Cuts limit councils’ response to heatwaves

27 Jul 18

Funding cuts have stunted the ability of councils to respond to heatwaves that threaten a dramatic rise in deaths among the elderly, say MPs.

The environmental audit committee is urging central government to develop a strategy to protect the UK’s ageing population against extreme weather.

In a report published on Thursday, the committee warned that the average number of heat-related deaths in the UK is expected to more than triple to 7,000 a year by the 2050s.

Discussing its inquiry, the report said: “Government ministers were keen to stress the ‘huge role’ of local authorities in adapting to heatwaves.”

However, the Local Government Association has stated that it does “not have a bespoke work programme on climate change adaptation”.

The report found that funding programmes to support local authority climate change adaptation were withdrawn in 2015–16, leading to the closure of regional initiatives.

Mary Creagh, chair of the environmental audit committee, said: “The government must stop playing pass the parcel with local councils and the NHS and develop a strategy to protect our ageing population from this increasing risk.”

The report recommended that the government review the capacity of local authorities to deliver climate change resilience.

It should require them to report on their adaptation to climate change and introduce an urban green infrastructure target for cities.

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