Prediction that higher temperatures which caused 2000+ deaths in 2003 will be summer norm by 2040s making adaptation to heatwaves a matter of life and death.
The Environmental Audit Committee has today published its report into ‘Heatwaves: adapting to climate change’.
The Committee has found that failing to address the danger of heatwaves will threaten the wellbeing of an increasing number of vulnerable people.
Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee: “Heatwave warnings are welcomed as barbecue alerts, but they threaten health, wellbeing and productivity. The Met Office has projected that UK summer temperatures could regularly reach 38.5°C by the 2040s. The Government must stop playing pass the parcel with local councils and the NHS and develop a strategy to protect our ageing population from this increasing risk.
“Heatwaves cause premature deaths from cardiac, kidney and respiratory disease. There will be 7,000 heat-related deaths every year in the UK by 2050 if the Government does not take action.
“The Government needs to do more to warn the public of the health risks of heatwaves, particularly when they fall outside of the summer period, and should appoint a minister to lead work across Government. The Government’s new adaptation plan promises no effective action to prevent overheating in buildings. It must change building regulations and planning policies to ensure homes and transport networks are able to deal with extreme heat, and thatlocal authorities and cities have green spaces and heat-resilient infrastructure.”