UKs canal network can tackle climate change by lowering temperatures, says JOHN INGHAM

Global warming: London under threat from rising sea levels

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The 2,000-mile network can help cool cities, prevent droughts, reduce flooding and even heat homes. Along the way it can boost wildlife. Kingfishers, water voles and wagtails love canals which form precious wildlife corridors, letting animals spread further afield, even from city centres. Of course, the popular image of a canal is a derelict stretch of water, full of shopping trolleys and surrounded by decaying mills. It’s the opposite of 21st-century chic.

But the study, carried out with the Canal & River Trust, shows there’s life in the 200-year-old network yet. It found that in heatwaves the water in canals can cool a 100-metre-wide corridor in urban areas by up to 1.6°C. In winter, when water is cold or frozen, the cooling effect is much less marked.

Canals can also act like giant batteries and could heat or cool 250,000 waterside buildings. They already serve as water-sourced heat pumps, relatives of the air and source heat pumps Boris wants us all to use instead of gas boilers.

Among buildings tapping into this are GlaxoSmithKline’s canal-side HQ in London, the Mailbox shopping and media centre in Birmingham, York’s Guildhall, and Dollar Bay and Baltimore Tower in London’s Docklands.

Meanwhile, there is potential to double the 10,000 homes currently powered by canal hydro schemes. The study, based on canals in London, Birmingham and Manchester, says the network could also offer something Britain badly needs – a national water grid.

The overpopulated southeast is prone to droughts whereas the northwest usually has more water than it knows what to do with. The study shows that canals can link the dry to the wet. At the same time they can act as outlets for torrential rain, reducing flooding risk.

Canal & River Trust chief Richard Parry said: “Our canals and river navigations flowing through Britain’s towns and cities are perfectly placed to tackle climate change challenges. Canals are ready to be the arteries of the new Green Industrial Revolution.”


Teenagers will get a lie-in on their special day at next month’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

Each day has a theme, with events usually starting at 9am. But on Youth Day the kick-off is at 10am – still a little early for many youngsters. FARMING’S main threat to the climate – flatulent livestock – could be tamed by Durham and Nottingham Universities.

Belching cows release methane which traps 30 times more heat than carbon dioxide. But the boffins aim to trap and break down methane in barns with a catalytic kit normally used down mines.

It could be bye-bye “moothane”.


Whalemeat is going to the dogs. It is so hard to sell to humans in Norway that it is being sold to a dog sledding company on Arctic Svalbard, says the Animal Welfare Institute.

Norway still killed 575 minke whales this season – the most in five years. Why not just stop hunting them?


The world’s smallest frog is a tiny brown amphibian on Papua New Guinea.

Found by climate charity Cool Earth deep in the rainforests, it is 7mm long, no bigger than a housefly. It is perfectly camouflaged – but gave itself away with its


You could soon help some of our closest relatives by having a cup of coffee, says the US Wildlife Conservation Society.

The critically endangered Grauer’s gorilla, left, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo should benefit from the Gorilla Coffee Alliance which includes industry giant, Nespresso.

It hopes to tackle illegal logging and poaching in a gorilla stronghold by boosting the troubled local economy and helping 8,500 households improve their coffee production.

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