Home 5 JSNA 5 Live Well 5 Environment
1. Background

The environment we live in affects many of the wider determinants of health. This Environment Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) identifies the key determinants in Lincolnshire and the combination of social vulnerability with exposure to climate hazards like air pollution, flooding, and extreme weather.  

Key determinants affecting public health in Lincolnshire are – 

  • Green spaces Green spaces and trees create heat sinks in urban areas that reduce the risk of over-heating, reduce flooding, absorb carbon and act as a barrier to air pollution. Co-benefits include mental health, physical activity in accessible open spaces and opportunities for community food growing. 
  • Air quality – The combustion of fossil fuels for transport, heat, and electricity release harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. Degradation of materials, use of chemicals and aerosols also release particulates and other gases into the air. These increase the risk of pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and accelerate global warming. 
  • Housing standards – Cold homes are associated with respiratory and circulatory problems as well as exacerbating a range of existing health problems and increasing the risk of suffering with mental health. Insulating, ventilating, and shading helps reduce wasted heat and prevent overheating in hot weather. 
  • Flooding – There is a significant impact on mental health from flooding, especially when people are evacuated displaced due to the flooding of their homes and cost implications. It can also increase the demand on services such as emergency services, health care and flood response teams.   
  • TransportSafe and pleasant active travel routes have both physical and mental health benefits. Public transport and ultra-low emission vehicles reduce the amount of combustion engine vehicles on the road, improving air quality. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) believes the greatest health risks for humankind are the rising temperatures and extreme weather caused by climate change. Conversely, measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change present opportunities to improve public health. Decisive action is required to create stronger, more resilient health systems to protect those most at risk of climate change and ensure long-term health and wellbeing for everyone in the country. 

2. Policy Context

National Policy 

  • The Climate Change Committee’s Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk 2021 sets out the priority climate change risks and opportunities for the UK, including public health and wellbeing.  
  • The National Adaptation Programme 2018 covers steps to make the country resilient to the changing climate, including public health and wellbeing.  
  • The Environment Act 2021 will deliver cleaner air for all by requiring the government to set targets on air quality, including for fine particulate matter, the most damaging pollutant to human health. 
  • The 25 Year Environment Plan aims to achieve clean air, reduced risk of flooding, improved natural environment and climate change mitigation and adaptation. 
  • Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener sets out policies and proposals for emission reductions in each sector.  
  • The Clean Air Strategy 2019 sets out plans for dealing with all sources of air pollution.  

Local Policy  

  • The Green Masterplan was developed by LCC to set out a roadmap to show how Lincolnshire will reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It is a live document that will be continuously updated along the journey to net zero.  
  • The City of Lincoln Council has declared a climate emergency and has set a net zero target for 2030. The Council has established the Lincoln Climate Commission 
  • The emerging Central Lincolnshire Local Plan has extensive policies on low energy housing, building incorporated renewables and air quality. 
  • The South and East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership has approved a new Climate Change Strategy for the sub-region covering East Lindsey, Boston and South Holland. 
  • North East Lincolnshire Council has declared a climate emergency and has a plan to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2040 for council activities and by 2050 for the borough. 
  • North Kesteven District Council has produced a Climate Emergency Strategy and Action Plan and has set a net zero target of 2030. 
  • South Kesteven District Council declared a climate emergency in September 2019 when it pledged to reduce its carbon footprint by at least 30% by 2030 and become net-zero carbon as soon as viable before 2050. 
3. Local Picture

Lincolnshire is the second largest county of England, coastal to the East Midlands. It has a long coastline on the North Sea and varying topography with areas of attractive countryside, woodlands, and nature reserves. Rurality and demographics present unique challenges for the health of residents. High numbers of elderly people, and people living with long-term health conditions live in coastal areas, which are most susceptible to flooding. Vulnerable groups, are more sensitive to, and less able, to evacuate and recover rapidly during extreme weather and flooding events. As Lincolnshire is rural with a large proportion of land used for agriculture, increasing tree cover has challenges due to land grade and availability. Because of this, accessible woodland is less available compared to the national average. Many remote villages and scant public transport provision leads to a high reliance on personal cars – greatly contributing to air pollution. 

A Local Climate Impacts Profile (LCIP) for Lincolnshire was undertaken in 2021, based on data spanning 2010-2020. This increased the understanding of vulnerabilities to severe weather events. Sixteen severe weather events have occurred in Lincolnshire, occasions of excessive rainfall, storms, heatwaves, and severe snow and ice. Health and wellbeing implications to people in Lincolnshire identified in the LCIP include:

  • Increased heatwaves: resulting in higher levels of pollutions, respiratory problems, and increased hospital emissions.  
  • Increases in heatwaves: resulting in a rise of anti-social behaviour, such as arson causing grass and scrub fires, resulting in air pollution, damage to property, danger to life, and anxiety.  
  • Increases in rain/flooding and high winds:  evacuation of residents (the ill, elderly, and other vulnerable people). 
  • 16,450 properties in Lincolnshire at high, long-term risk of flooding. 
  • Disruption to infrastructure from damaged/closed roads from extreme weather causing increased pressure on emergency services, and ongoing personal and societal economic impacts. 

UK Climate Projections (2018) data for Lincolnshire suggests that there will be even hotter summers, milder winters, and more rainfall year-round than we already experience. The expected related health impacts will increase with the expected rise in extreme weather events. Extreme weather will disproportionately affect vulnerable groups; the elderly, homeless, low-income households and communities, and those with existing health conditions. In order to protect those most at risk, the sustainability agenda must reflect these inequalities, and the LCIP used to inform a wider Adaptation Strategy for the county and in the creation of a more resilient health system. 

4. Local Response

Green spaces 

  • Improve access to green spaces and woodlands 
  • Plant Trees: Improving access to woodland, biodiversity, and habitat preservation projects  
  • Enhance and expand urban trees and community gardens 
  • Develop a Local Nature Recovery Strategy to improve and enhance habitats 
  • Restore lowland peat areas, which are major carbon stores 

Air quality  

  • Improve active travel networks and encourage behaviour change 
  • Examine options for increased air pollution monitoring 
  • Plant street and urban trees to remove air pollution, create human-centred urban landscapes 

Housing standards (Covered in detail here). Briefly: 

  • Improvements that protect buildings from overheating  
  • Take part in government and energy supplier-funded, home energy efficiency projects 
  • Develop a Home Energy Advice Service  
  • Deliver the Future Homes Standard from proposed introduction, in 2025 


  • Deliver inland flood alleviation schemes  
  • Beach management to prevent coastal flooding 
  • Ensure newbuilds are elevated to reduce risk of flooding 
  • Sustainable Urban Drainage Schemes (SUDS) to manage flood and pollution risks from urban runoff in storms 


  • Develop Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans 
  • Local bus strategy – Bus Service Improvement Plan 
  • Bikeability training for children and adults  
  • Invest in improved Active Travel Infrastructure 
5. Community & Stakeholder Views

The Lincolnshire Sustainability Officers group invites all the Sustainability Officers from other local authorities in Lincolnshire, as well as including representatives from the University of Lincoln and the NHS, to discuss and collaborate on environmental issues. The group has been consulted and given the opportunity to contribute to this, Environment JSNA. 

Other groups to consult – 

East Midlands Air Quality Network 

Greater Lincolnshire Energy Efficiency Network 

Lincolnshire Environmental Protection Group 

Lincolnshire Healthy Homes Group 

Lincolnshire Resilience Forum 

6. Gaps and Unmet Needs

Green spaces 

The Woodland Trust’s,  Space for People (2017) shows only 6.6% of Lincolnshire’s population has access to woodlands over two hectares – considerably less people than the national average (18%). Lincolnshire has a target to plant 750,000 trees, one for every resident. This will contribute towards improved air quality, wildlife networks, storing carbon, reduced air pollution, and lessen the urban heat island affect with urban planting.  

Mapping of current provision, including size, and proximity to where people live and work will show how far recommended guidelines are met, and enable development of strategies to develop green space. Utilising Natural England’s toolkit for Accessible Natural Green Space Standards (ANGSt), and the Local Green Space Evidence Report (found in the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan) will help identify opportunities to improve accessibility across the county. 

Air quality  

Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) indicator 3.01 reports the fraction of mortality attributable to particulate air pollution (e.g. PM2.5 – particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns). 5.2% of adult deaths in Lincolnshire were attributable to particulate air pollution, against the national average of 5.6%. Air quality is not closely monitored in the county, but will have to be, in line with requirements set out in the Environment Act (2021). This will contribute to a reduction in number of deaths attributable to air pollution. A greater focus on removing vehicles from the road, and switching homes, businesses, and vehicles over to green energy will reduce emissions and air pollution from the combustion of fossil fuels. NICE guidelines for outdoor air quality and health should be taken into consideration, and joint strategies developed to address the link between air quality and health. 


Most of Lincolnshire is at or below sea level and there are 16,450 properties in Lincolnshire at high, long-term risk of flooding as well as a large proportion of farmland. Demographics of the county, and the number of vulnerable groups located in coastal areas, means flood defences and flood amelioration should be a priority for adapting to future risks to lives, property, homes and businesses. 


Lincolnshire has sparse EV charging infrastructure compared to the national network, and low take up of Electric Vehicles. The rural nature of the county and a scarcity of public transport makes many areas reliant on private cars for mobility. Much work is needed to create and improve safe active travel networks, to join up towns and villages, to reduce the necessity for travel by car. This will: improve air quality; encourage physical activity; providing many mental health and physical benefits, reducing need for costly clinical interventions. 

There is an absence of information about households that are susceptible to the health impacts of adverse environmental conditions. Mapping climate disadvantage would help to identify the composition and location of these households across the county. A programme of public education should also be developed, using infographics and behavioural change, to allow people to understand how environment affects health. 

7. Next Steps

Lincolnshire is susceptible to all the main climate change risks to the UK. A joint approach to planning, mitigation and adaptation will be required to minimise risks to the population’s health and wellbeing. This is especially true for the most at-risk, and for the vulnerable. Climate change is a threat to public health, but is also an enormous opportunity for sustainable economic development and investment in better health. 

8. Additional Information
Lincolnshire JSNA People