Once again, the country is suffering from ever increasing floods, with over 800 properties severely damaged already. The cause of this is well recognised – it is largely down to the steady advance of climate change due mainly to carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels.

We’ve been lucky to avoid serious flooding in Watford this winter, but what can we do to help prevent this in future? We all need to follow the advice from the Government’s Committee on Climate Change – save energy, install solar panels if possible, put up a wind turbine if you have an appropriate space near you, insulate your home to the maximum and replace your gas boiler with a heat pump. All these will help to prevent carbon dioxide from fossil fuels escaping into the atmosphere and some will attract government subsidies so you may not be out of pocket.

And above all, stop flying purely for holidays. The Prime Minister set a terrible example with his Christmas flight to the Caribbean where he alone was responsible for adding two tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere - plus the two tonnes each for the rest of his party.

While none of these actions will bring climate change to a grinding halt, they will all help to slow its advance, allowing time for technology, tree planting and conversion to electric cars to take effect before much larger scale flooding sets in. And reducing flying will pressure the airlines to go green as quickly as possible. The faster this happens, the sooner we can fly with a clear conscience.

Donald Reid

Director, Association for Public Health 1993-1999