Cities Rapid Assessment Framework for Transformation (CRAFT) - Wellcome Open Research

12 Nov 2020

A tool for assessing the climate change mitigation and health impacts of environmental policies.

Phil Symonds, James Milner, Nahid Mohajeri, Juliette Aplin, Joanna Hale, Simon J Lloyd, Henry Fremont, Sam Younkin, Clive Shrubsole, Lawrie Robertson, Jonathon Taylor, Nici Zimmermann, Paul Wilkinson, Mike Davies

Full publication

Background

A growing number of cities, including Greater London, have set ambitious targets, including detailed policies and implementation plans, to reach global goals on sustainability, health, and climate change. Here we present a tool for a rapid assessment of the magnitude of impact of specific policy initiatives to reach these targets. The decision-support tool simultaneously quantifies the environmental and health impacts of specified selected policies.

Methods

The ‘Cities Rapid Assessment Framework for Transformation (CRAFT)’ tool was applied to Greater London. CRAFT quantifies the effects of ten environmental policies on changes in (1) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, (2) exposures to environmental hazards, (3) travel-related physical activity, and (4) mortality (the number of attributable deaths avoided in one typical year). Publicly available data and epidemiological evidence were used to make rapid quantitative estimates of these effects based on proportional reductions in GHG emissions and environmental exposures from current baseline levels and to compute the mortality impacts.

Results

The CRAFT tool estimates that, of roughly 50,000 annual deaths in Greater London, the modelled hazards (PM2.5 (from indoor and outdoor sources), outdoor NO2, indoor radon, cold, overheating) and low travel-related physical activity are responsible for approximately 10,000 premature environment-related deaths. Implementing the selected polices could reduce the annual mortality number by about 20% (~1,900 deaths) by 2050. The majority of these deaths (1,700) may be avoided through increased uptake in active travel. Thus, out of ten environmental policies, the ‘active travel’ policy provides the greatest health benefit. Also, implementing the ten policies results in a GHG reduction of around 90%.

Conclusions

The CRAFT tool quantifies the effects of city policies on reducing GHG emissions, decreasing environmental health hazards, and improving public health. The tool has potential value for policy makers through providing quantitative estimates of health impacts to support and prioritise policy options.