Heatwaves to kill 11,000 a year by 2080


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The Independent Online

Climate change may increase the number of heat-related deaths in the UK by 450 per cent, health experts predict.

By 2080 almost 11,000 people could die each year as a result of heatwaves, up from 2,000 at present, as extreme weather becomes more commonplace, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

Rising temperatures could also mean that British people may contract exotic illnesses at home as mosquitos carrying tropical diseases, such as dengue fever and chikungunya, could migrate to the UK. People with hay fever will have a protracted period of suffering each year as the warmer climate could mean that the pollen season starts earlier and finishes later. A report by HPA, based on the latest climate change projections for the UK, suggests that the health burden created by cold weather could decline by 2080 compared with the present day as average temperatures are expected to rise between 2C and 5C.

Heatwaves are likely to cause more premature deaths, increasing by 70 per cent in the 2020s and by 450 per cent over the next 70 years, the experts predict. HPA chairman Dr David Heymann said: "There is no doubt that climate change poses a wide range of challenges to public health in the UK."