Expert Comment – climate-related mortality England and Wales: 1988 to 202222 September 2023 London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine https://lshtm.ac.uk/themes/custom/lshtm/images/lshtm-logo-black.png
New data released today (22 September 2023) by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) on temperature-related mortality show the highest mortality risk was in London for temperatures exceeding 29 degrees Celsius, where mortality risk was three times the risk at mid-range temperatures. All regions showed increased mortality risk for temperatures greater than 22 degrees Celsius.
An estimated 51,670 deaths in England, and 2,186 deaths in Wales, were associated with the hottest days over the 35 years from 1988 to 2022. In 2022 an estimated 4,507 deaths were associated with the hottest days in England.
Professor Antonio Gasparrini of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), who worked on the ONS report, said:
“The report shows the high impact that non-optimal temperature has had in England and Wales, Results confirm the strong geographical differences across regions, with London being the most impacted for heat-related deaths.
“The result above is expected, given the steeper curve representing the increase in risk in London, and also the fact that London usually experiences higher summer temperatures than other places, in addition to the phenomenon of heat island effect in higher densely-populated and urbanised areas, which can increase personal exposure to heat even further.
“The other highlight is the fact that heat-related deaths seem to show an increase over time. Again, this is not unexpected given the increase in temperature during the years and the extreme heatwaves that have occurred more frequently.
“This is a stark warning that this will become the norm due to climate change, and it makes even more urgent the need to implement adequate climate and public health measures.
“Finally, it is quite telling that this report comes out just days after the UK government has decided to dilute their commitment on net zero and generally on policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
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