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2015/16 Cold Weather Plan for England

The Cold Weather Plan for England gives advice on preparing for the effects of winter weather on people’s health and was first published in 2011. There are many avoidable deaths each winter in England, primarily due to heart and lung conditions from cold temperatures rather than hypothermia. The reasons why more people die in winter are complex and interlinked with fuel poverty, poor housing and health inequalities as well as circulating infectious diseases and the extent of snow and ice. The winter period not only sees a significant rise in deaths but also a substantial increase in illnesses.

The Cold Weather Plan for England helps to raise the public’s awareness of the harm to health from cold, and provides guidance on how to prepare for and respond to cold weather which can affect everybody’s health. It triggers actions in the NHS, public health, social care and other community organisations, to support vulnerable people who have health, housing or economic circumstances that increase their risk of harm. Strong local leadership and partnership working at all levels across sectors is seen as vital to tackle the range of causes and reduce the number of ‘excess’ deaths that are observed each winter.

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