The Scottish government is to fund a major research project testing the links between the environment and public health.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead has announced £1.45 million for the project, title: 'Environmental Determinants of Public Health in Scotland', which will be led by the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) in Edinburgh.
The research project will run for four years and will involve a team of experts from ten organisations.
Mr Lochhead said: "We are aware of the considerable evidence that supports a link between environmental factors and public health. This evidence is complex and continues to develop.
"This ambitious project will build on existing work, drawing upon a considerable level of experience from research institutes, Higher Education Institutes and environmental interests.
"The research aims to examine evidence on interaction between people and their environments and will assist in informing future policy on both public health and the environment.”
This research is closely linked to the aims of a recently announced Scottish Government initiative Good Places Better Health which was launched on December 11, 2008. Historically the focus has been on creating environments free from significant hazards. Whilst this continues to be important the Scottish Government says it now recognises an additional need to create positive physical environments to nurture better health and wellbeing.