Climate change could lead to a heatwave in the south-east of England killing 3,000 people within the next decade, a Department of Health report said today.It put the chances of a heatwave of that severity happening by 2017 at 25%.
Without preventative action, the report said that a nine-day heatwave, with temperatures averaging at least 27 degrees over 24 hours, would cause 3,000 immediate deaths, with another 3,350 people dying from heat-related conditions during the summer.
It predicted that there would be an increase in skin cancers due to increased exposure to sunlight and that, over the next half century, air pollution could lead to an extra 1,500 deaths and hospital admissions a year.
While malaria outbreaks were likely to remain rare, the report – Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK 2008 – said health authorities would need to be alert to the dangers posed by possible larger outbreaks of malaria in continental Europe.
Eggborough power station, near Selby. The report says climate change could lead to a heatwave in the south-east of England killing 3,000 people. Photograph: John Giles/PA