• Environmental Change and Public Health 2020

    The NIHR HPRU in Environmental Change and Health held its annual conference on research to support evolving public health and health protection policy relating to climate change and progress toward a low carbon society. More…..  

  • Contact with nature and pro-environmentalism

    We examined how neighbourhood greenspace, coastal proximity, and recreational nature visits were related to nature appreciation and self-reported environmental behaviours in 24,000 people in England. The more individuals visited nature and the more they appreciated the natural world, and the greener their behaviour. More..

  • Flooding, displacement and mental health

    Extensive flooding occurred during the winter of 2013–14 in England. Analysis of flooded and disrupted populations show that this event has long term effects mental health. People who were displaced from their homes were significantly more likely to have adverse effects than people who were not displaced.

  • Environmental impacts on ticks

    Ticks are important disease vectors that can transmit Lyme disease in the UK. Data indicate that a range of habitats within urban areas in England can support ticks and that urban Lyme disease transmission cycles may exist. The HPRU is conducting research to better understand the public health risks associated with ticks in urban green spaces; which are important for improving health and wellbeing, as well as mitigating against the impacts of climate change.

  • Urban trees and respiratory health

    New research has shown the health benefits of urban trees in reducing the impact of outdoor air pollution. Green space and gardens were associated with reductions in asthma hospitalisations when pollutant exposures were lower but had no significant association when pollutant exposures were higher. Tree density was associated with reduced asthma  when pollutant exposures were higher.

  • Ambulance calls increase in extreme weather

    Extreme weather presents a burden to the NHS in terms of managing health service demand and also for health service delivery. There is a significant increase in the number of calls during heat waves and cold spells. Papadakis et al. have modelled the impact of extremes on ambulance use.

  • Flooding and mental health – the recovery gap

    Research on flooded populations in Somerset has shown that the a recovery gap occurs, when the support from public authorities and agencies diminishes, and less well-defined interactions with private actors, such as insurers, begins. Our research indicates that institutional support is important to help individuals with their post-flood recovery.

  • Heatwaves, Housing & Health

    Climate change is likely to increase the frequency and intensity of heatwaves in the UK. We are researching the effects of climate change on high indoor temperatures, an important indicator of health risk as people spend most of their time indoors.


Welcome to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Change and Health (HPRU ECH).
The aim of this HPRU is to enable health decisions makers to have the knowledge, foresight and tools to mitigate, adapt to and benefit from environmental change.
We are researching the impacts of and responses to the environmental changes that affect our health. Environmental change includes climate change, land use change (including urbanisation), environmental degradation, and the loss of ecosystem services, in the UK and beyond. We will help Public Health England (PHE) to fulfil its requirements under the National Adaptation Programme and other policies on sustainable development. The HPRU will also produce research of relevance to other government departments regarding the health co-benefits of environmental policies.

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