A “game-changing” new map shows the threats climate change may have on the UK’s stately homes and landscapes.
The National Trust warns the number of its sites facing a high level of threat from issues such as coastal erosion, extreme heat and flooding could rise from 5% to 17% over the next 40 years.
Its map plots a worst-case scenario where nothing is done over that time to drive down global carbon emissions.
The charity says planning for the worst will help it protect sites effectively.
The map is intended to help highlight potential future hazards in heritage or countryside sites across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Interventions can then be made to reduce the hazards – such as planting trees to provide shade in higher temperature areas, or restoring peat bogs to prevent flooding.
The worst-case scenario shows:
The charity wants to plant 20 million trees before 2030, and said the map will ensure trees are planted where they are needed most.
National Trust director for land and nature Harry Bowell said: “This map is a game-changer in how we face the threat climate change poses to the places we care for.
“While the data draws on a worst-case scenario, the map paints a stark picture of what we have to prepare for. But by acting now, and working with nature, we can adapt to many of these risks.”
The charity says staff are already taking action to cope with rising temperatures:
The map plots the impacts of extreme heat and humidity, landslides, coastal erosion, shrinking and shifting ground due to wet and dry conditions known as “soil heave”, and high winds, in 2020 and 2060.
It uses data from a number of sources and plots them in 5km hexagonal grids across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The National Trust is also sharing available data on flooding with staff on properties prone to flooding and action that can be taken, but the information is too localised to be included on the map.