A new report from global sustainable development consultancy, Arup, was commissioned by the Mayor of London, identifies that urban heat is now ‘a key challenge’ facing London. Commissioned by the Mayor of London, the 'Properties Vulnerable to Heat Impacts in London' report focuses on which of the city’s ‘essential properties’ such as schools, hospitals, care homes, residential buildings, and neighbourhoods, would be most impacted during periods of high temperatures.
It also shows that there is a direct correlation between a higher heat risk and areas that have greater socio-economic vulnerabilities.
Arup says the study -- published alongside the independent London Climate Resilience Review’s interim report, will help inform how London and the boroughs ‘prioritise interventions and adaptations needed across the capital to respond to the climate emergency’.
The report references how urban heat is a key challenge facing London – a phenomenon that is exacerbated by factors including heat emitted from cars and air-conditioning units. In the healthcare sphere, it identifies a higher heat risk for hospitals in areas towards the centre of London – including central boroughs such as Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Islington and Kensington and Chelsea, attributable to the UHI (urban heat island) effect. Other conclusions include both higher socio-economic vulnerability, and a higher heat risk for hospitals towards central and east London, especially for the Barts Health NHS Trust, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Whittington Health NHS Trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, while areas towards the outskirts – such as Hillingdon, Barnet, Richmond, Kingston, Sutton, and Merton show the least heat risk (although the concentrations of hospitals in these areas are also lower).
Arup said: “The report highlights an opportunity to overlay these heat impact datasets with other ongoing climate adaptation programmes, such as flood and drought assessments. Integrating the findings could result in insights into multi-faceted climate risks, and drive the development of solutions that can have co-benefits and will ensure that solutions designed to protect against one risk factor do not inadvertently cause issues with another.”
Damien McCloud – Project Director, and Data and Geospatial specialist at Arup (pictured), said: “London is getting hotter, with the design of our urban capital contributing to how heat impacts different spaces. We produced this report to quantify which areas and properties are most vulnerable. It is vital that these findings inform GLA’s efforts and broader policy-making so that meaningful interventions can be put in place to protect Londoners in buildings most at risk of overheating. At the same time, London needs a holistic approach to reducing the impact of the different consequences of climate change.”