New environment and health partnership launched

Posted on 30th April 2014

The Centre has recently partnered in a new UK research collaboration aiming to identify the health effects of environmental change.

The new Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Change and Health will examine how factors, such as a changing climate, are likely to impact on health and wellbeing.

The collaboration is being led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in partnership with Public Health England.

As well as the European Centre for Environment and Health, partners include UCL and the Met Office.

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research, the research unit will identify the emerging health effects of large scale changes to our environment, particularly those that are already occurring.

A principle area of focus will be the health effects arising from green spaces, airborne exposures such as pollen, and the ecology of infectious diseases.

The research team will also focus on how the adverse effects of extreme weather and climate change can be prevented, and consider the sustainable health of cities through factors such as housing and urban planning.

Dr 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 risks and opportunities associated with a low carbon economy. This is an important and ground breaking collaboration between the leading UK institutions currently working in this area.

Centre Director, Professor Lora Fleming, 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 wellbeing from interactions with the natural environment.

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