Harrow Council has launched its emergency shelter programme for the homeless as temperatures are set to plunge this weekend.

It is offering severe weather shelters for anyone out on the streets as forecasters predict a spate of biting temperatures.

There are fears that another ‘Beast from the East’ – a cold snap at the end of February last year – could be repeated soon.

The council urged anyone who knows of or sees people sleeping rough to email housing.advice@harrow.gov.uk or call 020 8424 1093.

After 5pm, they are advised to call Access Harrow on 020 8863 5611.

The severe weather protocol comes into effect when temperatures drop below zero, and the council reminded people that anyone can access accommodation at this time, irrespective of their status.

Recent government statistics showed that almost 600 people were estimated to have died on the streets in England and Wales in 2017. In London, this figure stood at 136.

Harrow Council has previously spoken about the urgent need to tackle homelessness in the borough and beyond.

In November, Mayor of Harrow Cllr Kareema Marikar and council leader Cllr Graham Henson led a charity sleepout that raised more than £700 for Firm Foundation – one of the mayor’s chosen charities that aids Harrow’s homeless.