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FPH joins call for ban on coal

An alliance representing 600,000 doctors, nurses and allied health professionals has urged the Government to protect the public’s health by implementing its pledge to phase out coal power.

In a report published today (18/10/16), the UK Health Alliance says that nearly 12 months after the Government announced it would end the burning of coal by 2025, it is still to publish a consultation document.

Professor John Middleton, President of the Faculty of Public Health (FPH), said today’s report from the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change makes an unanswerable case for swift government action to phase out coal.

He said: "Air pollution is the second biggest public health threat after smoking - killing 40,000 people a year. Ministers should deliver on their pledge to close coal-fuelled power stations by 2025.

"Coal is an insidious and silent killer and banning it will reduce deaths and serious long-term health problems due to stroke, heart disease and lung cancer. Removing the toxic pollutants that coal sends into the very air we breathe will not only save lives and reduce ill-health, it will reduce pressure on the NHS which has to care for those coal harms.

"Ministers, clinicians and the public can no longer ignore the terrible cost of coal as highlighted in today’s report. That cost includes 2,900 deaths each and every year and billions of pounds spent treating the disease coal causes.

"Coal also drives climate change which is posing an ever greater risk to the health and wellbeing of both British citizens – through increased incidence of floods and heatwaves and the spread of disease – and billions across the globe. Rapid action to remove coal as a source of energy would show the Government is serious about implementing last year’s Paris agreement on climate change."

Written: 18/10/2016 , last modified: 27/10/2016