Thousands of people could die in the coming heatwave, experts have warned, as the government triggered the first ever national emergency heat red alert with a record 40C (104F) temperature forecast for south-east England on Tuesday.
Health officials fear people living alone on upper floors of buildings are among those who could perish, as people did in Paris in 2003.
Record night-time temperatures of more than 25C (77F) in London and parts of the north-west are also forecast, placing greater strain on people’s bodies for longer, a key factor in increasing mortality.
The announcement of a national heat emergency triggers “a multi‑sector response at national and regional levels”, according to the government’s heatwave plan for England.
The Met Office issued a parallel red “extreme heat warning” covering parts of central, northern, eastern and south-eastern England.
“Currently there is a 50% chance we could see temperatures top 40C and 80% we will see a new maximum temperature reached.”.
We can expect this to keep happening until we reduce global greenhouse gas emission to net zero. »