Committee report warns of climate change impact on health

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has warned that high dependency on imported fresh food, coupled with a failure to act on climate change, is placing UK food security at increasing risk.

Our Planet, Our Health, published on 17 September, examined the impact of environmental damage and climate change on health, food security, life in cities and air quality. The report warned that rapid action was needed to curb greenhouse gas emissions and on efforts to safeguard the environment. It said that without it, “we risk causing irreversible damage to the planet. This is already having a significant and growing impact on human health, with impacts set to become more severe.”

It made a series of recommendations, including that government should set out how it will maintain UK food security in a changing climate and that Public Health England broaden its key performance indicators to include climate resilience and adaptation measures to tackle emerging diseases. It explained this was key with growing evidence that natural systems key to supporting human life were being degraded at an “unprecedented” rate.

The report also stressed the need for sustainable cities, reiterating a previous call made by the EAC for a new Clean Air Act. It stressed that the threat from indoor air pollution was a “major area of concern”. It further set out that the government’s review of building regulations should include changes to mitigate the negative impacts of in door air pollution in line with advice given by the Committee on Climate Change.

Environmental Audit Committee