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New SunSmart tool provides defence against skin cancer

Thursday 6 October, 2011

SunSmart today launched a new online planning tool, ‘Creating effective shade' to assist schools, childcare centres, community groups and Local Government to ensure adequate, quality shade is provided in their parks, playgrounds and public open spaces.

SunSmart Manager, Sue Heward, said: "Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is known to be a major cause of skin cancer. Australia receives some of the highest levels of UV radiation in the world and as a result, two in three Australians will develop some form of skin cancer before the age of 70."

"In this environment, the role of shade as a defence against the adverse effects of radiation and heat is essential. Shade alone as a sun protection measure can reduce overall exposure to UV by up to 75% and there is strong evidence that if shade is made available people will use it," said Ms Heward.

The tool allows you to assess whether the existing shade at your site is adequate and also develop a list of practical recommendations to improve both built and natural shade at your site.

While built shade provides more reliable, predictable UV protection, natural shade also has its advantages in that it has a cooling effect on the surrounding environment, improves air quality and adds to the aesthetic appeal of a space.

The tool highlights that often the best solution is a combination of both built and natural shade.

President of the Planning Institute of Australia's (PIA) Victorian Division, Steve Dunn (MPIA CPP), also emphasised the important role played by shade in health, given the Australian outdoor way of life:

"Outdoor space plays an integral role in encouraging physical activity and social interaction, and in Australia, adequate shade is vital to ensure these places are still safe and comfortable in our country's strong sunlight."

To find out more, visit