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North East fears for more elderly heatwave deaths in 2023: New YouGov poll

With the Met Office expecting 2023 to be one of the hottest on record and last summer’s searing temperatures and wildfires still fresh in people’s minds, a new UK wide poll by YouGov* found half (50%) of the 141 people polled from the North East are worried about older people dying in a heatwave this year.

The survey, commissioned by new not for profit Round Our Way, examines some of the key climate-related worries for people in 2023.

During last summer’s heatwaves, England recorded 2,803 excess deaths among those aged 65 and over due to complications arising from extreme heat - the figures exclude deaths from COVID-19.

Over a quarter (28%) of people in the region are concerned about schools and nurseries closing due to any hot weather. A similar number of people (26%) are worried about schools and nurseries closing because of flooding.

Despite these worries about flooding, over half (52%) of people in the North East are worried about long periods of drought.

Research by Wildlife Trusts showed in recent years, animals like badgers and birds of prey were struggling to find food due to drought and wildfires. Plus, flowers were blooming early due to unseasonably warm winters and then being hit by frosts.

Looking at the YouGov statistics, just under half (45%) of people in the region said they’ve noticed an increase in flowers and plants blooming or dying at unusual times in the year.

A similar number of people (48%) are worried about the loss of traditional British seasons due to climate change. Over half of people in the region (55%) are worried about the loss of local nature and biodiversity as Britain’s climate changes.

Fresh food inflation hit 15% in December, up from 14.3% in November, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The cost of food and drink is expected to rise even further this year with the rate of grocery inflation set to peak at 17 - 19% at the start of this year.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of people in the region are worried about adverse weather conditions causing failed harvests and lower food production.

Round Our Way is a new not for profit highlighting the impact climate change is having on British families and working to get more working class voices into the climate debate.

Round Our Way’s Director Roger Harding commented: “More and more of us feel a growing unease about how climate change is making life less predictable and less safe for our families.

"It's often those of us who are getting on a bit or don't have deep pockets who are hardest hit by extreme weather, whether it’s through rising food prices, floods or - at the most shocking - heatwave deaths.

"We urgently need politicians, especially the government, to get a grip on tackling climate change or this will get worse and worse for families in the North East.”

For more information on Round Our Way head to


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