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Tackling climate change will benefit public health

New report outlines the public health benefits of tackling climate change in Manchester. 

The report points to the growing body of evidence showing that climate change is already adversely affecting the health of populations in the UK – with those already most vulnerable likely to be the worst affected. 

For Manchester, concerns include the increased risk of flooding, the impacts of extreme heat or cold, the impact of pollution, and the impact of rising prices if food supplies are affected. 

The report suggests that these impacts are already beginning to be felt but will be exacerbated if climate change and its causes go unchecked. 

Conversely, it highlights that some of the actions to help address climate change – for example increased walking and cycling for shorter journeys and measures to support nature and create more green spaces – have a beneficial impact on people’s health.

brown and white concrete house beside river during daytime

Work is also taking place to help mitigate the impacts of climate change including nature-based solutions (such as the £1m Tree Action MCR tree planting programme and flood-resistant ‘sponge park’ in West Gorton).

David Regan, Director of Public Health for Manchester, said: ‘This is an introductory report. It doesn’t claim to have all the answers. It doesn’t even claim to have all the questions.

‘But what it does attempt to outline is that the health risks associated with climate change – and the health benefits of tackling it – make it a major public health issue which the Council and the city must continue to grasp.’

Deputy Council Leader Cllr Joanna Midgley, who leads on health, said: ‘These issues are not limited to Manchester but as a place with serious health inequalities we must take action to ensure they are not exacerbated in the future by climate change.

‘It’s important that we understand this as a real and present public health issue – not something abstract and remote.’

The report was considered at the Health Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 9 February.

 

Pippa Neill
Reporter.

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