London activates emergency weather ‘protocol’ as England cold alert extended


With temperatures set to drop as low as -6C in the south and east of England, emergency cold measures have been activated by the mayor of London.

It follows an extension of the current level-two cold weather alert by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) – which is responsible for public health protection in England – until midday on Wednesday 8 February.

The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) ensures that councils and charities across London open emergency accommodation for homeless people when temperatures drop below freezing.

People are being warned to expect frost, fog and freezing fog on Tuesday morning, with areas such as Benson in Oxfordshire and Santon Downham in Suffolk expected to reach -6C overnight.

Check the weather forecast where you are

Flights could even be delayed due to freezing fog, which means planes will need to be de-iced before taking off.

The Met Office said it is considering issuing a weather warning overnight due to the upcoming conditions.

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“For rush hour tomorrow morning, they could make for some difficult driving conditions in central and southern areas,” a spokesperson said.

Tuesday weather

Drivers are being warned by the RAC and National Highways not to use full beam headlights because of fog and remember to stay four seconds away from vehicles in front.

Meanwhile in Scotland, a weather warning is in place for Wednesday as strong southwesterly winds are set to bring travel disruption and danger on coastlines.

‘We are doing everything to prevent anyone sleeping rough’

This is the third time an SWEP has been activated in the capital this winter, which has taken 1,200 people off the streets.

Sadiq Khan praised “tireless” relief organisations for their efforts to prevent the suffering of the homeless.

He said many people across London are doing “everything” they can to prevent anyone sleeping rough in freezing conditions.

‘Cold weather can have serious consequences’

As part of the UKHSA cold weather warning, Dr Agostinho Sousa, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, encouraged people to check in on family, friends and vulnerable relatives.

He said: “Cold weather can have serious consequences for health, with older people and those with heart or lung conditions particularly at risk.

“If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over the age of 65, it is important to try and heat your home to at least 18°C if you can,” he advised.

Tuesday weather

Those who cannot afford to heat all their homes are being advised to heat a bedroom just before going to sleep, wear several layers and have plenty of hot food and drinks during the day.

Cold conditions are expected to ease by Wednesday.

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