Number of Cold Weather-Related Deaths in UK Drops by Tens of Thousands Amid 'Warmer Winters'
Other than the warmer temperatures, factors that likely contributed to this decrease in deaths reportedly include flu vaccines, improved insulation, and “winter fuel allowance."
The United Kingdom has witnessed a significant decline in cold weather-related deaths during the past 20 years, with data from Britain’s Office for National Statistics showing that about 27,755 deaths per year were "associated with warm or cold temperatures" between 2001 and 2020, which is a net decrease of 555,103.
This comes as it turns out that on average, the three decades between 1991 and 2020 were about 0.9 degrees Celsius warmer than average temperatures from 1961 to 1990, the Daily Express notes, citing the Met Office.
The aforementioned decline in deaths appears to be directly related to the fact that fewer people died due to cold weather during the period in question.
"Our findings, looking at the change between 2001 and 2020, show an increase in hospital admissions but a decrease in deaths due to rising average temperatures in the UK – the latter at least partly because of warmer winters," said Myer Glickman, senior statistician at the ONS.
He noted that it is "not surprising given our existing cool to temperate climate, but has to be seen in the context of strong evidence that the future effects of climate change will include prolonged heatwaves, flooding and other extreme events with consequent impacts on health."
"It will be important to develop more sensitive measures of the health impacts of climate change, for example on mental health and chronic diseases," Glickman added.
Other factors that likely contributed to this decrease in deaths include flu vaccines, improved insulation, and the “winter fuel allowance."
3 November 2021, 07:52 GMT
The newspaper points out, however, that rising temperatures have their downside, as a government risk assessment report published this week warns that a further rise in global temperatures would result in damages worth billions of pounds.