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Related to: Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation FloodingBuilt Environment, Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, House Conditions, Air Quality, Waste and Recycling, Natural Environment, Green Infrastructure and Spaces House Prices and Tenure, House Conditions, Children and Young People, Older People, Ill Health and Disability

Key Facts:

  • It is thought that overall B&NES has a high probability of heat hazard exposure but an average level of heat disadvantage (social-vulnerability combined with the potential for exposure to heat-related events).
  • The majority of the Middle Super Output Areas in England and B&NES are thought to have an average or relatively low level of heat sensitivity. However, seven MSOAs in B&NES are thought to have relatively high levels of heat sensitivity. 

What does the data say?

Assessing vulnerability to heat waves 1

Climate change has the potential to increase inequalities as some people will be more affected than others, depending not just on their exposure to impacts, but also their social vulnerability. The Climate Just Web Tool has been developed to provide evidence to support local action.The Climate Just Web Tool highlights which people and places are likely to be most vulnerable to the impacts of extreme weather, including flooding and extreme heat and the areas which might be most affected. It also examines fuel poverty and inequities in energy policy and how these can be tackled locally.

Vulnerability to heat waves according to the Climate Just Web Tool 2

Heat hazard- exposure (medium emissions scenario) - Figure 1, the map of heat hazard-exposure broadly shows where there is likely to be a greater chance of coming into contact with heat-related events. The map shows heat hazard-exposure in relation to the central (50th percentile) estimate of the medium scenario for mean summer maximum temperature in the 2050s. It is important to note that this is an imperfect representation of the likelihood of people and communities coming into contact with heat-waves.

Figure 1: Probability of heat hazard exposure in UK Local Authority areas according to the Climate Just Mapping Tool 3 4

Heat disadvantage  (medium emissions scenario)- Heat disadvantage refers to how heat-related population-weighted social vulnerability combines with the potential for exposure to heat-related events.

Social vulnerability refers to:

  • Personal features, such as age and health, which affect sensitivity to heat exposure. 
  • Environmental characteristics, such as the availability of green space, quality of housing stock or elevation of buildings, which can increase or offset exposure to heat.
  • Social and institutional characteristics, such as levels of inequality and income, the strength of social networks, the cohesion of neighbourhoods and the day-to-day practices of institutions, which affect people’s ability to adapt

Figure 2 therefore accounts for both the likelihood of coming into contact with high temperatures (summer maximum temperature in the 2050s) and also the severity of negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of local communities that could occur as a result of that contact.

Figure 2: Levels of heat disadvantage in UK Local Authority areas according to the Climate Just Mapping Tool 5 6

Heat sensitivity - Figure 3 shows the levels of heat sensitivity linked to characteristics related to age and health which affect the likelihood that a heat wave will have negative health and welfare impacts:

  • Age – older people and very young children
  • Health - people with long-term physical or mental health issues.

These characteristics cause higher physical and mental susceptibility to the potential damaging impacts of heat hazard-exposure.

 

Figure 3: Levels of heat sensitivity in MSOAs in B&NES according to the Climate Just Mapping Tool 7 8

The majority of the MSOAs in England and B&NES are thought to have an average or relatively low  level of heat sensitivity. However, seven MSOAs in B&NES are thought to have relatively high levels of heat sensitivity.