The UK launches summer heatwave plan

Marbella moments with Nicola King: Summer Time

Marbella moments with Nicola King: Summer Time. Image: pexels-shvets-production-7513185

NHS England in partnership with the UK Health Security Agency has launched a summer heatwave plan and guide to help people protect themselves in event of higher than normal temperatures.

The plan, which comes into force today June 1, provides guidance for residents, local authorities and care agencies. Originally published in 2004, the plan is updated annually to take into account changes in weather, living and health conditions.  

The plan is underpinned by the MetOffice’s heatwave alert system, which is designed to provide pre-warn residents of above-normal temperatures.

Expectations are that heatwaves will become more common in the UK due to global warming, which combined with the increase in energy costs is expected to put more people at risk.

Applicable from June 1 to September 15, the plan gives guidance to health and care providers on what steps to take in the event of a heatwave.

The summer heatwave plan also gives guidance to individuals, which is:

Stay out of the heat

  • keep out of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm
  • if you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade
  • keep yourself covered and use sunscreen lotion
  • avoid extreme physical exertion
  • wear light, loose‑fitting cotton clothes

Cool yourself down

  • have plenty of cold drinks, avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks
  • eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high-water content
  • take a cool shower, bath or body wash
  • sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck

Keep your environment cool:

  • keep your living space cool is especially important for infants, the elderly or those with chronic health conditions or who can’t look after themselves
  • place a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom to keep a check on the


  • keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day, and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped
  • close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun, however, care should be taken

with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat – consider replacing or putting reflective material in‑between them and the window space

  • turn off non‑essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat
  • keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air
  • if possible, move into a cooler room, especially for sleeping
  • electric fans may provide some relief if temperatures are below 35°C

The UK heatwave plan for summer provides good advice for anyone living in an area where extreme heat can reasonably be expected, a copy of which can be downloaded here.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at


    • Andrew Cremona

      02 June 2022 • 10:08

      That does make me laugh. UK doesn’t know what real hot weather is and when it does happen, it’s only for 2 or 3 days.

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