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Climate change oversight group yet to be established

A climate change oversight group has yet to be established by the Department of Health more than three months after its own plan stated the group should meet “as soon as possible”.

The Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2019-2024, published last October by the Department, focuses on six key areas that impact health: UV/sun exposure, air pollution, windstorms, extreme cold snaps, flooding, and heatwaves.

The plan aims to reduce our “vulnerabilities” as a society in these six areas and an oversight group for the health sector is charged with implementing the plan.

Climate change represents a significant threat to human health, according to the plan, and the group must meet every four-to-six months as part of efforts to reduce the growing threat.

The plan outlines the group would be chaired “at senior level” and feature “full participation of research and other relevant organisations”, such as the HSE.

A Department spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI): “The Climate Change Adaptation Plan states that every relevant organisation (including the Department of Health and the HSE) identify by the end of quarter 1 2020 an organisational lead with responsibility for climate change action.

“It is intended that the climate change oversight group will be convened at an early date following this.”

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