HEALTH & WELLBEING THEME ACTION PLAN

Health is a ‘State of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. The Health and wellbeing strand of the strategy takes account of the Social Determinants of Health (SDH) and enables us to make the link between health equity and climate change. SDH is a term to describe the social and environmental conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age, which shape and drive health outcomes.

This theme therefore considers the wellbeing of Reading’s people holistically, with the emphasis on living healthily in a changing climate and addressing health inequities by supporting the most vulnerable communities who are disproportionately exposed to climate impact including the elderly, homeless people, BAME communities and those living in our most deprived wards. It also recognises that the health impacts of climate change will be exacerbated by the additional risks associated with COVID-19.

The actions we need to take to reduce CO 2 and adapt to climate change also have the potential to improve our community’s health and wellbeing. Most of the themes of the Reading Climate Change Strategy contribute to the 2030 carbon zero target directly: they are primarily concerned with mitigation. The Health & Well-being Theme focuses on aligning health and climate goals as well as dealing with the consequences of climate change that are likely to negatively affect the health of people in Reading over the next 10 years, despite best efforts at mitigation.

We have used the WHO analysis of the health impacts of climate change18 to define three categories of risk which are expected to significantly impact Reading – increased heat waves and related air quality issues, increased rainfall and associated flooding,
and changing transmission patterns for infectious diseases. All of these can negatively affect the physical and mental health and wellbeing of Reading’s residents. Alongside these are the underlying issues of health issues associated with fuel poverty and the
potential for mental health challenges associated with anxiety and stress caused by climate change.

Many of the themes include outreach and education strategies; we propose that an integrated resource base and education programme be supported by appropriate partners. In order to monitor progress under many of the themes, monitoring of environmental characteristics will be needed. We propose that these be linked to monitoring of health data, potentially via a Lancet Countdown19 project. This could
make environmental and health data visible to the public e.g. on public billboards or through apps.

This is the first time that health has been included in Reading’s climate change strategy, therefore many of the actions are about linking with existing local and national frameworks and strategies, researching external sources, setting up resources, systems and processes for Reading and establishing networks to link health professionals to climate change planning. Outcome based targets could include falling levels of asthma, lower rate of heat-related fatalities and increase of journeys by zero carbon modes of walking and cycling.

Health Theme Action Plan: By 2025, people in Reading will be well informed about how to embed climate-friendly activities into their lives and self-manage the health impacts of climate change, benefiting from policies and programmes that enable them to thrive despite its effects. All climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies will consider the impact on health; with particular emphasis on heat-related health risks, air quality and mental wellbeing.

NB: Some of the actions included in the action plans below, and the scale and pace at which they can be progressed, will be subject to the prevailing national policy context and/or the provision of additional powers and resources by central government, as made clear in Reading’s climate emergency declaration (see section 3.2 above).

Action plans

Action name Description Targets and measure/milestone Target
completion date
Delivery partners
H1
Adaptation and
anticipation in health
facilities
Facilities in hospitals and care homes adapted to extreme heat, e.g.
» Provision of cool space for residents
» Storage for medicines requiring cool temperatures
» Risk register of those at risk from heat
CQC reports on facilities in Reading all positive on
these aspects.
2023 Public Health Berkshire
(lead)
H2
Publicise cool public
spaces
» Explore potential for air-conditioned places to be opened to the public
during heatwaves
» Maps and lists in libraries, public spaces, buses
» Publicity in local media when heatwaves are forecast
» Support tree planting initiatives and man-made (canopies) solutions
Links: Energy & LCD, Nature, Business, Communication and Engagement
Completion and publication of list Initial list 2022
List updated yearly
Reading Borough Council
RCAN
H3
Increase the number of
cooling public spaces/
nature-based solutions
» Implement urban greening and tree-planting initiatives
» Create man-made solutions where necessary (canopies)
See action N1
in Nature Theme
Action name Description Targets and measure/milestone Target
completion date
Delivery partners
H4
Anticipation in health
and social care facilities
» Flexible accommodation for peak loads in emergencies
» Flood risk planning and preparation for in-patient facilities
Link: Water
Establish baseline
Set targets
Plan published
2020
2021
2022
Public Health Berkshire
(lead)
Reading Borough Council
H5
Minimising health
impacts from flooding
» Convene a group to determine what support is needed to minimise
the health impacts from anticipated flooding and to make
recommendations about appropriate interventions
Link: Water
Group to report by end: 2022 RCAN
Action name Description Targets and measure/milestone Target
completion date
Delivery partners
H6
Supporting citizens to
self-manage air quality
risks
» Explore the application of dynamic real time air quality data to help
citizens protect themselves
» Raising awareness of green/ blue corridor and urban travel routes with
lower pollution levels
» Reach those most in need by prioritising areas measuring high
pollution levels and areas of deprivation
» Possible collaboration with Adept Live Lab project
Links: Nature
TBC TBC Reading Borough Council
(lead)
University of Reading
Adept Live Lab
Stakeholders
Action name Description Targets and measure/milestone Target
completion date
Delivery partners
H7
Minimising the
health impacts from
infectious diseases
» Convene a group to determine what support is needed to minimise
the health impacts from infectious diseases associated with
climate change and to make recommendations about appropriate
interventions
Group to report by end: 2022 RCAN
Action name Description Targets and measure/milestone Target
completion date
Delivery partners
H8
‘For a Greener NHS’
campaign
» Adopting the national ‘For A Greener NHS’ campaign in Reading to
determine the quickest feasible path to get the NHS to ‘net zero carbon’
» Royal Berks NHS Foundation Trust to produce action plan subsequently
NHS staff and establishments to feed into Expert
Panel to report by Summer 2020 (local action plans
to be produced subsequently)
Q2-3 2020 Royal Berks NHS
Foundation Trust
Other NHS facilities
H9
Implementation of NHS
Standard Contract
» New national contract requiring hospitals to reduce carbon from
buildings and estates, whilst switching to less polluting products, and
encouraging more active travel for staff
Contract implemented Q2 2021 Royal Berks NHS
Foundation Trust
H10
Development of Green
Plan for Royal Berks
Hospital
» New plan covering asset management, travel and transport, use of
resources and greenhouse gas emissions
Plan completed Q2 2021 Royal Berks NHS
Foundation Trust
H11
Cooperation with local
GP practices
» Link GP practices with sustainability initiatives including ‘The Green
Impact for Health Toolkit’20
Health Theme Group to make contact with GPs or
representative body
2021 RCCP
RCAN
GP Practises
Action name Description Targets and measure/milestone Target
completion date
Delivery partners
H12
Cooperation with local
health authorities
» Create strong links to ensure climate change is at the centre of strategy
» Initiate discussions with Health and Wellbeing Board
https://democracy.reading.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=176
Meet to determine next steps Q3 2020 RCAN lead
H13
Cooperation with local
planning authorities
» Supporting Planning Team in climate impact assessment, ecosystem services tools
and mitigation measures in relation to new builds and health and wellbeing of
existing communities and future generations
Meet to determine next steps Q4 2020
H14
Cooperation with
Brighter Futures for
Children and schools
» Align with health and wellbeing targets
» Connect with young people in their own right and as a route
to influence their parents
» Create repository of sustainable frameworks and climate change learning
resources for schools
» Increase tree and hedge planting in schools, for heat reduction and improving air quality
» Support outdoor learning initiatives in school grounds and urban green spaces
Links: Nature
Meet to determine next steps Q4 2020 RCAN
Brighter Futures
for Children
Primary Schools
Secondary Schools
H15
Improve cooperation
between RBC Parks
and Open Spaces team,
conservation and
therapeutic nature and
horticulture sectors
» Increasing amount and quality of green space to enable residents to benefit from
the improved physical and mental health
» Mapping nature recovery priorities against indices of deprivation data to support
people and wildlife where needed most
» Supporting Reading Tree Strategy
» Promoting green prescribing initiatives
Links: Nature
Ongoing – measure quality using
Natural England’s guidance
Ongoing Reading Borough Council
Nature Task Force
H16
Publicise the health
and well-being benefits
to be gained from
taking action on
climate change
» Awareness raising linking health & well-being with climate friendly choices,
including diet (less food miles, less processing, more plant-based), travel choices
and housing retrofit
» Encourage behaviour change by highlighting positive impact of climate action,
such as air quality improvements reducing asthma attacks and supporting
brain development
» Awareness raising to highlight the importance of greenspace to health and
well-being and climate adaptation including boosting conservation volunteering
and tree planting
Links: Education, Community, Business
Explore carbon literacy training and
positive climate action campaign
tailored to specific target audiences
2021 RCAN
Reading Green Christians
H17
Support for mental
health and wellbeing,
targeting those
suffering health
inequalities
» Extension of existing mental health programmes to include the mental health issues
associated with heat, flooding or air pollution; also climate anxiety
» Supporting the local nature sector to deliver green prescribing, especially for
vulnerable groups
» Sustainable greenspace management boosting biodiversity, carbon sequestration
and supporting health and wellbeing
Extended programme in place 2022 Reading Borough Council
Public Health
H18
Support the community
gardening and food
growing sector
» Encourage the use of greenspace/ gardens for growing food in public and private
spaces and educational opportunities
» Education around healthy and climate-friendly diets, including basic cookery skills
Measure number and size of spaces and
volunteer numbers
Ongoing Reading Gardening for
Health and Wellbeing
Network
Food4Families
Reading Food
Growing Network
H19
Research, measuring
and monitoring
» Explore what data is already available on public health impacts of climate change
in Reading
» Identify data gaps and establish research projects
» Measure, monitor and report on correlation of illnesses with climate change
impacts to improve adaptation planning
» Possible link with Lancet Countdown project
Scoping meeting December 2019
DONE
RCAN
University of Reading

Areas where you can help

Take a look at the areas where you can make a positive change, today

Individuals | Eating & Drinking |

Cook from scratch

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Intermediate

Individuals | Eating & Drinking |

Choose local and seasonal produce

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Intermediate

Individuals | Eating & Drinking |

Reduce food waste

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Beginner

Individuals | Eating & Drinking |

Eat more vegetables

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Intermediate

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