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Cold weather

cold, snowy weather

Cold Weather including low temperatures or ice and snow, has important effects on health. On average over the last decade, the average number of excess winter deaths in England has been just over 25,100 a year. Other countries such as Finland experience lower numbers of deaths despite worse temperatures during the winter; therefore suggesting that some excess winter deaths can be prevented.

Current Cold Weather Alert level from the Met Office [external Link]

Cold Weather Plan for England

The Cold Weather Plan for England 2012 [external link] sets out what should happen before and during severe winter weather in England. It aims to help raise awareness of the dangers of cold weather on health and provides advice on what preparations both individuals and organisations could make to reduce health risks. A cold weather alert system developed by the Met Office underpins the Plan.

The Extreme Events and Health Protection Section of the Health Protection Agency has worked closely with the Department of Health and the Met Office in the development of the Cold Weather Plan. This work is supported by a number of HPA departments including communications, syndromic surveillance and respiratory surveillance. These HPA departments produce a number of surveillance bulletins. For the most updated outputs from each system please follow the links below:

Weekly Syndromic Surveillance updates
Weekly HPA National Influenza report
Weekly Winter Pressures report

For more information on the HPA’s role in the Cold Weather Plan please email  

To read more on the roles and responsibilities contained within the Cold Weather Plan for England, visit the Cold Weather Plan Responsibilities page.

For more information on protecting yourself and others over the winter period, see the Cold Weather Public Health Advice page.