The UK Climate Resilience Programme ran from 2019 to 2023

Developing an urban heat resilience plan for Bristol

This is an Embedded Researcher project; click here to find out more about the scheme and a summary of the projects.

This project aims to co-develop a Heat Vulnerability Index and a Heat Resilience Plan for the city of Bristol that will support the city council in developing strategies to reduce heat risk and to increase resilience amongst its citizens, communities and businesses.


In the UK, climate change is resulting in increases in temperature and the occurrence of extreme heat events, causing multiple risks for society, particularly those most vulnerable. Impacts include increases in heat-related deaths and decreased workplace productivity.

Approaches to reducing these impacts include adaptation of buildings, reducing the Urban Heat Island through green space and better medical planning for heatwaves. To successfully build resilience, a detailed understanding of the causes and how the risks vary spatially is required.

This can be achieved by the development of a Heat Vulnerability Index which illustrates where and why, people and infrastructure are most at risk. So far, there are few cities with such indexes. Where they are available they have often been developed by academic or industry experts.


This project will partner Charlotte Brown from the University of Manchester with Bristol City Council. Being based at the Council for 12 months, Charlotte will develop greater understanding of the roles and needs of the various teams within Bristol City Council in addressing urban heat risk. As such, this will ensure that the Heat Vulnerability Index developed for Bristol will be as accessible and relevant as possible.


  • Heat Vulnerability Index – the project will gather understanding as to the multiple factors influencing heat risk in Bristol.  It will then analyse these factors for different areas of Bristol and at different scales.
  • Heat Resilience Plan – developed in partnership with teams from Bristol City Council and drawing on the information provided by the Heat Vulnerability Index. Both the Index and the Heat Resilience Plan will be disseminated for use within Bristol City Council and made available on their website.
  • Learnings as to how other local authorities can develop Heat Resilience Plans most relevant for the intended end users.

UPDATE: The Keep Bristol Cool mapping tool, one of the outputs of the project, was launched in August 2022. Further information can be found on the Bristol City Council website.

Image: Bristol houses, Pixabay