'UK not built to stand 40C': Shapps says transport can't cope with extreme weather

19 July 2022, 08:45

By Megan Hinton

Britain's infrastructure "is not built to stand 40 degree heat" but the UK will see "much more" of these temperatures in the years to come, the Transport Secretary has said.

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Speaking to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Grant Shapps said the whole of Europe is struggling to cope with the unprecedented heat as the UK's transport industry grinds to a halt on what is set to be the hottest day on record.

Speaking about the transport chaos caused by the latest heatwave Mr Shapps said: "Well actually I've been talking to my colleagues across the continent and everyone has been having significant issues.

"Obviously in the UK today we are probably going to have the hottest ever recorded temperature and put simply our rail infrastructure, or transport infrastructure in fact the countries infrastructure is not built to stand 40 degree heat.

"Because we haven't seen it before and we clearly are going to need to make sure that that kind of with standard of infrastructure is put in for the future because we're going to see more of this happening by all accounts."

Read more: Travel chaos, school closures and fires as 'hottest day ever' set to cripple UK

Whilst temperatures in the air will rack up to 40 on train tracks, it could get to more than 70C meaning there is a "severe danger of tracks buckling" and potential for trains to derail.

When pressed on whether in the future the UK will require all train carriages to have air conditioning, the Transport Secretary replied: "Oh yes absolutely."

Adding: "The infrastructure is getting better and better and what we need to do is speed through making it more resilient against some of this extreme weather that we are seeing, both hot and cold that we are going to see much more of in the years to come."

The Met Office said provisional figures showed the UK experienced the warmest night on record from Monday into Tuesday.

Read more: Heatwave UK: expert advice on getting to sleep, and how to keep safe in 40C heat

In a tweet, the UK's national weather service announced: "It has provisionally been the warmest night on record in the UK.

"Temperatures didn't fall below 25C in places, exceeding the previous highest daily minimum record of 23.9C, recorded in Brighton on 3rd August 1990."

A graphic accompanying the tweet showed the highest overnight minimum temperatures recorded were 24.5C in

Aberporth, west Wales, 25.8C in Kenley, in the London Borough of Croydon, and 25.9C in Emley Moor, near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.