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Cold-related ill health and excess winter deaths (EWD) are a continuous and very important public health issue in the UK. Cold weather is associated with an increase in illness and injuries. There is significant evidence that the drivers of fuel poverty (low income, poor energy efficiency and energy prices) are strongly linked to living at low temperatures.

Excess winter deaths are defined as the increase in deaths which occur during the winter, compared to the number of deaths which would be expected across the rest of the year. The number of excess deaths occurring in the winter depends on temperatures, levels of disease in the population (particularly influenza) and other factors such as underlying disease prevalence.

Factsheet: Cold-related ill health and excess winter deaths (PDF, 678kb)

Key messages

  • In 2014 levels of fuel poverty in County Durham were the same as the North East (12.2%), but statistically significantly higher than England (10.2%).
  • Around 27,600 people in County Durham live in fuel poverty.
  • Estimates suggest that 1 in 10 excess winter deaths are caused by fuel poverty.

Links to data

Public Health Profiles (Full Site):

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