Committee on Climate Change warns that zero carbon homes will be more likely to overheat unless rules are introduced to tackle the problem

Building regulations should include standards to prevent overheating, the government’s climate change advisor has said.

In a report, published this week, the Committee on Climate Change said that “many homes, hospitals and care homes” were already at risk of overheating and this would get worse as the UK’s climate is expected to warm.

It said the introduction of zero carbon homes standard in 2016 was “likely to exacerbate” the problem if no steps were taken to mitigate it.

It recommended that the government introduce new standards, possibly in building regulations, to mitigate the effect of overheating in new homes and other buildings.

It said: “Many homes, hospitals and care homes are already at risk of overheating. By the 2040s, half of all summers are expected to be as hot, or hotter, than in 2003 when tens of thousands of people across Europe died prematurely.

“A standard or requirement is needed in order to ensure new homes are built to take account of the health risks of overheating now and in the future.”

It also found that the UK’s infrastructure was still at increasing risk of flooding and storms and would require significant adaptation to cope with the UK’s changing climate.

Lord Krebs, chair of the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change, which wrote the report, said there was “good evidence of positive action being taken in a number of areas to safeguard public health and the economy from the impacts of climate change”.

He added: “Despite the disruption experienced by many in the storms this winter, the impacts would have been much worse if it hadn’t been for past investment in flood defences, and in flood forecasting and emergency planning.

“This is a clear demonstration of the benefits that result from investing in greater resilience, but there is no room for complacency.”

David Balmforth, vice president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said the committee was right to call for a “more comprehensive approach to UK flood resilience” and the UK’s plans needed to  “better reflect interdependencies – or the “domino effect” that can be felt across energy, transport, water and waste networks when a flood defence is overwhelmed”.