Rising temperatures exacerbated by climate change are a growing concern in the UK. This paper assesses the state of heat risk governance in the country through an analysis of the Adverse Weather and Health Plan (AWHP) launched in 2023, which replaces the former Heatwave Plan (HWP) for England — the prominent policy for addressing heatwaves in the UK. Through 17 semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, the paper assesses the perceived effectiveness of the new plan in addressing heat risk. The findings demonstrate that AWHP has been positively received and is considered to have well-functioning institutional arrangements and strategies tailored to manage immediate heat risks. However, areas for improvement are identified: the need to enhance public communication and broaden the cross-sectoral understanding of heat impacts beyond the domain of ‘health’. Further, the research reveals gaps in leadership, institutional structure, delineation of roles and responsibilities, and funding and resources for addressing long-term heat risk and preparedness in the UK. The paper explores these and highlights the need for strengthening governance and capacity to tackle the multi-dimensional climate risk, i.e., heat, effectively.

Srinidhi Ravishankar, Candice Howarth, Exploring heat risk adaptation governance: A case study of the UK, Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 157, 2024, 103761, ISSN 1462-9011,

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