The year’s Annual Environmental Health Forum was held in Greenock on 26 and 27 April. The Forum seen public health bodies and industry coming together in the interests of “Building Better Futures” which was the theme of the event.

The event was held in the Beacon Art Centre which provided a beautiful backdrop as the room overlooked views of the Firth of Clyde.

The first day seen a fully packed day of speakers. First speaker Dr De Caestecker, Director of Public Health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde discussed what actions are needed to tackle health inequalities.

Professor George Morris, Independent Environmental Health Consultant spoke about rethinking the environment in public health. While speaker Mary Stewart from Population Health Directorate at the Scottish Goverment key message was that environmental health professionals play a crucial role in Public Health Reform.

This was followed by a presentation from Lorraine Tulloch of Obesity Action Scotland that showed one in four adults are obese and in order to change the future we need a change in our environment.

Geoff Ogle, Chief Executive from Food Standards Scotland discussed the sustainability of the environmental health resource in Scotland and how we need to target our response where it is needed. After lunch seen the big debate of whether environmental health service in Scotland should be continued to be delivered by local authorities with Professor George Morris speaking for the motion and Billy Hamilton speaking against the motion.

Following this Megan McPherson, Public Health Advisor for NHS Health Scotland demonstrated the Place Standard tool which is designed to evaluate the quality of a place. Final speaker Dr Mulcahy gave a thought-provoking talk about human biomonitoring for environmental health being used for proving prevention works.

The second day of the event held workshop sessions on occupational health and safety; food safety/food standards; public health and housing and pollution control/environmental protection.

One of the morning workshops was on occupational health and safety and had talks from Douglas Richardson, Head of Living Collections at Highland Wildlife Park about health and safety in a zoo environment. Jill Shedden, Managing Director of Knockhill Racing Circuit discussed health and safety at the nations motorsport centre. Final talk of the workshop was from Kevin Sewell, Assistant Emergency Planning Officer of Scottish Borders Council about safety advisory group process.

The other morning workshop was on public health and housing with the first talk of the session from Dr Emily Tweed, Speciality Registrar in Public Health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde who discussed reconnecting public health and housing in Scotland. Liz Dickson, Private Sector Officer of Scotland’s Housing Network asked whether our homes are fit for the 21st Century and Mel Skipp, Health Policy Manager at Carnival Corporation and PLC spoke about environmental health measures on cruise ships.

The afternoon session on food safety and food standards had a presentation from Wendy Barrie, Director of Food Guide and Scottish Cheese trail about the artisan cheese scene. Cat Hay, Policy and Industry Liaison Manager from Food Drink Federation Scotland gave a trade association view on challenges for food and drink manufactures. The final talk of the workshop was from Derek Oliver, Environmental Health Service Manager at East Lothian Council who spoke about food crime.

The other afternoon session was on pollution control and environmental protection and had talks from Edel Ryan, Environmental Health Manager at Midlothian Council talk about carbon dioxide from a mining legacy. Andrew Taylor, Air Quality Policy Manager for the Scottish Government gave an update on air quality. While Graeme Duff, Associate Director at EnviroCentre Limited spoke about regeneration of Kingston gasworks and boatyard.

The annual event was hailed a success by both attendees and speakers. It provided an excellent opportunity to hear about recent changes and updates in environmental health while also providing an opportunity to communicate and network with others in the profession.

We hope to see you all again next year. Presentations delivered at the Forum can be found here