Comment on publication of new figures showing 2556 deaths linked to heatwave conditions in England
Commenting on the publication today by Public Health England of new figures showing 2556 deaths linked to heatwave conditions in England this summer, Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said: “These are shocking figures showing a big rise in deaths due to heatwave conditions this summer. Over the four previous summers, there were fewer than 1000 deaths annually due to summer heatwaves, but the length and intensity of hot weather this year, particularly in August, clearly had a devastating effect. Earlier this year I write to the Prime Minister calling for the Government to devise a National Heat Risk Strategy following evidence that the current Heatwave Plan for England and the Heat-Health Watch Service are not being effective. I did not receive a response. It is time for the Government to take the risk of hot weather far more seriously, particularly as the threat is growing due to climate change. While the Government has rightly set out ambitious plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is failing to prepare adequately the UK for those impacts of climate change that cannot now be avoided.” Further information about the call for a National Heat Risk Strategy can be found here.