Credit: Sutterstock – Credit: Anton Watman
The government’s failure to address the challenge of adapting the built environment to climate change will condemn thousands of people to death in overheated buildings, according to a report by the independent Committee for Climate Change (CCC).
It urged the government to revise Building Regulations to tackle overheating in new and refurbished homes by introducing passive cooling measures. Since overheating was identified as a major risk in 2016, another 570,000 new homes had been built without climate-adaption measures, said the committee, and a further 1.5 million were due to be built in the next five years.
There is a major risk of lock-in if they are not planned and built to address overheating alongside energy efficiency and low carbon heating,’ the CCC report added.
‘Inaction now will create unnecessary retrofit costs later, and could even leave many existing and new homes uninhabitable as temperatures rise.’
The committee said there were 2,500 heat-related deaths during the 2020 heatwave in England, higher than at any time since records began and, without mitigation measures, heat-related deaths would treble by 2050.The increase in the number of people now working from home would only make the problem worse, the CCC added.
Baroness Brown, chair of the CCC’s adaptation committee, said policies aimed at achieving net zero did not address this problem because the climate was already changing, and would go on changing up to and beyond 2050.
‘By better understanding and preparing for the coming changes, the UK can prosper, protecting its people, its economy, and its natural environment,’ she added.
‘A detailed, effective action plan that prepares the UK for climate change is now essential and needed urgently .’