Heat-related deaths in the UK could triple in the next 30 years, according to a new report by the British Red Cross.

The charity’s Feeling The Heat report looks at how prepared the UK is for rising temperatures and more frequent heatwaves, and warns of a dangerous perception gap when it comes to awareness of the risks posed by heat.

Heatwaves – defined as a period of extreme heat lasting three days or more – have increased in the UK, with 84 registered between 2000 and 2020, and will continue to do so, the report says, both in intensity and length.

“The average length of warm spells have more than doubled in length in the last few decades, and by 2050 the UK will be 50% more likely to experience hot summers, while heat-related deaths could more than triple, to around 7,000 per year,” the charity’s briefing says.

The report, which surveyed 2,000 UK adults in June, comes after another period of weather in the UK that prompted extreme heat warnings, and found the risks that can come from heatwaves are not matched by the level of public concern.