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5th July 2024

UKHACC welcomes the new government and calls on them to deliver on promises

The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change congratulates Keir Starmer and the Labour Party as they set out to form the new government for the UK. They must now step up to deliver on commitments to establish the UK as a global leader in clean energy and building an NHS that is fit for the future.

Dependence on fossil fuels is having a devastating impact on health, which must be the government’s first concern.  We call on you to deliver a fair transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy with no new licences for oil and gas and a focus on job creation, ensuring everybody has clean air to breathe, ending fuel poverty, and guaranteed access to safe, affordable and properly insulated homes. We encourage the new government to review existing licences, including Rosebank. Ending all new oil and gas projects and phasing out existing ones with a transition that protects workers will be important for protecting health and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to secure a safer future.

An NHS fit for the future must be energy efficient and deliver on its targets to be net zero by 2040 for all it directly controls, and 2045 for all it consumes. This will require significant investment to decarbonise NHS buildings and fleet; ensure active travel and public transport routes to health and care settings for staff and patients; achieve sustainability in service delivery across the NHS; and ensure all staff and patients have access to healthy, sustainable food.

An NHS fit for the future – and today – must be resilient to the threats of climate change so that the ability to deliver patient care is not impacted by extreme weather events, such as flooding and overheating, which are already happening. 

While the Labour Party has committed to supporting farmers to transition to more sustainable methods, their manifesto lacked any commitment to ensure healthy food is readily available and affordable. The food system accounts for about a third of climate change and is the major threat to nature, yet many people in Britain have unhealthy diets that are an important cause of poor health and premature death. We strongly encourage the government to improve access to healthy, nutritious food, backed up by a public awareness campaign on the benefits of healthy diets, high in plant-based foods that are good for health and the environment.

The UK is the most nature-depleted country in the world. It is critical the new government takes meaningful action to protect and restore the natural environment and ensure that everyone has access to safe green space within a 15-minute walk of their home.

During the election campaign, we wrote to all candidates calling on them, if elected, to deliver on five key priorities to sustain our environment, health, and healthcare services. We received more than 100 responses to our letter and will be reaching out to all those elected for the opportunity to meet and support them as they take their seats in the new government.