Homeless people in London are to be sheltered with temperatures set to plummet below freezing during ice-cold evenings.
The capital’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) has been activated for the first time this winter to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers.
Parts of London will drop as low as minus three during the week, with mayor Sadiq Khan warning too many face sleeping on streets without safe accommodation.
Latest figures show the number of people sleeping rough in London has jumped 24% in the past year, with more than 3,600 sleeping on the capital’s streets between June and September.
Rough sleeping services are also helping more people than ever before.
Mr Khan said: “Too many people are facing a freezing winter on the streets of the capital without the safe, secure accommodation they need.
“Across the capital, we are doing everything we can to prevent anyone sleeping rough in these freezing conditions as we work to build a fairer and safer London for everyone.
“I am also encouraging Londoners to download the Streetlink app or use the Streetlink website to connect people they see sleeping rough with local support services.
“London’s councils and charities will be working even harder this week to support some of the most vulnerable people in our city.”
The scheme operates when temperatures drop to below freezing.
Temperatures are expected to turn colder across much of the UK late on Wednesday and through Thursday as air from the Arctic spreads south across the country.
The UK Health and Security Agency has issued a cold weather alert from Wednesday evening and recommended people warm their homes to at least 18C (64.4F).