Urban Heat: Developing the role of community groups in local climate resilience

This Policy Studies Institute report was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Using an action research approach, the project facilitated engagement of voluntary and community sector (VCS) groups in discussions around the impacts and potential responses needed to heatwaves in three London boroughs, considering the growing risks posed by climate change. The project brought together VCS representatives with local authority staff and other stakeholders to support the development of new approaches to resilience.

The project was successful in raising awareness and informing agendas across sectors, brokering new relationships between stakeholders and in developing ideas for communications materials and systems locally and nationally, to support responses to heatwaves.

The report provides a series of recommendations for action, including:

  • Greater integration between community resilience and heatwave planning agendas at national and local levels, supported by liaison between the Cabinet Office and Public Health England; and
  • A broader approach to local engagement with communities on resilience, extending beyond parish councils and voluntary emergency responders, for example, to include Councils for Voluntary Services, to support consideration of longer term responses to heat, as well as practical actions to alert vulnerable groups in a heatwave.