Sustainable Development Special Interest Group

The Sustainable Development SIG has been established to drive forward strategic action to embed the principles of sustainable development into all FPH does and stands for, in order to create a healthy, equitable, and sustainable future. The SIG will work to inform and develop FPH's approach to sustainable development and climate change through developing, promoting, and advocating for:

  • Whole systems approach to health and care services
  • Partnerships with alliances that achieve positive, sustainable development
  • Good health through engagement with the natural environment
  • Management proactives that take account of the limit's of the Earth's resources and that reduce our impact

The Sustainable Development Special Interest Group is chaired by Helen Ross: and reports to the Faculty's Climate and Health Committee

Resources on Sustainable Development and Climate Change

Access here

Recent work


The Faculty obtained observer status at COP26 and held a members' briefing on the conference in October 2021. A list of useful links relating to COP26 can be found here.

Running sustainable events

The Faculty's Climate and Health Committee and Sustainable Development SIG has co-produced a checklist for running sustainable events.

Greening the NHS

The Sustainable Development SIG responded to the recent consultation and call for evidence on Greening the NHS, a programme designed to reduce the health sector's impact on public health and the environment, save money and – eventually – go net carbon zero. The SIG response was submitted in March 2020. 


In Deecember 2019, the Faculty responded to two Government consultations relating to the planning process for Hydraulic Shale Gas extraction (fracking) in England.  One consultation related to the proposal that exploratory drilling should be covered by Permitted Development Rights (thus not needing planning consent), the other related to the proposal that Hydraulic Shale Gas extraction should be part of the National Significant Infrastructure Programme, which would mean that planning decisions are reserved to National rather than local level. 

The Sustainable Development SIG also published a statement on the 2016 report from Medact on the issue of fracking:

FPH Fracking Statement, December 2019

Fracking is a term used to describe the process of high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) for unconventional shale gas deposits deep underground.  Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.

Health concerns have been raised in the US where fracking has been practiced on a large scale for over a decade, relating to management of the waste water produced, the risk of leakage of gases and chemicals into surrounding air and water, the nuisance effects, and socio-economic impacts.

The Faculty of Public Health endorses the findings of an updated 2016 report from Medact that examines the evidence set out in over 350 academic papers published since the original Medact report in 2015, looking at the impact of fracking on local communities, the natural environment and climate change. The Faculty supports the call for an ongoing and permanent moratorium on fracking due to the possible serious public health risks involved, which include:

  • Adverse reproductive outcomes due to exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals;
  • Risk of respiratory effects resulting from ozone and smog formation;
  • Stress, anxiety and other psycho-social effects arising from actual and perceived social and economic disruption; and
  • The indirect effects of climate change produced by greenhouse gas emissions.

The 2016 report from Medact is supported by a detailed and fully referenced set of long notes about fracking as a public health issue, covering climate change, energy policy, carbon budgets and alternatives to shale gas.

Sustainability Seminar, October 2019

On Wednesday 9 October FPH's Sustainable Development Special Interest Group held a seminar at Strathclyde University on building environmental sustainability into UK public health research. Speakers at the event included Professor Karen Turner, Lynne McNiven, Dr Helen Walters, Phil Mackie and Sir Harry Burns. Read the full report and summary of discussions here.

Climate Change and Health - The Role of Health Professionals, July 2021

The Public Health Forum North West of England recently held a webinar on ‘Climate Change and Health – the role of health professionals’.

Attendees heard from Professor Sue Atkinson, Chair of FPH’s Climate Committee and Dr Marc Davies, Public Health Speciality Registrar, as they discussed the impacts of climate change on health and the ways in which health professionals can help tackle the climate crisis.

Read the resources from the event:

Useful documents to help you learn more about the Sustainable Development SIG