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ICE submission to the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) inquiry into heat resilience and sustainable cooling

06 October 2023

The Environmental Audit Committee has undertaken an inquiry looking into heat resilience and sustainable cooling.

The ICE’s submission to the committee highlighted:

  • National policy and guidance, including the government’s Climate Change Risk Assessment and National Adaptation Programme, alongside related strategies, provide significantly less guidance for issues such as heat adaptation compared to flood risk. It's essential to identify further associated risks from extreme heat.
  • Areas of risk that need to be examined further include extreme heat in summer months and how the design and implementation of green infrastructure can address resulting impacts.
  • National Policy Statements should accurately reflect the challenges and prospective mitigations resulting from climate change for specific scenarios, including extreme heat, and set out requirements for necessary action.
  • The ICE has previously recommended that Adaptation Reporting Power (ARP) becomes mandatory. The ARP needs to become mandatory to ensure organisations take the appropriate necessary action to improve future resilience against the impacts of climate change, such as extreme heat.
  • Currently, it's not clear how the planning and regulatory framework which sets out the parameters for funding infrastructure investments values resilience in relation to heat. Adaptation and resilience must be critical considerations for councils and communities shaping future local plans.
  • Future planning reforms should require all planning bodies to ensure that all new and existing infrastructure developments are climate-adaptive.
  • A legal duty that ties planning to net zero goals and climate adaptation should be considered to ensure that energy infrastructure is fit for climate mitigation and adaptation purposes.
  • Heat-related death could cost the economy £323 million a year by 2050, with some estimates as high as £9.9 billion. A more coordinated approach across government departments, working in partnership with local authorities, is required to combat extreme heat.
  • Local government has a key role to play in supporting climate-adaptive infrastructure and encouraging heat resilience measures. It's important that long-term strategic and local development plans focus on adaptation measures and that local government leadership makes this an organisational priority.
  • The application of ISO 14090 can influence future national strategies for heat resilience and ensure consistency when it comes to implementation.
  • The UK would benefit from developing a dedicated Heat Resilience Strategy to protect from the severity of future heatwaves.

ICE submission to the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) inquiry into heat resilience and sustainable cooling

Content type: Policy

Last updated: 06/10/2023

Author: ICE policy team

  • Laura Cunliffe-Hall, policy manager at Institution of Civil Engineers