Accessibility statement

Local authority-level research priorities on climate change

Climate change is placing the health of current and future populations at risk. Urgent action is needed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change (climate mitigation). In support of this goal, the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act, strengthened in 2019, commits the UK to becoming a net zero society by 2050. To achieve this ambitious goal, the current decade is recognised to be the critical decade for action. Urgent action is also needed to protect people’s health from changes in the climate that are coming down the track and cannot now be prevented (climate adaptation).

While national leadership is essential, local government has a key role to play in protecting people’s health. To fulfil this role, local government requires research evidence and tools to inform their decision-making.

What our project aims to do: we are identifying where there are major gaps in the evidence that local government needs to protect people’s health from climate change.

Firstly, we will identify the evidence gaps and research priorities. We will review UK climate change-related policy documents (local and national) and note potential evidence gaps relating to action on health and climate change relevant to local authorities. This initial list will be refined through feedback from climate change leads within Integrated Care Systems, via a survey of Directors of Public Health and through advice from a public involvement panel. Through these consultative processes, we will identify the evidence gaps that are most consistently highlighted by stakeholders.

Secondly, we will focus on up to five of these priority gaps and assess those for which UK-relevant evidence is most limited. To do this, we will undertake a series of rapid evidence reviews. These are a type of knowledge synthesis that streamlines the processes used in traditional systematic reviews in order to get evidence to decision makers more quickly.

What our project will produce: the review-validated evidence on the priority gaps will be integrated into a summary for the NIHR Public Health Research Programme to inform future commissioned calls to address the health impacts of climate change. Findings will also be shared with the wider public health and local government communities.


Funder: NIHR Public Health Research Programme
Start Date: June 2022
End Date: November 2022

This project is funded by the NIHR Public Health Research Programme (NIHR150799). The views expressed are those of the project team and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care


Internal Staff:

External Partners:

  • Dagmar Zeuner (Director of Public Health in the London Borough of Merton)

Public Health and Society Research in the Department of Health Sciences