Wednesday 20 November 2019

Health boards urge ministers to take health seriously in climate change plans

A floating solar farm on Texel. Photo: Zon op Water

A number of regional health boards (GGDs) have written to economic affairs minister Erik Wiebes warning him to be aware of the impact climate change policies can have on health.

Plans to build more biomass-fired power stations plus wind and solar farms will all have an effect on humans but the health ministry has not been involved in the talks, the boards say.

‘We know from research that people who live near wind farms experience problems with the noise,’ health board advisor Arthur van Iersel told the AD. ‘The state needs to take this into account’.

The noise created by heat pumps – which the government hopes will replace traditional heating systems – is another problem but there are no conditions attached the noise they can make in guidelines, the health boards say.

Their biggest concerns centre on the use of biomass in power stations. Earlier this month, European researchers published a report which showed that burning wood in power stations is not a sustainable option. Others have raised questions about the huge subsidies being allocated to developing more biomass power stations.

‘We need to know what their precise impact on health is,’ Van Iersel said. ‘We have limited experience of them, we do not know enough about their emissions and where these end up.’

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