Thousands of vulnerable Dacorum people at risk of worst effects of soaring temperatures

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Met Office says impact of climate change is here

Thousands of people living in Dacorum are at risk of the worst effects of soaring temperatures as climate change threatens people's health, new figures suggest.

As the Met Office says the first predicted 40C temperatures in the UK are a sign that the impact of climate change is here, Friends of the Earth say extreme heatwaves will become much more frequent as the climate crisis worsens.

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Analysis by the campaign group shows more than 6 million people across England will be vulnerable to extreme temperatures.

Hosepipe attached to a water tap.Hosepipe attached to a water tap.
Hosepipe attached to a water tap.

This includes 2,693 Dacorum homes, and 6,508 people, data suggests.

An "at risk" neighbourhood is an area that will experience extreme heat for more than five days every summer and has a vulnerable population, based on research from the University of Manchester – which looks at a variety of social and personal factors such as age, deprivation, housing characteristics and access to health services.

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Hot weather places particular strain on the heart and lungs, and the Met Office warned that older people, young children and those with pre-existing health conditions are especially at risk.

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Communities most vulnerable are generally those with an older population, a higher number of young children, without green spaces to shelter, and those with housing most susceptible to overheating, such as high-rise buildings and mobile homes.

Extreme heat is defined as being above 27.5C with global warming of 1.5C, or above 30C with global warming of 3C.

The Government has pledged to reduce emissions by at least 68% by 2030 and 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, before reaching net zero by 2050.