Ministers are drawing up plans for Britain’s first national heatwave emergency response following a Met Office ‘amber heat warning’, despite critics claims that bureaucrats are guilty of alarmism and Whitehall ‘snowflakes are melting’ in the heat.
A Cobra meeting was held at Downing Street yesterday, after the Met Office issued a rare amber warning for deadly heat across most of England this Sunday when temperatures could hit 100F (38C), The Telegraph reported.
The alert, which has only been issued twice before now, warns of ‘potential serious illness or danger to life’ as record-breaking temperatures are predicted to hit the country.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) may declare a national emergency with a ‘level four emergency’ if the heat becomes so extreme that ‘illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy’ as well as those more vulnerable.
‘There’s a possibility of a level four heatwave,’ a UKHSA spokesman told The Telegraph. ‘If it gets above 104F (40C), then it is likely to be a level four heatwave for the first time.’
This level of emergency also points to food supplies being hit, disruption to roads and trains, schools shutting and nuclear power plants being out of action, as people are told to only call 999 in an emergency.
Footage captured yesterday showed a field of crops ablaze outside Ripon, North Yorkshire, as people were urged to avoid the area.
Meteorologists have warned that ‘exceptionally high temperatures are possible from Sunday’ and ‘could lead to widespread impacts on people and infrastructure’, with major disruption to road transport, railways and flights expected.
But the response to the climbing temperatures has been criticised by some Conservative MPs.