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Paint Your Homes White, Jobsworths Warn

May 30, 2016

By Paul Homewood  


h/t Stewgreen 




At the start of every summer, we get nonsense like this.

From the Telegraph:


Homeowners should paint their property white to protect themselves from heatwaves, the Government has advised as it warned that people start dying from the heat at just 24.5C.

Metal blinds and dark curtains should be replaced in a bid to cool down homes and property owners should consider putting up external shading outside windows, officials said as they warned of increasingly extreme summers.

Individuals can stay safe by putting a damp cloth on the back of their necks during hot weather, eating cold foods such as salads and fruit, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine, they added.

The advice is part of a 46-page plan put together by authorities to prevent seasonal deaths and prepare officials in the event of a heatwave.

The document, which is a joint NHS England and Public Health England (PHE) publication, also reveals that temperatures have to rise to just 24.5C before people start to die.

Other “trigger temperatures”, which signal when authorities need to act, include 33C, when roads begin to melt, and 36C, when National Rail would have to take extreme precautions.

Meanwhile, underground workers are advised to start issuing hot weather notices and hand out bottle water if London experiences three days of weather above 24C.

Because we are not used to these very hot temperatures in England, it is important that local plans are in place to reduce the impact of harm from very hot weather.Dr Angie Bone, head of extreme events at Public Health England

The document’s release comes following the “devastating” pan-European heatwave in 2003, which saw more than 20,000 people die, including 2,000 in the UK, after the warmest summer in 500 years.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer, urged authorities to get ready as she warned that the 2003 heatwave, which saw temperatures rocket to more than 38C, would be “normal” by 2040.

“As a result of climate change we are increasingly likely to experience extreme summer temperatures that may be harmful to health,” she said. 

She added: “We want to make sure that everyone takes simple precautions to stay healthy during periods of hot weather and when in the sun."

Dr Angie Bone, head of extreme events at PHE’s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, reminded Britons that exposure to excessive heat can kill.

She said: “While hot weather is enjoyable for most people and uncomfortable for some, sadly experience tells us that exposure to excessive heat can kill, with most cases of illness and death caused by heart and lung disease.

“The Heatwave Plan for England, which is a joint PHE, NHS England, Met Office and Local Government Association publication, exists to provide advice and guidance to healthcare professionals and the public on the effects heat can have on health.”

She added that additional materials had been published online, which stress the importance of looking out for young children, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions during hot weather.

Temperatures are expected to hit 21C on Sunday – well above the 17C average for May – with parts of London and Wales experiencing the warmest weather.

The Met Office’s heat-health watch system issues warnings when threshold temperatures during the day and night are breached. 

The temperatures vary depending on region. During the day, 32C is the threshold temperature for London while it dips to 28C in the North East.

The Heatwave Plan for England notes a significant number of deaths occur before these temperatures are reached.


First, let’s check whether summers are in fact getting hotter:




There has been a marked absence recently of the sort of miserable, cold summers often experienced, for instance, in the 1950s and 60s. But no summer in recent years has got anywhere that of 1976, or for that matter 1911.


According to the NHS Heatwave Plan, a heatwave alert is triggered when temperatures hit the following:




The idea is that people in, say, London, are more used to higher temperatures, than in the North East. This itself shows up how nonsensical the whole concept is; if summers start to get hotter, people will naturally adapt and get used to them anyway.

But let’s look at the Midlands, where a max temperature of 30C is set. The Midlands is the area represented essentially by the Central England Temperature series.

Below is the distribution of 30C+ days there.




The summers of 1975 and 76 stand out in particular, and to a lesser extent 1990, 1995, 2003 and 2006.

There has only been one day since 2006, when temperatures have reached 30C. This was in July 2015.

Why is the NHS wasting money on a cumbersome, bureaucratic plan to cope with the sort of weather that has only occurred on one solitary day in the last ten years?


But the nonsense does not stop there. As the ONS make clear, the death rate is actually at its lowest for the year in summer, the very months when temperatures are at their highest.




Even mild months, such as May, have a higher death rate. Perhaps then, the NHS might like to tell us what the optimum temperature is for public health, and then issue alerts when temperatures are a bit lower.

  1. Broadlands permalink
    May 30, 2016 3:29 pm

    Paul… In the contiguous 48 state US 60% of the warmest summers, by state, occurred after 1983 (an El-Nino year?) But 30% of the states have not experienced a record warm summer since the warm 1930s or before.

    That aside, white paint contains heavily processed titanium oxide minerals. How much wind-driven or solar energy is needed to mine, process, distribute and then apply that paint to all those roofs?

  2. May 30, 2016 4:41 pm

    Public Health England is another QANGO full of jobsworths, that should have been burnt in the non-existent bonfire of the QANGOs.

  3. S Allnutt permalink
    May 30, 2016 4:51 pm

    Strange that there are no white houses down here in Provence, not a lot of hot weather obviously.

  4. Bloke down the pub permalink
    May 30, 2016 5:07 pm

    Temperatures are expected to hit 21C on Sunday – well above the 17C average for May –
    Some people seem to have difficulty grasping what an average means.

    • David Richardson permalink
      May 30, 2016 6:26 pm

      Well as George Carling told us. When you consider how stupid the average person is – you are wise to remember that half of them are more stupid than that.

    • Tim Hammond permalink
      May 31, 2016 8:58 am

      Because 1st May and 31st May should have the same temperature in the “ideal” world!

      Not only do they not understand averages, they don’t understand that temperatures warm and then cool thanks to seasons!

  5. Broadlands permalink
    May 30, 2016 5:50 pm

    That May average of 17C is above the US May average of 15.74C but below the warmest US May in 1934… 18.2C. The global May hasn’t been released yet, but in 2015 it was 15.67C.

    Don’t know what it all means but it is likely that our White House will soon tell us?

  6. RAH permalink
    May 30, 2016 6:10 pm

    Insulate well, install good quality energy efficient widows then use the Air Conditioning and paint your house any damn color you want. Works for me here in Indiana.

    • Broadlands permalink
      May 30, 2016 8:28 pm

      RAH… Indiana has not had a record high May since 1896. In fact, Indiana had not had a record high year since 1921…until NOAA/NCDC lowered the 1921 temperature 0.38°F in 2012, after they had already lowered it from the old US Weather Bureau values.

      • RAH permalink
        May 30, 2016 9:26 pm

        Well we have had rather mild summers the last few years.
        Average July temps in my local are High of 29 C and low of 18 C.
        But it does get hot here. I have lived in this house since 2001 and there have been several days when the temp got up to 37 C and highs of 32 C are not at all uncommon during July and August. And in this part of the world wet ball temps or “real feel” generally runs higher than ambient.

        But the bottom line is insulate to the max your construction will allow and and get properly installed quality windows and it will make a world of difference in ones energy bills. Painting your house white? Not so much. If I was going to worry about the color of anything on my house concerning it’s thermal properties it would be the roof. In this part of the country black shingles are very popular because they are the cheapest color generally. But they aren’t a great choice for keeping cool in the summer.

      • RAH permalink
        May 30, 2016 9:29 pm

        BTW it got up to 29.4 C here today.

    • Broadlands permalink
      May 31, 2016 12:24 pm

      RAH… It took me a while to locate the data,, but for Indianapolis in MAY the record high temperatures were 96°F (35.6C) in 1895 and 1911…so you have it good at “only” 29.4C?

      • RAH permalink
        June 4, 2016 12:55 pm

        I have my own little weather station here at about 30 miles north of Indy and it has said that record, taken from the Airport more than likely, is not even close to the highs we have experienced here multiple summers.

        The record high for the state of Indiana was set in Collegeville (Up towards Chicago) in 1936 and was 116 deg. F

        96 deg F is the highest temperature recorded for Indy during MAY!
        However at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway it is hotter than that because of a crowd, lots of asphalt, and aluminum bleacher seating, and down by the track it will easily be 10 deg or more over ambient. Track temp it’s self got up to 122 deg. F during this years race. It is not unusual for the drivers to lose 6 to 8 lbs of water weight during the race despite having hydration available through a tube that runs through the helmet.

        Here are some records for you from Indy:

        According to the above from the state, the record high temperature for Indianapolis was set in 1954 and was 104 F. (40 C.)

        Sorry for the delay in response. Since Monday afternoon this week I have team driven (two drivers in the truck working shifts to keep rolling) From Anderson, Indiana to Phoenix, Arizona and back to Anderson, Indiana. Then From Anderson, Indiana up to Minneapolis, Minnesota with three stops in Wisconsin then to Dayton, Ohio and finally back to Anderson, Indiana. That’s a total of a little over 5,000 miles during a period staring at 22:00 Monday and ending at 04:30 today (Saturday morning). Driving one of these
        The heaviest load was bags of powdered milk weighing 36,500 lbs. that we brought back from Tempe, Arizona on the near east side of Phoenix) to Anderson, IN. in the 53′ trailer.

  7. May 30, 2016 6:19 pm

    ‘people start dying from the heat at just 24.5C’

    There goes that Mediterranean holiday, according to this nutty advice.

  8. May 30, 2016 7:25 pm

    You’ve got your punctuation wrong! It should read: Dr. Angie Bone-head, of……

    • May 31, 2016 11:59 am

      It does seem rather like a “whitewash” job.

  9. Svend Ferdinandsen permalink
    May 30, 2016 8:49 pm

    Dangerous suggestion in northern parts of Europe. It might work in southern Europe with a lot of hot days and low humidity.
    You may end up with a lot of mold problems because the walls never get heated and dryed during the summer. We live in a humide climate and especially during winter some moist can build up in the walls, and if that is not removed by the sun in the summer it just gets worse and worse every year.
    I’ve got that problem after i paintet my red plasteret house nice and white. The corners started looking a bit grey. At the end i isolated from the outside with 10cm rockwool and glued on small bricks. It is the best renovation i’ve ever done. In the summer the outside can reach 50dgrees C when the sun is on, and it keeps out the moist. I am not going to save the world and sacrifying my own health.

  10. Billy Liar permalink
    May 30, 2016 8:58 pm

    “The Heatwave Plan for England, which is a joint PHE, NHS England, Met Office and Local Government Association publication, exists to provide advice and guidance to healthcare professionals and the public on the effects heat can have on health.”

    Where’s the equivalent for the more problematic cold weather?

    Maybe Professor Dame Sally Davies should set an example and hand out water in the London Underground when the temperature goes above 24°C for three days. She could miss Wimbledon down there.

    In 2014, the 12th- 27th July inclusive and 29th July – 8th August inclusive maximum temperatures were above 24°C.

  11. May 30, 2016 9:00 pm

    PHE, NHS England, Met Office and Local Government Association are self selecting for the colonisation of Mars “B Ark” as laid out by Douglas Adams.

    These idiots are sucking fat salaries from our taxes and spouting damaging rubbish in return. What a shame there isn’t some quango employee specific plague pathogen.

  12. Nigel S permalink
    May 30, 2016 9:19 pm

    Won’t the white paint stop the solar panels from working and kill us all?

    • AndyG55 permalink
      May 31, 2016 2:34 am

      +1 🙂

  13. Bradley L. Curtis permalink
    May 30, 2016 9:33 pm

    Every year we see reports from the “United Republic of California” predicting heat waves and unseasonably high temperatures caused by human emissions. None of these warnings have scientific fact as a basis for their concern. We moved to Arizona and we have none of that media crap….Everyone knows it’s hot..I say live with it or move. Paul, keep up the good work!

    • Streetcred permalink
      May 31, 2016 9:16 am

      “high temperatures caused by human emissions” To true, they’re full of shyte.

  14. May 30, 2016 9:42 pm

    In the States you should be able to get white roof paint from Walmart…

  15. John F. Hultquist permalink
    May 30, 2016 10:14 pm

    Forecast of temperature here for next Sunday is 31.1° C. (88° F.).
    On next Monday, 100 miles south of us it is expected to be 39.4° . (103°)
    Central Washington State will be devoid of living things by next Tuesday afternoon.
    Help. Send white paint now!

    This is not a new idea.

    This one was a topic on July 18, 2011 at WUWT. At the end of that there are 3 more links to similar things.

  16. May 30, 2016 10:23 pm

    24.5C is a pleasant day in Calgary, Alberta. We have winter days of -30C. If we aren’t damaged by +25C, nobody is.

    How do the writers of such drivel sleep at night?

    • Manfred permalink
      May 31, 2016 1:36 am

      UN WHO propaganda is paid quite well these days. The UN eco-onslaught is conducted from every angle. Conditioning is merely one key to achieving global administration by 2030

  17. Graeme No.3 permalink
    May 30, 2016 11:14 pm

    This claim above is nonsense. Sure white absorbs less infrared than black but it radiates less than black, so the temperature difference will be minor. There are infrared reflective pigments available, mostly greens and browns, but they are quite expensive.
    My last employer was making insulative paint in 1995, it made 1.5℃ difference. Australia stands ready to ship such to the UK, please send money, if you haven’t spent it all on employing people who don’t know what they’re talking about and can’t be bothered with finding out the facts.

  18. AndyG55 permalink
    May 31, 2016 2:33 am

    include 33C, when roads begin to melt,….

    seriously? what are they using for road surface.. ice cream ?

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      May 31, 2016 5:38 am

      a lower MP asphalt (probably a blend) so it flows out at low temperatures and seals the road.

      • AndyG55 permalink
        May 31, 2016 9:52 am

        Guess I’m used to Aussie roads.

        33C.. that’s a nice summer day 🙂

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      May 31, 2016 10:38 am

      That’s the tar & chippings that they use to resurface on the cheap.

  19. AndyG55 permalink
    May 31, 2016 2:36 am

    buy lots of rolls of the cheapest quality aluminium foil..

    and line the outside of your house with that.

  20. May 31, 2016 6:42 am


    Build snowmen to prevent flooding …. – resulting in a catastrophic nationwide shortages of carrots, coal, hats and gloves as they are used as accessories no doubt?

    After a few days the employers of the idiots concerned decided to try and play the suggestion as a “joke” – there have been others

  21. Tim Hammond permalink
    May 31, 2016 9:00 am

    My understanding of the deaths in the heatwaves in Europe was that (i) a large number were in France in August when medical staff are on holiday and that (ii) most were not “deaths” as such but “accelerations” of deaths. In the months after the heatwave, there were far fewer deaths, as those hovering on the verge tipped over slightly earlier because of the heat.

  22. Streetcred permalink
    May 31, 2016 9:14 am

    “Because we are not used to these very hot temperatures in England, it is important that local plans are in place to reduce the impact of harm from very hot weather.”Dr Angie Bonehead of extreme events at Public Health England.

    Indeed, many British people coming to Australia for holidays succumb to the heat and die immediately following disembarking the airport terminals. Garbage collectors say that the stench of the morning collection of carcases is giving them post traumatic stress syndrome!

  23. May 31, 2016 11:09 am

    “Individuals can stay safe by putting a damp cloth on the back of their necks during hot weather, eating cold foods such as salads and fruit, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine, they added.” When you have to tell folks this, “survival of the fittest” has obviously failed.

  24. Andrew Duffin permalink
    May 31, 2016 11:11 am

    “Why is the NHS wasting money on a cumbersome, bureaucratic plan”

    Because if they didn’t, what would happen to all the people whose job it is, to produce that plan?

  25. Gamecock permalink
    May 31, 2016 11:56 am

    Paint your house white as a declaration of orthodoxy. Eventually, non-white houses will be pointed at. Then vandalized. The occupants will have no rights.

  26. Vernon E permalink
    May 31, 2016 12:02 pm

    When I lived and worked in Cairo during the 1990s it was widely said that the danger level for fatalities to occur was 35 deg C.

  27. May 31, 2016 2:00 pm

    Telegraph Incompetence #1 They discontinued its comments system
    Formerly such a junk article as this would have been defused by early commenters on the same page.

    Not many people find the comments hidden away on the Telegraph FB page not very useful this time.

    Telegraph Incompetence #2 They don’t provide a link to the PDF

    Telegraph Incompetence #3 They fail to mention it’s not new but a reissue of the 2015 report
    I know that cos The Daily Mail also covered the story
    It does have open comments.

    BTW a Twitter search shows that they said mostly the same thing in 2009 and people laughed then

    Douglas Willcocks ‏@d_tw 29 Jun 2009
    Uhm… Is it me, or do the NHS Heat-wave guidelines really suck? “KEEP OUT OF THE SUN”, “RELAX”, “PAINT YOUR HOUSE WHITE”.

    Seems they rehash and repromote every year.

  28. May 31, 2016 2:01 pm

    “Propaganda NOT science” I guess at first glance
    In the FIRST sentence they make an extraordinary claim, yet they provide no evidence, never mind extraordinary evidence, the PDF of the report only mentions the 24.5C once and that is in a graphic with no reference*
    Therefore the original report is NOT scientific : just from this quick glance
    You’d have to be extraordinarily thick to not know that many places in the world are routinely above 24.5C **

    *.. As it happens I think I may have found their source but it’s quite a weak one
    ONE study, in ONE OLD UK NHS maternity hospital over only 2 years ?

    ** Temperatures where I am for this week. EVERDAY the same : max:33C min : 26C pretty much same year round
    … I must be already dead ..been around here for more than 1 year..never worn jacket or long trousers

    BTW @turningtide has hot info : The CMO has form for incompetence in public safety statements

    It has been reported in the press that the recent downward revision of the alcohol guidelines in the UK occurred because the committee that reviewed the existing guidelines was dominated by anti-alcohol idealogues, who perverted/ignored the scientific evidence to suit themselves (now, why does *that* sound familiar?).

    The Spectator article has one key line
    “When a computer model clashes with observed reality so conspicuously, it is time to bin the model.”

  29. May 31, 2016 2:22 pm

    Is the article relevant ? NO, the UK hardly has real heatwaves

    Are the tips useful ? NO, tips are ether obvious or daft.

    Does it have propaganda ? YES, why did they put this >

    >>Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer, urged authorities to get ready as she warned that the 2003 heatwave, which saw temperatures rocket to more than 38C, would be “normal” by 2040.<<
    “As a result of climate change we are increasingly likely to experience extreme summer temperatures that may be harmful to health,” she said.

    BTW “According to a 1958 NASA report, people can live indefinitely in environments that range between roughly 40 degrees F and 95 degrees F (4 and 35 degrees C)

  30. May 31, 2016 2:43 pm

    PDF Claims for ESTIMATED excess summer deaths

    2003 : 2,000 during 4 to 13 August 2003
    2006 : 680
    2009 : 300
    “Excess deaths are not just deaths of those who would have died anyway in the next few
    weeks or months due to illness or old age.”
    Why’s is the presentation junk ?
    Cos real scientists would be concerned not about raw death counts, but QALDs, Quality Adjusted Life Days lost.

    BTW I note the PDF doesn’t actually mention “white paint”
    in a long list of POSSIBLE measure it says
    “Long-term planning”
    “use pale, reflective external paints”
    …. It of course quotes no statistical evidence on this.

  31. Dodgy Geezer permalink
    May 31, 2016 5:22 pm

    White paint probably helps reflect radiation from the walls quite well – but only when the sun is shining directly onto them. For southern latitudes that is not very much of the day.

    The sun only shines on walls near the equator in the early morning and late evening – and then you probably want the heat, because it is cold at night…

    Incidentally, probably the most effective countermeasure for surviving a nuclear war is to paint your windows white. If you are in the blast area of the bomb you are very likely to be dead or injured, but the heat pulse covers a much wider area, and can set fire to things like curtains and papers through windows at a long distance. So you could die from a bomb some distance away if your house went up in flames. And pretty much everybody has a tin of white paint somewhere.

    However, when this was advertised during the 1960s it was laughed at by the anti-nuclear brigade and removed from the official advice. Thus ensuring that a lot more people would die if a nuclear exchange ever took place….

  32. June 1, 2016 5:25 am

    Seems to me a PR guy has sent out a release referencing last years PDF, then media have Cut-N-Pasted it.
    So more effort has been expounded by commenters HERE on Paul’s item than the NHS and media put together.

    So it’s not a case off the NHS wasting money, but rather the 2016 situation of the media no longer doing its job of challenging assertions. Look how the Telegraph has taken to republishing such trash reports. Now it’s only the Times guy who has been doing Climate/Energy investigative journalism.

    The NHS should have a proper heatwave plan AND extreme col weather plan it’s part of standard risk assessment.
    but it should spend the money to do it properly and base it on PROPER science, instead of dramagreen feelings.

  33. Russ Wood permalink
    June 1, 2016 3:20 pm

    Summer in South Africa often has days above 30 deg, and I haven’t noticed any of the white inhabitants (even the ex-Brits like me) dying or even passing out. Now, sunburned is another story!

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