NEW REPORT! Health and the Climate Crisis: what Manchester needs to do next

CEM today launches a new report –  Health and the Climate Crisis: what Manchester needs to do next

Manchester City Council unanimously declared a climate emergency in July 2019. In doing so, it confirmed that the climate crisis deserves urgent action on and above the scale that we have since seen is possible throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Left unchecked, the climate crisis will cause widespread harm to health and widen health inequalities, and we are not doing enough to address this.

Our report, Health and the Climate Crisis – what Manchester needs to do next is a response to the Health Scrutiny Committee’s An Introduction to the Impact of Climate Change on Health and Healthcare in Manchester. That report takes a broad sweeping approach to climate change in Manchester and the city’s ambitions and activities to date.  We should have already gone beyond an ‘introduction’ to these issues in 2022. It’s now crucial that more time is dedicated to in-depth discussion of specific climate issues in the health scrutiny work from this point forth. The report to Health Scrutiny sketches some of the activity undertaken so far, but what must Manchester do next?

Our key recommendations for the Health Scrutiny Committee and Manchester City Council include:

Scrutiny

  • Schedule an agenda item to scrutinise the work of the Health and Wellbeing Climate Change Advisory Group.

Heat and extreme weather events

  • Make health and climate change indicators like air pollution and heat-related illnesses publicly available in a format that is easily understandable

Air Quality

  • Investigate the implementation and enforcement of the smoke free zone and action taken against non-compliance with this.
  • Take an emergency review of the planned Beeline cycle network routes with a view to implementing them in their entirety as quickly as possible.
  • Convert a significant proportion of Council-owned car park sites to cycle parking
  • Protect its most vulnerable residents and support a GMCA-wide charge or levy for those who pollute our air the most

Food

  • Review all food procurement under MCC influence.  
  • Drive the development of a Manchester Food Strategy, agreeing to a deadline for delivery and a monitoring and evaluation framework. 

Mental Health

  • Recommend and support training for all front line staff (as a matter of urgency) in the impacts of climate change and mental health.
  • Put in place provision to meet the current need of mental health support.

Healthcare systems and services

  • Call for a GMHSC-wide net zero strategy and bring an item to scrutinise it.
  • Bring a report in the next six months to scrutinise the MFT Green Plan, comparing its ambition to other trusts and asking for regular future updates to assess progress.

The UK’s health and social care systems are notoriously complicated to understand, which makes scrutiny by both councillors and the public difficult. This report is intended for both of these audiences and we have tried to make it as clear as possible. Please do join us at our online event tonight 8 February, 7pm – 8:30pm  to discuss these issues further and hear from a range of voices with different perspectives on health and the climate crisis.

If you have any questions or comments, or if you’d like to get involved with this and future work, we’d love to hear from you contact@climateemergencymanchester.net

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