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Climate change to impact health and equality in Glasgow, WHO warns

Glasgow could see increased flooding and heat stress, according to WHO (Jane Barlow/PA)
Glasgow could see increased flooding and heat stress, according to WHO (Jane Barlow/PA)

Glasgow is facing increased flooding and heat stress due to climate change, which will lead to detrimental impacts on health and equality, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

The organisation’s Health and Climate Change Urban Profile, published on Thursday, issued the stark caution as it presented a snapshot of key climate change hazards and health risks affecting the area.

The city of Glasgow is one of six around the world being profiled by WHO as part of its plans to mitigate and adapt to environmental changes, with profiles for Indianapolis, Indiana and Washington DC having been released previously.

WHO has worked alongside Glasgow City Council and the Glasgow Centre for Population Health to create the document, detailing immediate threats and risks arising for residents in the city.

It profiles the actions being taken by Glasgow to reduce the impact of climate change, such as the Low Emission Zone which came into force at the end of May in a bid to improve air quality and public health.

The city’s surface water and drainage projects, which aim to manage and minimise the risk of flooding, also feature, while tree planting projects undertaken in the area were hailed for their efforts to mitigate carbon emissions.

Glasgow from above
The report outlines climate change hazards and health risks affecting the city (PA)

Dr Maria Neira, WHO’s director of environment, climate change and health, said: “City councils have the power to change our lives for the better. They can address inequality, improve people’s health, and tackle the climate crisis at the same time.

“The WHO Urban Profile illustrates how Glasgow is leading the way to a healthy, sustainable future.”

The publication comes ahead of a bid by Glasgow City Council’s Central Administration Committee to adopt the city’s Climate Adaptation Plan 2022-2030 next week.

The plan looks at possible solutions to problems being experienced currently, as well as those expected to occur in the future, such as overheating and further flooding.

Angus Millar, Glasgow’s city convener for climate, the Glasgow Green Deal, transport and city centre recovery, said: “This look at our city, by WHO, raises awareness about the immediate health threats from climate change that we, and many other cities like ours, face.

“Well over half the world’s population lives in cities, and many people rely on them for their health and well-being, so it is important that they are at the forefront of the action to mitigate and adapt to these climate change shocks and longer-term stresses.

“Glasgow is striving alongside other cities around the world in tackling the climate emergency, and this profile highlights the broad range of work the council and its partners are undertaking to improve the quality of life for our citizens through climate action.”