Killer heat waves will become more common in UK, lawmakers warn

Beachgoers lie in the sun during hot weather on the first day of the summer school holidays on Monday in Chichester, England.

London (CNN)UK summer temperatures are set to hit new highs and deadly heat waves are projected to become a bigger problem because of climate change, according to a report from an official government adviser on Thursday.

The country is currently in the midst of one of the hottest summers on record, according to the Met Office. A "level three heat-health watch" has been issued for much of southern and eastern England with temperatures predicted to rise to 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).
A view shows parched grass from the lack of rain in Greenwich Park during what has been the driest summer for many years in London.
The Environmental Audit Committee -- a cross-party panel of UK lawmakers -- found that Britain is unprepared for increasingly common periods of extreme heat.
    It warned that the number of heat-related fatalities in the UK will triple to 7,000 a year by the 2050s, especially among older people who are "vulnerable and suffer increased fatalities from cardiac and respiratory disease during heatwaves."
    Homes and buildings, including hospitals and care homes, built to keep the heat in, are at risk of overheating, the committee found.
    A bead of sweat falls from a member of the Queen's Guard during the changing of the guard at Wellington Baracks in London.
    Depth markers show how little water remains in Yarrow reservoir near Bolton in northwest England.
    Climate change has doubled the risk of heat waves and instances as severe as 2003 -- when the UK hit an all-time record temperature of 38.5 C (or 101.3 F) -- could occur "every other year" by the 2040s, the report said.
    It went on to say that "despite this recognition of the severity of the risk, the Government does not provide clear information for the public on the developing threat of heatwaves, and there is no commonly accepted definition of a heat wave in the UK."
    The committee suggested the government needs to act to protect the public during periods of high temperatures.
    "Heatwave warnings are welcomed as barbecue alerts, but they threaten health, well-being and productivity," Mary Creagh, committee chair, warned. "The Government must stop playing pass the parcel with local councils and the NHS and develop a strategy to protect our ageing population from this increasing risk."
    A person covers up from the sun in London amid the driest start to a summer since modern records began in 1961.

    Watching out for heat stroke

    Increasing temperatures could also result in more cases of heat stroke, which occurs when your core body temperature rises above 40 C (104 F) and can lead to permanent brain, heart, kidney damage and, in more severe instances, death.