causes the surface and ambient temperatures to rise. Anthropogenic heat production, such as the heat produced through car engines and air conditioners, also contribute to urban heat.

Developed by Dr Libby Gallagher of Gallagher Studio, the Cool Streets program encourages local communities to take the lead in choosing the right trees to cool their neighbourhoods.

Blacktown City Mayor Stephen Bali said urban heat is a major challenge for the area and tree planting is one of the methods used to reduce the impact.

“The Cool Streets initiative allows communities to be involved, they are given the opportunity to choose and care for the trees planted around their homes,” Mayor Bali said.

“Trees in residential streets are beneficial to the communities. They can reduce household air-conditioning costs, reduce local air pollution, help store carbon and even add value to house prices.”

Over the past 40 years, western Sydney weather stations have recorded a rise in annual temperatures above what would be expected through global warming.

According to The Urban Heat Island Effect and Western Sydneyreport released by Greening Australia, western Sydney is a hotspot for attracting and attaining urban heat.

The report found the effect is strongest in Blacktown and also exists in its neighbouring western Sydney suburbs including Richmond, Camden, Liverpool and Parramatta.

Unlike Sydney’s coastal suburbs, western Sydney doesn’t receive the same moderating influence of a cooling sea breeze. 

Greening Australia suggested programs such as the Cool Streetsprogram will have a real and measurable impact on lowering temperatures at a local level.

The trees, shrubs and grasses are natural cooling mechanisms, with the evaporation of water from the surface of leaves cooling the air like an evaporative cooler. 

NRMA Insurance Safer Communities Executive Manager Jen Cobley said the organisation was excited to be part of the Cool Streets initiative to help tackle heat stress in western Sydney.

“We know that when trees and vegetation are removed, the temperatures can soar and by revegetating areas we’ll be creating cooler streets benefiting the community and the environment by increasing shade and reducing CO2 emissions,” she said.

“The NRMA Insurance Good ‘Hoods program focuses on how we can support local community-led initiatives that will help communities feel more connected, which will allow them to be stronger, safer and mo

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