London Burns as the UK Battles Record Breaking Heatwave - 96five Family Radio

London Burns as the UK Battles Record Breaking Heatwave

The Seven Network's Europe Bureau Chief, Hugh Whitfeld spoke to Ken and Nicky about the unfolding emergency in the UK as the country swelters through its hottest day on record.

By Justin RouillonWednesday 20 Jul 2022NewsReading Time: 2 minutes

With the temperature topping 40 degrees in London, fires have broken out across both the capital and the countryside as the country deals with what meteorologists had previously thought impossible.

The extreme heat is not something that the UK is equipped to deal with on any level; less than fiver per cent of homes have air conditioning, and public transport isn’t air conditioned either, with commuters on buses and The Tube facing a sticky commute.

Hugh Whitfeld is the Europe Bureau Chief for the Seven Network Australia and told 96five’s Ken and Nicky that the heat has caused scenes that we’re used to seeing in Australia, but are unprecedented in the UK.

“The Brits are definitely not used to these conditions here, with fires being sparked in grasslands and woodlands surrounding London.  I’m currently in East London where a fire ripped through some playing fields and got into suburban homes.

“In Wennington, a nearby village there were also homes lost and an 800 year old church in the line of fire.  These homes are your classic London terraces that you picture when you think of London that are on fire because of the heat.”

Hugh also said that emergency workers have had to deal with conditions they’ve never experienced before.

“They’re not used to these grass and bush fires that are sparked by the extreme heat.  There’s no such thing as a rural fire service or voluntary firefighters such as in Australia; these are metro firefighters having to fight these fires because there’s no infrastructure in those rural communities to respond to heat and the issues that come with it.

“In Australia our parks and gardens have sprinklers to keep everything green – they don’t have any of that here because it rains so much.  It hasn’t rained here for three weeks and add to that the 40 degree temperatures – the place looks so brown, it looks like Australia in a drought.”

Listen to Hugh’s full report in the audio player above.

Main Image: Grassfires have led to loss of property across London and the south of England (BBC News).