Content

Environmental health enquiry

If you have an enquiry about environmental health, please use the general environmental health enquiry.

Environmental health within East Devon

The majority of environmental health functions are carried out within the following teams:

Environmental protection

Commercial services

Housing in the private sector

What is environmental health?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that:

Environmental health addresses all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person, and all the related factors impacting behaviours. It encompasses the assessment and control of those environmental factors that can potentially affect health. It is targeted towards preventing disease and creating health-supportive environments. This definition excludes behaviour not related to environment, as well as behaviour related to the social and cultural environment, and genetics.

See also relevant WHO webpages.

The history of environmental health in the UK

During the 1840s Edwin Chadwick, a Poor Law Commissioner, conducted an inquiry into the causes of poverty which concluded that people often became poor because of ill health due to a bad environment. He believed that improving sanitation was the key to breaking this vicious circle.

Chadwick led a vigorous campaign for change which eventually won over the establishment, resulting in the Public Health Act 1848. The Act provided for the appointment of Inspectors of Nuisances – the forerunners of today’s environmental health practitioners – in areas of need. 

The Association of Public Sanitary Inspectors – the organisation which was to become the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) – was established in 1883. Over subsequent decades, the role of environmental health practitioners changed and grew, with standards of qualification rising until, in the 1960s, it became a graduate profession. The grant of a Royal Charter in 1984 set the seal on this enhanced role and status.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) - the professional body of environmental health practitioners

The CIEH is a professional, awarding and campaigning organisation at the forefront of environmental and public health and safety. Members of the CIEH are concerned about people’s health, safety and wellbeing - the things that are crucial to life itself.

Please also see the CIEH factsheet on environmental health and other publications such as the current issue of the Journal of Environmental Health Research and Environmental News Online.