Mapping Winchester's natural services

Winchester City Council is delighted to announce the publication of a series of maps which show the value of our green areas (eg parks and natural spaces) and blue areas (eg waterways and rivers) within the district.

Known as the Winchester District Ecosystem Services Assessment, these maps are an excellent way to show which areas of land deliver vital services for those who live, work and visit the District. These services include flood relief, urban cooling, pollination of crops and areas for recreation.
These maps will be used to identify which areas need to be maintained and which can be enhanced to deliver better services. They will also be used as a tool for informing our decision making, particularly when looking at urban planning and development control.

An example of the maps can be seen below

For further information please contact our Open Spaces Officer Stuart Dunbar-Dempsey on 01962 848 425

Map 1 – Areas important for supporting pollinating insects (pollination level map)

This map shows areas of land that are likely to support a range of flowering plants which in turn will support insect pollinators. Pollination is important for a wide range of crops and flowering plants. A steady supply of pollen must be available over the whole of the growing season for pollinators to flourish; this means a wide range of different plants are needed. The map was created using information about habitat type and land management. These were used as indicators of the likely presence of flowering plants. Where a habitat is known to have a high number of flowering plants the services is scored high. Where only wind pollinated plants such as grass is likely to be present these areas are scored low.

Map 2 – Areas important for mitigating urban heat island effects (Level of temperature map)

This map shows how the environment can exert a cooling effect on the heat generated form urban environments. Natural vegetation has a cooling effect on the surrounding land which in the case of mature trees can be up to 20 Centigrade. Conversely sealed surfaces (such as buildings and roads) reflect heat and have a warming effect on the surrounding environment. The cooling effect of vegetation can be explanted to prevent overheating of partially urban areas in the summer months.

Map 3 – Areas potentially important for regulating surface water runoff (Runoff Regulation Level map)

This map shows where the environment is helping to slow the movement of rainfall through the land into rivers. The lighter areas are where incident rainfall moves very quickly over the land. These areas could be enhanced by changing the land use.