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9th October 2023

Letter to political leaders: Act on climate and nature for better human health

With the launch of our policy report on biodiversity, climate change and health, we urge our political leaders to take action for better planetary health.

Dear Member of Parliament,

We write to you as leaders of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, an alliance of UK health organisations including the Royal colleges, journals, associations and societies. Our collective voice represents more than 1 million health professionals, a significant number of whom work in the NHS.

On 29th of September 2023 we launched a policy report on Biodiversity, Climate Change and Health that shows the links between climate and ecological crises and how they impact human health. The implications are potentially devastating if immediate and meaningful action is not taken.

The report sets out 7 recommendations to protect our land and seas to promote better health, the environment and the planet. Action on these recommendations will bring huge opportunities for a healthier, fairer, and more liveable future.

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 a stable climate is not possible as we are heavily reliant on them. The UK has committed to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030 but the annual progress report shows that only 3% of land and 8% of seas are effectively protected for nature in England currently. Strong and urgent action is needed, and nine out of ten British people think that government action in key environmental areas is inadequate and more than half think that not enough budget is allocated for nature.

We urge you to read this policy report and use your position to demonstrate the leadership and responsibility needed to take the recommendations forward for the good of all our health.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss our report if you require further input or information.

Kind regards,

Dr Anandita Pattnaik, Policy Officer and lead author of the report, UK Health Alliance on Climate Change

Dr Richard Smith, Chair UK Health Alliance on Climate Change

Dr Elaine Mulcahy, Director UK Health Alliance on Climate Change

Dr Shireen Kassam, Director, Plant-Based Health Professionals UK

Dr Katrina Davies, Director, Greener Practice

Professor Kevin Fenton, President, Faculty of Public Health

Professor Claire Anderson, President, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Dr Susan Paterson, President, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Professor Andrew Elder, President, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Professor Rowan Parks, President, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

Dr Ranee Thakar, President, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Dr Eleanor Damm, Sustainability Working Group Chair, Intensive Care Society

Dr Kamran Abbasi, Editor-in-chief, British Medical Journal

Dr Latifa Patel, Chair of Representative Body, British Medical Association

Tracy Nicholls, Chief Executive, College of Paramedics

Dr Fiona Donald, President, Royal College of Anaesthetists

Patricia McCready RN, Finance Director, British Association of Critical Care Nurses

Dr Rustam Al-Shahi Salman, Past President, British & Irish Association of Stroke Physicians

Dr Trudi Seneviratne, Registrar, Royal College of Psychiatrists

Professor Mike Wang, Chair, Association of Clinical Psychologists 

Dr Victoria Tzortziou-Brown, Vice Chair of External Affairs, Royal College of GPs

Professor Mike Tipton, The Physiological Society

Dr Camilla Kingdon, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Rose Gallagher, Nursing Sustainability Lead, Royal College of Nursing