Letter to MSPs: Support the ‘Right to a Healthy Environment’ in the Human Rights Bill in Scotland
Dear Member of the Scottish Parliament,
We write to you as leaders of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, an alliance of UK health organisations including the Royal Medical and Nursing Colleges, British Medical Association, the Academy of Medical Science, British Medical Journal, The Lancet, and many other health-focused organisations and faculties. Our collective voice represents more than 1 million health professionals, a significant number of whom work in the NHS.
We urge you to support the ‘Right to a Healthy Environment’ in the Human Rights Bill in Scotland at this pressing time when the world is facing a triple planetary crisis: Climate change, air pollution and nature and biodiversity loss.
The climate and ecological crises, both driven by human activities and mutually reinforcing, have catastrophic impacts on human health. Survival of human society without a biodiverse nature and stable climate is not possible as we are heavily reliant on them. A healthy environment that provides a stable and resilient climate, safe and secure water, food and air, and a rich biodiversity will make our people and children healthier.
The bill currently covers most of the aspects of building a healthy environment. However, it can be made stronger by the inclusion of the right to healthy and sustainable food in the right to a healthy environment. This is important because while we strive to ensure food security, it must not come at the cost of environmental harm or biodiversity loss.
The rationale for our recommendation is outlined in our response to the consultation: ‘Recognising the Right to a Healthy Environment’.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss this further if you require further input or information.
Dr Richard Smith CBE, FMedSci, Chair UK Health Alliance on Climate Change
Dr Elaine Mulcahy, Director UK Health Alliance on Climate Change
Professor Andrew Elder, President Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Mr Mike McKirdy, President Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Professor Rowan Parks, President Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Dr Shireen Kassam, Plant-Based Health Professionals UK
Dr Fiona Summers, ACP-UK’s Director for Scotland
Dr Sandy Mather, Chief Executive, Intensive Care Society
Laura Wilson, Director for Scotland, Royal Pharmaceutical Society