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Is You House Ready For Sub-Tropical Britain?

July 30, 2021

By Paul Homewood


h/t Ian Magness




There was a time when the Telegraph was a serious newspaper!



The mid 13th century ditty Sumer is icumen in is one of our oldest songs. Composed at Reading Abbey in the 1260s, the song is also the first known musical composition featuring a six-part polyphony in the English language. Otherwise known as the Summer Canon, it celebrates the many joys of a British summer: the meadows blooming, cuckoos trilling and all the landscape bursting into glorious life.

In the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere, the months of June, July and August have for centuries been celebrated in our culture as the season of carefree relaxation after enduring the dark months of winter. But now the prospect of summer coming in appears to be an increasingly ominous one. 

As we have seen across the country in recent weeks, summer is rapidly becoming the season of heatwaves, wildfires and flash floods. The Met Office’s annual State of the UK climate report, published yesterday, sheds new light on the Great British subtropical summer we must soon learn to live with – and indeed is already upon us.

According to the report (which covers last year), in early August 2020, temperatures hit 34C on six consecutive days, with five “tropical nights” where the mercury did not drop below 20C, making it one of the most significant heatwaves to affect southern England in the past 60 years.

Even if humanity manages to restrict global warming to 1.5C (when currently we are on course for double that) British summers are likely to regularly see temperatures of above 40C in the future.

And as we have seen on the streets of London in recent days, where patients were evacuated from an East London hospital and homes, roads, and tube stations were deluged, extreme summer flooding events are also becoming more likely as a warmer climate enables the atmosphere to hold more moisture, which then dumps down on us in rainfall. Last year was the third warmest, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest on record for the UK.

“We have already changed the climate, without a doubt,” says Professor Richard Betts, head of climate impact research at the Met Office Hadley Centre. “For now we have to live with the changes that are already here, and adapt to them.”

Betts was one of the authors of the UK’s climate change risk assessment report, which advises the Government and published its latest findings in June. The report highlighted eight risk areas that need urgent attention over the next two years – prominent among them the risk to human health from overheating in buildings as temperatures continue to soar. Last August’s heatwave, for example, led to more than 1,700 deaths across Britain. According to a new report by the Red Cross, heat-related deaths in Britain could triple to about 7,000 annually over the next 30 years.

“I think there is a big change needed in our housing stock particularly around overheating,” says Rachel Brisley, a Yorkshire-based technical director in climate services for JBA Consulting, and co-author of the report. “We are very adaptable as a species and can cope with higher temperatures, but we do need to consider our living environment.”   

One prominent concern is new-build homes that have been heavily insulated to comply with building regulations but in some cases without the adequate ventilation to disperse properly the heat in summer. In recent weeks, some people living in new-build properties have complained about sweltering temperatures as the heat is trapped inside.

“A lot of focus has been on making homes energy efficient, which is a very good thing but we have not been setting ourselves up to deal with heatwaves,” says Betts. “You might have a low carbon home but it could still overheat in summer.”

Our homes will also change in other ways. Brisley says we should invest in shutters and blinds and on extremely hot days fight our instincts by keeping the windows firmly closed. Pale choice of paint colours will reflect the light and heat rather than absorbing them, and some experts advise fitting a protective film to windows to filter UV rays from the sun.

Increased flood risk, too, will also require a rethink of the layout of our homes. In properties at risk of flooding, experts advise moving plug sockets high up the walls, replacing the lower steps on a flight of stairs with concrete instead of wood, pulling up ground floor carpets and tiling with waterproof adhesive and grout, using water-resistant plaster, placing appliances such as fridges and water tanks on raised plinths and having a wall-mounted television.

The issue is cost. In 2017, the Building Research Establishment estimated the total outlay of creating a fully flood-resistant home to be about £60,000. Currently, this money is often made available in grants following extreme flooding events, although it is widely agreed we need to be far more proactive in transforming our housing stock.


Yes, it’s the absurd Joe Shute again!

If he had actually bothered to examine the data himself, he might instead have written something sensible.

Take summer temperatures, for instance. The hottest summer was in 1976, and even the warm summer of 2018 was not as hot as 1826.

There is certainly nothing in the data which suggests we are heading for a sub-tropical Britain:



Then there’s the nonsense about flash floods, which even the Met Office have been forced to admit are not getting worse because of global warming.

If we look at summer rainfall at Oxford, there is no evidence whatsoever that it is getting more extreme. If anything, the opposite is true:




Given that Shute’s whole premise about sub-tropical weather is false, I think we can safely ignore the rest of his article about the need to spend £60k on adapting our homes!

This really is a disgraceful piece of so-called journalism.

  1. saveenergy permalink
    July 30, 2021 11:46 am

    “There was a time when the Telegraph was a serious newspaper !”

    That’s so last century !!!

    Now we are woke.

  2. David Redfern permalink
    July 30, 2021 11:50 am

    “According to the report (which covers last year), in early August 2020, temperatures hit 34C on six consecutive days, with five “tropical nights” where the mercury did not drop below 20C, making it one of the most significant heatwaves to affect southern England in the past 60 years.”

    And for the last few days it’s been effing freezing.

    A typical English summer. I guess that’s why people flocked to Spain and Portugal every year before covid to enjoy temperatures of 35C+ for two weeks every year.

    • Andrew permalink
      July 30, 2021 12:12 pm

      I was holidaying up in Aviemore last Week, it was about 26-28oC depending on where you were. i checked the temperature in the Algarve where we usually holiday, expecting it to be in the late 30s, no 28oC lol! So much for global warming, I think we just had a Spanish plume!

  3. Bloke down the pub permalink
    July 30, 2021 12:27 pm

    If you live in an area prone to flooding, the precautions they mention would seem to be practical and something that any sensible householder would consider, especially when part of other works or a new build. As for the overheating issue, while a well designed house would avoid most of the problems, there are many common sense ways to mitigate them where they do arise, not least pulling the curtains across on the sunny side.

  4. Cheshire Red permalink
    July 30, 2021 12:36 pm

    I stopped my Telegraph sub’s last year because the direction of the paper was both Leftwards and down. No regrets since, with this article being a perfect example of why I ditched it.

    • Colin R Brooks AKA Dung permalink
      July 30, 2021 1:49 pm

      I did the same Mr Red, but I found I needed a daily if only to utter the fabled words “I don’t believe it!”

  5. Broadlands permalink
    July 30, 2021 1:03 pm

    “the mercury did not drop below 20C, making it one of the most significant heatwaves to affect southern England in the past 60 years.”

    That would have been 1960-61. The first year that CO2 was monitored and reported at Mauna Loa Observatory… and was barely above pre-industrial. So..what caused that heatwave?

    • JohnM permalink
      July 30, 2021 4:40 pm

      What about 1947? I can remember when I was a boy going to the corner-shop to buy the Evening News for my Dad. The headlines read that the temperature was over 90°C – again !

  6. dearieme permalink
    July 30, 2021 1:17 pm

    It’s the Coming of the Crocodiles that terrifies me. And sea-snakes, and box jellyfish, and …

  7. LeedsChris permalink
    July 30, 2021 1:54 pm

    Let’s just look at that statistics about deaths – it claims that 1,700 died across Britain in the August 2020 heatwave. First just to say that the heatwave as measured at Heathrow was six consecutive days of 30c+ from 7th to 12th August 2020, but if you take somewhere in the Midlands, like Birmingham Airport only two days exceeded 30C. As a footnote compare this with 16 consecutive days of 30C+ and 15 days of 32C+over a large area of the Midlands and south in June/July 1976.
    Let’s look at deaths. I can only quickly find England and Wales weekly deaths for the year 2020 (data published up to week ending 1 January 2021). This will approximate to ‘Britain’ because England and Wales make up almost 90% of the UK population.
    Let’s take the peak of the heat and look at deaths in the week ending 14th August – neatly corresponding to the heatwave. There were 9,392 deaths that week. This compares with the average for the previous 5 years of 9,085. So, even taking a generous assumption that these ‘extra’ deaths might be ‘heat’ deaths that is ‘only’ 307 more than than normal. But we also know from the published data in the same table that there were 139 deaths that week with Covid mentioned on the death certificate, so we know that the ‘excess’ of non-covid deaths in that week compared to the five year average was ‘only’ 168….
    The point is – and I admit this is only a quick exercise – how can they reach such a large figure for heat deaths of 1700?
    The final points to note are that the death rate in that week was roughly the 12th lowest of all the 53 weeks that year. And if you look at a month later, the week ending 11 September – hardly a heatwave that week – and total deaths were 9811, of which 99 were Covid – but still considerable higher than the ‘deadly August 2020 heatwave week’ (sic/sarc). In short it may well be that the ‘excess’ deaths shown in the weekly lists was just random variation and not to do with the heat at all..

    BTW. Why do journalists do ZERO investigation these days and just take at face value the press releases of these organisations?

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      July 30, 2021 2:12 pm

      And those organisations with their own axe to grind — and not necessarily a ‘climatic’ one — know that the more dramatic the claims the more likely it will get published and the less likely the journalist will query it.
      It isn’t new. You have no idea how stroppy PR staff could be even 30 years ago if you dared dig into one of their press releases for anything as inconvenient as the odd fact!

    • Cheshire Red permalink
      July 30, 2021 4:49 pm


      Good post and some great detective work, which blows their alarmist climate claims straight to Kingdom Come. (especially the Sept’ death data)

  8. Ray Sanders permalink
    July 30, 2021 2:07 pm

    Just read that first paragraph and you can tell what type of education the author has had.
    Clearly the guy is as thick as sh1t and a deceitful pillock at that. The Daily Telegraph has become as much of a sick joke as the Guardian.

  9. John Murphy permalink
    July 30, 2021 2:16 pm

    What is this Fool talking about No air-conditioning unit nor heat pump which is the same thing in reverse nor fridge or freezer leaks refrigerant gas it wouldn’t work if it did . As for floods in my youth the council cleaned the street drains every few months. Now they don’t do them for years could be why there blocked and roads are flooded when it rains .

  10. Gwynne James permalink
    July 30, 2021 3:16 pm

    I can remember the same experts told us not so long ago to dig-up all our garden plants and put in Mediterranean type ones to cope with the heat-we are still waiting!!

  11. July 30, 2021 4:17 pm

    Just in passing, there is a more realistic collection of weather headlines this year at … ..
    Hmmm.. “Hotter Drier Summers …. etc”… Lets see what happens this winter. On the basis of “Spörer’s Law” we should be into a bit of a cold period. Unfortunately a lot of the scientific records and data seem to have disappeared from the official sites, though it is still available on the above site.

  12. July 30, 2021 4:25 pm

    These reports are very fond of quoting ‘Heatwaves’ in places like Heathrow Airport which, as we know, is covered in concrete runways and steel structures. They should be discounted as the heat there bears no resemblance to the temperature even a mile away. As for excess deaths from the heat, as stated above, they are negligible. Comparing with the deaths every winter when people die from the cold the count is barely visible. The sun is entering a quiet phase and, as the principal giver of warmth to this planet, if it slumbers this world will cool, as has happened numerous times in the past. Never mind global warming. Worry more about a little ice age when millions (or billions) will die of cold and starvation. Scrap the bird choppers and daylight capturers and build nuclear. As Co2 is innocent, open up the coal mines again. Work on Co2 capture if necessary. It would be cheaper and better than being conned by sunshine and breezes. UK has 400 years worth of coal deposits readily available plus a huge seam stretching to Belgium that could be exploited that is below a huge lake/sea. Winter is coming. Prepare!

  13. July 30, 2021 4:39 pm

    Even if humanity manages to restrict global warming to 1.5C (when currently we are on course for double that) British summers are likely to regularly see temperatures of above 40C in the future.

    Forget the silly fantasies. Regularly above 30C would be a fine thing.

  14. Ben Vorlich permalink
    July 30, 2021 5:22 pm

    Stand by for more panic,

    Enough ice melted in Greenland on Tuesday to cover Florida in two inches of water, scientists warn

    As I said the other day Greenland has been all over the place this year, but accumulation still looks OK to me.

  15. Is it just me? permalink
    July 30, 2021 7:52 pm

    Journalism. Like a cartoon I saw recently. Many are now faced with a choice. They can write the truth (and get sacked), or they write how “toothpaste is homophobic” and get to pay their mortgage for another month. What a sad, sorry, state of affairs. I thank God that back on January 1st 2000, I made the conscious choice I was never buying another newspaper again – ever. I’ve saved a bit of money, but a whole load of sanity!

  16. Phoenix44 permalink
    July 31, 2021 7:51 am

    Heatwaves- a few days a year every 2 years.
    Flash floods – in your area once every five to ten years
    Wildfires in London? Never.

    Can anybody explain why I should be spending a single penny avoiding these terrible disasters?

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