SWEEP: Informing environmental investment for health outcomes
Dr Sian de Bell, European Centre for Environment and Human Health.
- Investment in, and management of, the natural environment can benefit human health and wellbeing.
- This requires collaboration between stakeholders in different sectors, from urban planning to public health.
- Stakeholders need evidence on the effectiveness of different types of investment to aid decision-making.
- We are working with stakeholders in the South West to co-produce guidance documents and a business case on environmental investment for health.
The ‘Informing environmental investment for health outcomes’ project is part of the South West Partnership for Environmental and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP), an initiative that aims to deliver economic and community benefits whilst protecting and enhancing natural resources in the region. Our project is based on growing evidence showing benefits of the natural environment for human health and wellbeing and the need for policy and practice to take account of this research in decision-making. We aim to increase understanding of how investing in the environment can benefit our health, whether through environmental management (for example ecological restoration) or social programmes (for example walking groups).
We are working with key partners across the South West, such as Cornwall Council, to deliver three main activities: mapping and building a stakeholder network; conducting focus groups with young people to discuss how natural environments could benefit their mental health; and delivering a business case for environmental investment for health. By facilitating connections between organisations involved in environmental management for health in Cornwall and across the South West more widely, we hope to share best practice and support growth in this area through targeted investment in natural environments for health outcomes.