Britain Feels the Heat this Summer

Saddleworth Moor wildfire (Image courtesy of The Independent)

With Motherwell, Scotland, reaching a sweltering 32.2C on June 28th, its hottest ever temperature recorded, and with many areas still feeling the heat almost a week later, the UK has certainly been experiencing a Summer that won’t soon be forgotten, but what are the consequences of the country reaching such staggering temperatures over a prolonged period?

Over a week ago, on 24/06/2018, Saddleworth moor caught ablaze, burning for miles across the barren landscapes that surround the counties of Tameside and Oldham, destroying wildlife and generating thick smoke which travelled to areas as distant as Bolton and Wigan. The blaze eventually got so bad that it resulted in homes being evacuated, with some residents suffering from nose bleeds, chest problems and other various health problems related to the smoke produced.

In under a week a second blaze took hold of Winter Hill in Bolton on the 28/06/2018, which produced so much smoke that it was visible from areas as far as Lancaster. The blaze later grew when two neighbouring fires began to merge together. However, unlike the Saddleworth moor fire, it is suspected that more sinister means may be behind this fire, with one individual being arrested, and later being released under investigation. Sky News also reported that arsonists have been spotted lighting additional fires around the area.  Regardless its source, the fire has had a devastating effect on wildlife, with flames causing destruction to food sources and habitats, many of which may take a long time to recover depending on how long the fire remains burning.

A shortage of water also remains a problem, both in our homes and within rivers and streams; one BBC article describes how the Environmental Agency had to rescue more than 130 trout and salmon from the River Teme in North Herefordshire, after soaring temperatures caused water levels to plummet. There is also the possibility of a hose pipe ban, something which already came into place within Northern Ireland on the 29/06/2018, as imposed by Northern Ireland Water, and Energy companies up and down the UK have been equally vigilant in urging their customers to use water conservatively, by taking shorter showers and avoiding the use of garden sprinklers. Those who are caught using a hosepipe whilst the ban is in place risk a fine of around £1000.

The high temperatures are expected to remain over the next two weeks, and possibly even the whole of July, according to The Met Office. Thunderstorms are also expected on the Channel Islands and South Western areas of the country, providing somewhat of a relief from the scorching sun. Due to high UV levels, The Met Office also encourages people to follow simple safety guidelines, such as wearing an appropriate strength sun cream, drink plenty of fluids and to wear sun hats.

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