Extreme weather 'will cost lives and billions of pounds of damage'

Britain is about to experience its warmest year since records began

Lives could be lost and billions of pounds of damage caused to households and businesses as a result of extreme weather, a senior climate researcher has warned, as Britain is about to experience its warmest year since records began.

Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, said that as the country gets warmer it will also become wetter. New figures published by the Met Office show the period from January to October this year has been the warmest since records began and the second wettest.

Accusing the Government of failing to get to grips with the dangers of climate change, he said: “You are dealing with people’s lives. It is only a matter of time before we see another major incident.”

He said the elderly and those with health problems could end up dying in the heat, and warned that the wetter weather could lead to flash floods.

Video: Floods hit Britain in January

The National Audit Office says today that current spending on flood protection is not enough to maintain defences.

Half of the flood defences looked after by the Environment Agency in England are only being maintained to a “minimal level” and are likely to deteriorate more quickly, increasing flood risk, a report from the Audit Office says.