UK Health Alliance on Climate Change

The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change brings together doctors, nurses and other health professionals to advocate for responses to climate change that protect and promote public health.

UKHACC Launches #PrescribingCleanAir Campaign

As the Environment Bill nears report stage, MPs will soon have a crucial opportunity to vote for stronger targets for particulate pollution, in line with the advice of the World Health Organization.

Air pollution is an invisible threat, which damages every organ and every cell in the body, and is not just a problem in our large towns and cities. It contributes to 40,000 premature deaths every year, and 20,000 hospital admissions. PM2.5 – fine particulate pollution – is small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs, crossing into the bloodstream.

Currently, legislation to protect public health from air pollution is weak and legal limits for fine particulate pollution are more than double the targets recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Changes in our behaviour this year have led to significant falls in air pollution. The potential benefits of cleaner air are clear, but without stronger targets the Government has no obligation to ensure the safety of the air we breathe.

Health professionals can make a difference

The health community has enormous potential to protect the public by advocating to political leaders, and, soon, MPs will be voting on an amendment to the Environment Bill to introduce a commitment to meeting WHO targets for PM2.5 pollution.

Now is your chance to make a difference.

Ask your MP to back clean air

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Our Principles for a #HealthyRecovery

Coronavirus has shown the strength of the world’s united health community. But, as we come through this, it’s vital that we don’t lurch from one health crisis to another, driven by climate change and environmental degradation. The world needs is a #HealthyRecovery – one that improves human health, and builds resilience in health systems, and in the environment upon which our health depends.

In a collaboration between medical experts amongst our membership, and climate scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, we’ve developed six principles which the UK government must follow in designing and delivering their post-Covid economic recovery package to ensure a #HealthyRecovery.

We’ve presented our principles in an open letter to the Prime Minister and the leaders of the devolved nations, as well as to leading figures in the cabinet and opposition.

Prioritise health for people & planet. Every decision should be assessed in relation to its impact on health and climate, as much as on the economy. Measures should exceed existing commitments to protecting health and the environment. Let’s strengthen standards, not sacrifice them.

Build a resilient & sustainable economy. Rather than seeking to return to how things were six months ago, the government’s recovery measures must increase the resilience of our economy, and of our key services, social systems, population health and environment.

Accelerate carbon reduction. Recovery must be consistent with the government’s commitment to achieve carbon net-zero in the UK by at least 2050. Rather than simply avoiding carbon intensive sectors, investment must be targeted on low carbon and carbon reduction industries.

Reduce health inequalities. Covid-19 has revealed further health inequalities in the UK, and reminds us that crises do not affect everyone equally. The same is true of climate change. The government take this opportunity to close the gaps through their recovery package.

Follow the science. Recovery should draw on the insights of health and climate scientists, as well as economists. Health professionals have protected our health in the crisis, now the government must engage with them to safeguard it against the growing threat of climate change.

Recovery is everyone’s responsibility. Covid-19 has shown our capacity for collaboration across sectors. Businesses, public services, and communities have all stepped up to respond. Our recovery also needs to draw on all of the talent our country has to offer – not least from the health community.

Read more about our principles and priority actions