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Health Impact Assessment approach aids public sector bodies in development of climate change adaptations

Published: 3 October 2023

Research by Public Health Wales, along with the consultancy Urban Habitats, has shown the value of using a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) when developing adaptations to climate change. 

The study, Health Impact Assessment for Climate Adaptation: Examples from Practice, includes a range of case studies, not just from Wales but also from North America. 

The case studies examine how using an HIA approach can be used to ensure that adaptations to mitigate the effects of climate change meet the needs of specific population groups and geographies, maximise benefits for health and wellbeing, prevent unintended risks to health, and avoid widening health inequalities. 

Nerys Edmonds, Principal Health Impact Assessment Development Officer for Public Health Wales, said:

“We know that 82 per cent of people in Wales are concerned about climate change, and adapting to the impact of climate change is also a priority for public sector bodies. 

“Most investment on adaptation currently takes place outside of the health sector, for example – in transport and land use planning, but has many implications for health and wellbeing. Using HIA on adaptation projects can ensure both maximum benefits for health and wellbeing, and the prevention of unwanted effects”.  

“HIA provides a flexible approach and it can be applied in a proportionate way to the needs a specific context across all different sectors where action on adaptation to climate change is happening and planned.  It also provides a process to involve communities in decision making.  

“It is an effective tool which enables organisations to plan and implement the adaptations they need to deal with climate change whilst protecting health.”