UK is underprepared for increase in heatwaves

Environment Journal

By Pippa Neill

Public Health England recently announced that the three heatwaves in England in June, July and August 2020 caused 2,556 excess deaths.


The 2018 Environmental Audit Committee described the UK as ‘woefully unprepared’ for heatwaves, and warned that the number of heat-related deaths could treble to 7,000 per year by 2050 unless action is taken. 


The researchers have said that the UK needs a more focused response to heatwaves that mirrors recent investment in flood prevention.

Chloe Brimicombe, a heatwaves PhD researcher at the University of Reading, said: ‘If heat was as visible as floodwater, you would see politicians wading around in it on television during heatwaves demanding urgent action. But because heat is invisible, and it affects mostly older and less affluent people, its deadly impacts are largely overlooked.

‘Like other disasters, heatwaves have cost the UK billions of pounds in damage to agriculture, infrastructure and productivity, yet there is a woeful lack of political and public understanding of heat as a risk.”


Please note: Content is displayed as last posted by a PreventionWeb community member or editor. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of UNDRR, PreventionWeb, or its sponsors. See our terms of use