The effects of climate change on health in the UK
13 May 2007
The UK Department of Health and Health Protection Agency
have published an updated report on the
Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK. The report shows that the
UK population is adapting well to the increasing temperatures experienced
since the 1970s, but heatwaves still pose a serious problem to health and
they will become more frequent.
The Department is asking for comments up to six weeks from publication (3
May 2007) and a final version will be published in July 2007.
which was first published in 2002, takes into account up-to-date information
and current predictions about climate change in the UK.
The main findings
of the report include:
- By 2012 there is a 1 in 40 chance that South Eastern England will
have experienced a serious heatwave.
- Periods of very cold weather will become less common, while periods
of very hot weather will become more common.
- Winter deaths will continue to decline as the climate warms.
- Flooding is an increasing risk.
- Tick-borne diseases are likely to become more common in the UK, but
this is more likely to be due to changes in land-use and leisure
activities, than to climate change.
- Increased exposure to sunshine and to ultraviolet light will lead to
an increase in skin cancers.
- The UK population seems to be adapting to increasingly warm
You can download the full updated report from the Department of
One of the authors of the report, Professor Robert Maynard from the
Health Protection Agency said, "The present scientific consensus is that
the climate is changing and that human activity is contributing
significantly to this. We have to prepare for the consequences and
consider the possible health impacts. Some aspects are positive, for
example there are likely to be fewer deaths due to cold weather, but
others are potentially negative, including increases in food poisoning
and dangers from both floods and droughts."