homeThursday 21st March 2019

Commons launch for latest Clay’s edition

Stuart Spear20/07/2016 - 14:25

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Stephen Battersby at launch
Stephen Battersby at launch

The 21st edition of the Clay’s Handbook of Environmental Health was launched this week at a reception held at the Palace of Westminster hosted by Labour MP for Westminster North, Karen Buck.

The first edition of Clay’s handbook, known so well by generations of environmental health students and practitioners, was first published in 1933 to replace the Sanitary Inspectors Handbook.

Re-launched every five or six years this is the third edition to be published in the 21st Century and the second to be edited by former CIEH president Stephen Battersby.

At the launch event held at a House of Commons committee room former CIEH chief executive Graham Jukes reflected on the evolution of environmental health while current CIEH head Anne Godfrey spoke of her future vision for the profession.

The updated handbook has a stronger international focus looking beyond the British Isles while also reflecting increasing concerns over climate change and extreme weather events. The new edition also focuses on environmental health in wider settings like the military’s experiences with Ebola and refugees.

‘I have also been keen to encourage research,’ points out Mr Battersby. ‘There is a chapter written by colleagues to help EHPs to both carry out research and get it published and at the launch it was clear that one of the big gaps remains to be the profession not demonstrating the outcomes of their work, which is why quite often environmental health gets undervalued or taken for granted.’

This edition also takes a historical perspective on the development of environmental health including the history of law making while taking the founding principles of the profession and exploring how they can still be applied as government cuts continue to bite.

The launch was attended by a mixture of academics and professionals from both government and the commercial sector. Ms Buck has been a supporter of environmental health with a particular focus on housing issues.

At over a thousand pages Clay’s has long been the go-to text for the profession who typically use it as a first reference. Each chapter contains sources of further reading and relevant web sites.     

‘There are 43 contributors and they are not all what I would call environmental health practitioners they are lawyers, people who contribute to sustainable development or environmental management, colleagues from Public Health England and those who work in industry,’ said Mr Battersby.

‘It is much more broadly based in the hope to make it relevant to all people who work in environmental health in its broader sense, wherever they work,’ said Mr Battersby.

On the issue of the recent referendum decision to leave the EU Mr Battersby pointed out it will take a number of years for the consequences to work their way through the legal system, which would just be in time for the publication of the 22nd edition.






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