More than 4,500 deaths were linked to extreme temperatures on the hottest days of 2022’s record-breaking heatwave.
There were an estimated 4,507 heat-related deaths over the hottest days in England, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
This includes the day in which the UK saw its hottest-ever day, when a temperature of 40.3°C was recorded in Coningsby, Lincolnshire on July 19, 2022.
The summer saw sweltering conditions around the country as fires ravaged parts of greater London and sections of countryside. It was the joint hottest summer in England with 2018 and the UK’s fourth hottest summer on record, according to the Met Office.
The ONS has looked at climate-related mortality numbers in England and Wales between 1988 and 2022.
The numbers show that more people have died through very low temperatures, compared to very hot temperatures, but that death rates from extreme heat are likely increasing.
And the highest mortality risk for climate-related mortality was in London for temperatures exceeding 29 °C.
Over the 35 years between 1988 and 2022, an estimated 51,670 deaths in England, and 2,186 deaths in Wales, were associated with the hottest days.
Deaths linked to cold weather remain far higher than those linked to heat, despite the rising numbers.
An estimated 199,298 deaths in England and 16,474 deaths in Wales were associated with the coldest days over the 35-year period.
ONS statistician Gillian Flower said: “Our analysis shows that, in England, historically very low temperatures were responsible for a greater number of deaths than very high temperatures, although over recent years there is some indication that heat related deaths have increased.
“We continue to develop our methods to measure climate related health outcomes, and monitor the situation in the context of the increasing frequency of hotter days.
“The direct causes of death vary in different temperatures, further work is needed to understand how this can be associated with extreme heat or extreme cold.”