22/07/2011

Climate Change Gets NI Focus

While NI may not be in the middle of a summer heat wave - with temperatures staying below the seasonal average - climate change is still firmly on the agenda in the Province.

Environmental Health practitioners (EHPs) across Northern Ireland are leading the way in combating climate change, as highlighted in a landmark publication launched today by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH).

The document entitled 'Our world, our wellbeing' showcases 14 Northern Ireland environmental health inspired initiatives and a total of 68 across the UK.

Programmes from various cities and towns throughout Northern Ireland are highlighted within the report, including a scheme run by Derry City Council to provide energy efficient measures in the housing sector which managed to reduce CO2 emissions by 304 tonnes, making significant savings in the process.

Commenting on the publication, Gary McFarlane, Director for CIEH Northern Ireland, said: "There were many reasons why we produced this publication - naturally we wanted to highlight the good work of EHPs in Northern Ireland and indeed across the UK in tackling climate change.

"However, it was also critical that we drew further attention to what is one of the most significant challenges to public health we have ever faced, putting at risk the very pillars of life: clean water, sanitation, air quality and food.

"Environmental health practitioners (EHPs) are in a unique position to influence behaviour in three core domains: externally with the businesses, organisations and communities they work with on a daily basis, internally within their own organisations and individually at a personal level," he said.

"The current version of the publication is a 'window' into a world where local authorities are leading the way in taking issues of climate change and the need for more sustainable lifestyles seriously.

"We will be continuously updating the document to include more examples and case studies and hope it will be a source of inspiration and guidance for the profession," he explained.

Practitioners from Newry and Mourne, Omagh, Down and Craigavon councils, as well as Southern Group Environmental Health Committee, also contributed to the publication highlighting initiatives that are making a positive contribution to climate change in their boroughs.

These included the development of a Low Carbon City Charter in Newry, a Sustainable transport initiative in Omagh and a Community Eco-Challenge Project in the Southern Area.

For more information about the CIEH visit www.cieh.org

(BMcC)

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