Climate change looks set to have a profound impact both on the future health of the general population and also on the state of many of the properties that the National Trust looks after. Health concerns have been flagged in a recent paper produced by experts in the field, Dr Jolyon Medlock and Professor Steve Leach, who warn that deadly diseases that are not typically associated with the climate in the British Isles, such as malaria and even dengue fever, could flourish in future decades. That chilling news was accompanied by the National Trust's unveiling of their future strategy over the next ten years yesterday, which painted its own stark warning of the side-effects from climate change on the upkeep of historic buildings and the priceless antiquities housed therein.
The paper by Medlock and Leach, who work as part of Public Health England's emergency response department, appears in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. They warn that diseases such as malaria could become more widespread in Britain in the near future, as a result of the effects of climate change (such as increased temperatures and rainfall), with mosquitoes enjoying "ideal conditions" for them to thrive. That view is endorsed by one climate model available already, which posits that as soon as 2030 it may be possible for the transmission of malaria for as much as a third of the year in the south-east of England. Several exotic diseases such as dengue fever have already had cases reported in some areas of Europe such as France and Croatia in recent years, with malaria having re-emerged in parts of Greece.
Climate change can also have a major impact in other areas, as set out by the National Trust charity in their future strategy. They have gone so far as to rank it the single greatest threat to the state of the buildings that they maintain, pledging to allocate around £1 billion on their conservation over the next decade. With necessary repairs already accounting for some £300 million of their budget, they have highlighted that everything from brickwork to guttering will need further upkeep as the weather patterns change. Warmer winters will also require more money to be put aside for the preservation of the #Art collections that are stored within their buildings. #InvestmentThey have also pointed out the damage that has already been done to the surrounding countryside, through flawed thinking in terms of land management choices in the decades gone by. The net result has been that wildlife that was once common in the fields is no longer there, as habitats have been destroyed and the soil has been washed away through overuse. New pests that flourish as a result of the change to the climate, will also damage the gardens and the surrounding land that the NT look after.