Sadiq Khan announces emergency weather plan to stop rough sleepers dying in heatwave

“Extreme hot weather is particularly dangerous for people sleeping rough.”

Sadiq Khan has announced an emergency weather response to prevent the “loss of life” among those sleeping rough in the capital during the heatwave.

The mayor of London has activated a severe weather protocol to support rough sleepers during the current spell of hot weather which has seen temperatures soar beyond 31C.

It comes as the mercury is set to rise even further to 40C - with an amber extreme heat warning being issued by the Met Office and a level three heat alert by health authorities.

People sleeping rough are especially vulnerable to the heat, being more likely to suffer from mental health issues, chronic health conditions and substance abuse problems.

People sleeping rough are especially vulnerable to the heat. Photo: Getty

Support workers will complete welfare checks on vulnerable Londoners, increase daytime outreach, and supply water, sunscreen and advice on cool spaces and drinking fountains.

Mr Khan said: “This ongoing heatwave could be dangerous for anyone, but for people sleeping rough, there are additional risks.

City Hall is working with London’s boroughs to prioritise support for some of our most vulnerable Londoners.

“We are taking action to assist those forced to sleep rough in these extremely high temperatures, by increasing welfare checks, providing plenty of water and sunscreen and ensuring people sleeping rough know where to access cool spaces and water fountains.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has activated the severe weather protocol. Photo: Getty

All boroughs and rough sleeping services have been asked to increase their provision; outline how to identify heat stress; and offer information on how to stay cool and safe.

Known as the pan-London severe weather emergency protocols (SWEP), these plans are typically activated when temperatures plummet to freezing in the winter.

The response triggers councils - alongside homelessness charities - to provide emergency accommodation and support for vulnerable people sleeping rough.

Darren Rodwell, housing lead for the London Councils, said: “Boroughs play a crucial role in coordinating local services and helping to keep those sleeping rough on London’s streets safe at all times, but especially during extreme weather events.”

He added: “Heatwaves increase health risks for the street homeless, so we’re working hard to ensure they get the support they need. We’ll be monitoring the situation in our communities closely in the coming days.”

And Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, said: “Extreme hot weather is particularly dangerous for people sleeping rough. Activating the severe weather emergency response will be vital for preventing loss of life in the capital over the coming days.

“Many of our frontline member organisations have already stepped up the support they are offering to people to keep them safe, and will be prepared to act on the mayor’s directions.”

Members of the public concerned for anyone rough sleeping should contact StreetLink.