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2019 Director of Public Health Annual Report

This year’s report focusses on understanding the relationship between people and the planet.

Cornwall Council was one of the first authorities in the country to declare a climate emergency in January 2019 and we have an ambitious and comprehensive climate change action plan to help Cornwall become carbon neutral by 2030. We have also introduced a new decision-making framework to ensure we place our residents’ health, social and environmental benefits at the heart of all our planning and policies.

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We can all make individual decisions and changes which directly reduce our own emissions and help to safeguard our own and our planet’s health. 

This report covers different aspects of our environment and our health. It explores the evidence, the impact on health and wellbeing and what can be done to manage the impact to become more resilient. The report’s purpose is to explore the relationship between the health of people and the health of our planet. It is also to make recommendations which will improve the health and wellbeing of both.

Since this report has been written we have experienced a global coronavirus pandemic. Many of us have had to dramatically change the way we live and behave. The virus has clearly highlighted the connections between humans, animals and the planet. It has shown how human activity can lead to the emergence of new diseases. (This is outlined in chapter 7).

COVID-19 will continue to be a risk to our communities for some time. Many people have appreciated some of the more positive effects of reduced human activity on our natural environment. These include:

  • cleaner air
  • reduced carbon emissions for road traffic
  • more outdoor physical activity
  • being able to appreciate the sound of birds

As we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have committed to placing climate change at the heart of everything we do, which is why we recently pledged to accelerate the delivery of our climate change action plan to prioritise health, environmental and social benefits for residents.

This report is a call to action to reconnect with our planet, protect it and enjoy the benefits. 

Read the 2019 report