The Environmental Audit Committee has said urban green infrastructure needs to be improved to ensure towns and cities can adapt to frequent extreme weather in the future.
According to the group the government’s new ‘adaptation plans’ have “no effective action to prevent overheating in buildings”, and said to help mitigate the heat cities “must have green spaces and heat-resilient infrastructure”.
Towns and cities can be up to 10C hotter than the surrounding countryside due to the urban heat island effect; hard surfaces in urban areas absorbing heat during the day and emitting heat at night.
Mary Creagh, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: “Heatwave warnings are welcomed as barbecue alerts, but they threaten health, wellbeing and productivity. The Met Office has projected that UK summer temperatures could regularly reach 38.5°C by the 2040s.
“Heatwaves cause premature deaths from cardiac, kidney and respiratory disease. There will be 7,000 heat-related deaths every year in the UK by 2050 if the government does not take action.”