About the Health and Environment Alliance

HEAL logoThe Healthy Energy Initiative and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) are close partners, working together towards a move away from fossil fuel-based power generation.

HEAL is a leading European nonprofit organization addressing how the environment affects health in the EU, with the support of more than 70 member organizations in 28 countries representing health professionals, nonprofit health insurers, patients, citizens, and environmental experts.

HEAL’s secretariat is based in Brussels and has a large outreach due to a number of European federations within HEAL’s membership, including the European Respiratory Society (ERS), the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA), and the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), as well as a strong network of environmental health scientists. HEAL also has partnerships with the European Public Health Association and the Standing Committee of European Doctors, and sits as the health sector representative on several WHO processes.

In 2012 HEAL began its healthy energy work in Europe, and has been a strategic partner in the development of the global Healthy Energy Initiative.


2016.07.05 Europes Dark CloudIn July 2016, HEAL published a report in cooperation with WWF, CAN Europe and Sandbag where it was analysed for the first time how the harmful dust caused by coal plants travels across borders and the effect this has on the health of Europeans. The report entitled ‘Europe’s Dark Cloud: How coal-burning countries are making their neighbours sick’ reveals that in 2013, these emissions were responsible for over 22,900 premature deaths, tens of thousands of cases of ill-health from heart disease to bronchitis, and up to EUR 62.3 billion in health costs.

HEAL_UnpaidHealthBill_CoverIn March 2013, HEAL published “The Unpaid Health Bill,” a landmark report on the health impacts and associated costs of coal power generation in Europe, which includes national level figures for 32 countries. The brand-new figures published in this report show that European Union-wide impacts amount to more than 18,200 premature deaths, about 8,500 new cases of chronic bronchitis, and over 4 million lost working days each year. The economic costs of the health impacts from coal combustion in Europe are estimated at up to €42.8 billion per year. The report received widespread media coverage across Europe and was featured in high profile medical journals The Lancet and BMJ.

Since the start of the campaign, the report has been launched in Romania (December 2013), Poland (June 2013), Germany (April 2013), Turkey (May 2015), and most recently in the Western Balkans (March 2016).

Country Activities


In Poland HEAL is actively working on research, policy advocacy, and public outreach in collaboration with medical and public health groups such as the Asthma and Allergy Federation and several environmental health associations. Several coal power plants have been stopped from being built thanks to the health evidence provided by HEAL.


2016.02.15 Turkey ToolkitSince 2014, HEAL has been facilitating engagement of the Turkish medical community on the health impacts of existing and proposed coal power.


Since 2013, HEAL has been working with several German citizens’ groups, doctors and medical groups to raise awareness about the health impacts of coal power generation.

Western Balkans

With its work in the Western Balkans started in 2014, HEAL has mobilised the health and medical sectors to speak out and carry out advocacy work against coal power plants.

HEAL’s healthy energy activities are co-financed by the European Climate Foundation (ECF) and the European Commission.

Connect with the Health and Environment Alliance