How will Climate Change affect health in the UK?
8 May 2014 02:45 PM
The Met Office has joined a new groundbreaking
research partnership aimed at identifying the effects of climate change on
health and well being in the UK.
Office scientists are part of the National Institute for Health Research
Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Environmental Change and Health.
This is being led by theLondon
School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, in partnership with Public Health England(PHE) and
with support from the University of
Exeter'sEuropean Centre for Environment and Human Health and the
Complex Built Environment Systems Group at UCL.
HPRU will identify emerging health effects of large scale changes to our
environment and look at the policy changes and mitigation steps that may be
research will focus on three main themes:
- climate resilience, focusing on preventing adverse
health effects ofclimate change extreme and weather events such as heat waves,
cold, and flooding
- healthy sustainable cities, focusing on how the built
environment affects our health, and the health benefits of housing and urban
- health and the natural environment, focusing on the
health effects of green spaces, airborne exposures, such as pollen, and the
ecology of infectious diseases.
Office scientist Peter Falloon said: "When viewed over long-term averages
the UK is expected to see more milder, wetter winters and more frequent hotter,
drier summers. But the UK has seasonal weather that also varies hugely from
year to year due to natural processes.New
analysis suggests that through this century we should also plan to be
resilient to wet summers and to cold winters."
Sari Kovats from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said:
"The recent flood events in England have shown that we need to understand
better population resilience to extreme weather. Recent debates about our
energy choices also underscore the need for better evidence on
health effects, including the risk and opportunities associated with a low
carbon economy. This is an important and groundbreaking collaboration
between the leading UK institutions currently working in this
Professor Lora Fleming from the University of
Exeter Medical School said: "How we live with and adapt to rapid
environmental change, ranging from climate change to chemical pollution, and
the interactions with human health, is an important challenge for the
21st Century, providing both risks and opportunities. For example, we are
seeing important benefits to human well being from interactions with the
NIHR HPRU aims to provide evidence to support decision makers who need to
ensure that the health of the UK population is not adversely affected by global
scale environmental changes that result from climate change.