Hundreds more people died on Britain’s hottest day on record than the average, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.
A temperature of 38.7C was recorded in Cambridge on July 25 this year – at the same time as the daily death count rose from 1,100 to nearly 1,500, a spike of nearly a fifth more than the number of deaths usually recorded on the same date (1,259). This number could still rise as a result of delays in deaths being registered.
However the ONS said it couldn’t say how many of those deaths are directly attributable to the heatwave at this early stage.
Sarah Caul, head of fatality analysis for the ONS, said the temporary rise in deaths was followed by a period of fewer than average, so the number of people who died over the summer as a whole was roughly the same as is average.
She added that this suggests the most vulnerable people, like the young or old or those with pre-existing heart conditions, are most at risk of being affected by the heat.
Last year the Met Office said that human-induced climate change was making summer heatwaves around 30 times more likely than usual.