People whose homes are damaged by extreme weather events like flooding are far more likely to suffer mental health problems, new research has found. The study, led by the University of York and the National Centre for Social Research, found that experiencing weather damage to one’s home, even if it is relatively minor, is as much of a risk to mental health as living in a disadvantaged area. Researchers concluded that with storms and floods likely to become more frequent and intense due to climate change, emergency planning for extreme weather events should include mental health support for those affected … www.environmentjournal.online

New NHS guide emphasises role of GI for health
An NHS England guide for creating health-promoting communities includes numerous references to green infrastructure as a practical means for lessening the burden on healthcare services. ‘Putting Health into Place’, endorsed by the Kings Fund and Public Health England, presents initiatives introduced through the ‘Healthy New Towns’ programme, which saw ten local authorities in England use interventions to improve health and wellbeing. The guide will act as an important advocacy tool for professionals attempting to demonstrate the value of green infrastructure to health professionals. Read the report here

Finally, the recent Environmental Audit Committee report Our Planet, our health argues that “Integrated urban planning is essential to ensure better planetary health outcomes”. Recommendations include

  • The Government’s review of the building regulations must take an integrated approach to ensure that sustainability and public health are properly reflected in any new code.
  • The National Planning Policy Framework needs to be updated to promote opportunities for active travel, ambitious green space targets, and access to healthy, sustainable food in planning authorities’ local plans.
  • Improving public health in the UK while improving the environment will require significantly better data sharing and cross-departmental working. There should be a single point of accountability for planetary health at both ministerial and senior civil service levels.

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