The Challenges The Heatwave Brings When Looking After The City

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We have been truly spoilt this summer when it comes to the weather, with hot temperatures remaining high over the past few months in Brighton and Hove and across the UK, accompanied by little rainfall.

As this unexpected heatwave engulfs the UK, this summer is now being compared to the heatwave of 1976 – where temperatures reached a record 35.6 C.

Yesterday saw the UK encounter its hottest day of the year, with scorching temperatures in Wisley, Surrey, peaking at 35.1 C. Furthermore, the UK’s July record could be broken this weekend, as temperatures are expected to reach highs of 37C!

For many people in Brighton, this sizzling UK summer – something that hasn’t been witnessed for decades, has resulted in enjoying beach days, BBQs and basking in the sunshine.

However, Councillor Gill Mitchell, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee, explains how this heatwave we’re experiencing, presents unusual challenges when it comes to looking after the city.

For this time of the year Councillor Mitchell states: ‘weather is usually warm-ish, a cooling breeze normally blows’.

This reply from the Met Office on their official Twitter account, shows this is certainly not the case this year, with temperatures set to remain higher than average:

With the heatwave, and with Brighton currently packed with tourists, Mitchell crucially states that it is important for the public to stay cool and hydrated in this ‘blistering heat’ – especially the young and the elderly.

As well as urging people to take care in the heat, Mitchell accounts how the heatwave presents new challenges to the council, the public services and companies in Brighton and Hove.

For example on Friday 27 July, a burst water main in Preston Drove, Brighton, knocked out water for large parts of Fiveways, with southern water called out to repair.

Mitchell explained the difficulty of trying to keep our cities parks and green spaces ‘green, healthy and beautiful’, with the lack of rainfall seen this summer. The water companies, want to conserve as much water as possible, by sparingly watering parks and green spaces. However this rationing of water Mitchell adds, ‘leads to our parks and open spaces becoming parched and dry, with our flowers sadly wilting and dying’ and presents a difficult dilemma.

Similarly, another issue arising from this prolonged drought, would be the cleanliness of our pavements, which are usually helped kept clean by regular rainfall. Moreover, substances are more difficult to clean when spilt on hotter pavements.

To help the street cleaners, who work from 5am – 10pm, businesses in the city are being asked to keep their outside areas clean and tidy.

Mitchell expresses that the heat isn’t an excuse for why our pavements are not as clean as they should be, instead expressing that the heatwave ‘has created different challenges.’

Extra measures are therefore being taken to ensure the city is kept clean and tidy despite the weather. This includes the trialling of a jet washer, that will blast some of ours pavements on 6 August.

On a positive note, Mitchell acknowledges,  ‘Obviously this heatwave is no one’s doing and no one’s fault, and in many ways it’s fantastic for the city in terms of tourism and bringing in much needed spending for our businesses.’

And she concludes: ‘we should all do our best to keep life as normal as we can.’

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