Sustainability and public health: a guide to good practice

Guidance and advice on sustainable development and environmental management for the benefit of public health.

These resources can help health professionals and other practitioners make informed decisions about the public health benefits of sustainable development.

Sustainable development and environmental management

The Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) is funded by, and accountable to, NHS England and Public Health England to work across the NHS, public health and social care system. The SDU launched the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Health, Public Health and Social Care System 2014-2020 in 2014.

The strategy sets out the vision for a sustainable health and care system by reducing carbon emissions, protecting natural resources, preparing communities for extreme weather events and promoting healthy lifestyles and environments.

Sustainability and public health benefits

The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) advises on all matters concerning the health effects of air pollutants and has released a number of statements.

The National Cross System Group for sustainable development in health is made up of organisations within the health sector and related partner organisations. The Group aims to support the development of sustainable and prosperous places, communities and people. PHE is a core member providing guidance to partners and stakeholders in health and other sectors.

Climate change, adaptation and health

The Health and Care System Adaptation Report 2015 was produced by DH, NHS England and Public Health England (PHE). The group was formed to assess how climate change risks are assessed, whether adaptation plans are in place and how the impacts of those plans are assessed.

PHE’s collection Flooding: health guidance and advice helps professional and the public address the risks to health that floods present.


International strategy, agreement and guidance

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 has 7 targets and 4 priorities for action.

The UN Convention on the rights of the child and the UN’s Sustainable development goals also inform PHE’s work in this area.

In 2016, the UK ratified the COP21 landmark international agreement to reduce global CO2 emissions. The UK will help to accelerate global action on climate change and deliver on our commitments to create a safer, more prosperous future for us all.

Other PHE resources

PHE has also published the following content:

Published 20 December 2016