Location
United Kingdom

Main issues:

  • In a recent summary report, Public Health Wales outlines the main findings of a health impact assessment centred on the possible effects of climate change in Wales and identifies key areas for action to promote health and wellbeing.  
  • Public Health Scotland’s latest briefing also aims to increase awareness of how climate change and adaptation responses can affect health and health inequalities in the country.​​​​​​​

Location: 

  • Wales
  • Scotland

​​​​​​​Main facts/points + Key statistics and data + original links:

  • Wales - Climate Change in Wales: Health Impact Assessment (18 July 2023)​​​​​​​
    • ​​​​​​​This health impact assessment (HIA) is a strategic and comprehensive appraisal of the potential implications of climate change on population health in Wales. It provides robust evidence to inform public bodies, agencies and organisations in their preparations for, and responses to, climate change and climate change events. It aims to support adoption of policies and plans that can promote and protect health and wellbeing for all in Wales and in those population groups and geographical areas particularly at risk of negative impacts.​​​​​​​
    • Resources include a Summary Report, Index - Determinants of Health, Index - Population Groups, Infographics and a Technical Report
    • Potential action areas identified:
      • Enhancing mitigation and adaptive capacity via long-term investment in preventive action: This includes, for example, investing in action guided by enhanced, robust, routine public health surveillance and intelligence on the health, wellbeing and equity impacts of climate change and extreme weather events in Wales; building adaptive capacity and capability across the NHS, other Public Bodies and sectors and ensuring that health, wellbeing and equity are integrated into cross sector adaptation planning; and building knowledge and skills in climate change within the public health workforce. This aligns with the Faculty of Public Health Strategy on climate change.
      • Enhancing prevention and public involvement via targeted communications and education: This includes, for example, promoting action to mitigate and adapt to climate change by applying behavioural science and the evidence base on risk communication and evaluating the impact. It can also include providing clear, trusted and targeted information for the public and non-biased high quality teaching materials for schools on climate change, that address public concerns and mobilise citizen and community led action on climate change.
      • Enhancing public involvement: Including enhancing control, resilience and participation via democratic decision-making processes, governance, and community engagement in climate change policy and planning, for example, flood and coastal erosion policy.
      • Enhancing integration and collaboration: Including, for example, strengthening the integration of health, wellbeing and equity impacts into climate change adaptation and mitigation policy development, to maximise opportunities for health and wellbeing, and prevent or mitigate unintended consequences, and via application of HIA or MWIA.
      • Investing in co-benefits for health: This includes, for example, investing in strategies and climate resilient infrastructure to increase physical activity and active travel, factoring in potential for enhanced opportunities for outdoor recreation and active travel due to climate change.
  • Scotland - Working together to build climate-resilient, healthy and equitable places: A briefing for local government and partners​​​​​​​ (26 July 2023)
    • "There are strong links between the root causes of health inequalities and the factors that influence climate risk. Poverty, lack of power and the unequal distribution of resources and assets in the community underpin both health inequalities and vulnerability to climate impacts. By adopting a whole-system approach to climate resilience, health and equity, and working collaboratively across national agencies, Health Boards, local authorities and communities, we can identify actions that address these underlying causes and contribute to the ‘triple wins’ of greater climate resilience, improved health and greater equity."
    • "The extent to which individuals and communities living in climate-impact-prone areas are adversely affected by climate impacts depends on their social vulnerability. Social vulnerability has three elements:
      • Exposure to climate impacts: The degree to which a person or place comes into contact with a climate impact. This is influenced by aspects of the built and natural environment, such as housing condition, which can accentuate or offset the severity of a climate impact.
      • Adaptive capacity: The ability of people to prepare for, respond to and recover from climate impacts. This is determined by personal, social and environmental factors such as income, knowledge, insurance, community networks and mobility.
      • Sensitivity to climate impacts: The degree to which a person has the propensity to be affected when exposed to a climate impact. Characteristics such as age and current health status can increase the likelihood of an adverse effect on health and wellbeing."
    • The nine evidence-based public health principles which support a whole-system approach to building climate resilience from a health perspective:
      1. Understand the building blocks of good health
      2. Use a Health in All Policies approach
      3. Deliver a blend of upstream and downstream actions
      4. Build relationships & exchange knowledge between stakeholders
      5. Agree on shared outcomes and develop "win-win" actions
      6. Base action on evidence
      7. Empower communities
      8. Understand who will benefit from and who might be disadvantaged by actions and develop strategies to reduce harm
      9. Monitor and evaluate to inform learning

Source of Information / Date of Updates

EuroHealthNet Health Highlights August 2023 newsletter