August 5, 2022 5.05 pm

Lincoln council ponders safe spaces during extreme temperatures for most vulnerable

Council-owned buildings could open their doors to warm up or cool down Lincoln’s poorest

City of Lincoln Council’s leadership is considering providing warm or cool spaces to tackle extreme weather conditions like the recent heatwave.

Council leader Ric Metcalfe said the high temperatures around July 19, which saw Lincolnshire village Coningsby reach a record 40.3℃, were a reminder that weather events “hit the most vulnerable hardest”.

He warned that it could get even worse should the winter provide extreme colder weather, combined with the ongoing cost of living crisis.

“If people are not able to afford to have their heating on, we’re going to see clearly the potential at least for an increase in deaths through cold,” he said.

He suggested the authority could look to open up community centres, sports halls, even City Hall, to give the poorest members of the population a place to go for at least a couple of hours a day for a cup of tea and to warm up.

He said this could potentially be flipped to provide air conditioned spaces in extreme heat in the future.

However, he warned the council itself was also under extreme pressure, adding “We’ve got our own leccy bill to pay… but there is a role for councils to provide warm spaces”.

Councillor Metcalfe said that despite the council’s own struggles with inflating prices, pay levels and decreases in government pay, the authority was making “remarkable progress” on reducing its carbon footprint in its bid to reach net zero carbon by 2030.

He said the council’s Climate Action Plan was getting everybody to play their part.

“We’ve had very good buy in from many parts of the public sector, the private sector, the university and lots of other big organisations, sitting around the table at the climate commission, all agreeing to develop their own carbon reduction plan,” he said.

He hit back at naysayers who said the council would “never do it by 2030”, adding: “we have the data to show what the track record has been thus far and the perfectly reasonable assumptions we’re making about the rate of progress and to have a reasonable belief that we are, at or around 2030, going to hit net zero carbon.

“With the cooperation of all of the people who sit around the table at the commission I’m feeling more confident than I’ve felt in the past about actually getting to where we need to get to because you don’t have to be a climate scientist to recognise just how urgent this agenda is.”