Revealed: the London neighbourhoods most vulnerable to heatwaves

In weeks like the one we’ve just had, full of never-ending drizzly rain and whistling winds, it can be easy to forget how stifling London is in the summertime. In heatwaves (like the big ones of summer 2022, in particular) the capital gets unbearable, its concrete houses, towers and pavements soaking up the heat. 

And urban heat is set to become an even bigger problem, thanks to climate change likely bringing hotter summers and more frequent extreme weather events. But some areas of the capital will be more impacted by urban heat than others, and a recent report has revealed where in the city is most vulnerable to heatwaves. 

The report was published by Arup and commissioned by the Mayor of London. It revealed which boroughs are most vulnerable to extreme heat, focusing on different kinds of buildings, from schools and hospitals to residential properties. 

When it comes to housing, the report reckons that Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Islington and Camden are most vulnerable to heatwaves, largely due to their proportion of flats. 

For schools, Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets were deemed most at-risk, while hospitals in Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Islington and Kensington and Chelsea. In other words, many vital buildings in Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Islington are particularly threatened by hotter summers. 

So, what should we be doing to avoid melting down in future heatwaves? Arup’s report offers a range of solutions, ranging from monitoring vulnerable buildings and developing adaptations to public awareness campaigns. 

Interested in finding out more? You can read Arup’s report in full here.

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