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National Trust May Switch to ‘Mediterranean Hours’ for Staff and Volunteers Due to Climate Change

The National trust has made plans to switch to more Mediterranean hours – including an afternoon nap break – in parts of the UK like climate change begins to affect summer holiday visits to UK tourist sites.

Heat, flooding and storms can cause temporary site closures if steps are not taken to reduce climate emissions causing rising temperatures, the association said.

Tourists might even need to adapt to hot conditions, such as avoiding going out during the hottest times of the day such as in southern Europe.

The policy comes as the charity released research showing how changing weather conditions could impact stays.

The National Trust said climate change could mean more visits to sites during current “off-peak” hours and peak tourist season could shift from the current peak of July and August to fall.

Earlier this year, the National trust revealed its sites, including Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland and Ham House in London, the most threatened by climate change in an interactive map.

The Trust was already taking action to protect sites from accelerating climate change: “We are introducing Mediterranean working hours at some sites in South East England to avoid the midday heat and create more shade on outdoor rest areas with plants that can cope with higher temperatures.In areas prone to flooding, we plant trees and shrubs and remove silt from lakes where possible.

“Some historic homes are retrofitted using new materials to ensure interior spaces stay cool during times of excessive heat.

It may be necessary to schedule more visits to the coast in the spring and early summer, the Trust said. Credit: National Trust / PA

The National Trust analyzed data from more than 85 million visits, before the pandemic, to 170 of its coastal and rural sites, castles, stately homes, gardens and historic buildings in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

He compared visitor data with weather conditions and found that a quintessential ‘National Trust day’ in all of its locations is one with temperatures of 21C (70F), moderate winds and a very small amount of rain. .

He also revealed that people preferred visits to indoor properties at 20 ° C (68 ° F), and above that the number of people choosing to go to stately homes and other historic buildings began to decline. .

As people flock to outdoor places, especially beaches and coasts, in warmer weather, around 24 ° C (75 ° F), the numbers drop above that, drastically dropping once temperatures drop. reach 28 ° C (82 ° F).

With hot days set to become more frequent due to global warming, the multibillion British tourism industry could be affected by fewer people wanting to travel inside tourist sites in summer, the charity has warned.

Tourist sites may have to close temporarily due to extreme weather conditions Credit: National Trust / PA

The National Trust has also warned that the £ 127 billion UK-based tourism industry may not be ready for the extreme weather conditions that rising temperatures are expected to bring.

If greenhouse gas emissions are not significantly reduced, an increasing number of stately homes and other indoor locations may have to temporarily close more often due to excessive heat or climate-related storms.

Work may need to be undertaken to deal with a possible increase in the number of visitors to the coasts in the spring and early summer, while investment may be required to make indoor sites resistant to high temperatures, rain and higher humidity.

The analysis comes after the National Trust produced a “risk map” plotting potential threats from climate change at its sites across the country, and after a pandemic summer saw the impacts of more people on vacation. the House.

The conservation organization said it was already taking action to deal with climate change, from planting plants at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent that are resistant to warmer conditions, to planting trees at Lyme Park in Cheshire to protect the parking lots and the house from flooding.

Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent, where plants that resist higher temperatures are planted Credit: National Trust / PA

But he called on the government to take action to bring world leaders together at the crucial COP26 climate talks in Glasgow in November to limit the rise in global temperatures and produce a credible and well-funded strategy to cut emissions. of the UK to zero overall, known as “net zero”.

National Trust Climate and Environment Officer Lizzy Carlyle said: “What this data shows us is that we have a long way to go to prepare the UK tourism industry for the effects of climate change.

“Much of the debate on tourism and climate change to date has rightly focused on international travel and the impact of flights and vacations abroad.

“But what has not been fully addressed is what the national tourism industry could face unless we take drastic action to reduce emissions.”

Industry cannot tackle the challenges of climate change on its own, she said, calling for government action to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

“The National Trust is already taking action in all of the places we serve to ensure sites are ready for these changes, but there is much to be done in the industry to collectively prepare us for more frequent days above. of 30 ° C, stronger winds and increased flooding, “she said.

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