UK ‘Unprepared’ For Heatwaves & Rising Summer Temperatures
A new report has suggested that the UK’s approach to dealing with heatwaves and rising summer temperatures is inadequate compared to more visible disasters such as floods and storms, which are inherently less deadly.
Published in the Environment Science & Policy journal, the study – carried out by the University of Reading and King’s College London – argues that the country still doesn’t have a proper plan in place to deal with the invisible threat of heat, despite Public Health England figures showing that three heatwaves this year caused 2,556 excess deaths.
This is the highest number of deaths since England’s heatwave plan was brought in after the heatwave that hit Europe in 2003. Now, those involved in the study have called for a more focused strategy to ensure that society is able to cope with the rising temperatures associated with climate change.
As well as having huge implications for health, heatwaves can cause other problems, such as buckling railway tracks and affecting water supplies. It can also have a big impact on productivity, with lost staff days as a result of heat costing the economy £770 million in 2010.
Heatwaves PhD researcher at the University of Reading Chloe Brimicombe 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.”
Climate change will likely see the UK affected by freshwater shortages in as little as 25 years, so it’s important that action is taken now to help mitigate the effects of rising temperatures and ensure the protection of water resources around the country.
Businesses can do a lot to help make the country more resilient to the problems of water stress and scarcity, which will become more pressing as time goes on and the effects of climate change are increasingly felt.
There are various business water solutions you can start looking into if you want to become more sustainable, whether that’s something like rainwater harvesting or water leak detection and repair.
There’s also lots of technology out there at your disposal, as well, and it may be that you decide automated meter reading is the way to go to help drive down your water consumption and usage. This tracks water flow hourly so you can spot spikes immediately, meaning you can adjust your water-saving solutions accordingly as time goes on.
If you’d like help working out which strategies are the most appropriate for you and your company, get in touch with the team here at H2o Building Services today.