Climate change could lead to a heatwave in the south-east of England killing 3,000 people within the next decade, a UK government report has warned.
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.
The report, a follow-up to a study first published in 2002, said the latest modelling now suggested that temperatures would rise by between 2.5C and 3C over the next century. Periods of very cold weather would become less common, but heatwaves would become more common.
It pointed out that the heatwave in France in 2003, which contributed to more than 14,000 premature deaths, had been attributed by climatologists, in part, to the influence of human behaviour on the climate.
Sir William Stewart, chairman of the Health Protection Agency, which published the report jointly with the Department of Health, said: “Climate change is perhaps the most significant environmental problem which mankind will face in the coming century.
So within the decade, there will be no need to go on holiday to the South of France.. You’ll fry at home instead…