Heatwave conditions could cause over 100 deaths in UK this week
The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science warned today (Wednesday 26 June 2019) that heatwave conditions across many parts of the UK later this week, made more probable by climate change, could result in more than 100 deaths. An analysis by the Institute of figures published by Public Health England show that 2549 deaths across England were linked to summer hot weather over the past three years.
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:
“With daytime temperatures forecast to be close to 30 degrees Celsius by the end of the week, there could be many deaths, particularly among vulnerable groups, such as those suffering from serious respiratory illnesses. Based on experience of the past three summers, during which over 2500 extra deaths occurred during bouts of hot weather, more than 100 deaths could be expected over the weekend.”
“Many of these deaths are preventable if extra precautions are taken to protect those most at risk from overheating in their homes and other buildings, both during the day and at night. The Met Office and Public Health England have already issued a Level 2 Heat Health Alert to warn people of the potential dangers.”
“We know from research by the Met Office that the frequency of summer heatwaves and hot weather conditions has been increasing because of climate change. Last summer was the second warmest on record for the UK, and Met Office researchers have estimated that it was made 30 times more likely by climate change. The UK’s 10 warmest years have all occurred since 2002.”
“We are becoming better at managing the health risks of hot weather, particularly since Public Health England introduced its Heatwave Plan following more than 2000 deaths during the summer heatwave of 2003. Nevertheless, we can still do more, particularly by adapting our homes, for instance by installing air conditioners and attaching external shutters to windows, to prevent overheating. We also need better regulation to prevent the construction of homes and workplaces that are prone to overheating in hot weather.”
“Those who live and work in London and other cities are particularly exposed to the risks of heatwaves because the surfaces of roads and buildings tend to absorb more sunlight and convert it into heat compared with surrounding countryside. London Climate Action Week from 1 July will highlight the impacts of climate change, such as more frequent heatwaves, that are creating rising risks for people who live and work in the capital.”
For more information about this media release, please contact Bob Ward on +44 (0) 7811 320346.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (https://www.lse.ac.uk/grantham) was launched at the London School of Economics and Political Science in October 2008. It is funded by The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment (https://www.granthamfoundation.org/).