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  • hammaad saghir

UK Unprepared for Potential Recurrence of 2022 Heatwaves, Report Warns

New Analysis Urges Government Action on Heat Risk Strategy

In a fresh analysis released today, experts are urging government action to develop a comprehensive heat risk strategy to safeguard lives and fortify the economy against the impacts of extreme weather events.

The report, titled "Turning up the Heat: Learning from the 2022 Heatwaves," emphasizes the need for a UK-wide approach to heat risk preparedness and management, drawing lessons from the experiences of key agencies and stakeholders during the 2022 heatwaves across England.

Dr. Candice Howarth, leading the study at the Grantham Research Institute, highlights the critical importance of heeding the warning signals presented by the 2022 heat waves. While acknowledging the challenges frontline responders face, the report also underscores the opportunity to enhance preparedness for future extreme heat events.

The study reveals significant strain on resources and the urgent need for better public education and preparedness campaigns by examining responses from various regions, including London and Yorkshire. Participants unanimously agree that current readiness levels fall short in anticipation of more severe heat events.

With 2022 marking the UK's warmest year on record and projections indicating a trend toward increased frequency of heatwaves, urgent action is imperative to mitigate the adverse impacts on health, the economy, and infrastructure. The report highlights the vulnerability of buildings and infrastructure to extreme heat and stresses the importance of future-proofing measures.

Calling for enhanced government initiatives to bolster resilience against extreme heat, the report advocates for cross-sectoral collaboration, increased funding, and improved public communication strategies.

The report's warnings resonate with previous alerts from environmental bodies, emphasizing the pressing need for coordinated action to mitigate the risks associated with rising temperatures. Failure to address these challenges could have far-reaching consequences for public health and productivity, with heat waves projected to escalate annually without concerted efforts.

In parallel efforts, the University of Exeter and Cornwall Council have launched a new Local Climate Adaptation Tool (LCAT), providing decision-makers with vital insights into effective climate resilience measures. This initiative aims to empower local authorities and emergency services with the latest climate science to inform strategic adaptation efforts.

"Our colleagues in local councils, NHS Trusts, and other local services were clear that to support action, they needed a tool that is easy to use and understand, that provides local climate predictions, that supports their understanding of the impact that these changes have on local people - especially those most vulnerable - and provides recommendations for action," said associate professor Emma Bland.

"LCAT responds by bringing the evidence to those who need it in a user-friendly way. It pulls together the best available data to provide local climate forecasts and provides the evidence in layers - giving summary overviews and then increasingly more detailed insights to meet the needs of different users. It also links users to more specialist tools if additional detailed insights are needed."


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