Heat resilience and sustainable cooling – LCCP partner Atkins give evidence to the Environment Audit Committee


Francis Heil – Associate Director, Climate Change and Resilience – AtkinsRealis

Today I was invited to give expert evidence to the UK Environmental Audit Committee for their inquiry into Heat Resilience & Sustainable Cooling. I was proud to represent the London Climate Change Partnership (LCCP) and emphasise some key messages:
– Heatwaves and heat stress are already a major climate risk, especially in cities – and this risk is increasing at alarming rates. Heat waves in 2022 resulted in almost 3000 excess deaths in the UK.
– The UK Government’s National Adaptation Programme 3 fails to recognise the scale and urgency of this issue – it doesn’t commit action or funding to deliver tangible measures to address risks for vulnerable people, instead it only focuses on research. We already know where the risks are and who is most at risk, we need leadership to take action!
– Heat resilience requires: greening of the urban environment; retrofitting buildings & homes with shading / natural ventilation / shutters / insulation etc.; awareness raising to change behaviours (e.g. warning about heat events, guidance to sleep & work in cooler rooms, keep curtains closed during the day and ventilate at night, exercise during cooler times of day etc.); and many other measures to protect vulnerable people – such as providing public water points.
– The Mayor of London has stepped up to fill gaps where central government have not taken action: by funding the London Climate Change Partnership (LCCP) to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing across public, private, academic, and non-profit sectors to advance climate adaptation; by implementing planning guidance to push for passive solutions to heat risk; by making heat risk maps and cool spaces maps freely available to support vulnerable people to seek respite in the heat.
– Government must set effective policy frameworks to create the right incentives / economic conditions for homeowners, landlords, banks, and local authorities to take action in retrofitting and reducing heat risk, and this must be done in a joined-up way so that we deliver against other priorities at the some time, such as Net Zero and flood resilience
– The LCCP is calling for development of a National Heat Resilience Strategy which prioritises prevention of overheating, particularly for vulnerable people
Thank you to my colleagues at AtkinsRéalis for sharing your expertise to inform my preparations: Karen TurnbullAntonino SaporitoDr Avgousta Stanitsa, Neil Lewis, Steven Wade; and to LCCP Manager Jude Hassall for your support!
You can read about the Inquiry and watch the session here:

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