The UK has the sixth-highest rate of excess winter deaths in Europe with thousands dying preventable deaths every year, fuel poverty charity finds.
New research from National Energy Action (NEA) has found the UK has the sixth-worst long-term rate of excess winter mortality out of 30 European countries.
Carried out in partnership with climate think tank E3G, the research also discovered when taking into account cold weather beyond just the winter months, the UK ranks second-worst out of 30 European countries.
There has been an average of 32,000 excess winter deaths in the UK every year over the last five years, the research revealed.
Around 9,700 of these deaths are due to a cold home.
The NEA argues the fact that UK homes are amongst the least energy efficient in Europe confirms that these deaths are preventable.
According to a report published in 2015 by the Association for the Conservation of Energy, the UK’s housing stock is very inefficient.
In terms of energy efficiency, out of 11 countries for which data is available, the UK’s walls are ranked 7th, roofs are ranked 8th, floors are ranked 10th and windows are ranked 11th.
‘The UK has one of the worst records on cold homes-related deaths in Europe and it is not only a public health tragedy, it is a national embarrassment,’ Pedro Guertler, co-author of the report from E3G.
‘This epidemic is entirely preventable and E3G and NEA are calling on the UK Government to reinstate public capital investment in home energy efficiency to fix the cold homes crisis.
‘As well as ending needless suffering and premature deaths, it would also address a wide range of national infrastructure priorities.’