Protecting Health and Wellbeing by Anticipating Local Climate Change
The European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) – in partnership with Cornwall Council and a wide range of local stakeholders – is developing a tool to help local decision-makers adapt to climate change, by measuring the impact of climate interventions on population health.
The Local Climate Adaptation Tool (LCAT) is an easy-to-use tool which brings together complex climate models, adaptation options and health impact evidence, to help users understand the health implications of climate change in their local area. Importantly, LCAT also recommends the most suitable approaches for decision makers to take, based on the best available evidence, to ensure policies will support the health and wellbeing of local people.
The tool is being developed by University of Exeter’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health, Cornwall Council, and local company Then Try This, through discussions with key stakeholders in NHS Trusts, Public Health England, and local voluntary and civic organisations.
In response to these stakeholders’ needs, LCAT allows users to select a local area of interest and view the information on local climate forecasts, health evidence, and the most appropriate adaptation measures for the area. This gives decision-makers a clear oversight of the local health implications of climate change on different impact pathways (for example, how should active travel infrastructure be developed when faced with wetter, stormier winters?), enabling them to plan and deliver infrastructure and services that will be fit for purpose in a changing climate and ensure the best possible health and well-being outcomes for local people. Crucially, the tool also provides links to key, published evidence on health and wellbeing outcomes to ensure a visibly informed decision-making process.
By working closely with key stakeholders, the LCAT team has been able to ensure ease of use and relevance to user needs. This embedded approach makes the tool well-positioned to support decision-making in key areas such as public services, infrastructure, and policy planning, and gives it the usability and evidence-base to benefit a wide range of organisations.
The project, currently available in a prototype, will be showcased at COP26 on 4th November. A team from the University and Cornwall Council, made up of Professor Emma Bland, Ceren Barlas, Peter Lefort and Alex Rainbow will present the tool in the Green Zone, and the project has also been shortlisted for the international Climate Challenge Cup which will be announced as part of the conference.
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