A letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock from a number of environment bodies has highlighted the role the upcoming Environment Bill will have on people’s health.
A letter from the Environmental Policy Forum (EPF) was sent to Mr Hancock last week highlighting a number of recommendations put forward by the forum.
The Forum says sections of the Bill on air quality, nature, water, and resources and waste reflect four “hugely important” factors in determining our health and wellbeing.
The letter states: “To be physically and mentally healthy, we need sustainable access to clean air, thriving biodiversity, safe high-quality water, and proper waste handling and management.
“We need to recognise that currently through poor environmental conditions we often further adversely impact the health and wellbeing of those members of society who can least do anything about it, and the impact of air pollution on public health is an example of this.
“These issues also have serious financial implications for the National Health Service.”
The EPF is calling for a commitment to “non-regression” from EU environmental standards, providing assurance that the environment will be safeguarded in any Brexit scenario; the inclusion of “credible environmental targets” which establish a coherent long-term direction, as well as outlining a clear process by which targets will be set; and Government accountability for enacting policies which enable the delivery of these environmental targets.
It says Government has taken “welcome steps “to improve the environment and, by extension, human health and wellbeing.
We need to recognise that currently through poor environmental conditions we often further adversely impact the health and wellbeing of those members of society who can least do anything about it
“However,” the Forum states, “in a time of Climate and Ecological Emergency – coupled with the risks to standards posed by Brexit – the opportunity provided by the Environment Bill must be fully seized to ensure the Government is able to realise its commitment to ‘leave the environment in a better state than we found it’.
“To deliver on this aspiration we’d like to encourage you to seek quality and measures to deliver a Nature Recovery Network that could make a robust targets for air significant contribution to improving the mental and physical health of the nation. “
The EPF says it “stands ready” to advise or otherwise assist. Our organisations are committed to working with parliamentarians to achieve our mutual goal of an improved environment for current and future generations.
The EPA is a network of UK environmental professional bodies (including CIWM) promoting environmental sustainability and resilience for the public benefit.
The EPF’s member bodies have a collective membership of around 70,000 environmental professionals, many of whom are individually chartered in environmental practice, science and engineering disciplines.