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Heatwaves: Adapting to Climate Change

The maximum and minimum UK temperatures have increased by around 1 degree since the 1950s. Globally, all but one of the 16 warmest years on record occurred after 2001. In the UK, this warming is expected to lead to a rise in the frequency and intensity of summer heatwaves.

Objectives of the consultation

The Government's updated Climate Change Risk Assessment, which identifies the specific risks that climate change poses to the UK, was published in 2017. This year the Government is due to publish its next National Adaptation Programme, which sets out the actions taken by government, businesses and society to adapt better to climate change.

The last assessment of the Government’s actions by the Committee on Climate Change found that the UK lacks policies for adapting the built environment to rising temperatures, or standards to prevent overheating in new developments.

The Environmental Audit Committee issued this inquiry to consider risks to health, wellbeing and productivity associated with heatwaves, review the level of UK resilience to them and assess the Government’s actions to date. The Committee also planned to examine public health risks associated with higher temperatures as well as heatwaves.

This inquiry concluded on 14 March 2018.

CIBSE response

CIBSE response to this inquiry was published, amongst other submissions, on the Environmental Audit Committee website

CIBSE’s position is that overheating risk is not adequately addressed in the current policy and regulatory framework and highlighted in its response a need for a regulatory requirement for overheating risk to be assessed and addressed in the Building Regulations. CIBSE’s response also highlighted the Institution’s extensive work and published best practice guidance on this topic, and offered to support the work of the Committee in this area.

To read the full CIBSE response, please follow the link below.

Results of the consultation and next steps

Following the CIBSE written submission, Dr Anastasia Mylona, CIBSE Head of Research, was called by the the Environmental Audit Committee to give an oral evidence. Anastasia is CIBSE’s weather and climate data expert, heavily involved in the development of CIBSE Guidance on thermal comfort and overheating. The session took place on 15 May.

The Committee published the final report from this call for evidence on Thursday 26 July. The report makes considerable reference to CIBSE guidance and Anastasia Mylona’s evidence, including a call, supported by the Committee on Climate Change, for Building Regulations to address overheating.