National Trust staff given siestas in summer due to climate change

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The National Trust has started offering its staff the opportunity to have siestas in the summer months due to the increasingly hot weather as a result of the climate crisis.

Employees and volunteers for the charity in the south of England will be given working hours that reflect those in Mediterranean locations, resulting in earlier starts and later finishes but with longer lunch breaks.

The initiative has already started at Ham House in Richmond, which was forced to close in August 2019 for the first time as temperatures soared to more than 40C.

The new working hours will only be offered to staff when the weather is hot enough for them to make sense and the plan is to roll them out across further National Trust properties in the near future.

Additionally, The National Trust has said that it plans to plant more trees around its properties to provide more shade for visitors to protect them, and staff, from extreme heat.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “It’s fair to say that as we experience more extreme temperatures, we will be looking to offer Mediterranean working hours, especially in the east which is likely to experience more frequent higher temperatures to ensure the health and safety of our staff and volunteers.”

The National Trust’s head of climate and environment, Lizzy Carlyle, told the Guardian: “What this data shows us is that we have a lot to do to prepare the UK tourist industry for the effects of climate change.

“In time, there could also be a need for a slight cultural shift in our approach as tourists, like avoiding hotter parts of the day like those currently experienced in southern European countries.

“The National Trust is already taking action across the places we care for to ensure sites are ready for these changes, but there is much to be done across the industry to collectively prepare us for more frequent days above 30C, higher winds and increased flooding.”

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