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West Midlands Health and Planning group

Background
In 2010, West Midlands PCT's and local authorities came together to prepare a joint public health response to the Local Transport Plan 3. Subsequent work with Centro has demonstrated how this response influenced the final Local Transport Plan and associated implementation plan.

In 2011 a wider group prepared a joint response to the National Planning Policy Framework. It was clear that there was a wide range of healthy urban environment work underway across the West Midlands and extensive local experience and learning. Working with the West Midlands Learning for Public Health Network (LfPHWM) a West Midlands Health and Planning group was established.

The objective of the group is to share learning and experience and coordinate joint work across the West Midlands. With the constraints on people’s time and capacity it was felt that the group needed to take a practical approach to sharing best practice and identify opportunities to undertake joint work across specific areas of practice. The underlying model for the work is the Marmot Review objective E – “To create and develop healthy and sustainable places and communities”.

WMHPG news, information & resources 18 May 2017

We do not accept responsibility for the availability, reliability or content of these news items and do not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them.

This will be the last update for a couple of weeks. Normal service will resume on 9th June.

When I get back I will be looking at how the update can be improved. Based on comments I’ve received this may include reviewing the frequency of updates, starting to include more comment around the links and/or developing some blog content. Please send me any comments or suggestions.

First – an interesting question from the network. Chris Woodward in Swindon has asked -  is anyone looking at hotels & proximity to primary schools? A quick google brought up this example from Stockton last year; http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/worried-parents-want-shut-down-11798314 . Concerns appear to be around safeguarding and safety. Any information or thoughts – please email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & cc me in.

Healthy planning & environment

An excellent, and wide, range of resources from the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment.: https://www.iema.net/home/whats-new HIA, EIA, sustainability assessment, biodiversity….

Worldwide Launch of the Global Street Design Guide: https://globaldesigningcities.org/press-packet/worldwide-launch-global-street-design-guide/The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the Global Designing Cities Initiative today announced the launch of the Global Street Design Guide as a globally accessible document that can be downloaded at no cost, allowing urban planners, designers and transportation practitioners in cities around the world to immediately implement tested and life-saving street designs.”

How to move from creating to implementing a national urban policy: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/how-move-creating-implementing-national-urban-policyIf the world’s cities are truly going to embark on a more sustainable path, they’re going to need a lot of advice. That’s where the Coalition for Urban Transitions comes in. A new think tank jointly managed by the World Resources Institute and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the coalition will draw on academic, NGO and private sector expertise to provide evidence-based guidance on how urban growth can benefit both people and the planet. The coalition is a subset of the New Climate Economy, a similar effort aimed at providing research for countries transitioning into more climate-friendly economies.”

Neighbourhood Planning Bill passes into law: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/501/planning_news_-_4_may_2017The Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 contains new powers for the government to direct two or more local authorities to develop joint plans. County councils will also have the power to prepare plans where districts do not have one. It also includes restrictions on powers to impose planning conditions, including on local authority use of pre-commencement conditions, which now require written consent from the developer to be enforced.”

YU Event / Smell and the City: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/events/yu-event-smell-and-the-city/Smell is considered the sense most tightly bound to memory, and in recent years there has been a increasing amount of work undertaken on such things as the ‘design for smell’. Part of the London Festival of Architecture, this event will explore how designing for smell could take a coordinated approach to tackling broader urban issues. Join us for a lively evening of presentations and interactive activities about smells in the city.”

Shared space safety warning as blind NI woman wins kerb height case: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Shared-space-safety-warning-as-blind-NI-woman-wins-kerb-height-case/14072A blind woman has won a High Court ruling that a council breached its legal duty to take the needs of disabled people into account when it reduced kerb heights as part of a city centre redesign.”

Joseph Rowntree Foundation - Inclusive Growth: https://www.jrf.org.uk/cities-towns-and-neighbourhoods/inclusive-growthHow can we ensure that economic prosperity in city regions benefits all? Our work looks at the relationship between economic growth in a city region and the people and places in poverty in that area.”

The Lake District as a world heritage site? What a disaster that would be: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/09/lake-district-world-heritage-site-george-monbiotBritain’s greatest national park is a sheepwrecked monument to subsidised overgrazing and ecological destruction

Councils failing to protect countryside in growth plans: http://www.cpre.org.uk/media-centre/latest-news-releases/item/4592-councils-failing-to-protect-countryside-in-growth-plansThe Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) today shows that councils are failing to apply planning guidance that is designed to protect precious countryside.”

Weed killer ban could add £230m to council tax bills: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Weed-killer-ban-could-add-230m-to-council-tax-bills/43035A local authority ban on the use of chemical-based weed killers in public places could cost the tax payer nearly £230m, new figures reveal.”

Plastic bottles in the Congo – French site but video says it all: http://observers.france24.com/fr/20170509-une-banquise-bouteilles-plastique-recouvre-fleuve-congo-kinshasa

Housing

Tiny houses: the big idea that could take some heat out of the housing crisis: https://theconversation.com/tiny-houses-the-big-idea-that-could-take-some-heat-out-of-the-housing-crisis-77295The tiny house is, indeed, tiny. It comes in at less than 25 square metres, but is able to provide comfort and security at minimum cost. These are primarily wooden buildings and can be bought ready-to-use or can be assembled by their future occupant. For as little as £15,000, you can buy a kit, or for up to £50,000 you can get a fully assembled and fitted-out home for two.”

Climate change & sustainability

Top UK fund manager divests from fossil fuels: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/15/top-uk-fund-manager-divests-from-fossil-fuelsOne of Britain’s biggest managers of ethical funds is to dump £20m of shares in fossil fuel companies in one of the biggest divestments so far because of climate change.”

Earth could hit 1.5 degrees of global warming in just nine years, scientists say: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/earth-1-half-degrees-global-warming-nine-years-climate-change-paris-agreement-a7726846.htmlThe full impacts will take decades to play out, but once set in motion they could be hard to reverse

How to fix climate change: put cities, not countries, in charge: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/07/fix-climate-change-put-cities-not-countries-in-charge-oslo-seoulIt can’t be left to dysfunctional nation states to tackle – but as Oslo and Seoul have shown, metropolitan centres can rise to the challenge of global warming

Extreme weather just might encourage us to get our act together on global warming: https://theconversation.com/extreme-weather-just-might-encourage-us-to-get-our-act-together-on-global-warming-76679It is commonly argued that one reason climate change doesn’t have enough psychological or social traction is because it is perceived as distant – in time and space. And so some commentators, including former NASA scientist James Hansen, have predicted that this kind of direct experience of the manifestations of climate science predictions will increasingly bring the reality of climate change home, breaking through established defences, and finally closing the gap between knowing and doing.”

China is planning ahead for life after coal: https://theconversation.com/china-is-planning-ahead-for-life-after-coal-76892In September 2016, China’s cancelled more than 103 under-construction and planned coal-fired power plants, a total of 120 gigawatt hours (GWh) of capacity. In March this year, premier Li Keqiang announced that an additional 50GWh would be shut down or postponed. The coal power stopped in China so far is equivalent to the combined coal power capacity of the UK and Spain. China’s era of one coal-fired station a week is over.”

Partnership to install electric vehicle charging points announced: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Partnership-to-install-electric-vehicle-charging-points-announced/43031Hundreds of new rapid charge points are to be installed across the UK following a partnership between InstaVolt and the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network.”

Smaller, lighter, greener: are micro EVs the future of city transport? https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/may/11/micro-evs-city-transport-suemens-renault-green-air-pollutionA Siemens-backed micro electric car could help reduce urban air pollution and congestion, but it’ll have to win over buyers first

Tesco pledges to go 100 per cent renewable powered by 2030: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3010026/tesco-pledges-to-go-100-per-cent-renewable-powered-by-2030Tesco has become the latest high profile name to join the growing list of major corporations pledging to source 100 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 as part of the global RE100 initiative.”

In Win for Environmentalists, Senate Keeps an Obama-Era Climate Change Rule: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/us/politics/regulations-methane-climate-change.html?src=twr&smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&referer=https://t.co/E9NSD9LaseWASHINGTON — In a surprising victory for President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy, the Senate voted on Wednesday to uphold an Obama-era climate change regulation to control the release of methane from oil and gas wells on public land.”

Active travel & transport

Essential Evidence on a page 131: Induced Motor Traffic: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-induced-motor-trafficTop line: Studies of transport schemes consistently report that increasing road capacity leads to increased motor traffic to a greater extent than calculated in the models underpinning the proposals for such capacity expansion. This creates a vicious spiral of increasing private motorised travel.”

Do new roads benefit the economy? Here's what we know so far: https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2017/may/08/new-roads-investment-benefit-uk-economy-research-New investment in transport infrastructure is seen as a key plank of a modern industrial strategy, and is central to many local economic growth strategies. But what do we know about the economic benefits that such investment delivers, and how do we prioritise different schemes to maximise any positive impacts?

Why there will be no 'Boris Bikes' scheme for Birmingham: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/no-boris-bikes-scheme-birmingham-13016172The new West Midlands mayor has ruled out a Boris Bikes-style cycle hire scheme in Birmingham - because the city centre is not big enough. Andy Street said the hugely-successful project, introduced in London by former mayor Boris Johnson, was a non-starter in the second city.”

Road accidents biggest global killer of teenagers: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39920052Road traffic injuries are the biggest killer of teenagers globally, international data released by the World Health Organization reveals. In 2015, more than 1.2 million adolescents died. Road injuries were to blame for about one in 10 of these deaths. Most of the road fatalities involved males between the ages of 10 and 19.”

Driver jailed for three years for ramming cyclist in north London: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/10/driver-jailed-for-three-years-for-ramming-cyclist-north-london-justine-henshaw-bryanJustine Henshaw-Bryan, 25, used ‘car as a weapon’ after Damien Doughty confronted her about using phone while driving

Green Party pledges £2bn boost for ‘walking and cycling revolution’ https://www.localgov.co.uk/Green-Party-pledges-2bn-boost-for-walking-and-cycling-revolution/43028The Green Party has pledged to create a ‘walking and cycling revolution’ if elected in the upcoming General Election.”

BMA - Transport and health: https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/policy-and-research/public-and-population-health/transportOver the last 60 years road traffic density in the UK has steadily increased and congestion in many urban areas is a significant problem. The most significant change in travel behaviour has been in car use, which is seen by many as their primary means of transportation. Cars have become relatively affordable compared to other transport alternatives and land use policies have prioritised mobility over accessibility.”

'Knife edge' warning as RAC reports shock rise in pothole breakdowns: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Knife-edge-warning-as-RAC-reports-shock-rise-in-pothole-breakdowns/14073The RAC warned that the condition of the country’s roads is on a knife-edge as it reported a 63% increase in pothole-related breakdowns in the first quarter of the year.”

From @cl_morton - Charting the age distribution of the UK car fleet registered between 2001 and 2016 by fuel type using @DfTstats

Air quality & pollution

Review on urban vegetation and particle air pollution – Deposition and dispersion: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231015000758This review revealed that design and choice of urban vegetation is crucial when using vegetation as an ecosystem service for air quality improvements. The reduced mixing in trafficked street canyons on adding large trees increases local air pollution levels, while low vegetation close to sources can improve air quality by increasing deposition.” Media coverage here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39943197

National Clean Air Day – Make a Pledge: https://www.cleanairday.org.uk/pledgeWe're asking people to pledge to take action to reduce air pollution you create on National Clean Air Day.”

Air quality plan: Why is the Government's strategy 'woefully inadequate'? https://www.edie.net/news/11/Air-Quality-Plan--Why-is-the-Government-s-strategy-being-slammed-as--woefully-inadequate--/The Government's proposals to clean up the UK's toxic levels of air pollution have been received with widespread condemnation for being both "toothless" and "wo”efully adequate". Here's the industry response in full...”

Government distances itself from diesel scrappage scheme in air quality plan: https://www.edie.net/registration/regwall.asp?mid=85161&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eedie%2Enet%2Fnews%2F11%2FGovernment%2Dunveils%2Dlong%2Dawaited%2Dair%2Dquality%2Dplan%2D%2D%2F&title=Government+distances+itself+from+diesel+scrappage+scheme+in+air+quality+plan&utm_expid=.EjlSKEBKSTOHzs2vNSWQOg.0&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fgetpocket.com%2F

ADEPT bemoans 'lack of clear strategy' in new pollution plan: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/ADEPT-bemoans-lack-of-clear-strategy-in-new-pollution-plan/14054The Government should not expect local authorities to act in isolation over air pollution from traffic, council directors have said.

'Weak' air pollution plan 'passes buck to councils': https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Weak-air-pollution-plan-passes-buck-to-councils/14051Campaigners have criticised the Government’s new draft plan to tackle toxic air pollution, which puts the onus on councils to consider Clean Air Zones and take action to deal with high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) outside towns and cities.”

Air pollution: who will stand up for our health and environment after Brexit? From the New Economics Foundation: http://neweconomics.org/2017/05/air-pollution-brexit “...despite the government’s own technical report saying that we need 27 new clean air zones, the plan actually proposes no more than the 6 that were outlined in the previous plan. It may be true that the government doesn’t want to anger driving voters so close to an election, but we’ll all pay the substantial price for failing to act now.”

Grey plaque scheme highlights NO2 pollution in London: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/14/grey-plaque-scheme-highlights-no2-pollution-in-londonIn the past week, grey plaques – direct copies of the English Heritage blue plaques identifying the homes of the dead and famous – have been put up on buildings across the capital to identify streets and houses in areas where air pollution threatens public health.”

38,000 people a year die early because of diesel emissions testing failures: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/15/diesel-emissions-test-scandal-causes-38000-early-deaths-year-studyThe global human health impact of the diesel emissions scandal has been revealed by new research showing a minimum of 38,000 people a year die early due to the failure of diesel vehicles to meet official limits in real driving conditions.”

Air pollution kills more people in the UK than in Sweden, US and Mexico: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/17/air-pollution-kills-more-people-in-the-uk-than-in-sweden-us-and-mexicoPeople in the UK are 64 times as likely to die of air pollution as those in Sweden and twice as likely as those in the US, figures from the World Health Organisation reveal.”

Lack of dust makes China's air pollution much worse: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39895558Airborne dust is normally seen as an environmental problem, but the lack of it is making air pollution over China considerably worse. A new study suggests less dust means more solar radiation hits the land surface, which reduces wind speed. That lack of wind in turn leads to an accumulation of air pollution over heavily populated parts of China. The researchers found that reduced dust levels cause a 13% increase in human-made pollution in the region.”

Greater Manchester consulting on introduction of clean air zones: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Greater-Manchester-consulting-on-introduction-of-clean-air-zones/43036Transport bosses in Manchester are considering proposals to tackle air pollution with the introduction of clean air zones in the city centre.”

TfGM looks at Clean Air Zones but Burnham won't 'punish' diesel drivers: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/TfGM-looks-at-Clean-Air-Zones-but-Burnham-wont-punish-diesel-drivers/14074New Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has poured cold water on proposals to charge the most polluting vehicles to enter some areas in the region.”

Food & food security

UK foodbank use continues to rise: https://www.trusselltrust.org/2017/04/25/uk-foodbank-use-continues-rise/UK foodbank use continues to rise as new report highlights growing impact of Universal Credit rollout on foodbanks.”

Food insecurity can affect your mental health: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/317217.phpFood insecurity (FI) affects nearly 795 million people worldwide. Although a complex phenomenon encompassing food availability, affordability, utilization, and even the social norms that define acceptable ways to acquire food, FI can affect people's health beyond its impact on nutrition. A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine determined that FI was associated with poorer mental health and specific psychosocial stressors across global regions (149 countries), independent of individuals' socioeconomic status.”

Why small producers have big concerns about multinationals joining Fairtrade: https://theconversation.com/why-small-producers-have-big-concerns-about-multinationals-joining-fairtrade-73734Becoming a Fairtrade producer – and maintaining required standards – can be complex and ambiguous, with continual market and organisational challenges. And, since Fairtrade started to allow major multinational corporations – including Nestlé and Starbucks – to join in recent years, producers are beginning to question the scheme’s aims.”

Hospital bosses face £1MILLION bill for kicking Burger King out of last NHS site: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/hospital-bosses-face-1million-bill-10413015The fast food giant has a takeaway on the concourse at the world famous Addenbrooke’s Hospital , Cambridge. Addenbrooke’s - an acclaimed cardiac centre - has a 25 year contract with the company that sublets space to the chain which is due to end in 2024. But terminating the contract before then would cost the hospital - whose trust is facing a £56.3million deficit - around £1million in financial penalties.

TV dinners: The hidden cost of the processed food revolution: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-3949018250 Things That Made the Modern Economy highlights the inventions, ideas and innovations which have helped create the economic world in which we live.”

And finally….

Why daredevil skyscraper climbing videos give you sweaty palms: https://theconversation.com/why-daredevil-skyscraper-climbing-videos-give-you-sweaty-palms-76894Have you ever watched a video of someone dangling far above the ground and found that your own hands started sweating? If not, watch this:

If there was one 'weird trick' to weight loss we would tell you, confirm doctors: http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/health/if-there-was-one-weird-trick-weight-loss-we-would-tell-you-confirm-doctors-20160401107704  “DOCTORS have clarified that if there was ‘one weird trick’ to weight loss they would not hate it and would definitely tell you. GPs stressed that, contrary to internet advertisements, they are not prone to irrational loathing of anyone offering successful weight-loss solutions.”

 

WMHPG news, information and resources 5 May 2017

Public health in 15 years time: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2017/04/29/public-health-in-15-years-time/A few weeks ago I went to an excellent, small but perfectly formed session on “the future”.

It was Chatham house rules, so I won’t spill too many beans. The upshot was fascinating and worth sharing. We spend a lot of time thinking about “the future” of the profession of public health.”

Healthy planning & environment

Event: Environmental Assessment and BREXIT: https://fischersite.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/environmental-and-brexit/An event at the University of Liverpool, 14 June 2017

Six months after Habitat III, is the New Urban Agenda gaining political traction? http://citiscope.org/story/2017/six-months-after-habitat-iii-new-urban-agenda-gaining-political-tractionIn October, tens of thousands gathered in Quito, Ecuador, for the United Nations Habitat III summit, a once-every-two-decades gathering on the future of cities. At a time of rapid global urbanization straining existing cities and requiring planning of new ones, the conference sought worldwide solutions from national and local governments alike.”

Garden Bridge looks dead in the water as Khan refuses guarantees: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Garden-Bridge-looks-dead-in-the-water-as-Khan-refuses-guarantees/14028Sadiq Khan has said he will not provide guarantees for the Garden Bridge across the Thames, which is likely to spell the end of the controversial project.”

Tim Stonor- The role of design in creating a living city: http://www.slideboom.com/presentations/1756227/Tim-Stonor_The-role-of-design-in-creating-a-living-city

Housing

'Lego block' buildings: Adaptability essential for building stock to combat climate change: https://www.edie.net/news/12/-Lego-block--buildings--Adaptability-essential-for-building-stock-to-survive-climate-change/The impacts of climate change are exasperating the living conditions of humans, forcing them to be adaptable, a trait that should be mirrored in the global building stock.”

Climate change & sustainability

Analysis: The climate change papers most featured in the media in 2016: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-climate-papers-featured-media-2016Every year, thousands of scientific journal papers are published by researchers across the world, but only a tiny proportion make it into the pages of the newspapers. Using Altmetric, we’ve compiled a list of the 25 most talked-about climate papers of 2016.”

Brexit puts UK nuclear industry 'at risk', warn MPs: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3009278/brexit-puts-uk-nuclear-industry-at-risk-warn-mpsUK's impending exit from European Atomic Energy Community could have severe ramifications for Britain's nuclear power industry, and wider decarbonisation efforts

MPs criticise Government over carbon 'fantasy' for Heathrow expansion: https://www.edie.net/registration/regwall2.asp?mid=84972&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eedie%2Enet%2Fnews%2F11%2FGovernment-criticised-over-carbon--fantasy--for-Heathrow-expansion%2F&title=MPs+criticise+Government+over+carbon+%27fantasy%27+for+Heathrow+expansion&utm_expid=.EjlSKEBKSTOHzs2vNSWQOg.1&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.uk%2FThe Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has criticised the UK Government for refusing to commit to air quality targets in relation to the third runway expansion, labelling the associated carbon calculations as a "fantasy".”

London’s Transportation Sector Turning Electric: https://cleantechnica.com/2017/04/27/londons-transportation-sector-turning-electric/London’s first 75 charging points should be operational by the end of the year. By 2020, there could be 300. The first steps towards London’s transportation sector going electric have been taken.”

Mapped: The world's most eco-friendly countries – where does the UK rank? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/maps-and-graphics/most-and-least-environmentally-friendly-countries/To mark Earth Day (April 22), we've mapped the world according to each country's eco-credentials, as outlined in the 2016 Environmental Performance Index (EPI). Produced by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, the annual ranking is based on an assessment of the policies of 180 nations, reflecting whether they meeting internationally established environmental targets or, in the absence of agreed targets, how they compare to one another.”

Hydrogen gas grid for Leeds moves a step closer: https://www.edie.net/news/8/Hydrogen-gas-grid-for-Leeds-moves-a-step-closer/Plans to convert the gas grid in Leeds to run entirely on hydrogen have moved a step closer to becoming reality after Northern Gas Networks opened an office in the city dedicated to the endeavor.”

The (New York) Times is now publishing climate denial. Scientists are not having it: https://grist.org/briefly/the-times-hired-a-climate-denier-scientists-are-not-having-it/Two weeks ago, the New York Times took on Bret Stephens — who once called climate change an “imaginary” problem — as an op-ed columnist in an effort to reflect more political perspectives. His first column came out on Friday, and — surprise — it casts doubt on the certainty of the scientific consensus on climate.”

Three unintended consequences of Brexit for UK energy and climate policy: https://theconversation.com/three-unintended-consequences-of-brexit-for-uk-energy-and-climate-policy-77049Energy, the environment and climate change were barely mentioned during the EU referendum campaign, and Theresa May has since spent little time worrying about how Brexit will change things. One reason for this oversight is that energy and environment policies are often regarded on the international stage as “low politics” – technical and unimportant issues, compared to the wars and conflicts that represent the “high politics” of statecraft.”

Plastic bottles are a recycling disaster. Coca-Cola should have known better: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/02/plastic-bottles-coca-cola-recycling-cokeThe Coca-Cola Company produced more than 100bn plastic bottles in 2016, Greenpeace claimed last month. This is troubling news, considering how much of the waste ends up outside plastic recycling systems. Separately it has been estimated that, on current trends, by 2050 the plastic in our oceans may weigh more than all the fish.”

Active travel & transport

Physical Activity: Built Environment Approaches Combining Transportation System Interventions with Land Use and Environmental Design: https://www.thecommunityguide.org/findings/physical-activity-built-environment-approachesBuilt environment interventions to increase physical activity create or modify environmental characteristics in a community to make physical activity easier or more accessible. Coordinated approaches must combine new or enhanced elements of transportation systems with new or enhanced land use and environmental design features. Intervention approaches must be designed to enhance opportunities for active transportation, leisure-time physical activity, or both.”

From the Faculty of Public Health: Take action on active travel: http://www.fph.org.uk/uploads/Take_action_on_active_travel.pdfFor the first time, the UK’s leading

organisations working on all areas of public health, including those who shape the environment we live in, have come together to give government our expert views on active travel and health

Transport and health: https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/policy-and-research/public-and-population-health/transportOver the last 60 years road traffic density in the UK has steadily increased and congestion in many urban areas is a significant problem. The most significant change in travel behaviour has been in car use, which is seen by many as their primary means of transportation. Cars have become relatively affordable compared to other transport alternatives and land use policies have prioritised mobility over accessibility.”

Essential Evidence on a Page - No 160: Effective ways to grow the urban bus market: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-160-effective-ways-grow-urban-bus-marketTop line: Experience with major bus system improvements provide findings consistent with the market response evidence – that the largest patronage growth levels are related to increases in service levels and in bus rapid transit and bus priority systems targeting improved reliability.”

Via @RachelAldred - Ride a folding bike in the UK, and take it on the train? An MSc student would like to interview you for her dissertation: https://twitter.com/RachelAldred/status/860456087576870913/photo/1

Cyclists as a minority group? http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369847816302388Compared to motorized road users, cyclists are considered vulnerable road users because they lack physical protection. We argue that such definition does not capture the social and cultural aspects that characterize the membership within the group of cyclists.”

All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group - Cycling and the Justice System: https://allpartycycling.org/inquiries/justice/  “During early 2017 we conducted an inquiry called ‘Cycling and the Justice System’. The select committee styled enquiry took evidence from cycling organisations, lawyers, road safety campaigners, the police and members of the general public on whether the current judicial system is serving all cyclists.”

Police and courts fail cyclists over road safety, says cross-party inquiry: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/02/police-courts-fail-cyclists-road-safety-cross-party-inquiryDangerous drivers are increasingly likely to escape prosecution and more people plead exceptional hardship to avoid ban

Driverless cars trial set for UK motorways in 2019: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-39691540A consortium of British companies has unveiled a plan to test driverless cars on UK roads and motorways in 2019.

The Driven group also plans to try out a fleet of autonomous vehicles between London and Oxford. The cars will communicate with each other about any hazards and should operate with almost full autonomy - but will have a human on board as well.”

Walk to school week is 15-19 may 2017: https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/what-we-do/projects/walk-to-school-weekJoin thousands of children across the country celebrating the benefits walking brings. We know that walking to school makes children feel healthier and happier, while reducing congestion and pollution outside the school gates. Yet less than half of primary school children currently walk to school.”

British Heart Foundation: heart matters walking: https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-magazine/activity/walking

Radio 4 Women’s Hour: Women and Bikes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08njtjjWe celebrate women and cycling at the London Bike Kitchen.”

Poor fitness is a bigger threat to child health than obesity: https://theconversation.com/poor-fitness-is-a-bigger-threat-to-child-health-than-obesity-43653The least fit ten-year-old English child from a class of 30 in 1998 would be one of the five fittest children in the same class tested today. These are the worrying findings of a new piece of research that has crystallised the need to focus on a sharp decline in fitness levels, not obesity, when it comes to improving children’s health.”

Bus Services Act 'to benefit cities and rural areas': https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Bus-Services-Act-to-benefit-cities-and-rural-areas/14027Campaigners have hailed the new Bus Services Act as a great opportunity to improve services that provides real benefit to both cities and rural areas.”

Police and courts fail cyclists over road safety, says cross-party inquiry: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/02/police-courts-fail-cyclists-road-safety-cross-party-inquiryPolicing and the justice system are too often failing cyclists, making the roads too dangerous for people to ride on them, and then not properly prosecuting or banning motorists who commit offences, a cross-party group of MPs and peers has warned.”

Pilot close pass initiative in Scotland already changing driver behaviour: http://road.cc/content/news/221748-pilot-close-pass-initiative-scotland-already-changing-driver-behaviourA pilot close pass initiative in Scotland is already changing driver behaviour, according to Police Scotland. Operation Close Pass sees drivers who pass an unmarked police cyclist too closely pulled over and given advice using a specially designed mat which shows how much space a person on a bicycle needs when overtaking them.”

West Midlands 'bicycle licence' plan to stop cyclists being a menace on the roads: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/west-midlands-bicycle-licence-plan-12596844An online survey asking West Midlands residents what they want a new regional mayor to do has come up with some surprising conclusions - including a new bicycle licence to stop cyclists being a menace on the roads. In return, cyclists would get a network of cycle paths across the region.”

Air quality & pollution

New air quality plan published for consultation: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/airquality/air-quality-plan-for-tackling-nitrogen-dioxide/supporting_documents/Draft%20Revised%20AQ%20Plan.pdf  The draft is open for consultation until June 15, and then the final plan will be published on July 31: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/airquality/air-quality-plan-for-tackling-nitrogen-dioxide/

Air pollution lawsuit set to go ahead despite delayed government plan: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/04/government-faces-class-action-on-air-pollution-in-landmark-caseClass action on behalf of asthma suffers may still go ahead over repeated failure to tackle illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide

Fact Check: Are diesel cars really more polluting than petrol cars? https://theconversation.com/fact-check-are-diesel-cars-really-more-polluting-than-petrol-cars-76241Diesel cars have recently become subject to considerable negative publicity thanks to the amount of toxic emissions they produce. Some governments are planning to discourage their use or even ban them from urban areas altogether. Yet some diesel car owners have reacted angrily, arguing they bought the vehicles because they were supposedly the environmentally friendly option.”

Government confirms draft air quality plan will be released within a week: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3009300/government-confirms-draft-air-quality-plan-will-be-released-within-a-weekNumber 10 has confirmed it will not appeal against last week's High Court decision ordering the government to publish its long-awaited draft air quality plan, paving the way for the controversial consultation to be launched within a week.”

European Union enforces new air pollution limits: https://www.edie.net/news/6/European-Union-enforces-new-air-pollution-limits/The European Union (EU) has today (29 April) approved new air pollution limits, which could save more than 20,000 lives each year by reducing pollution derived from coal-fired power plants.”

India to make every single car electric by 2030 in bid to tackle pollution that kills millions: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/india-electric-cars-2030-fossil-fuel-air-pollution-piyush-goyal-climate-change-a7711381.htmlEvery car sold in India will be powered by electricity by the year 2030, according to plans unveiled by the country’s energy minister.”

Food & food security

Household food waste level 'unacceptable': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39747327The level of household food waste in England is "unacceptable" and householders have a key role to play in reducing it, MPs have said.”

Soil Association: Election Manifesto: http://mailchi.mp/soilassociation/our-key-general-election-manifesto-asks-avian-flu-update-policy-priorities-for-schools-event-educatering-forumThe announcement of a general election in June means that all political parties are producing and promoting 2017 manifestos in the lead up to 8th June. We're urging all political parties to put climate change, public health, soil protection and farm animal welfare at the centre of their food and farming vision - and to adopt the seven policies we've proposed in their 2017 manifestos

UK food sector faces enormous challenges post-Brexit, say peers: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/03/uk-food-sector-faces-enormous-challenges-post-brexit-say-peersLeaving the European Union without a trade deal in place could put up to 97% of British food and drink exports at risk, according to a House of Lords report that lays bare the agricultural industry’s overwhelming reliance on local markets.”

Mayor unveils new London Food Board: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-unveils-new-london-food-boardThe Mayor of London has today announced the group of experts which will help him cut food waste and tackle food poverty across the capital. Members of the new London Food Board – chaired by Rosie Boycott – will advise the Mayor on food policy, the GLA’s own Food Programme, and developing and delivering the new London Food Strategy, which will be published later this year.”

And finally….

Beauty of Transport - HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN (HELIOS HOUSE, LOS ANGELES (CA), USA): https://thebeautyoftransport.com/2017/05/03/house-of-the-rising-sun-helios-house-los-angeles-ca-usa/

WMHPG news, information and resouces 28 April 2017

The use of evidence in English local public health decision-making: a systematic scoping review: https://implementationscience.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13012-017-0577-9There is a need to better understand and respond to the evidence needs of decision-makers working in public health and to work more collaboratively in developing solutions to the underutilisation of research evidence in decision-making.

Evidence-based policymaking is not like evidence-based medicine, so how far should you go to bridge the divide between evidence and policy? https://health-policy-systems.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12961-017-0192-xThere is extensive health and public health literature on the ‘evidence-policy gap’, exploring the frustrating experiences of scientists trying to secure a response to the problems and solutions they raise and identifying the need for better evidence to reduce policymaker uncertainty. We offer a new perspective by using policy theory to propose research with greater impact, identifying the need to use persuasion to reduce ambiguity, and to adapt to multi-level policymaking systems.”

Welcome to the Outcomes Framework Website: http://www.healthscotland.com/OFHI/Resources/Resources_tools.html Useful resources and tools from NHS Scotland – logic models, outcomes frameworks and resources.

Healthy planning & environment

Cities and health: an evolving global conversation: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23748834.2017.1316025The Cities and Health journal sees its launch in 2017. Looking back over half a century of growth and global expansion in economic activity, although there have been societal benefits, negative impacts are starting to take their toll on planetary resources and human health.

Nature for Health and Equity: http://www.foeeurope.org/nature-health-equityThis review of available evidence shows that failing to provide access to nature to deprived communities could entrench health inequality. It points to a strong link between lack of access to nature areas and poor health outcomes and inequality. It associates nature deprivation with higher obesity levels, mental health problems, and mortality rates. It calls for access to nature to be recognised as a fundamental human right, and for increased efforts to provide accessible and well maintained natural areas for particularly disadvantaged groups.”

Health benefits of streets quantified: https://healthystreets.com/home/new/This week Transport for London published the long-awaited Better Streets Delivered 2.  This beautifully presented report illustrates schemes across London that have been implemented over recent years, or are currently under construction, to improve the 10 Healthy Streets indicators. But what sets this report apart from its predecessor – Better Streets Delivered – is that the health benefit delivered by these street improvements has been calculated to show in £’s the human value of improving streets.”

From the United Nations - Benefits of urban trees: http://www.fao.org/resources/infographics/infographics-details/en/c/411348/Large urban trees are excellent filters for urban pollutants and fine particulates. Trees can provide food, such as fruits, nuts and leaves. Spending time near trees improves physical and mental health by increasing energy level and speed of recovery, while decreasing blood pressure and stress. Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and save energy used for heating by 20–50%. Trees provide habitat, food and protection to plants and animals, increasing urban biodiversity...planting trees today is essential for future generations!

Road verges: Last refuge for some of our rarest wild flowers and plants: http://www.plantlife.org.uk/application/files/4514/9261/2387/Road_verges_report_19_April_FINAL.pdfMany verges are effectively fragments of ancient hay meadows and grasslands, white with oxeye daisies, yellow with buttercups and purple with orchids. Wet or dry, acid, neutral or calcareous, each is home to a characteristic suite of species.”

Whitehall must be ‘more ambitious’ in improving access in public places: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Whitehall-must-be-more-ambitious-in-improving-access-in-public-places/42959 “The Government must act to ‘lead the charge’ in improving access and inclusion in the built environment, MPs say. The Women and Equalities Committee has published a new report highlighting the challenges disabled people face in accessing homes, buildings and public spaces.” Full report here: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmwomeq/631/631.pdf

Whitehall’s approach to sustainable drainage ‘sub-standand’, MPs warn: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Whitehalls-approach-to-sustainable-drainage-sub-standand-MPs-warn/42979 “MPs have criticised the Government’s ‘sub-standard’ approach to sustainable drainage (SuDs) for failing to protect communities from flood risk.” – Full report here: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmenvfru/990/99002.htm

Via @BrenToderian - #BetterUrbanismIn3Words. Some examples;

  • Prioritize people walking
  • No blank walls
  • Don’t balance, PRIORITIZE
  • Activate roof tops
  • Bike friendly streets
  • People before cars
  • Copy the Dutch
  • We’re all pedestrians
  • Density with beauty

Comment: Time for the Government to step up on shared space: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Comment-Time-for-the-Government-to-step-up-on-shared-space/14020A cross-party of MPs has today published a report with recommendations, following an enquiry into disability and the built environment.”

On the other hand….

Anti shared space campaigners hail victory after Equalities Committee report: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Anti-shared-space-campaigners-hail-victory-after-Equalities-Committee-report/14018The Government should call a halt to all local shared space schemes pending the urgent replacement of national guidance to take into account disables persons’ views and needs, a group of influential MPs has said

Housing

The impact of housing problems on mental health: https://england.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/1364063/Housing_and_mental_health_-_detailed_report.pdfThe research found that GPs spontaneously identified housing issues when discussing factors involved in their patients’ mental health presentations – both as a sole cause and as an exacerbating factor of existing mental health conditions. Where housing was seen as the sole cause, the most commonly cited mental health conditions were anxiety and depression.”

Affordable housing pledges swept under mat: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/affordable-housing-pledges-swept-under-mat-s5r7trv6gDevelopers have reneged on promises to build cheaper homes alongside those being sold at full market rates

Climate change & sustainability

We just hit 410 ppm of CO2. Welcome to a whole new world: http://grist.org/briefly/we-just-hit-410-ppm-of-co2-welcome-to-a-whole-new-world/We just hit 410 ppm of CO2. Welcome to a whole new world. This is not normal: We’re on track to witness a climate unseen in 50 million years by mid-century.

Global Sea Temperatures As High As Never In Last 800,000 Years: http://historyofgeology.fieldofscience.com/2017/01/global-sea-temperatures-as-high-as.htmlThe sea surface temperatures (SST) of the last interglacial, some 129,000 to 116,000 years ago, were similar to temperatures we are approaching nowadays.”

Arctic sea ice could be a thing of the past by the 2030s: http://grist.org/article/arctic-sea-ice-could-be-a-thing-of-the-past-by-the-2030s/Evidence continues to mount that climate change has pushed the Arctic into a new state. Skyrocketing temperatures are altering the essence of the region, melting ice on land and sea, driving more intense wildfires, altering ocean circulation, and dissolving permafrost.”

Britain goes without coal for the first time 'since Industrial Revolution': http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/21/britain-set-historic-first-coal-free-day-since-industrial-revolution/A combination of low demand for electricity and an abundance of wind meant the grid completed 24 hours relying on just gas, nuclear and renewables. Engineers at the company said Friday marked a “historic” milestone in Britain’s shift away from carbon fuels, and that coal-free days would become increasingly common.” More here: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-39675418 And here: http://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/environment/today-first-day-since-industrial-revolution-uk-wont-generate-electricity-coal/21/04/

Revealed: UK provides billions in credit to fossil fuel industry despite clean energy pledge: http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/04/19/uk-trade-billions-export-finance-fossil/The UK government has provided fossil fuel companies with £6.9 billion in financial support since 2000, according to a joint investigation by Energydesk and Private Eye. The vast majority of this support – £4.8bn – has been pledged since 2010, despite a government commitment to back clean technologies “instead of supporting investment in dirty fossil-fuel energy production”.

Divestment: Medical Students call on the British Medical Association to sell fossil fuel investments: https://www.medact.org/2017/news/divestment-medical-students-call-british-medical-association-sell-fossil-fuel-investments/It is nearly three years since members of the British Medical Association (BMA) first called for fossil fuel divestment. Despite passing a resolution on climate change that referenced divestment in 2014, there has been no commitment made to begin the process.    In that period the World Medical Association has called on its members to divest (of which the BMA is one), the Canadian Medical Association has completed the process, and major health institutions worldwide have begun the process. “

Environmental Audit Committee: Government has 'no strategy or vision' to meet Sustainable Development Goals in UK: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/analysis/3008982/environmental-audit-committee-government-has-no-strategy-or-vision-to-meet-sustainable-development-goals-in-ukParliament's Environmental Audit Committee issues withering analysis of UK progress towards UN's 2030 sustainability and climate targets

World’s first green energy boat prepares for voyage around the world: http://www.energybrokers.co.uk/news/energy-efficiency/worlds-first-green-energy-boat-prepares-for-voyage-around-the-world-2Known as the “Solar Impulse of the Seas,” the first self-sufficient boat powered only by renewable energies — and not just the wind in its sails — hopes to make a historic six-year trip around the world.”

The Unfolding Tragedy of Climate Change in Bangladesh: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/the-unfolding-tragedy-of-climate-change-in-bangladesh/A three-foot rise in sea level would submerge almost 20 percent of the country and displace more than 30 million people—and the actual rise by 2100 could be significantly more

Active travel & transport

UK unprepared for surge in electric car use, thinktank warns: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/20/uk-unprepared-for-surge-in-electric-car-use-thinktank-warnsClusters of the battery powered cars could result in 1% of the UK experiencing unplanned drops in voltage – potentially damaging electronic equipment – without action by 2020, the Green Alliance said. The thinktank warned that as few as six electric vehicles located near one another, most likely in an affluent neighbourhood, could lead to such “brownouts”.”

The government just announced a gamechanger for cycling in England: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2017/apr/26/the-government-just-announced-a-gamechanger-for-cycling-in-englandThe new cycling and walking investment strategy is the first legislation of its kind to legally bind the government to long-term funding for cycling and walking provision

'Truly ground-breaking' project to put driverless cars on roads by 2019: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Truly-ground-breaking-project-to-put-driverless-cars-on-roads-by-2019/14014Artificial Intelligence (AI) company Oxbotica has announced an ambitious new project that will deploy fully autonomous vehicles in urban areas and on motorways in the next 30 months.”

Millions of commuters 'walk a marathon every fortnight getting to work': http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/millions-of-commuters-walk-a-marathon-every-fortnight-getting-to-work-a3515931.htmlOne in nine workers – around 3.5 million people in the UK – spend more than 40 minutes a day walking during their journey to work and walk around 2.6 miles per day.”

Stricter punishments for speeding offences in England and Wales: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-39686894Under new guidelines, fines for drivers caught doing 51mph in a 30mph zone or 101mph on a motorway will start from 150% of weekly income, rather than the previous level of 100%.”

How not to create traffic jams, pollution and urban sprawl: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21720269-dont-let-people-park-free-how-not-create-traffic-jams-pollution-and-urban-sprawl

Government publishes £1.2 billion plan to increase cycling and walking: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-publishes-12-billion-plan-to-increase-cycling-and-walkingThe government wants cycling and walking to become the norm by 2040 and will target funding at innovative ways to encourage people onto a bike or to use their own two feet for shorter journeys.”

Extra powers for councils to boost cycling: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/extra-powers-for-councils-to-boost-cycling-g2tsnfprsCouncils could be given powers to ban pavement parking and introduce 20mph limits under reforms to get more people cycling and walking.”

Air quality & pollution

Improving Air Quality in Towns and Cities: http://www.greenerjourneys.com/publication/improving-air-quality-towns-cities/There is an optimistic and a pessimistic scenario for the future health and prosperity of our cities resulting from the introduction of Clean Air Zones (CAZs). The outcome depends on the framework set by Government and how CAZs are implemented by local authorities.” More coverage here: https://localgov.co.uk/Report-argues-diesel-scrappage-scheme-offers-poor-value-for-taxpayers-money/42956

Air pollution: 'Heart disease link found': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39710321Extremely small particles of pollution have the potential to evade the lungs' protective filter system and end up deep in the body, scientists suggest.”

40 million Britons ‘living in areas with illegal air pollution levels’: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/40-million-brits-air-pollution-london-uk-nitrogen-dioxide-no2-dangers-global-warming-climate-change-a7696551.htmlCities including Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds and areas of London all breach nitrogen dioxide laws

Government tries to shelve pollution action plan until after election: http://indalaw.com/news/view/10900/government-attempts-to-shelve-air-quality-plan-until-after-election.htmlMinisters were under a court direction to produce tougher draft measures to tackle illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution, which is largely caused by diesel traffic, by 4pm on Monday. The government’s original plans had been dismissed by judges as so poor as to be unlawful. But following the announcement by Theresa May of a general election on 8 June, ministers lodged a lengthy application to the court late on Friday. It is understood they are asking judges to allow them to breach Monday’s deadline and submit a draft in June – after the general election.”

Air pollution plan cannot be delayed, high court tells government: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/27/air-pollution-plan-election-campaign-bomb-court-governmentThe government has been ordered to publish tough new plans to tackle air pollution after the high court rejected attempts by ministers to keep the policy under wraps until after the general election.”

Laser technology spells end of the road for worst polluters: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/laser-technology-spells-end-of-the-road-for-worst-polluters-v2sgnsddkThe worst-polluting vehicles will be detected by roadside lasers linked to cameras, using technology that will begin road trials in Oxford next week. The system could catch drivers with the dirtiest exhausts and make them pay a charge or fine in clean-air zones planned for dozens of towns and cities.”

Can cities get the global car industry to ‘clean up its act’? http://citiscope.org/story/2017/can-cities-get-global-car-industry-clean-its-act?utm_source=Citiscope&utm_campaign=bbe3461adb-Mailchimp_2017_04_25Last year, consumers around the world purchased 88 million cars, a new annual record. But if cities are to meet their obligations under the Paris climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, municipal officials need the cars on their streets to emit far less carbon dioxide. To that end, they are pressuring car manufacturers by wielding the regulatory and purchasing power of the world’s big cities.”

Reports: EU considers higher road toll charges for most polluting vehicles: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3009050/reports-eu-considers-higher-road-toll-charges-for-most-polluting-vehiclesEuropean Commission considering plans for cars and trucks to pay higher road toll charges the more CO2 they emit. The EU is considering linking the amount cars and trucks are charged to use toll roads with the amount of greenhouse gasses they emit.”

The smog of cynicism?: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/blog-post/3008814/the-smog-of-cynicismAndrea Leadsom yesterday insisted the government regards action on air pollution as a priority, but that is hard to tally with yet another delay to its flagship air quality plan

Food & food security

Rollout of Universal Credit doubling foodbank referrals, warns charity: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Rollout-of-Universal-Credit-doubling-foodbank-referrals-warns-charity/42963The report revealed that foodbanks in areas where Universal Credit was being rolled out have seen a 16.85% average increase in referrals for emergency food. This is more than double the national average of 6.64%.”

Hungry Holidays: A report on hunger amongst children during school holidays: http://www.frankfield.com/upload/docs/Hungry%20Holidays.pdf…Up to an estimated three million children risk being hungry in the school holidays. This group comprises over a million children growing up in poverty who receive free school meals during term time, as well as an estimated two million who are disqualified from free school meals because their parents work for their poverty.” More coverage: MPs call for sugary drinks levy to be used to tackle school holiday hunger: https://www.localgov.co.uk/MPs-call-for-sugary-drinks-levy-to-be-used-to-tackle-school-holiday-hunger--/42966

‘Junk food’ and the consumer blame game: https://theconversation.com/junk-food-and-the-consumer-blame-game-76175People in the UK are hooked on takeaways and microwave meals, or so we are constantly told by TV chefs and the media. This apparent addiction to fast food is leading to an obesity epidemic. But what exactly is “junk food”? And why is the consumer always at fault for failing to resist these hyper-palatable foods?”

And finally….

TRAFFIC CHAOS as three cars arrive at mini-roundabout at the same time: http://southendnewsnetwork.com/news/rochford-traffic-chaos-as-three-cars-arrive-at-mini-roundabout-at-the-same-time/Motorists in Rochford have described ‘a total and utter shambles’ this morning after two-mile tailbacks have developed in all directions from the mini-roundabout by the station.”

WMHPG news, information & resources 7th April 2017

Healthy planning & environment

Noise in Europe, 24 April 2017, Brussels, Belgium: http://www.euconf.eu/noise-conference/index.htmlAt the conference, the World Health Organisation will present the latest scientific evidence of the health effects of noise. Representatives from Member States, public authorities, scientists as well as associations and organisations interested in environmental noise, will have the opportunity to discuss policy options to ensure we strike the right balance between the transport we all depend on, and the healthy lives we want. The event languages for the morning session are English, French, German, Italian and Spanish and the conference will be webstreamed in these five languages.”

On#WorldHealthDay join the #udmhflashmob and #DesignAgainstDepression: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/on-worldhealthday-join-the-udmhflashmob-and-designagainstdepressionFriday 7th April is World Health Day, and this year the World Health Organization has announced the theme, which is depression: let's talk… So, in line with the World Health Day theme, #letstalk about #designagainstdepression.”

Neighbourhood Planning Grants and Support Programme- Final Year: http://mycommunity.org.uk/funding-options/neighbourhood-planning/grants/The Department for Communities and Local Development's £22.5 million Neighbourhood Planning Grants and Support Programme (2015-2018) aims to support local communities that are drawing up a neighbourhood plan for their area.”

Spring Debate: should good urbanists avoid green fields? https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/events/spring-debate-reception/We invite you to join us at this special event in the Academy’s calendar, hosted in London on 26 April 2017

5 reasons everyone needs better information on land use: http://www.sharedassets.org.uk/landexplorer/5-reasons-everyone-needs-better-information-land-use/Information on land is crucial to ensure transparency, understand power structures, ensure good land use, and support a 21st Century economy. We want to make sure land data is accessible to everyone.”

Creating age-friendly environments in Europe. A tool for local policy-makers and planners: http://www.euro.who.int/en/publications/abstracts/creating-age-friendly-environments-in-europe.-a-tool-for-local-policy-makers-and-planners-2016This publication provides a toolbox to guide local policy-makers and planners in developing, implementing and evaluating age-friendly policies and interventions – policies that support people to age actively and healthily and thus both to do the things that are important to them and to contribute to their communities.”

Environmental Barriers to Activity: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/physical-activity-environment/ “…So why aren’t more people making physical activity a daily habit? Myriad reasons keep many people off their feet, but the so-called “built environment” our man-made world, with its cities and neighborhoods, streets and buildings, parks and paths-plays a major role.”

Great Repeal Bill raises environmental concerns for green groups: https://www.edie.net/news/11/Great-Repeal-Bill-raises-environmental-concerns-for-green-groups/The Government's white paper for the Great Repeal Bill has faced criticism from green groups for failing to guarantee that existing environmental laws will be maintained as primary legislation post-Brexit.”

Health Inequalities Assessment Toolkit (HIAT): http://www.clahrc-nwc.nihr.ac.uk/media/Info%20Hub/HIATBooklet.pdfThis toolkit includes questions that can help you to assess whether the work you want to carry out considers the causes of health inequalities and has the maximum possible effect on reducing these.”

Shared Assets – April Newsletter: http://us6.campaign-archive2.com/?u=3f92e811206004e669a01ab11&id=79300fad85To keep you in the loop, we've gathered all the news on parks, policy and resources from around our networks.”

Urban Picnics: A Tokyo mental health opportunity that’s surprisingly subversive: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/urban-picnics-a-tokyo-mental-health-opportunity-thats-surprisingly-subversive

Implementing a  health in all policies approach in the context of a public health strategy: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/what-does-health-in-all-people-policies-really-mean/What does health in all people policies really mean in the context of a  public health strategy?

Drawing Up an Urban Planning Manual for Chicago Teens: https://www.citylab.com/navigator/2017/04/chicago-architecture-foundation-no-small-plans-graphic-novel-teens/521802/The graphic novel No Small Plans aims to empower the city’s youth through stories about their neighborhoods.”

11 Architecture, Design and Urbanism Podcasts to Start Listening to Now: http://www.archdaily.com/868257/11-architecture-design-urbanism-podcasts-to-start-listening-to-nowTo help you in your hour of need, Metropolis’ Vanessa Quirk (author of Guide to Podcasting) and ArchDaily’s James Taylor-Foster (whose silvery tones you may have heard on various architecture and design audio stories) have come together to compile this list of eleven podcasts you should subscribe to.”

Housing

Health and housing: building the evidence base: http://www.housinglin.org.uk/Topics/type/Health-and-housing-building-the-evidence-base/Housing and related services can promote integrated care, save the NHS money and improve the patient experience, an evidence review has concluded.”

Climate change & sustainability

New Climate change and health briefing from RCP: http://www.sduhealth.org.uk/news/529/new-climate-change-and-health-briefing-from-rcpThe Royal College of Physicians has published Breaking the fever: Sustainability and climate change in the NHS briefing of the impact of climate change on healthcare in the UK, and how physicians and the NHS can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The renewables revolution rolls on: 2016 in charts: https://www.edie.net/news/10/Global-renewable-energy-revolution-2016-in-charts/New figures from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) have revealed that 2016 was the strongest year yet for renewable energy. Here, edie digs deep into the data to bring you 10 key statistics that chart a record-breaking year for the world's clean energy transformation… The UK is slipping down the list of the top 20 renewable energy nations… The number of annual renewable energy additions in the UK has plummeted

ONS: UK low carbon businesses employ close to quarter of a million people: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3007952/ons-uk-low-carbon-businesses-employ-close-to-quarter-of-a-million-peopleThe importance of low carbon and renewable energy businesses to the UK economy was underlined today with the release of new official figures showing the sector employs over 230,000 people and generates turnover of over £43bnbut update suggests zero growth for the sector

We are heading for the warmest climate in half a billion years, says new study: https://theconversation.com/we-are-heading-for-the-warmest-climate-in-half-a-billion-years-says-new-study-73648Carbon dioxide concentrations are heading towards values not seen in the past 200m years. The sun has also been gradually getting stronger over time. Put together, these facts mean the climate may be heading towards warmth not seen in the past half a billion years

Rapid and significant sea-level rise expected if global warming exceeds 2 °C, with global variation: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/rapid_significant_sea_level_rise_expected_two_degree_plus_global_warming_486na1_en.pdfThe world could experience the highest ever global sea-level rise in the history of human civilisation if global temperature rises exceed 2 °C, predicts a new study. Under current carbon-emission rates, this temperature rise will occur around the middle of this century” 

Large Sections of Australia’s Great Reef Are Now Dead, Scientists Find: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/science/great-barrier-reef-coral-climate-change-dieoff.htmlHuge sections of the Great Barrier Reef, stretching across hundreds of miles of its most pristine northern sector, were recently found to be dead, killed last year by overheated seawater. More southerly sections around the middle of the reef that barely escaped then are bleaching now, a potential precursor to another die-off that could rob some of the reef’s most visited areas of color and life.”

Wisden Almanack warns climate change could mean whole new ball game for cricket: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3007854/wisden-almanack-warns-climate-change-could-mean-whole-new-ball-game-for-cricketGreen campaign groups have been bowled over by the latest Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, which warns climate change and volatile weather patterns in the UK could have major repercussions for the sport.”

How to snatch carbon emissions victory from US climate U-turn: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2126495-how-to-snatch-carbon-emissions-victory-from-us-climate-u-turn/ “…There is an alternative approach, and many think it could lead to faster emissions cuts. It is introducing a global price on carbon, and slapping carbon tariffs on goods from any country that refuses to join in.”

Scotland and California agree joint climate change deal: https://www.edie.net/news/11/Scotland-strikes-joint-climate-change-deal-with-California/Scotland has signed a joint agreement to tackle climate change with the US State of California, in the same week that new figures have highlighted a record month for Scottish wind power generation.”

Analysis: North Sea industry cost UK taxpayers £396m in 2016: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-north-sea-industry-cost-uk-taxpayers-396m-2016The North Sea oil and gas sector became a net drain on the UK’s public finances for the first time in 2016, Carbon Brief analysis shows.”

Londoners wake up to 'biggest ever' coffee cup recycling scheme across the Square Mile: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3007671/londoners-wake-up-to-biggest-ever-coffee-cup-recycling-scheme-across-the-square-mileCosta, Starbucks, Marks & Spencer and financial firms across City of London collaborate in bid to collect five million used coffee cups by end of 2017

Nottingham University's carbon-neutral laboratory receives highest green building accolades: https://www.edie.net/news/6/Nottingham-University-carbon-neutral-laboratory-BREEAM-LEED-green-building/A carbon-neutral laboratory built from natural materials by infrastructure services firm AECOM has become one of the first buildings globally to achieve the highest certifications under BREEAM and LEED standards systems for green buildings.”

A coal museum in Kentucky is switching to solar power: http://grist.org/briefly/a-coal-museum-in-kentucky-is-switching-to-solar-power/The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum, nestled in the heart of coal country, might seem like an odd place for a solar project. But the solar panels currently being installed on its roof will ultimately save thousands in electricity costs.”

Active travel & transport

Essential evidence on a page – No. 159. What could a switch from 30 mph to 20mph achieve across a whole country’s population? https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-159-switch-30-mph-20mph-achieve-across-whole-countrys-populationTop line: If all Welsh 30mph limit roads became 20mph limits, in road casualty terms alone, 10 lives could be saved and up to 2000 casualties avoided each year, at a value of prevention of up to £94M. It could be an extremely important public health intervention.”

Extra traffic prompts longer journey times on widened M25: https://www.transportxtra.com/publications/local-transport-today/news/53100/extra-traffic-prompts-longer-journey-times-on-widened-m25Journey times over parts of recently widened sections of the M25 are now longer than before the capacity improvements were made, an evaluation for Highways England has found. The extra capacity has attracted  thousands more vehicle trips onto the road, resulting in longer journey times for travellers, according to the report by consultant Atkins.

Cycleways and congestion – getting beyond the windscreen mentality: https://cyclableblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/cycleways-and-congestion-getting-beyond-the-windscreen-mentality/A new fact has entered the common psyche, namely that London’s congestion is caused by 18 kilometres of physically protected (as opposed to painted) cycle lanes in central London. An accomplice fact is that these same ‘cycleways’ are also responsible for central London’s pollution.”

Travel to school in Glasgow: analysis of results from the Hands Up Survey: http://www.gcph.co.uk/publications/700_travel_to_school_in_glasgow_analysis_of_results_from_the_hands_up_surveyThis report looks at travel to school in Glasgow, using data from the Hands Up Survey conducted across Scottish schools by Sustrans each year to determine how school pupils travel to school.”

More than 20 million Britons 'physically inactive': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39457993More than 20 million people in the UK are physically inactive, according to a report by the British Heart Foundation.”

Self-driving cars will be much safer but a nightmare to insure: https://qz.com/948494/self-driving-cars-will-be-much-safer-but-a-nightmare-to-insure/ “…But the technology that enables this semi-autonomy is expensive, shooting insurance rates through the roof, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, even as it promises to greatly reduce accident rates over the long term. The debate on who will eventually pay that higher cost—customers, automakers or ride-sharing companies—continues, but for now the consumer still shoulders the burden.”

The market has spoken, and it says electric cars are the future: http://grist.org/briefly/the-market-has-spoken-and-it-said-electric-cars-are-the-future/Ford had a 100-year head start on Tesla, but Elon Musk’s company has caught up. With a market value of $53 billion, Tesla Motors overtook Ford ($45 billion) on Monday, and then passed up General Motors ($49 billion) on Tuesday.”

Air quality & pollution

World Health Organization: Evolution of WHO air quality guidelines: past, present and future (2017): http://www.euro.who.int/en/publications/abstracts/evolution-of-who-air-quality-guidelines-past,-present-and-future-2017This document summarizes key WHO publications in the field of air quality and health since the 1950s, which led to the development of the series of WHO air quality guidelines. It outlines the evolution of the scientific evidence on the health effects of air pollution and of its interpretation, supporting policy and other decision-makers in setting outdoor and indoor air quality management strategies worldwide.”

Sadiq Khan plans world’s first ultra-low emissions zone with new daily charges for swathes of London: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/sadiq-khan-plans-world-s-first-ultralow-emissions-zone-with-new-daily-charges-for-swathes-of-london-a3506561.htmlMore than 150,000 Londoners with the most polluting cars will be hit with a daily charge to drive inside the North and South circulars from 2021, under plans announced today.”

However - Drivers of most-polluting diesel cars will be protected from new environmental fines, Theresa May suggests: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/theresa-may-diesel-cars-drivers-pollution-fines-ultra-low-emission-zone-london-a7667186.htmlTheresa May has indicated she will not punish drivers of old diesel cars if the Government cracks down on the vehicles to protect the environment.” – Watch this space.

Reduce your exposure to air pollution – from Greenpeace: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/climate/clone-why-its-time-clean-car-industryAir pollution is a problem. It won’t go away until politicians and the car industry come together with a plan to make truly clean travel possible for everyone. In the meantime we can protect ourselves and the ones we love by taking steps to reduce our exposure to air pollution.”

Tipping point: revealing the cities where exercise does more harm than good: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/feb/13/tipping-point-cities-exercise-more-harm-than-good?CMP=share_btn_twIn at least 15 cities, air pollution has now become so bad that the danger to health of just 30 minutes of cycling each way outweighs the benefits of exercise altogether, according to new research

Day for action on air pollution announced as 15 June: http://www.sduhealth.org.uk/news/531/day-for-action-on-air-pollution-announced-as-15-juneNational Clean Air Day is the chance to give millions of people across the UK easy-to-remember actions that will help them reduce their exposure to air pollution, and their contribution to emissions.”

Air pollution within legal limits may increase risk of early death: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/air-pollution-within-legal-limits-may-increase-risk-of-early-death/Current limits on fine particulate matter in the air set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may not be sufficient to protect elderly people from the risk of premature death from air pollution, according to a large study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.”

£20 daily toxin tax for diesel drivers: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/20-daily-toxin-tax-for-diesel-drivers-mhkzggdn3Diesel drivers face “toxin taxes” of up to £20 a day in 35 towns and cities across England in a new government crackdown on vehicles that cause air pollution — including private cars.”

Western demand for goods from China is killing 100,000 a year: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23431194-300-western-demand-for-goods-from-china-is-killing-100000-a-year/Chinese-made goods bought in western Europe and the US have, in effect, killed more than 100,000 people in China in one year alone – as a result of the air pollution associated with their manufacture.”

Food & food security

Health Matters: Obesity and the food environment: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2017/03/31/health-matters-obesity-and-the-food-environment/Welcome to the latest edition of Health Matters, a resource for local authorities and health professionals, which focuses on obesity and the food environment.”

Public Health England’s new guideline for the food industry is unlikely to curb obesity: https://theconversation.com/public-health-englands-new-guideline-for-the-food-industry-is-unlikely-to-curb-obesity-75475The guidelines challenge the industry to cut sugar content in nine food categories, including breakfast cereals, puddings and confectionery, by 20% by 2020, and by 5% this year. Are these guidelines fit for purpose, or are they too little, too late?

What if reducing food waste could save your city money?: http://smartcitiescouncil.com/article/what-if-reducing-food-waste-could-save-your-city-moneyCalling it a first-of-its-kind analysis of food waste, The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste study evaluated financial cost and benefit data for 1,200 sites across 700 companies in 17 countries, finding that nearly every site realized a positive return on its investment to reduce food waste.”

Local authorities urged to tackle food waste crisis: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Local-authorities-urged-to-tackle-food-waste-crisis/42867Despite a target to cut household food waste by 5% before 2016, figures from January 2017 reveal that food waste in the UK actually rose 4.4% between 2012 and 2015.”

Urban Cultivation and Its Contributions to Sustainability: Nibbles of Food but Oodles of Social Capital: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/George_Martin6/publicationsThis exploratory study weighs the nutritional, ecological, and social sustainability contributions of urban agriculture by examining three cases-a community garden in the core of New York, a community farm on the edge of London, and an agricultural park on the periphery of San Francisco.”

And finally…

Only in America - Here's How To Use A Roundabout And Not Panic: http://jalopnik.com/heres-how-to-use-a-roundabout-and-not-panic-1793988117 The roundabout as traffic innovation!

Meet the Artist Using Ritual Magic to Trap Self-Driving Cars: https://creators.vice.com/en_us/article/meet-the-artist-using-ritual-magic-to-trap-self-driving-cars?utm_source=tcptwitterus  “Is it a silly prank, a Pagan ritual, or a genius discovery about the next era of mass transit? In a picture posted to Flickr by artist James Bridle—known for coining the term, "New Aesthetic"—a car is sitting in the middle of a parking lot has been surrounded by a magic salt circle. In the language of road markings, the dotted white lines on the outside say, "Come On In," but the solid white line on the inside says, "Do Not Cross." To the car's built-in cameras, these are indomitable laws of magic: Petrificus Totalus for autonomous automobiles.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 31 March 2017

Events - Natural Environment Debate with Mayoral Candidates for the West Midlands: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/natural-environment-debate-with-mayoral-candidates-for-the-west-midlands-tickets-32231317739What does the West Midlands Combined Authority Mayor mean for nature?” “Green growth means fostering economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies. To do this, it must catalyse investment and innovation which will underpin sustained growth and give rise to new economic opportunities.” - OECD (2011) Doors open at 6pm for a 6.30pm start. Event ends at 8.30pm.”

Announcing PPS’s 2017 “Healthy Places” Live Webinar Series: http://www.pps.org/blog/announcing-pps-2017-healthy-places-live-webinar-series/We invite you to join us on Tuesday, April 18, (1:00 – 2:00pm ET) for “Making Healthy Places: The Role of Social Support & Interaction” — the first instalment of the “Healthy Places” webinar series. The focus of this discussion will be the critical role of social connection and community networks in promoting overall health and well-being.”

Healthy planning & environment

Return on investment of public health interventions: a systematic review: http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2017/03/07/jech-2016-208141?rss=1Conclusions This systematic review suggests that local and national public health interventions are highly cost-saving. Cuts to public health budgets in high income countries therefore represent a false economy, and are likely to generate billions of pounds of additional costs to health services and the wider economy.”

Article 50: What we know (and don't know) about the environmental impact of Brexit: https://www.edie.net/news/11/Brexit-Article-50-impact-on-UK-environment-and-sustainable-business/As the UK's departure process from the European Union (EU) officially commences with the triggering of Article 50, edie takes an in-depth look at how Brexit could affect Britain's green business community.”

UK told to follow EU environmental rules as article 50 is triggered: http://www.cleanenergynews.co.uk/news/efficiency/uk-told-to-follow-eu-environmental-rules-as-article-50-is-triggeredThe UK will have to adhere to the European Union’s environmental and climate change-related policy if it is to have any future agreement with the trading bloc, according to the first EU response to the triggering of article 50.”

New Environmental Protection Act needed after Brexit: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news-parliament-2015/natural-environment-after-eu-report-published-16-17/MPs are warning the Government that environmental protections must not be weakened during the process of leaving the EU or afterwards. The Environmental Audit Committee is calling on the Government to introduce a new Environmental Protection Act during Article 50 negotiations to maintain the UK's strong environmental standards.”

Article 50: The impacts on nature preservation and climate change: http://uk.blastingnews.com/politics/2017/03/article-50-the-impacts-on-nature-preservation-and-climate-change-001587345.htmlarticle 50 has officially been triggered by Theresa May but with the economic effects widely reported, little has been made of the environmental issues that will follow from Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU). This the first of two parts taking a look at the issues the government will face when negotiating with the EU and the problems when sorting through the legislation and regulation post-Brexit.”

Cities and Mental Health: https://www.aerzteblatt.de/int/archive/article?id=186433Further insights on the interaction between spatial heterogeneity of neighborhood resources and socio-ecological factors is warranted and requires interdisciplinary research.”

West Midlands Combined Authority gives £53m to Black Country LEP for brownfield clean-up projects: https://www.wmca.org.uk/news/west-midlands-combined-authority-gives-53m-to-black-country-lep-for-brownfield-clean-up-projects/The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has awarded £53m to a programme to help landowners and developers redevelop former industrial land in the Black Country. The money will be put towards the first wave of works in a 364 hectare brownfield remediation programme worth £1.4 billion and designed to create more than 12,000 jobs and 13,500 new homes.”

Australian Heart Foundation – Does Density Matter: The role of density in creating walkable neighbourhoods? https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/images/uploads/publications/Heart_Foundation__Does_density_matter_FINAL2014.pdf “a discussion paper for residents, professionals and experts involved in planning and developing neighbourhoods. It highlights that well designed and located, higher density neighbourhoods are desirable and add value to our communities.”

The growing benefits of garden villages: https://www.localgov.co.uk/The-growing-benefits-of-garden-villages/42813In the current housing market, councillors find themselves in a rather awkward position of having to try and allow the delivery of housing to address the affordability issue but also to satisfy local communities that new development is in their best interests.”

Housing

'Dog kennel' flats in Barnet will be 40% smaller than Travelodge room: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/27/dog-kennel-flats-barnet-house-smaller-than-travelodge-roomHundreds of tiny studio flats, many smaller than a budget hotel room, are to be squeezed into an eleven-storey block in north London as its developer takes advantage of the government’s relaxation of planning regulations96% of the 254 proposed flats will be smaller than the national minimum space standards of 37 sq metres (44 sq yards) for a single person.”

Lendlease to build first ultra-green homes in central London: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/03/26/lendlease-build-first-ultra-green-homes-central-london/Development​ company Lendlease is to pioneer ultra-energy-efficient homes in central London, monitoring the residents over several years to see how new technology could change the housing market.”

Dementia Friendly Housing Charter: A guidance toolkit for a dementia-friendly approach to housing: http://www.housinglin.org.uk/Topics/type/Dementia-Friendly-Housing-Charter-A-guidance-toolkit-for-a-dementia-friendly-approach-to-housing/Launched at the Housing LIN 2017 annual conference, this Dementia-Friendly Housing Charter is aimed at the full range of housing sector professionals across all tenures, ranging from planners and architects to landlords and developers, housing managers and handypersons.”

3D Printed Houses: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/3d-printed-houses/ “…we are making progress in the technology for 3D printing houses. Business Insider did a review of a San Francisco startup, Apis Cor, that says it built a 400 sq ft. house in 24 hours with $10,134 worth of materials. That is pretty impressive.”

Climate change & sustainability

Our greenhouse gas emissions continue to fall: https://www.pressreader.com/uk/daily-mail/20170331/281895888082587The amount of carbon dioxide produced in the UK fell by 7% last year, according to official figures. The most significant factor behind the drop in emissions of the main greenhouse gas was a steep reduction in the use of coal at power stations

Solar surge: World smashes renewable energy records yet again: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3007494/solar-surge-world-smashes-renewable-energy-records-yet-againGlobal renewable energy capacity increased by 161GW last year setting a new deployment record for the sector, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The Abu Dhabi-based agency estimated that total installed renewable energy capacity topped 2,000GW for the first time late last year, reaching 2,006GW of installed capacity thanks to a surge in solar deployments last year.”

Climate-change sceptics say they should have right to 'mislead public' because of free speech: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-sceptic-mislead-pulbic-inaccurate-statements-free-speech-plea-mps-a7657951.htmlChair of Commons Science Committee says: 'Too often the clever practice of communications overshadows the true advice of experts, and the public are left bewildered, and not knowing who to believe'

Sea ice falls to record lows in both the Arctic and Antarctic: https://www.carbonbrief.org/sea-ice-falls-record-lows-arctic-antarctic?ct=t(Carbon_Brief_Weekly_24_03_2017)The Arctic and Antarctic have experienced record lows in sea ice extent so far in 2017, according to the latest data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC).

Deadly heat stress could threaten hundreds of millions even if climate targets reached: http://theconversation.com/deadly-heat-stress-could-threaten-hundreds-of-millions-even-if-climate-targets-reached-75102Deadly heat stress is projected to affect hundreds of millions more people each year under relatively little additional climate warming… In our latest research, which looked at the impact of global temperature rises on megacities, we found that even if 1.5 is achieved, large increases in the frequency of deadly heat are expected.”

New Everton football stadium could end up underwater thanks to global warming: http://theconversation.com/new-everton-football-stadium-could-end-up-underwater-thanks-to-global-warming-75247Everton Football Club announced a milestone step towards moving from its historic Goodison Park home to a new stadium at Bramley Moore dock in Liverpool. When I saw this news my initial reaction was one of surprise. As a researcher in sustainable business models, surely spending £300m on a waterfront stadium is a significant risk in terms of sea level rise?”

UK National Electricity Grid – on 25 March demand was, for the first time, lower during the afternoon than it was overnight due to high solar PV generation: http://www2.nationalgrid.com/uk/industry-information/electricity-transmission-operational-data/

Aviva chief: It's time to make sustainability a competitive sport: https://www.edie.net/news/6/Aviva-chief-executive--It-s-time-to-make-sustainability-a-competitive-sport/Sustainability should be treated as a competitive sport, driven by public league tables on corporate climate performance to incentivise businesses to strive towards industry climate leadership, Aviva's chief executive has said.”

The world's first zero-emissions hydrogen train is coming: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/03/22/worlds-first-zero-emissions-hydrogen-train-coming/A zero-emissions train that runs on just steam and condensed water has successfully completed its first test run in Germany.”

London Mayor unveils new ‘cleaner vehicle checker’: https://www.localgov.co.uk/London-Mayor-unveils-new-cleaner-vehicle-checker-/42832The Mayor of London has unveiled a new ‘checker scheme’ which will help motorists identify — and avoid — the most polluting vehicles.”

Uber expands London EV plans, despite 'woeful' charging infrastructure: https://www.edie.net/news/8/Uber-expands-London-EV-plans--despite--woeful--charging-infrastructure/Uber is taking steps to overcome the "economic disincentive" of using electric vehicles (EVs) in its fleet, by unveiling a new partnership with Nissan and beginning the construction of a network of chargers to combat London's "woefully inadequate" infrastructure.”

UPS to trial electric vehicle 'smart grid' in London: https://www.edie.net/news/8/UPS-to-trial-electric-vehicle--smart-grid--in-London/Delivery firm UPS is moving onto the "next stage" of the electric vehicle (EV) deployment challenge to trial decentralised power generation and onsite storage systems at its London operating base.”

Waste materials are an underused resource in the construction of Europe’s roads: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/waste_materials_underused_resource_construction_europe_roads_485na2_en.pdfA new study proposes a scenario where 50% of the asphalt for Europe’s roads consists of recycled materials, leading to significant reductions in costs, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.”

Trump signs order undoing Obama climate change policies: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39415631President Donald Trump has signed an executive order rolling back Obama-era rules aimed at curbing climate change.” More here: AS THE WORLD BURNS: Trump’s environmental executive order is everything we feared.: http://grist.org/briefly/trumps-environmental-executive-order-is-everything-we-feared/ . And here: Trump Signs Executive Order Unwinding Obama Climate Policies: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/28/climate/trump-executive-order-climate-change.html?_r=0

Slightly different take from the more climate change sceptical media: Donald Trump declares 'new age of American energy' as he destroys Obama's climate change legacy: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/28/donald-trump-declares-new-age-american-energy-destroys-obamas/  “Mr Trump last night signed a sweeping executive order slashing measures from the Obama era, a move that was welcomed by the oil and coal industries as a bold step to end regulations that were "choking" the economy.“

And this… Data: Coal collapse sparks climate hope: https://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/03/22/coal-fall-2016-china-india-climate-change/The cancellation and retirement of coal power projects in the world’s four key economies is making a profound impact on global efforts to limit climate change to 2C — and thereby stave off its most catastrophic consequences.”

And this… Chair of House Science Committee Says the Journal ‘Science’ Is Not Objective: http://www.snopes.com/2017/03/29/smith-journal-science-not-objective/  “Chairman Lamar Smith dismissed commentary presented during testimony on climate change because it came from the journal Science — one of the oldest and most prestigious scientific publications in existence.”

And yet more… Businesses will defy Trump in low-carbon transition, say climate experts: https://www.edie.net/news/6/US-experts--Businesses-will-defy-Trump-and-play--long-game--in-low-carbon-transition/A backward-looking Donald Trump administration will fail to deter corporations seeking to shift to low-carbon, sustainable business models, a panel of US climate and green policy experts has concluded.”

Active travel & transport

Twenty miles per hour speed limits: a sustainable solution to public health problems in Wales: http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2017/03/23/jech-2016-208859Conclusions Road traffic injuries, air pollution and obesity are an inter-related, interdependent triad. The challenge facing public health today is identifying robust interventions that will have positive effects on all three as a minimum; default 20 mph limits is the solution to increasing public health problems in Wales.

Braess paradox & traffic evaporation: does closing roads increase congestion? http://h2020-trace.eu/news/news-detail/braess-paradox-traffic-evaporation-does-closing-roads-increase-congestion/The thesis referred to as "traffic evaporation" is getting wider scientific resonance. Put forward by the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, has its roots in the Braess's paradox. For more than 10 years, The Paris Region Planning and Development Agency (IAU Île-de-France) has been studying the impact of the closure of urban expressways in the centre of large cities around the world. "Despite the initial fears, the removal of fast lanes does not worsen traffic conditions beyond the initial adjustments," explains Paul Lecroart, urban planner at IAU and a specialist on this issue. "In all the cities studied, the evaporation of traffic is an important element to observe".”

Bike Life - Making urban movement more efficient: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/blog/bike-life-making-urban-movement-more-efficientThis blog is the first of a series linked to the Bike Life project exploring how we need to better make the case for cycling and walking in cities.”

Growth in active travel and construction lorries 'risks casualty surge': https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Growth-in-active-travel-and-construction-lorries-risks-casualty-surge/13933The increase in people walking and cycling and the growth of construction traffic could create a ‘perfect storm’ increase in people killed and seriously injured (KSIs) by lorries, a conference has been told.”

Uber suspends US self-driving programme after crash: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Uber-suspends-US-self-driving-programme-after-crash/13936Uber suspended its pilot programme for driverless cars after an accident in the US at the weekend, it has been reported.”

Shoppers and how they travel: www.tut.fi/verne/wp-content/uploads/Shoppers-and-how-they-travel.pdf “...we found that retailers overestimate the importance of the car. We also found that they overestimate how far their customers travel and underestimate how many shops each customer visits.”

Watching the brain walk London: http://www.natureasia.com/en/nmiddleeast/article/10.1038/nmiddleeast.2017.51Now, experiments at University College London combine virtual reality, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and techniques from the cutting edge of architecture to show how two parts of the brain, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, work together to understand the topology of street networks, simulate accessible future paths and decide upon a route to a goal.”

Roads face closure within five years due to poor condition, experts warn: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/27/roads-face-closure-within-five-years-due-poor-condition-experts/Roads across the country face closure within the next five years due to their poor condition, industry experts have warned as they say councils are failing to fill in "Swiss cheese" potholes.”

IPPR - Crossroads: Choosing a future for London’s transport in the digital age: http://www.ippr.org/publications/crossroads-choosing-a-future-for-londons-transportThis report explains how positive network effects between new and existing transport services represent an unprecedented opportunity to overcome London’s transport difficulties, providing the mayor with profound scope to improve the city’s spaces and Londoners’ lives.”

Pavement parking: councils call for ban in London to be rolled out across the country: http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/8370187/NEWSLaws allowing local authorities to ban pavement parking in London should be rolled out across the country to crack down on inconsiderate motorists endangering lives, councils say.”

Sustrans Policy Scan: http://sustrans-info.org.uk/6EB-4UBFA-612GY4DP79/cr.aspx

It’s this simple: If car drivers made bicyclists feel safer, we’d all be better off: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/its-this-simple-if-car-drivers-made-bicyclists-feel-safer-wed-all-be-better-off/2017/03/24/a352d154-08de-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html?utm_term=.c4df856b643bIt’s really that simple: Car drivers could reduce the aggravating congestion they face each day if they made bicyclists feel safer rather than doing what they can to make them feel menaced.”

Cities Need Traffic Laws Recognizing Cyclists As The Most Important People On Earth: http://www.clickhole.com/blogpost/cities-need-traffic-laws-recognizing-cyclists-most-811Every day in this country, cyclists are treated like second-class citizens, barely tolerated by careless motorists and lazy pedestrians who refuse to share the streets. It’s time to confront reality and enact new traffic laws that reflect the inarguable truth: Cyclists are better than you in every way possible.”

Act now, or the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy will be empty oratory: http://www.insallandcoe.co.uk/blog/2016/4/7/act-now-or-the-cycling-and-walking-investment-strategy-will-be-empty-oratoryWhile successful, mature active travel societies such as the Netherlands and Denmark have invested in double figures per capita per annum (pcpa) over decades and even Luxembourg is now doing so, we are invited to believe that the "transformative" travel behaviour change government wants to see in England can be achieved at little more than £1 pcpa. “

Bicycle Agenda 2017-2020 – From the Netherlands (in English): https://www.cycling-embassy.org.uk/document/bicycle-agenda-2017-2020Tour de Force, a partnership between governments, market, civil society organisations and research institutes, aims to increase the number of kilometres cycled in the Netherlands with 20 percent over the next decade. This is why they drafted a joint Bicycle Agenda 2017-2020 with several actions to overcome barriers and exploit opportunities in cities, rural areas and in combination with public transport.”

Who does your bike network serve? Get free answers from a new tool: http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/who-does-your-bike-network-serve-get-free-answers-from-a-new-toolA new tool, now in development, will let cities measure the quality of their all-ages bike networks for every neighborhood or Census block.”

Biking and walking soar, collisions plummet along oakland’s protected bike lanes: http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/biking-walking-soar-collisions-plummet-along-oaklands-protected-bike-lanesAlong nine blocks of Oakland's Telegraph Avenue, biking is up 78 percent since protected bike lanes were installed. Walking is up 100 percent — maybe because, thanks to the single lane of through traffic in each direction, the pedestrian yield rate doubled in the mornings and tripled in the afternoons.”

Councils need £12bn to bring roads ‘up to scratch’ – research from the Asphalt Industry Alliance: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-need-12bn-to-bring-roads-up-to-scratch/42818

Air quality & pollution

Listen - Laurie Laybourn-Langton, Research Fellow IPPR: An interview on BBC Radio 5 Live discussing vehicle pollution in the UK: https://audioboom.com/posts/5732013-laurie-laybourn-langton-research-fellow-ippr-an-interview-on-bbc-radio-5-live-discussing-vehicle-pollution-in-the-uk

10 ways to beat air pollution: how effective are they? https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/feb/15/10-ways-to-beat-air-pollution-how-effective-are-they “From particle-zapping bus stops to compact ‘smart’ air filters, we examine the methods that tackle the symptoms of air pollution” – Probably the best way is to improve air quality?

Analysis: why diesel demand is falling in China: https://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/03/24/diesel-demand-china-falling-petroleum-exports/China’s oil use may be growing, but diesel is definitely in decline, according to an analysis of government data. Buried beneath the topline figure that crude consumption rose by 5.5% in 2016 is news that diesel demand actually fell by 5.3%.”

Food & food security

Poorest UK families struggle to put food on the table, survey finds: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/30/poorest-uk-families-struggle-eat-regularly-heathily-food-standards-agency-surveyOne in four low-income households does not eat regularly or healthily because of a lack of money, Food Standards Agency says

Taking the Pulse of Hospital Food: https://www.medact.org/2017/uncategorized/taking-pulse-hospital-food/The survey showed that whilst there is some fantastic work going on that should be celebrated, many hospitals are still falling short when it comes to serving food that is healthy and sustainable for all those who access it.”

Introducing Operation Eagle Eye: https://www.sustainweb.org/childrensfoodcampaign/eagle_eye/Now is a unique moment to change the advertising landscape for good. Help us take a stand against ads and brands which are targeting their sugary products at children.”

Subsidies for healthy foods are a price worth paying to tackle obesity: http://theconversation.com/subsidies-for-healthy-foods-are-a-price-worth-paying-to-tackle-obesity-74726In our research we developed a mathematical model that accurately mimics observed how people behave with respect to food consumption, both healthy and unhealthy. It also predicts how people respond to changes in their circumstances and the environment.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 24 March 2017

Healthy planning & environment

Neighbourhood Planning Bill: Lords approve final amendments and pass the bill: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/495/planning_news_-_23_march_2017The Neighbourhood Planning Bill has undergone its third reading in the House of Lords, with members approving an amendment that requires examiners to give information to, and hold meetings with, neighbourhood planning groups.”

Mental-health issues can’t be solved by psychologists alone—city design can help, too: https://qz.com/934976/mental-health-problems-of-people-who-live-in-cities-need-to-be-solved-by-both-urban-designers-and-health-professionals/People who reside in cities are more likely to develop depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia than those living in the countryside.

Build on the green belt to boost the economy, OECD tells Britain: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/03/17/build-green-belt-boost-economy-oecd-tells-britain/Britain’s economy is stifled by the green belt and other building restrictions which have crushed the supply of housing, pushing up prices and making it hard for people to move home to find work.”

Access to nature reduces depression and obesity, finds European study: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/21/access-nature-reduces-depression-obesity-european-reportPeople living close to trees and green spaces are less likely to be obese, inactive, or dependent on anti-depressants, according to a new report.”

Health and wellbeing in rural areas: http://www.local.gov.uk/documents/10180/8150261/1.39_Health+in+rural+areas_WEB.pdf/d86a8750-a9ac-4304-8116-6ae38d52f481Nineteen per cent of the population of England live in rural areas which make up 85 per cent of the land… Overall, health outcomes are more favourable in rural areas than in urban areas. But broadbrush indicators can mask small pockets of significant deprivation and poor health outcomes.”

Measures of poverty and well-being still ignore the environment – this must change: https://theconversation.com/measures-of-poverty-and-well-being-still-ignore-the-environment-this-must-change-74248Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been the most prominent approach since the end of World War II, with GDP seen as a useful snapshot of the state of the economy and people’s well-being. What these figures often hide are those things, like the role of nature, that are not measured in the monetary economy, but are an important part of daily life and can be crucial for sustaining future prosperity.”

Forestry and woodland grant schemes not fit for purpose: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/news-parliament-2015/forestry-report-published-16-17/The Committee says that the forestry Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS), is "not fit for purpose". The Committee heard that the grant application process was "torturous", "bureaucratic" and "overly complex", with three organisations involved in administering CSS.”

Community ownership and management of parks and green spaces: http://mycommunity.org.uk/resources/community-ownership-and-management-of-parks-and-green-spaces/This guide has been produced as part of the Community Ownership and Management of Assets (COMA) programme by Shared Assets – ‘a think and do tank that makes land work for everyone’. Shared Assets was a delivery partner in the COMA programme and this guide draws upon their experience of supporting many of the green space focused projects that took part

Oil firm drills in Surrey ‘without permit’: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/oil-firm-drills-in-surrey-without-permit-c9nh7q7tcAn oil company has drilled a well in the green belt without permission and ignored repeated warnings that it would need consent, a council has said. Angus Energy continued to drill at Brockham, Surrey, in January despite the county council writing to the company twice to say that it required planning approval.”

Call for knowledge: Which types of urban and peri-urban natural spaces (blue and green) and which characteristics (components) of such spaces have a significant impact on human mental health and well-being? http://www.eklipse-mechanism.eu/forum_discussion?p_p_id=forumdiscussions_WAR_EklipseSBportlet&p_p_lifecycle=0&p_p_state=normal&p_p_mode=view&p_p_col_id=column-1&p_p_col_count=1&_forumdiscussions_WAR_EklipseSBportlet_mvcPath=%2Fhtml%2Fforumdiscussions%2Fview_subject.jsp&_forumdiscussions_WAR_EklipseSBportlet_subjectId=11

UN Asks U.K. to Pause Hinkley Nuclear Plant Work for Assessment: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-18/un-asks-u-k-to-pause-hinkley-nuclear-plant-work-for-assessmentThe UN committee recommended the halt until it established whether “a notification under the Espoo Convention” was useful, according to the statement. The Espoo Convention sets out the obligations of countries to “assess the environmental impact of certain activities,” according to the commission’s website.”

Every single piece of plastic ever made still exists. Here’s the story. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/58d15c2ce4b07112b647322c

Thames Water fined £20.3m for polluting the River Thames with 1.4 billion litres of raw sewage: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/thames-water-fine-river-pollution-billion-litres-sewage-raw-a7643146.htmlThames Water has been fined £20.3m for polluting the River Thames with 1.4 billion litres of raw sewage, the largest ever fine to be handed down to a water utility for an environmental disaster.”

Manchester’s train stations could soon have GP surgeries, gyms and even art galleries: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/uk/manchesters-train-stations-become-home-gp-surgeries-gyms-even-art-galleries/Manchester’s Victorian train stations could become venues for GP surgeries, gyms, art galleries and even concert halls under a £400m plan by transport leaders to take over their running.”

Taking Learning Outside the Classroom: Placemaking at Curtin University in Western Australia:http://www.pps.org/blog/taking-learning-outside-classroom-placemaking-campus-curtin-university/Curtin’s place activation team creates safe, comfortable and vibrant outdoor places where people can meet, relax, play, discuss, and importantly … innovate. Curtin brings learning outside by incorporating assessed learning activities in the public realm.”

Madison Hip-Hop Architecture Camp participants show off model cities, music video: http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/madison-hip-hop-architecture-camp-participants-show-off-model-cities/article_93aec9ba-66ca-54ba-bef7-d2b64fa2cc74.html

Housing

Housing affordability in England and Wales: 1997 to 2016: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/housing/bulletins/housingaffordabilityinenglandandwales/1997to2016Brings together data on house prices and annual earnings to calculate affordability ratios for national and subnational geographies in England and Wales, on an annual basis.”

The other end of the housing market: Housing for Older People: http://www.housinglin.org.uk/Topics/type/The-other-end-of-the-housing-market-Housing-for-Older-People/ “….show housing for older people has been largely ignored by government, is failing to provide the choice of tenures and care options and is confusing for buyers. However, it also notes a marked rise in the number of private developers moving into this market and fears over high service charges holding back decisions to move.”

Founder of Hometrack on the hunt for £1bn of institutional investment to pour into affordable housing: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/03/19/founder-hometrack-hunt-1bn-institutional-investment-pour-affordable/The former owner of Hometrack is on the hunt for £1bn of institutional investment by 2020 to pour into affordable housing. Giles Mackay’s company Heylo has already raised more than £300m to provide shared ownership homes. This allows people to buy a proportion of a home - between 25pc and 75pc - and pay rent on the rest.”

Climate change & sustainability

Not a pretty picture: climate change and health in four infographics: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/not-pretty-picture-climate-change-and-health-four-infographicsThe White House released a groundbreaking new scientific assessment on the impact of climate change on public health in the United States.”

Improving air quality joint enquiry: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/inquiry1/MP's from four select committees have combined forces to launch an unprecedented joint inquiry on air quality to scrutinise cross-government plans to tackle urban pollution hotspots.

The Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental Audit Committee, Health, and Transport Committees will hold four evidence sessions to consider mounting scientific evidence on the health and environmental impacts of outdoor air pollution.”

Minister questioned on Climate Change Adaptation: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news-parliament-2015/climate-change-adaptation-ev-16-17/The Environmental Audit Committee holds a one off session on climate change adaptation in light of the recent publication of the Government's Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017. This assessment draws primarily on the independent Evidence Report commissioned from the CCC's Adaptation Sub-Committee.”

Climate change financing dropped from G20 draft statement: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-g20-germany-climatechange-idUSKBN16O1S1Opposition from the United States, Saudi Arabia and others has forced Germany to drop a reference to financing programs to combat climate change from the draft communique at a G20 finance and central bankers meeting.”

Record-breaking climate change pushes world into 'uncharted territory': https://www.edie.net/news/9/Record-breaking-climate-change-pushes-world-into--uncharted-territory-The record-breaking heat that made 2016 the hottest year ever recorded has continued into 2017, pushing the world into "truly uncharted territory", according to the World Meteorological Organisation.”

Abnormal Antarctic Heat, Surface Melt, Giant Cracks in Ice Shelves — More Troubling Signs of a World Tipping Toward Climate Chaos: https://robertscribbler.com/2017/01/23/abnormal-antarctic-heat-surface-melt-giant-cracks-in-ice-shelves-more-troubling-signs-of-a-world-tipping-toward-climate-chaos/The overall picture is of a critical frozen region undergoing rapid change due to the human-forced heating of our world — a warming that has brought Antarctica to a tipping point, for such fundamental alterations to Antarctic ice are now likely to bring about a quickening rate of sea-level rise the world over.”

Electric vans to join production line at London Taxi Company's new EV plant: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3007048/electric-vans-to-join-production-line-at-london-taxi-companys-new-ev-plantThe London Taxi Company (LTC) has revealed plans to develop an electric commercial van in addition to producing electric range-extended black cabs at its newly-opened manufacturing and R&D facility in Coventry.”

Green drivers to be offered easier hydrogen fill-ups: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/green-drivers-to-be-offered-easier-hydrogen-fill-ups-h9wjrd8vwThe number of hydrogen fuel stations is expected to rise dramatically under a government plan to offer motorists green alternatives to diesel and petrol. The move will be part of a drive to eradicate diesel and petrol-driven vehicles by 2040.”

New £23m fund for hydrogen-powered vehicles: https://www.localgov.co.uk/New-23m-fund-for-hydrogen-powered-vehicles/42766Ministers have announced a new £23m fund to accelerate the take up of hydrogen vehicles and roll out more ‘cutting-edge infrastructure’.”

In challenge to Trump, 17 Republicans join fight against global warming: http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-usa-climatechange-congress-idUKKBN16M235Seventeen congressional Republicans signed a resolution on Wednesday vowing to seek "economically viable" ways to stave off global warming, challenging the stated views of President Donald Trump, who has called climate change a hoax.”

The global coal boom finally seems to be winding down: http://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/3/21/14988436/global-coal-boom-declineResearchers from Coalswarm, the Sierra Club, and Greenpeace — drawing on the Global Coal Plant Tracker — have just released their latest annual “Boom and Bust” report on the global coal pipeline.”

Study: Backing fossil fuels is economically and politically irresponsible: https://www.edie.net/news/6/Study--Backing-fossil-fuels-is-economically-and-politically-irresponsible/A shift away from fossil fuels to renewables is needed at international level if the targets of the Paris climate deal are to be met. The Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue wants to set an example by bringing plenty new to the table.”

Scotland grants £10m for low-carbon rural projects: https://www.edie.net/news/11/Scotland-grants--10m-for-innovative-low-carbon-rural-projects/The Scottish Government has today (22 March) announced a £10m fund to support innovative low-carbon energy projects in rural parts of Scotland.”

Active travel & transport

The big bike helmet debate: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare': https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/mar/21/bike-helmet-cyclists-safe-urban-warfare-wheelsAs a cyclist, I don’t object to helmets or to high-visibility clothing. Like the majority of people I know in London, I wear a helmet most of the time when on a bike. I do, however, have serious worries about efforts to make the use of hi-vis clothes or helmets compulsory, or even to encourage them as a safety panacea. Because when it comes to genuine efforts to make cycling safer, they are a red herring, an irrelevance, a peripheral issue that has somehow come to dominate the argument.”

Wearing a Bicycle Helmet Can Increase Risk Taking and Sensation Seeking in Adults: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0956797615620784Humans adapt their risk-taking behavior on the basis of perceptions of safety; this risk-compensation phenomenon is typified by people taking increased risks when using protective equipment.”

Case for tripling roads budget based on wishful thinking, say campaigners: http://www.cpre.org.uk/media-centre/latest-news-releases/item/4550-case-for-tripling-roads-budget-based-on-wishful-thinking-say-campaignersDrawing on the research, CPRE’s report The end of the road? directly challenges government claims that ‘the economic gains from road investment are beyond doubt’ [3]; that road-building will lead to ‘mile a minute’ journeys; and that the impact on the environment will be limited ‘as far as possible’ [4]. The report shows how road building over the past two decades has repeatedly failed to live up to similar aims.”

Open Letter to a Car-Addicted City: https://www.planetizen.com/node/72068/open-letter-car-addicted-city  “A car-dependant city is at the crossroads. Can Perth, Australia, or any driving addicted city for that matter, change tracks to a multi-modal city, where good urban design is valued and walking, biking, and public transport are inviting options?

Local transport authorities questioned on urban congestion: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news-parliament-2015/urban-congestion-4-evidence-16-17/The Transport Committee questions a range of local transport authorities on whether they have the necessary information, powers, decision-making structures and resources to deal with the problem effectively.”

Urban Transport Group: Job access schemes – Briefing: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/resources/types/briefings/job-access-schemes-briefingTransport plays a major role in the decision making process about whether to apply for, accept or stay in employment. This briefing looks at job access schemes for supporting this decision making process and enabling people to overcome transport barriers to employment. It also considers how the core elements of these schemes can be secured, supported and extended.”

The government must give councils the power to pull local buses out of crisis: https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2017/mar/20/government-councils-local-bus-services-bill-cuts-crisis-public-transport-fundingNearly £30m has been cut from supported bus budgets this year, and 500 routes reduced or withdrawn - local authorities need support and funding

London launches healthy streets plan: http://www.childinthecity.org/2017/03/20/london-launches-healthy-streets-plan/The Mayor of London has launched a new long-term plan, with ambitions to make London one of the best cities in the world for walking and cycling.” Full report here: https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/corporate-and-social-responsibility/transport-and-healthcare

Close pass mats to teach motorists how to safely overtake cyclists: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-4303888/Close-pass-mats-teach-motorists-safely-overtake-cyclists.htmlThe close pass mats will be used by officers to encourage these motorists not to encroach within 5ft (1.5m) of cyclists. West Midlands Police (WMP) recorded a 50% reduction in reported close pass offences in the first three months after it began using the mats in September last year.”

Business Committee launches inquiry into electric vehicles to assess concerns over stalling sales: http://www.cityam.com/261059/business-committee-launches-inquiry-into-electric-vehiclesThe BEIS Committee has launched an inquiry today to scope out the barriers to the market's development and look into concerns that sales and take-up haven't been "as advanced as they should be".”

Road schemes could be cut: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-39342978Upgrades to some of England's busiest roads, including a controversial tunnel past Stonehenge, could be scrapped because they are not value for money.”

Air quality & pollution

Improving air quality joint inquiry: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/inquiry1/MP's from four select committees have combined forces to launch an unprecedented joint inquiry on air quality to scrutinise cross-government plans to tackle urban pollution hotspots. The Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental Audit Committee, Health, and Transport Committees will hold four evidence sessions to consider mounting scientific evidence on the health and environmental impacts of outdoor air pollution.”

Now there are air-pollution deniers, too: http://grist.org/article/now-there-are-air-pollution-deniers-too/There are, indeed, very few people who believe air pollution — specifically “fine particulate” pollution, or PM2.5 — doesn’t cause death. Those who do, however, are getting louder and gaining influence in conservative political circles and inside President Donald Trump’s administration.”

Heathrow's confidence in air quality compliance unlikely to silence expansion doubts: https://www.edie.net/news/6/Heathrow-s-confidence-in-air-quality-compliance-unlikely-to-silence-the-doubters/Heathrow Airport remains "confident" of the plans it has put in place to build a third runway without causing any extra air pollution in the surrounding areas, but concerns from green groups and MPs have raised questions whether Heathrow should merely comply with legislation or push beyond it.”

Renault diesels ‘are worst polluters’: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/renault-diesels-are-worst-polluters-jlsdzsr7cRenault diesel cars emit the highest levels of toxic nitrogen oxides of all the big manufacturers and the French company’s recent models produce nine times the legal limit, tests have found.”

Food & food security

Baby teeth removals 'up 24% in a decade': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39327425Hospitals in England are seeing thousands of very young children each year needing baby teeth removed. The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, which compiled the data, blames tooth decay linked to sugary diets.”

Feeding cities from within: http://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/feeding-cities-urban-agriculture/Urban agriculture is sprouting up all over the world. Urbanites are taking the soil into their own hands and wrestling back control of food production – from community allotments driving regeneration in Detroit and guerrilla gardeners turning flower beds into cabbage patches across cities to temporary growing plots in meanwhile spaces like the Skip Garden in London and commercial rooftop greenhouse operations like Lufa Farms in Montreal.”

Changing the food system to provide sustainable healthy diets: http://www.fcrn.org.uk/research-library/changing-food-system-provide-sustainable-healthy-dietsIn this Perspective article in the journal Science, the FCRN’s Tara Garnett articulates the need for a strong policy focus on sustainable healthy diets, and assesses the current state of research and understanding on the relationship between health and sustainability.”

Nine London boroughs selected to champion food waste awareness: https://www.edie.net/news/5/Nine-London-boroughs-selected-to-champion-food-waste-awareness/On Thursday (16 March), LWARB revealed that Bexley, Croydon, Hackney, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Merton, Sutton and Tower Hamlets would be the focus of the behaviour change campaign to raise awareness on the value of food and the issues surrounding food waste.”

WMHPG News, Information and Resources 17 March 2017

Healthy planning & environment

From the West Midlands Excellence in Public Health Conference 2017 – The West Midlands Productivity Challenge from Sarah Middleton. The West Midlands Combined Authority perspective on health & productivity. http://www.lfphwm.org.uk/past-events/648-13-03-2017 Gives a good summary of the position in the West Midlands, particularly relevant are the Performance Management Framework (slide 6) and ‘Place’ (starting at slide 18). There is a focus on green space, air quality, CO2 & climate change and active travel. 

Distance travelled to purchase alcohol and the mediating effect of price: http://www.publichealthjrnl.com/article/S0033-3506(16)30408-5/abstractPrice discounting affects hypothetical purchase distance choices, indicating the importance of price when implementing alcohol control policies. Purchase distance might be more affected by price discounting among consumers visiting off-site outlets, but less useful when exploring associations with on-site outlets.”

Guidance on creating inclusive environments launched: http://cic.org.uk/news/article.php?s=2017-03-10-cic-launches-essential-principles-guideThe Essential Principles Guide comprises six measures to guide, support and motivate built environment professionals when they are making decisions for clients, employers and society that affect the achievement of an inclusive environment.

City-dwellers are prone to depression – are high-rises to blame? https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/mar/16/cities-depression-stress-mental-health-high-rises-urban-design-london-toronto “...a series of virtual reality experiments in which he asked people to wear specialised headsets and stroll through a variety of urban environments created to test their responses. The findings, he says, proved he was not alone. Being surrounded by tall buildings produces a “substantial” negative impact on mood.”

Nature-based solutions for sustainable urban development: http://www.iclei.org/fileadmin/PUBLICATIONS/Briefing_Sheets/Nature_Based_Solutions/ICLEI_Nature_Based_Solutions_ENG.pdfNature-based solutions are increasingly being implemented in urban areas to enhance resilience, support sustainable development, and safeguard biodiversity. Good practice examples from Germany and China showcase the potential of nature-based solutions for urban areas emphasizing their multiple social, environmental and economic benefits.”

Edging closer to an effective reunion between town planners and public health professionals: https://academic.oup.com/jpubhealth/article-abstract/39/1/6/2968001/Edging-closer-to-an-effective-reunion-between-townThe year 2016 was one of milestones for the planning for health agenda.”

DEFRA - Evidence Statement on the links between natural environments and human health: https://beyondgreenspace.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/evidence-statement-on-the-links-between-natural-environments-and-human-health-20174.pdfThis evidence statement provides a broad overview of evidence on the links between natural environments and human health. It summarises global, landscape scale and other indirect links between natural environments and human health before considering direct benefits in more detail.”

Impact of area regeneration policies: performing integral interventions, changing opportunity structures and reducing health inequalities: http://jech.bmj.com/content/71/3/239?rss=1In this study, we analyse the impact of urban regeneration processes on the evolution of inequalities in mortality from certain causes…. Conclusions: The urban regeneration policies studied seem to contribute to reducing health inequity when the interventions are more integral in nature.

Neighborhood Factors and Fall-Related Injuries among Older Adults Seen by Emergency Medical Service Providers: http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/14/2/163Neighborhoods with higher residential density and having a higher vacancy rate were associated with increased count of fall injuries. The study highlights the importance of stable and safe neighborhoods in reducing fall risks among older adults, which should be considered a prerequisite for promoting age-friendly environments.”

Build-in health or build more hospitals event success - http://www.bristolhealthpartners.org.uk/health-integration-teams/supporting-healthy-inclusive-neighbourhood-environments-hit/hit-achievements/2017/03/09/build-in-health-or-build-more-hospitals-event-success/815A range of people with a stake or an interest in city development came together at the Architecture Centre in the centre of Bristol for an event held as part of Bristol Healthy City Week. The event, called ‘Developing Healthy Neighbourhoods: Build-in health or build more hospitals’, brought together 63 people on 18 October 2016 to discuss a great health paradox that plagues cities all over the world, including Bristol.”

Call for case studies: Innovations in Greening Grey Infrastructure: http://www.biogeomorph.org/greengrey/Can you help? Do you know of an infrastructure project that is including an innovative element of design, engineering, funding or collaborative working that could be shared? We are working with a number of organisations on a Natural Environment Research Council funded project highlighting the potential to integrate green elements in grey infrastructure projects that must remain predominately grey for their essential function.”

101 small ways you can improve your city: http://www.curbed.com/2016/9/22/13019420/urban-design-community-building-placemakingSometimes the smallest things we can do for our neighborhoods can have the biggest impact. At Curbed, we know the power of a vegetable garden planted in a vacant lot or a library installed on a sidewalk. For Micro Week, we want to share 101 urban interventions and ideas that show how even the tiniest changes can make our cities better places.”

Housing

TCPA - Health impact of the Housing White Paper: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/blog/housing-white-paper-health#163961_20170309120307Produced as part of TCPA’s ‘Reuniting Health with Planning’ initiative’s objective to help raise aware of key issues, this briefing should help practitioners understand the implications of selected proposals set out in the Housing White Paper for planning for health

New research on the lived reality of energy inefficiency in the private rented sector: http://www.eagacharitabletrust.org/new-research-lived-reality-energy-inefficiency-private-rented-sector/#163961_20170309024237Housing tenants in the private rented sector are choosing to live in cold homes out of fear of high heating bills and losing their tenancy, according to new research funded by Eaga Charitable Trust.” Full reports here: http://www.eagacharitabletrust.org/energy-efficiency-in-the-private-rented-sector-what-tenants-really-think/

Climate change & sustainability

When someone tells you, “The climate is always changing,” show them this cartoon: http://grist.org/science/when-someone-tells-you-the-climate-is-always-changing-show-them-this-cartoon/ - excellent infographic from XKCD

Global carbon pricing – how full is the glass? https://www.carbonpricingleadership.org/posts-op-eds/2017/3/15/global-carbon-pricing-how-full-is-the-glassAt the COP in Marrakech, we presented the first outcome of our research: a global greenhouse gas (GHG) productivity map, which maps value creation and GHG emissions along global value chains. This highlighted where efforts can be focused to decarbonise our economy.” More here: https://www.theccc.org.uk/2017/03/16/uk-climate-action-has-reduced-emissions-without-increases-in-household-energy-bills/

Climate change impacts are already hitting us, say Europeans: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/08/climate-change-impacts-already-hitting-us-say-europeansThe research dispels the idea that global warming is widely seen as a future problem, and also shows strong support for action to tackle global warming, including subsidies for clean energy and big financial penalties for nations that refuse to be part of the international climate deal signed in Paris…

Low carbon drive 'cuts household bills': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39278435Britain's low carbon energy revolution is actually saving money for households, a report says.

Households make a net saving of £11 a month, according to analysis from the Committee on Climate Change.” More here: https://www.theccc.org.uk/2017/03/16/uk-climate-action-has-reduced-emissions-without-increases-in-household-energy-bills/

Vehicle Excise Duty: Small car buyers face higher costs: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39224680Crucially, it is those buying cars with low CO2 emissions that face the highest relative rise in the tax.”

Lancashire fracking site decision 'unlawful', claim campaigners: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-39281980A "landmark" government decision to grant permission for a horizontal fracking site was unlawful, campaigners have claimed at a High Court hearing.”

Arctic ice loss driven by natural swings, not just mankind: https://www.carbonbrief.org/daily-brief/arctic-ice-loss-driven-natural-swings-not-just-mankind-ny-attorney-general-tillerson-used-alias-email-discuss-climate-exxonNew research has found that natural variations in the Arctic climate may be responsible for about 30–50% of the overall decline in September sea ice since 1979, the start of the satellite era. The study has been welcomed by some scientists as a useful separation of human-caused climate change and natural influences on Arctic atmospheric circulation

Revealed: Climate Science Deniers Seize On Trump And Brexit Victories: http://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/revealed-climate-science-deniers-seize-trump-brexit-victories/08/02/Just 13 months after 195 nations agreed the landmark climate accord to curb global warming, you could be forgiven for wondering ‘how the hell did we get here?’.”

Scottish council pensions investing £1.7bn in fossil fuels: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Scottish-council-pensions-investing-1.7bn-in-fossil-fuels/42715A report published jointly by Friends of the Earth, Unison Scotland and the Common Weal think-tank revealed that Scotland’s local authority pension funds are still heavily invested in fossil fuel companies – committing £1.7bn to such firms in 2015/16.”

Fracking giant targets Yorkshire village: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/fracking/fracking-giant-targets-yorkshire-village-1-8436145INEOS, the multinational chemicals giant controlled by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, has lodged plans to drill for shale gas in South Yorkshire.”

Active travel & transport

Built environmental correlates of cycling for transport across Europe: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829217300679Overall, results showed that people living in neighbourhoods with a preponderance of speed limits below 30 km/h, many bicycle lanes, with less traffic calming devices, more trees, more litter and many parked cars forming an obstacle on the road were more likely to cycle for transport than people living in areas with lower prevalence of these factors.”

Evidence of moderation effects in predicting active transport to school: https://academic.oup.com/jpubhealth/article/39/1/153/3065722/Evidence-of-moderation-effects-in-predictingConclusions: This study provides evidence that, although distance to school might be the strongest predictor of AT, this relationship is complex.”

What predicts children's active transport and independent mobility in disadvantaged neighborhoods? http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829217301211Enjoyment, parental safety concerns, and proximity to walking tracks were associated with independent mobility on the school journey. Road safety and social norms were associated with active transport and independent mobility to local destinations.”

Exercise levels decline 'long before adolescence': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39255005Adolescence is thought to be the time when children go off exercise - but a study in The British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests it happens much earlier, around the age of seven.”

Councils ‘slash’ bus funding by one third, campaigners say: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-slash-bus-funding-by-one-third-campaigners-say/42712Council chiefs have defended cuts in bus services after a FoI request revealed £30m of bus funding was slashed last year alone leading to the closure of hundreds of routes.”

What is England’s cycling potential? http://www.bhfactive.org.uk/news-item/426/index.htmlA new tool funded by the Department for Transport shows that nearly one in five people in England would cycle to work if cycling was given more investment.

Cycling in cities: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/blog/cycling-citiesWhich needs to come first, an increase in cycling to reduce congestion, or a decrease in congestion to increase cycling?", asks Will Haynes, our head of built environment.”

Govt should focus on real-world impacts of driverless cars, Lords say: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Govt-should-focus-on-real-world-impacts-of-driverless-cars-Lords-say/13910Driverless cars may have a more negative impact on congestion than is usually assumed, the chairman of a key Lords committee has told Transport Network.”

The widespread impact of autonomous vehicles: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/The-widespread-impact-of-autonomous-vehicles/13884Autonomous vehicles (AVs) will be testing on a street near you soon – in fact, they might be there already. Major vehicle manufacturers like Nissan, Volvo and Ford are already testing AVs in the UK.”

How thoughtful transportation builds happier cities: http://us14.campaign-archive1.com/?u=b5529743de4be11ba3dad207b&id=dbecd9d342&e=984bc792f2 A series of interviews around transport, wellbeing and prosperity.

Falling out of love with the car: these cities have seen the biggest drop in vehicle numbers: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/03/these-cities-are-falling-out-of-love-with-the-carExperts have been predicting the demise of car ownership for a long time now. They see a future where the majority of city dwellers get from A to B on public transport, bicycles, or by renting a shared car (probably self-driving and electric) via their smartphone. But in some cities in the developed world, the car is already in decline.”

Why does the parking-industrial complex keep getting its demands met? https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/columns/2017/03/10/boston-parking-industrial-complex/QYs65ejapAcHJu6skZlucP/story.htmlThe City of Boston wants residents to walk, bike, or take transit. But somehow, the parking-industrial complex still gets its demands addressed first.”

Air quality & pollution

Studies of relationship between ventilation, pollution exposure and environmental health of buildings: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1420326X16687602

Sadiq Khan: Ban cars from roads near schools to stop kids breathing toxic air: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/sadiq-khan-ban-cars-from-roads-near-schools-to-stop-kids-breathing-toxic-air-a3487126.htmlSadiq Khan has said cars should be banned from roads near schools in order to reduce air pollution.”

Only one person prosecuted in crackdown on chimney pollution: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/only-one-person-is-prosecuted-in-crackdown-on-chimney-pollution-fw56bzhhrOnly one person has been prosecuted under powers granted to councils to crack down on polluting fires in recent years despite 10,000 complaints being made, figures obtained by The Times show.”

Volkswagen’s Emissions Fraud May Affect Mortality Rate in Europe: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/06/science/volkswagen-emissions-scandal-air-pollution-deaths.html “...scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimate that 1,200 people in Europe will die prematurely, each losing as much as a decade of life, because of excess emissions from 2.6 million affected cars sold just in Germany.”

Car Sick: http://www.monbiot.com/2017/03/05/car-sick/A short, simple factsheet on the impacts of traffic pollution on children’s health

Response from Theresa May to MEDACT letter on reducing use of diesel: https://www.medact.org/2017/news/campaign-updates/response-theresa-may-prime-minister/A response has been received from Prime Minister Theresa May to the letter signed by nearly 300 doctors and other health professionals in February 2017, which called for action on diesel-related air pollution. In her response she recognises that diesel is a significant contributor to air pollution, and describes some of the ongoing initiatives to address air pollution at national and local levels.”

A Russian architect's dream to clean the air: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39180985A Russian architect hopes to realise his dream of a skyscraper that can filter dirty air - but is it just a pipe dream? BBC Russian finds out.”

The Trump EPA Wants to Gut California's Clean Air Rules: http://m.motherjones.com/environment/2017/03/emission-rules-epa-california-clean-airIn its ongoing jihad against federal regulations, the Trump administration has indicated some interest in targeting the ones that attempt to fight climate change. First in its sights: a funky law that gives the state of California the right to make its own rules on automotive emissions. But because of the way laws and business work, the California exemption is one of the most powerful environmental tools in the world.”

Food & food security

Food environments of young people: linking individual behaviour to environmental context: https://academic.oup.com/jpubhealth/article/39/1/95/3065726/Food-environments-of-young-people-linkingThis work provides details of ‘where’ young people obtain food and the nutritional consequences of choosing those food environments. While home food was a significant contributor to total dietary intake, food was obtained from a broad range of environments; particularly takeaway, fast food and education establishments.”

World Health Organization: Tackling food marketing to children in a digital world: trans-disciplinary perspectives: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/322226/Tackling-food-marketing-children-digital-world-trans-disciplinary-perspectives-en.pdf?ua=1WHO has called on Member States to introduce restrictions on marketing of HFSS foods to children, covering all media, including digital, and to close any regulatory loopholes

Between exposure, access and use: Reconsidering foodscape influences on dietary behaviours: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829216305664In this paper, we build on the fundamental position that outlet choices are conditioned by how much outlets’ attributes accommodate individuals’ constraints and preferences. We further argue that food outlets continuously experienced within individuals’ daily-path help people re-evaluate food acquisition possibilities, push them to form intentions, and shape their preferences for the choices they will subsequently make.”

Measures of the food environment: A systematic review of the field, 2007–2015: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829216300843The present review builds on and makes comparisons with a previous review examining food environment measures and expands the previous review to include a more in depth examination of reliability and validity of measures and study designs employed.”

Using Geographic Information Systems to measure retail food environments: Discussion of methodological considerations and a proposed reporting checklist (Geo-FERN): http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829216302799This discussion identifies common dimensions of methodological diversity across GIS-based food environment research

UK refuses EU offer of free school fruit and veg: http://www.fwi.co.uk/news/uk-refuses-eu-offer-free-school-fruit-veg.htmChildren across 26 EU countries will benefit from free fruit, vegetables and milk thanks to €250m (£218m) in EU funding for the 2017-18 school year. But the UK and Sweden have declined to take part in the scheme for fruit and vegetables – although they have signed up for free school milk.”

Corinna Hawkes – “Global Food System Challenges” https://www.medact.org/2017/resources/talks/corinna-hawkes-at-hpbw/Professor Corinna Hawkes provides a broad global perspective on the central challenges for food systems, as an opening to the Food stream of the conference.”

Can supermarkets encourage customers to cut food waste through social media? Analysis of UK campaign shows mixed results: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/can_supermarkets_encourage_customers_cut_food_waste_social_media_484na2_en.pdfA study has evaluated three types of media campaign conducted by a large UK supermarket to encourage shoppers to reduce their food waste. These used social media, an e-newsletter and a print/digital magazine, respectively. Although they all appeared to lead to reductions in food waste to some extent, similar behavioural changes were also seen for customers who had not participated in any of the campaigns.”

Tesco unveils online supplier food waste 'hotline': http://www.edie.net/news/5/Tesco-unveils-online-supplier-food-waste--hotline-/Tesco has today (13 March) launched an innovative online food waste 'hotline' to help the retailer work directly with suppliers and producers to identify and prevent potential supply chain food waste.”

Food issues census 2.0 out now: https://www.sustainweb.org/news/feb17_fec_food_issues_survey/This is the second time Sustain member the Food Ethics Council (FEC) has surveyed civil society organisations at work in the food sector, to see what they think the big issues are, who is being funded to do what, and how the landscape is changing. FEC launched its report in London on Monday 6 March.

Institute for Economic Affairs – Cheap as Chips. Report from the free market think tank on the impact of food taxes and subsidies: https://iea.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Cheap-as-Chips-PDF.pdfSince healthy food is generally cheaper than less healthy food, it is unlikely that taxes and/or subsidies would have a significant impact on dietary choices.”

Assessing farm sustainability to reflect the true cost of food: http://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/assessing-farm-sustainability-reflect-true-cost-foodCurrently, the price of food does not reflect the full costs and benefits associated with different farming systems. As a result, intensively produced food, which appears cheap, is causing serious damage to the environment, health and society. Conversely, sustainably produced food appears more expensive even though it is delivering many positive social and environmental benefits.”

New cross-party inquiry into ‘holiday hunger’: https://www.sustainweb.org/news/feb17_holidayhungerinquiry/The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger, a group of MPs and Peers, has launched an inquiry into hunger amongst children during the school holidays. This will examine the extent of hunger amongst children during the school holidays, as well as the impact it has on their life chances.

And finally…

When someone tells you, “The climate is always changing,” show them this cartoon: http://grist.org/science/when-someone-tells-you-the-climate-is-always-changing-show-them-this-cartoon/ - excellent infographic from XKCD

WMHPG news, information and resources 3 March 2017

We do not accept responsibility for the availability, reliability or content of these news items and do not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them.

News & information

Healthy planning & housing

How green is your city? These maps compare green spaces around the world: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/these-interactive-maps-show-you-green-space-in-cities-around-the-world/ “….researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) teamed up with World Economic Forum to create Treepedia, a website which measures and compares cities’ green canopies.”

Statsbuster – Housebuilding in England 2016: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Statsbuster--Housebuilding-in-England-2016/42622Key finding: Housebuilding in England declined slightly during the final quarter of 2016 resulting in fewer homes being built last year than in 2015.”

Bristol greenbelt 'needed for housing' think tank says: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-39104057A think tank has called for more homes on greenbelt land around Bristol and Bath.

The Centre for Cities says building on greenbelt is the only way of addressing the region's growing housing crisis.”

Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee – letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/environmental-audit/correspondence/170228-Chair-to-Andrea-Leadsom-RE-25-Year-Plan.pdfIt is essential that the 25-year plan for the environment and its framework is not delayed further. Can you inform me of the dates you expect the framework and final plan to be published?

91% of government land intended for housing not yet sold: http://www.spbroadway.com/politics-of-planning/91-of-government-land-intended-for-housing-not-yet-sold/In 2015 the Government announced that Whitehall Departments would be required to identify land sufficient to build 160,000 new homes, and to then sell these sites on for development. Nearly two years on, figures published last week show that only land suitable for around 14,000 new homes has actually been sold, with the land required for the remaining 146,000 new homes (91%) either not yet on the market, or not yet even identified.

Why we need experiments in land use: http://www.sharedassets.org.uk/inspiration/need-experiments-land-use/I think that rather than searching for ideal models, it is actually experimentation in sustainable land use might be the most important solution to the current problems facing land in the UK.”

Hoping for an urban utopia: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/christchurch-life/74431034/hoping-for-an-urban-utopiaIs there a formula for creating a happy and prosperous city?

Air quality and pollution

MEDACT – letter to Theresa May on increasing tax on diesel – wide media coverage. https://www.medact.org/2017/news/campaign-updates/media-coverage-diesel-letter-theresa-may/

More - http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/tax-diesel-cars-more-doctors-say-7rhkpvxmj

WHO’s commitment to air quality: from the 1950s to today: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/air-quality/news/news/2017/02/whos-commitment-to-air-quality-from-the-1950s-to-todayThe new WHO/Europe publication “Evolution of WHO air quality guidelines: past, present and future” summarizes the history of the development of these air quality guidelines and the role of the scientific evidence that formed the foundation of this work.”

Councils awarded £3.7m to tackle air pollution: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-awarded-3.7m-to-tackle-air-pollution/42599 The £3.7m is shared between 19 councils “The projects that will receive funding in the 2016/17 period include electric vehicle charging and infrastructure improvements and an electric vehicle car club in East Herts (£163,100), and a Clean Air Zone study by Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils (£498,600).”

Clean air ‘breath’ sheets to tackle London’s pollution crisis: https://www.londonnewsonline.co.uk/18916/clean-air-breath-sheets-tackle-londons-pollution-crisis/A ground-breaking material hailed by medical experts for its ability to absorb harmful airborne molecules and disperse cleaner air will be launched today in Leicester Square.”

British people unaware of pollution levels in the air they breathe – study: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/01/british-people-unaware-pollution-levels-air-breathe-friends-earthPeople across the UK are underestimating the impact of the air pollution crisis in their local areas, according to a new survey. Almost two thirds of respondents said they were concerned about the issue of air pollution, but only one in 10 said they thought the air they breathe is bad.”

Climate change and sustainability

Appropriate Civilization versus New Despotism: State of Play on 20th February 2017, one month into the Trump presidency: http://www.jeremyleggett.net/2017/02/appropriate-civilization-versus-new-despotism-state-of-play-on-20th-february-2017-one-month-into-the-trump-presidency/Suddenly believers in the possibility of a better civilization, one rooted in increasing human co-operation and harmony, find ourselves in a world where demagogues can now realistically plot the polar opposite: a new despotism rooted in rising isolationist nationalism and human conflict.”

Harvard School of Public Health – The impact of Climate Change on Health: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/climate-change/ A wide range of resources, podcasts, blogs and other information.

Sustainable development in the health and care system: http://www.sduhealth.org.uk/policy-strategy/reporting/sustainable-development-in-health-and-care-report-2017.aspx From the Sustainable Development Unit – “This report is the first in a series of annual publications from the SDU looking at progress of sustainable development across the health and care system.”

Surge in 4x4s threatens greenhouse gas targets: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/surge-in-4x4s-threatens-greenhouse-gas-targets-9jkt7ztj8Britain is almost certain to miss targets to reduce carbon dioxide pollution because of a boom in the popularity of large sport utility vehicles (SUVs). SUV registration soared by 23.3 per cent to 438,000 last year. Research by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) also blamed a political “anti-diesel agenda” that was pushing motorists from diesel towards petrol cars with higher carbon emissions.”

Germany’s plan for 100% electric cars may actually increase carbon emissions: https://theconversation.com/germanys-plan-for-100-electric-cars-may-actually-increase-carbon-emissions-72997Germany has ambitious plans for both electric cars and renewable energy. But it can’t deliver both. As things stand, Germany’s well-meaning but contradictory ambitions would actually boost emissions by an amount comparable with the present-day emissions of the entire country of Uruguay or the state of Montana.”

Heathrow 2.0: Airport launches sustainability super-strategy ahead of expansion: http://www.edie.net/news/6/Heathrow-Airport-sustainability-strategy-ahead-of-runway-expansion/A rapid transition to 100% renewable energy, the development of a Centre of Excellence for sustainable aviation, and the carbon-neutral expansion to a third runway are among the key commitments made by Heathrow Airport in a bold new CSR strategy.”

Abnormal Antarctic Heat, Surface Melt, Giant Cracks in Ice Shelves — More Troubling Signs of a World Tipping Toward Climate Chaos: https://robertscribbler.com/2017/01/23/abnormal-antarctic-heat-surface-melt-giant-cracks-in-ice-shelves-more-troubling-signs-of-a-world-tipping-toward-climate-chaos/The overall picture is of a critical frozen region undergoing rapid change due to the human-forced heating of our world — a warming that has brought Antarctica to a tipping point, for such fundamental alterations to Antarctic ice are now likely to bring about a quickening rate of sea-level rise the world over.

Jeremy Leggett - Appropriate Civilization versus New Despotism: State of Play on 20th February 2017, one month into the Trump presidency: http://www.jeremyleggett.net/2017/02/appropriate-civilization-versus-new-despotism-state-of-play-on-20th-february-2017-one-month-into-the-trump-presidency/Suddenly believers in the possibility of a better civilization, one rooted in increasing human co-operation and harmony, find ourselves in a world where demagogues can now realistically plot the polar opposite: a new despotism rooted in rising isolationist nationalism and human conflict.”

We’ve calculated the environmental cost of a loaf of bread – and what to do about it: https://theconversation.com/weve-calculated-the-environmental-cost-of-a-loaf-of-bread-and-what-to-do-about-it-73643In a new a study published in the journal Nature Plants, colleagues and I looked at the entire supply chain of a regular loaf – from seed to sandwich, via mill and bakery. We found that more than half its environmental impact arises not from food processing but from the production of the raw material, the wheat grain.”

Keep Britain Tidy calls for simpler recycling bin collections: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-39079272Household recycling levels are too low in England because council schemes are too confusing, campaigners claim.”

Coca-Cola backs plastic bottle deposit scheme: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3005220/coca-cola-backs-plastic-bottle-deposit-schemeDrinks giant previously opposed the idea, but now says it plans to launch trial return scheme in Scotland

Shell opens its first UK hydrogen car refuelling station: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3005123/shell-opens-its-first-uk-hydrogen-car-refuelling-stationShell has today opened its first hydrogen vehicle refuelling station in the UK at its Cobham service station on the M25, as well as announcing plans for two further stations later in 2017.”

'Multi-million pound' investment in latest UK energy storage projects confirmed: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3005656/multi-million-pound-investment-in-latest-uk-energy-storage-projects-confirmedThe UK's nascent energy storage sector received a further boost this week, after a new venture announced it is to invest a 'multi-million pound' sum in delivering two of the country's largest battery storage projects.”

Active travel and transport

Pedestrian-friendly routes encourage walking to work: http://www.bhfactive.org.uk/resources-and-publications-item/575/index.html

How bikes can save the world: http://bikestylespokane.com/2011/07/19/how-bikes-can-save-the-world/In September 2010 I participated in the first-ever Ignite Spokane (“Enlighten us–but make it quick”), which had the theme “Ideas that Will Save the World.” For those not familiar with the format, you have 5 minutes and can show 20 slides that must advance automatically. No losing your place!

And yes, I biked to the event in the dress and heels I’m wearing in the video.”

The Sinclair C5 is reborn: 1980s electric tricycle gets 21st century update from inventor's nephew: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/02/22/sinclair-c5-reborn-1980s-electric-tricycle-gets-21st-century/It is remembered as one of the biggest disasters in technology history and the moment when a celebrated inventor pushed the boundaries too far, but the Sinclair C5 is set for a comeback.”

Why Local Businesses Shouldn't Worry About Eliminating On-Street Parking: https://www.fastcoexist.com/3067515/why-local-businesses-shouldnt-worry-about-eliminating-on-street-parkingOnly a tiny fraction of people who parked on a Toronto street actually did any shopping there—and cyclists and pedestrians make more faithful customers.” From Canada – but with relevance to the UK.

Today’s Cars Are Parked 95% of the Time: http://fortune.com/2016/03/13/cars-parked-95-percent-of-time/Reports of the death of car-buying among millennials turn out to have been greatly exaggerated. But there’s one big reason ride-hailing services like Uber, and eventually autonomous vehicles, are still a threat to private car ownership. Put simply, we just don’t use our cars very much.”

Bike Lanes May Be The Most Cost-Effective Way To Improve Public Health: https://www.fastcoexist.com/3065591/bike-lanes-may-be-the-most-cost-effective-way-to-improve-public-healthA new study from researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health shows just how big those benefits can be. Per dollar spent, constructing bike lanes is a cheap way to improve public health.”

Yet another flawed congestion report: https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2017/3/1/yet-another-flawed-congestion-reportTwo words summarize our reaction to the new INRIX report: tantalizing and aggravating. The tantalizing part is the amazing data here: INRIX has astonishingly copious and detailed information about how fast traffic is moving, almost everywhere. The aggravating part:  it’s essentially just being used to generate scary–and inflated–statistics about traffic that shed precious little light on what we might do to actually solve real transportation problems.”

Food & food security

Widely accepted vision for agriculture may be inaccurate, misleading: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170222105236.htm'Food production must double by 2050 to feed the world's growing population.' This truism has been repeated so often in recent years that it has become widely accepted among academics, policymakers and farmers, but now researchers are challenging this assertion and suggesting a new vision for the future of agriculture. New research suggests that production likely will need to increase between 25 percent and 70 percent to meet 2050 food demand.”

Self-regulation of food advertising to children: an effective tool for improving the food marketing environment? http://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/768491/06_Reeve.pdfDrawing upon the theory of responsive regulation, the paper concludes by setting out a phased regulatory strategy that aims to strengthen government leadership in food industry self-regulation, with the objective of protecting children more effectively from exposure to unhealthy food marketing.”

Taking Action Beyond Food Banks in London: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-02-28/taking-action/Our campaign looks ‘beyond the food bank’ and identifies what London boroughs are doing and can do to reduce food insecurity in households across the city. While the work of the third sector in helping to alleviate hunger is critical, our initiative ensures the public sector steps up to its role.”

Food subsidies and taxes significantly improve dietary choices: http://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/food-subsidies-and-taxes-significantly-improve-dietary-choicesInterventions that alter food prices can improve people’s diets, leading to more healthy choices and fewer unhealthy choices

Resources and research

The prospective impact of food pricing on improving dietary consumption: A systematic review and meta-analysis: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0172277These prospective results, largely from interventional studies, support efficacy of subsidies to increase consumption of healthful foods; and taxation to reduce intake of unhealthful beverages and foods. Use of subsidies and combined multicomponent interventions appear most effective.”

Top 10 resources on the use of evidence: http://www.alliance4usefulevidence.org/top-10-resources-on-the-use-of-evidence/I thought I would share our top 10 guides to improving the quality, design and methods for effective evidence use.”

Marcus Grant: European Healthy City Network Phase V: patterns emerging for healthy urban planning: http://linkis.com/academic.oup.com/hea/q6EW6This article also provides recommendations for future phases of the WHO European Healthy Cities programme, posing questions to better address governance and equity in spatial planning.”

World Health Organisation - Urban green spaces and health: A review of evidence: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/321971/Urban-green-spaces-and-health-review-evidence.pdf?ua=1This report summarizes the available evidence of beneficial effects of urban green spaces, such as improved mental health, reduced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, obesity and risk of type 2 diabetes, and improved pregnancy outcomes.”

Air quality: a briefing for directors of public health: http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/publications/-/journal_content/56/10180/8324922/PUBLICATIONDirectors of Public Health have a crucial role to play as leaders and influencers, shaping how local approaches can help clean up air in their area most effectively. This briefing provides the information to help Directors of Public Health consider the appropriate public health response to air pollution in their area.”

The cost-effectiveness of bike lanes in New York City: http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/early/2016/09/09/injuryprev-2016-042057.shortWe conclude that investments in bicycle lanes come with an exceptionally good value because they simultaneously address multiple public health problems. Investments in bike lanes are more cost-effective than the majority of preventive approaches used today.”

Sustainability and public health: a guide to good practice: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/sustainability-and-public-health-a-guide-to-good-practiceThese resources can help health professionals and other practitioners make informed decisions about the public health benefits of sustainable development.”

Are perceptions of the environment in the workplace ‘neighbourhood’ associated with commuter walking?: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140516000037Creating ‘pedestrian friendly’ environments in workplace surroundings may be important for encouraging walking for the daily commute to work. Such environments would include convenient routes, suitable and maintained pedestrian infrastructure and convenient access to public transport.

How is your city performing – Centre for Cities: http://www.centreforcities.org/city/birmingham/The Centre’s research focuses on the UK’s 63 largest cities and towns, defined as primary urban areas (PUAs). Use the right hand menu to find the latest economic data for each of these towns and cities. You can also explore all the data, create maps, bar charts, scatter plots and tables using the interactive city by city data tool.”

From the RTPI – Dementia and Town Planning: http://rtpi.org.uk/media/2213533/dementia_and_town_planning_final.compressed.pdfHow spatial planning can create better environments for people living with Dementia

Architecture, the urban environment and severe psychosis: Aetiology: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/journal2-psychosis.htmlThe finding that schizophrenia and other severe psychoses are largely urban phenomena raises questions about why this is the case and how the physical environment affects the brain. This article outlines the background for the Ecological Hypothesis for Schizophrenia…”

Exercise Bargain: Are Walking Loops Worth the Investment? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5289920/Unlike sidewalks, walking loops are designed specifically for uninterrupted exercise…. After analyzing data for more than 170 parks, Cohen and colleagues found that those with walking loops had more users, more of whom engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity, than those without these amenities.”

Balancing Upstream and Downstream Measures to Tackle the Obesity Epidemic: A Position Statement from the European Association for the Study of Obesity: http://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/455960Promoting healthy body weight in the population requires a whole system response that includes upstream initiatives to tackle these ‘obesogenic' environments. National and international actions such as trade treaties, fiscal measures, and regulation of the food industry, as well as national and local actions involving design of the built environment and transport systems, provision of public green space, and regulation of retail and fast-food outlets can improve health and help to prevent obesity.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 24 February 2017

We do not accept responsibility for the availability, reliability or content of these news items and do not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them.

News & information

Healthy environments & healthy planning

The forgotten story of how a toxic spill and a book launched Britain’s environmental movement: https://theconversation.com/the-forgotten-story-of-how-a-toxic-spill-and-a-book-launched-britains-environmental-movement-72895When in 1963 some farm animals in the parish of Smarden in Kent began to sicken and die, suspicions fell on a nearby pesticide factory run by a division of Rentokil Laboratories. The events that followed amounted to one of the first environmental scandals in contemporary British history, one that would galvanise the environmental movement.”

A foundation to building: depth psychology and architecture: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/a-foundation-to-building-depth-psychology-and-architectureMy thesis is this: The foundation upon which our modern buildings and minds are constructed is the same. This foundation is not a material foundation but rather it is an idea, or image, if you will.”

City visions: Dr Paul Cureton AoU: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/city-visions-dr-paul-cureton-aou/in summary how we vision spaces whether through digital or analogue or data led methods is vital; these methods act as agents and this is a critical area for understanding contemporary urbanismI have been continually interested in the role that city visions play in shaping the future of cities, the visual methods employed by professions across the built environment, and the wider urban landscape at strategic level.”

101 small ways you can improve your city: http://www.curbed.com/2016/9/22/13019420/urban-design-community-building-placemakingWe've scoured cities all around the world for small ideas with huge potential, and asked some of our favorite urban thinkers for tiny ways to make outsized transformations. And we divided them all up into six sections to help focus your efforts.”

The Pursuit of Happiness: Mental Health in Cities: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/pursuit-happiness-mental-health-cities-christian-anton-robertsonIs mental health a global health issue? Of course it is. Mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, account for 7% to 13% of the global burden of disease. So, the more interesting question then becomes: as the world continues to urbanize, how will this change?

Your Neighborhood Affects How You Age: https://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2017/02/how-your-neighborhood-affects-how-you-age/517347/A new report lays out the current research on the ways your immediate surroundings influence your health and aging process.”

Essen’s award-winning blueprint for greening the postindustrial city: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/essens-award-winning-blueprint-greening-postindustrial-cityKrupp Park is just one symbol of Essen’s transformation from a city of coal and steel into a model of environmental consciousness. And it’s one reason why the European Commission declared Essen as Europe’s “Green Capital” for 2017. This is the first time the award has gone to a city with a mining and industrial past, offering a role model for urban areas struggling with the effects of deindustrialization.”

Thousands of spills at US oil and gas fracking sites: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39032748Up to 16% of hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells spill liquids every year, according to new research from US scientists. They found that there had been 6,600 releases from these fracked wells over a ten-year period in four states.”

Environmental damage from cotton buds: http://www.fidra.org.uk/projects/cotton-buds/Despite having been recognised as a problem for at least 20 years, they are a continuing pollution issue. Cotton bud stems make up more than 50% of the sewage related debris recorded in surveys of UK beaches in recent years, with the highest figures to be found on Scottish beaches.”

Sainsbury's becomes first retailer to commit to 100% plastic-free cotton buds: http://www.edie.net/news/7/Sainsbury-s-becomes-first-retailer-to-pledge-100--plastic-cotton-buds-banSainsbury's has today (22 February) become the first British retailer to publicly commit to the complete removal of plastic from its cotton buds, as the supermarket group aims to replace the current sticks with a fully biodegradable option by the end of 2017.”

Climate change and sustainability

Why are carbon emissions so much higher in Swansea and Middlesbrough? http://www.citymetric.com/fabric/why-are-carbon-emissions-so-much-higher-swansea-and-middlesbrough-2812Cities, inevitably, are a big part of this. They are congregations of a lot of people, consuming resources, driving to work, and working in CO2-emitting offices, warehouses, and factories. But some are worse than others.”

Watch the ever-growing rift in Antarctica’s fourth biggest ice shelf: http://grist.org/article/watch-the-ever-growing-rift-in-antarcticas-fourth-biggest-ice-shelf/The rift is expected to soon cleave a monster iceberg off the Larsen C ice shelf. Scientists estimate the iceberg could be up to 1,930 square miles in size, or roughly 10 percent of the whole ice shelf. That’s the equivalent of Delaware (or twice the size of Wales if you prefer Commonwealth measurements).”

Applications for ‘green’ waste sites down by 20%: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Applications-for-green-waste-sites-down-by-20/42571The number of planning applications to build new ‘greener’ waste management sites has dropped by 20% in a year, raising fears the current system could become over-stretched, new figures have revealed.”

Preston New Road fracking decision to face legal challenge: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-39031574The government decision to allow fracking to take place in Lancashire is to face a judicial review.”

POD Point CEO: Investors now understand electric vehicles are an 'inevitability': http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/interview/3004905/pod-point-ceo-investors-now-understand-electric-vehicles-are-an-inevitabilityThe electric vehicles market is reaching a "tipping point" as investors and the public alike are starting to accept they will become a mainstream part of the transport network in the coming decade. ...”

Report: Millions of UK pensions vulnerable to climate risk: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/analysis/3004996/report-millions-of-uk-pensions-vulnerable-to-climate-riskPension provision is a growing headache for the government. An ageing population, years of low interest rates and sluggish growth levels, coupled with the public's apathy for retirement saving, means there...”

Offshore wind farm construction on a high – statistics: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/491/planning_news_-_23_february_2017The total construction value for projects in the offshore wind farm sector reached £4.1 billion in 2016, increasing from £2.45 billion in 2015, according to latest statistics.”

Coders to the rescue for NASA’s Earth science data: http://grist.org/article/coders-to-the-rescue-for-nasas-earth-science-data/ “…But instead of enjoying the beautiful day, 200 adults had willingly sardined themselves into a fluorescent-lit room in the bowels of Doe Library to rescue federal climate data.”

Active travel and transport

City Centre to Selly Oak: http://www.bhamcyclerevolution.org.uk/page/SellyOak_routeThis route will provide 4km of two-way, fully segregated cycleway along the A38, linking Selly Oak and the University of Birmingham with the city centre.”

Sustrans Policy Scan: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/policy-evidence/our-policy-work/policy-scan

ESRC - Supporting large-scale transition to electric cars: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/news-events-and-publications/evidence-briefings/supporting-large-scale-transition-to-electric-cars/Moving to a low-carbon economy is an important part of the Government's Industrial Strategy. A large-scale uptake of electric cars will enable significant cuts in carbon emissions, but needs policy support.”

End of the road? Why it might be time to ditch your car: https://theconversation.com/end-of-the-road-why-it-might-be-time-to-ditch-your-car-72097The average car is stationary 96% of the time. That’s a fairly consistent finding around the world, including in Australia. A car is typically parked at home 80% of the time, parked elsewhere 16% of the time, and on the move just 4% of the time. And that doesn’t include the increasing time we spend at a standstill in traffic.”

UK is third most traffic-congested country in Europe – study: http://news.sky.com/story/uk-is-third-most-traffic-congested-country-in-europe-study-10774977British drivers are spending an average of 32 hours a year stuck in jams during peak periods, the study showed. The direct and indirect costs of hold-ups reached £31bn last year - an average of £968 per driver, researchers said.”

Paris removes traffic lights to fix congestion and improve safety: http://www.msn.com/en-gb/cars/news/paris-removes-traffic-lights-to-fix-congestion-and-improve-safety/ar-AAmVo3o?li=BBoPJKXIn a bold move designed to reduce congestion and improve road safety Paris has begun to remove traffic lights from its streets. According to expat publication The Connexion, the Mairie has introduced a scheme that sees traffic light junctions replaced with give-way junctions, 30kph (19mph) zones, roundabouts and even the priorité à droite.”

'Get on your bike' - Norman Tebbit heckled as he blames cyclists for air pollution: https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/transport/road-transport/dot-commons-diary/83532/get-your-bike-norman-tebbit-heckled-he

Britain's roads worse than poorer countries including Namibia and Ecuador, shocking report reveals: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/britains-roads-are-worse-than-in-some-poorer-countries-shocking-report-reveals-a3472861.htmlBritain’s roads rank worse than Namibia, Malaysia and Ecuador as a shocking new report shows the UK is trailing behind poorer nations for road quality.”

Food and food security

Fifth of world's food lost to over-eating and waste, study finds: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170221101024.htmAlmost 20 per cent of the food made available to consumers is lost through over-eating or waste, a study suggests. The world population consumes around 10 per cent more food than it needs, while almost nine per cent is thrown away or left to spoil, researchers say.”

The Influence of Income and Prices on Global Dietary Patterns by Country, Age, and Gender: https://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/pub-details/?pubid=82544Worldwide changes in eating habits are contributing to a global rise in obesity and related noncommunicable diseases (diabetes, heart disease, and stroke), across all countries, including low- and middle-income. To address this issue, this report investigates how income and prices influence dietary habits globally.”

The supermarket food gamble may be up: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/20/supermarket-food-gamble-brexit-climate-migrantBrexit, migration and climate pressures mean our ‘too big to fail’ global food chain could unravel

KIND CEO Daniel Lubetzky Pledges $25M To Fight Unhealthy Food Industry Influence: http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2017/02/21/kind-ceo-daniel-lubetzky-pledges-25-million-to-fight-unhealthy-food-industry-influence/#420584ed5d05Daniel Lubetzky, the founder and CEO of KIND Healthy Snacks, will be contributing $25 million ($5 million initially and then $20 million more over the next 10 years) to launch an organization called Feed the Truth aimed at more transparency behind nutrition research, information and policy.”

Sustainable Food Cities – Webinars: http://sustainablefoodcities.org/webinarsWe run a rolling series of webinars on key food issues. If you have issues you would like us to cover or would be willing to present at a webinar we organise on your behalf, please do get in touch. For details on the latest or upcoming webinars see below. For recordings, presentations and/or notes from past webinars click on the tabs on the right.”

Air quality and pollution

Air Necessities: Place-based solutions to a pollution crisis: http://www.respublica.org.uk/our-work/publications/air-necessities-place-based-solutions-pollution-crisis/ Report from ResPublica think tank. “…sets out how cities all over the country can take the lead in tackling air pollution caused by road traffic. Air pollution, particularly that generated from road traffic, kills the equivalent of 40,000 people each year, and costs the NHS and the economy billions of pounds. Increased use of diesel vehicles has led to unacceptable levels of pollution, and the effects are worst in our city centres, with 16 currently over the legal limit for Nitrogen oxide pollution.”

More than 500 old taxis to be forced off Birmingham streets - and drivers are not happy: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/500-old-taxis-forced-birmingham-12608981#ICID=nsmMore than 500 black taxi cabs could be run off the road by stringent new anti-pollution measures in what has been called a ‘catastrophe’ for the trade.”

Diesel cars could be charged to drive into Birmingham city centre: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/diesel-cars-could-charged-drive-12545996

London to introduce £10 vehicle pollution charge, says Sadiq Khan: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/17/london-to-introduce-vehicle-pollution-charge-in-october-says-mayor-sadiq-khanMayor says owners of more polluting cars will have to pay extra levy from October to drive within congestion charge zone

65% of British public support new Clean Air Act, says survey: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/feb/14/65-percent-british-public-want-clean-air-act-pollution-harmful-uk-surveyMore than half of the British public believe air pollution levels across the UK are damaging to their health and almost two-thirds back proposals for new laws to tackle the issue, according to research.”

The American view of air quality in London - A Push for Diesel Leaves London Gasping Amid Record Pollution: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/02/17/world/europe/london-smog-air-pollution.htmlLondon is choking from record levels of pollution, much of it caused by diesel cars and trucks, as well as wood-burning fires in private homes, a growing trend. It has been bad enough to evoke comparisons to the Great Smog of December 1952, when fumes from factories and house chimneys are thought to have killed as many as 12,000 Londoners.”

Living next to a busy road is as bad for you as passive smoking 10 cigarettes a day, warn scientists: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4237118/Living-near-busy-road-bad-passive-smoking-10-day.html

VW boss tells ‘blatant lies’ about diesel emissions scandal: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/vw-boss-tells-blatant-lies-about-diesel-emissions-scandal-9hkj8c0fgMPs condemned the boss of Volkswagen in Britain for telling “blatant lies” yesterday after he denied that the carmaker deceived customers during the diesel emissions scandal.”

London in line for technology trial to cut car emissions: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/london-in-line-for-technology-trial-to-cut-car-emissions-a3472136.htmlLondon could become the world’s first “pay to pollute” capital after a competition was launched to trial radical new emissions-cutting technology.”

10 ways to beat air pollution: how effective are they? https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/feb/15/10-ways-to-beat-air-pollution-how-effective-are-theyFrom particle-zapping bus stops to compact ‘smart’ air filters, we examine the methods that tackle the symptoms of air pollution

And finally….

A bus stop in Melbourne's north has been transformed into a 1970s living room: http://www.smh.com.au/victoria/a-bus-stop-in-melbournes-north-has-been-transformed-into-a-1970s-living-room-20170216-guewul.html

Resources and research

EU Science for Environmental Policy - Drivers of renewable energy innovation in the EU: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/drivers_renewable_energy_innovation_eu_483na1_en.pdfThe effects of market regulation and environmental policy on eight types of renewable energy in the EU are identified in a study which examines nearly three decades’ worth of data.”

Older People’s Experiences of Mobility and Mood in an Urban Environment: A Mixed Methods Approach Using Electroencephalography (EEG) and Interviews: http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/14/2/151This paper reports on research that explores older people’s responses to urban places and their mobility in and around the built environment. The project aim was to understand how older people experience different urban environments using a mixed methods approach including electroencephalography (EEG), self-reported measures, and interview results.”

Essential evidence on a page: No. 158 - The Just City: Equal entitlement: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-158-just-city-equal-entitlementTop line: Just transport policies consider inequalities in terms of access or exposure to risks, based on an underlying principle of ‘equal concern’. This principle proposes that an individual's entitlements are limited by the equal entitlements of others, and that capable individuals have responsibility to provide for others.”

Urban Big Data Centre http://ubdc.ac.uk/  “Funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the Urban Big Data Centre is a unique facility that brings together the expertise of urban social scientists, data scientists, and statisticians from the University of Glasgow and seven partner universities. We support researchers, policymakers, businesses, third sector organisations, and everyday citizens to harness the potential of big data to develop solutions for environmentally sustainable, economically resilient, and socially just cities.”

-          Projects include

Building a big data picture of Glasgow: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/news-events-and-publications/news/news-items/building-a-big-data-picture-of-glasgowAn innovative research project from the Urban Big Data Centre is collecting 'big data' – combining large and diverse sources of data – to create a detailed picture of Glasgow, helping urban planners and local authorities to find the best policies.”

Urban indicators: http://ubdc.ac.uk/research/research-projects/methods-research/urban-indicators/Urban Indicators is a centre-wide research project intended to bring together all of the UBDC's research in the goal of turning data into policy-relevant information. It will generate outputs which inform policymaking and invite action on urban problems.”

Lethal and illegal: Solving London’s air pollution crisis: http://www.ippr.org/read/lethal-and-illegal-solving-londons-air-pollution-crisisPoor air quality in London is causing a public health problem of the highest order: air pollution is the second most significant factor in determining health, after smoking. If London is to continue to flourish and prosper as a global city it must tackle this air pollution crisis.”

World Transport Policy and Practice. Volume 22.1/2. May 2016: http://worldtransportjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/30th-Mayopt.pdf

INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard: http://inrix.com/scorecard/The INRIX 2016 Global Traffic Scorecard uses a new methodology to provide a data-rich evaluation of urban travel, traffic health and vibrancy for over 1,000 cities around the world.”

Cyclists’ perceptions of motorist harassment pre- to post-trial of the minimum passing distance road rule amendment in Queensland, Australia: http://www.publish.csiro.au/he/he16119Minimum passing distance rules may not be improving cyclists’ perceptions of motorists’ behaviours. Additional strategies are required to create a supportive environment for cycling.”

Spatial designs to Enhance Early Development and Wellbeing in Urban Environments: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/journal2-spatialdesign.htmlThe built environment has been shown to play a significant role in shaping the lives of young children especially in urban environments

Future of cities: a visual history of the future: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-cities-a-visual-history-of-the-futureReport exploring the ways future cities have been depicted in print and on film over the last 100 years.” – see figure below.

WMHPG news, information and resources 17 February 2017

We do not accept responsibility for the availability, reliability or content of these news items and do not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them.

News & information

Healthy planning & housing

Planning processes & healthy cities: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/planning-processes-healthy-cities/The way in which we plan our towns can have enormous benefit to our health. Good planning can hardwire “health” into the fabric and infrastructure. Conversely getting it wrong can have adverse consequences. Here are a relatively random set of thoughts on the interfaces for those getting into this space.”

Loophole opens way for green belt homes: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/loophole-paves-way-for-green-belt-homes-3d6djzsdfThousands more homes could be built on the green belt because of loopholes in the government’s plan to accelerate housebuilding, according to a conservation group.”

Healthy Sustainable Economies: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/healthy-sustainable-economies/What does a “healthy, sustainable economy” look like. Some ideas

Academy of Urbanism: City Visions: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/city-visions-dr-paul-cureton-aou/In the work ‘A Visual History of the Future’ co-authored with Nick Dunn and Serena Pollastri, Lancaster University the report explored the ways in which future cities have been depicted in print and on film over the last 100 years in the United Kingdom, creating a taxonomy of representations in order to identify key future categories of operation.”

Brexit: Environmental standards could be eroded warn peers: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38959996Upholding environmental standards after Brexit will be hard, peers have said, warning of "worrying complacency" in government about the risks ahead.”

Housing in later life in Wales: Building the climate for change: http://www.housinglin.org.uk/Topics/type/resource/?cid=10448&msg=0

Prioritising our ageing population in the planning system: http://www.housinglin.org.uk/Topics/type/resource/?cid=10449The planning system in Wales has considerable untapped potential to increase the supply of housing that is suitable for an ageing population.”

Government complacency risks damaging UK environment, peers warn in Brexit paper: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3004561/government-complacency-risks-damaging-uk-environment-peers-warn-in-brexit-paperThe government is showing "worrying complacency" over the lack of any domestic enforcement mechanisms to ensure environmental laws are upheld after Britain leaves the EU, peers have warned today.”

Government cannot address housing crisis without building on green belt: http://www.centreforcities.org/press/government-cannot-address-housing-crisis-without-building-green-belt/

Govt report finds Community Infrastructure Levy needs major reform: http://www.transport-network.co.uk/Govt-report-finds-Community-Infrastructure-Levy-needs-major-reform/13800The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is not raising as much money as anticipated and needs significant reform, a Government-commissioned report has found.”

Caroline Lucas: UK environment faces 'cocktail of risks' from Brexit: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3004453/caroline-lucas-uk-faces-a-cocktail-of-risks-from-brexitGreen MP warns Brexit poses a major threat to UK environment, and calls on government to issue a 'Green Guarantee' that environmental standards will not slip

Superblocks: Barcelona’s war on cars: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/video_and_audio/features/magazine-38895435/38895435One man is determined to change Barcelona forever.”

A ‘green guarantee’ could stop Brexit ruining our environment (Caroline Lucas): https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/13/green-guarantee-brexit-eu-environmental-protection-law?CMP=twt_a-environment_b-gdnecoMembership of the EU has been essential for environmental protection law – safeguards are vital when it is transferred to domestic statute books

Birmingham creates city development blueprint with global dimension: http://workplaceinsight.net/birmingham-creates-city-development-blueprint-global-dimension/Researchers at the University of Birmingham have developed a way of investigating or diagnosing the challenges facing their home city that could be used to help improve the lives of city dwellers around the world.”

House of Commons CLG committee – report on parks. Wide media coverage:

BBC: Public parks in danger of falling into neglect, warn MPs: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38935787

Telegraph: British parks are returning to a period of neglect not seen since the 1980s, MPS warn: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/11/britishparks-returning-period-neglect-not-seen-since-1980s-mps/

Guardian: UK's cash-starved parks at tipping point of decline, MPs warn: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/feb/11/uks-cash-starved-parks-at-tipping-point-of-decline-mps-warn

Shared Assets: http://www.sharedassets.org.uk/policy/securing-future-public-parks/

Threat to sheltered housing risks derailing Housing White Paper: http://www.24housing.co.uk/news/threat-to-sheltered-housing-risks-derailing-housing-white-paper/ ““Devastating” proposals for a new funding regime threaten both existing and future sheltered housing, according to a joint submission by the three largest specialist providers.

Architects warn hundreds of public buildings could be unsafe: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Architects-warn-hundreds-of-public-buildings-could-be-unsafe/42541Hundreds of public buildings constructed since 2000 could be unsafe, architects have warned. An inquiry into 17 unsafe schools built in Edinburgh found it was mere ‘timing and luck’ that the collapse of a wall at a primary school last year did not result in the deaths of any children.” Main report here: http://files.constantcontact.com/bf7ade29001/7aa7023e-fb85-46ea-9e2b-8f968639cb65.pdf

Active travel & transport

TED talk – Jeff Speck: 4 ways to make a city more walkable: http://www.ted.com/talks/jeff_speck_4_ways_to_make_a_city_more_walkableFreedom from cars, freedom from sprawl, freedom to walk your city! City planner Jeff Speck shares his "general theory of walkability" — four planning principles to transform sprawling cities of six-lane highways and 600-foot blocks into safe, walkable oases full of bike lanes and tree-lined streets.”

How opening your car door like the Dutch could save someone's life: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/the-dutch-reach-how-opening-car-door-like-the-dutch-could-save-lives-cycling/Titter all your like but the Dutch Reach is no laughing matter. It's no euphemism, but the name of a simple manoeuvre that, if widely adopted by motorists, could save lives and help elevate the reputation of Britain’s roads to that of those of oft-revered cities such as Amsterdam or Copenhagen.”

Driverless car owners will need 'two-in-one' insurance policies under new Government plans: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/09/driverless-car-owners-will-need-two-in-one-insurance-policies/The arrival of self-driving cars will see motorists required to take out dual insurance policies in case their car spins out of control, the Government is due to announce.”

New traffic peak frustrates motorists and campaigners: http://www.transport-network.co.uk/New-traffic-peak-frustrates-motorists-and-campaigners/13788The Provisional Road Traffic Estimates for Great Britain in 2016, published by the Department for Transport, give a provisional figure of 320.5 billion vehicle miles travelled on the country’s roads during the year. This was 1.2% higher than 2015 and a record level, 2% higher than the pre-recession peak in the year ending September 2007

Diversity and cycling: https://www.ptrc-training.co.uk/News/TabId/1522/ArtMID/6886/ArticleID/10920/Diversity-and-Cycling.aspxWhile very few of us cycle generally, among those who do cycling is hugely unequal. And people who could benefit most from cycling are least likely to cycle. Men cycle a lot more than women, for instance, yet it’s women who have lower car access, lower incomes, and more chained and escort trips – and so greater need for cheap door-to-door transport. Older people are the least likely to cycle but would reap the largest health gains.”

Brent Toderian: Don’t “Balance” Modes — Prioritize Walking, Biking, and Transit: http://denver.streetsblog.org/2017/02/09/brent-toderian-dont-balance-modes-prioritize-walking-biking-and-transit/Successful multimodal cities aren’t just about what your city starts doing — i.e., funding transit — it’s what you stop doing — i.e., widening roads. And starting to do something is a lot harder for cities than stopping something, because you get credit for investing in a bike lane.”

The Beauty of Transport - HIGHWAY/ART INTERSECTION https://thebeautyoftransport.com/2017/02/15/highwayart-intersection-intersection-repairs-portland-or-usa/Hey presto, an intersection had become a community focal point. The project had brought people together to undertake the work and created a lasting asset for the neighbourhood. ….. suggested that the best way to take forward the project might simply be to get on with it, permission or no, in the grand American tradition of non-violent civil disobedience.” An example of permission vs forgiveness?

Climate change & sustainability

Government accused of trying to kill off UK solar industry before it can become cheapest form of electricity: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/solar-energy-uk-government-accused-trying-to-kill-off-climate-change-theresa-may-a7570161.htmlOfficial figures project solar will be less expensive than gas in the next few years, but a massive new tax hike could put that at risk

More than 70 per cent of councils lack 'solar strategy': http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3004614/more-than-70-per-cent-of-councils-lack-solar-strategyAlmost three-quarters of UK councils have no solar deployment strategy and no plans for new installations in the next five years, FOI data reveals

Urine batteries and impossible food: the best green innovations of the week: http://www.edie.net/news/8/Urine-batteries-and-impossible-food--the-best-green-innovations-of-the-weekIn a week where businesses ramped-up resource efficiency methods, edie rounds up some of the latest and greatest green innovations that could strengthen and already solid business case for low-carbon technology.”

Video - Annie Quick – “Equality and Sustainability: Where does the UK stand?” “Annie Quick, lead for Wellbeing and Inequality at the New Economics Foundation, outlines some of the issues around inequality and the environment in the UK, considers the political context, and attempts to offer a hope for the future.”

National Energy Action – Community Action on Fuel Poverty: http://www.nea.org.uk/advice/

Survey reveals 'discernible shift' towards public acceptance of climate change: http://www.edie.net/news/9/Discernible-shift-towards-public-acceptance-of-climate-change/The ComRes poll, which surveyed 2,045 British adults, found that 64% believed that man-made climate change is happening, an increase on the 57% who agreed with this view in 2014. Damage to wildlife and nature and an increase in flooding are the chief concerns for UK citizens, at 80% and 73% respectively.”

Plastic bottle 'tax' unlikely as Government rejects deposit scheme proposal: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/15/plastic-bottle-tax-unlikely-government-rejects-deposit-scheme/The Government is likely to reject proposals for a plastic bottle charge, which had been suggested as a way to encourage recycling and crack down on waste clogging up landfill sites.”

Over diagnosis – a new frontier in green and carbon: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/over-diagnosis-a-new-frontier-in-green-and-carbon/ An interesting discussion of how healthcare can be ‘greened’, looking at the role of over-diagnosis leading to unnecessary treatment, use of resources & increased carbon footprint.

Food & food security

The future of food: Prof Tim Lang: http://boroughmarket.org.uk/articles/the-future-of-food-prof-tim-langFrom new technology to the next big trends: in an exclusive series of interviews for Borough Market Daniel Tapper asks some of Britain’s most respected experts to foresee the future of food

How do UK dietary guidelines compare for sustainability?: https://www.medact.org/2017/blogs/uk-dietary-guidelines-compare-sustainability/UK dietary guidelines are designed to promote healthy eating by providing accessible advice to the public. But what we eat doesn’t only impact on our individual health, it also has much larger impacts on the health of our planet – upon which human health is reliant.”

Vegetable shortages should be a 'wake-up call' for UK food security – Walker: http://www.thescottishfarmer.co.uk/news/15081067.Wake_up_call_for_UK_food_security/This week has provided a wake up call to all those who do not take food security seriously. UK food security levels have fallen from 75% in 1991 to 62% now and August 14 marks the day in the year when the British larder would be bare if we fed the nation only on British food.”

UK food supply at risk from climate change – Defra: http://www.fwi.co.uk/news/uk-food-supply-at-risk-from-climate-change-defra.htm

“Commercial determinants of health” - How big food and drink are using sport: http://fuseopenscienceblog.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/how-big-food-and-drink-are-using-sport.htmlYou don't have to do much travelling to realise that the unhealthy alliance between sport and the Food and Drink Industry isn't only an issue in the UK.” –

Air quality & pollution

Air pollution 'final warning' from European Commission to UK: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38980510The European Commission has sent a "final warning" to the UK over breaches of air pollution limits. It said limits had been repeatedly exceeded in 16 areas including London, Birmingham, Leeds, and Glasgow.”

Air pollution: Commission warns GERMANY, FRANCE, SPAIN, ITALY and the UNITED KINGDOM of continued air pollution breaches -  EU pursuing legal action against member states for failing to comply with their obligations under EU law: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-17-234_en.htmIn its monthly package of infringement decisions, the European Commission is pursuing legal action against Member States for failing to comply with their obligations under EU law. These decisions, covering various sectors and EU policy areas, aim to ensure the proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.”

Birmingham taxi emission targets threaten 2,000 taxis: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-38990253Hundreds of taxi drivers claim they could be put out of business by a bid to reduce pollution in Birmingham.”

What's air pollution like where you are? Share your experiences: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/17/whats-air-pollution-like-where-you-are-share-your-experiences?CMP=share_btn_twAir pollution has risen by 8% in in five years with fast-growing cities in the developing world worst affected, according to the WHO. We want to explore its impact on the daily lives of people around the world. If you live in a city that is affected by toxic air or you work in air quality control, we’d like to hear from you.”

Commuters warned of new air pollution risk: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/commuters-warned-of-new-air-pollution-risk-n53q82c09? “Travelling by public transport exposes commuters to up to eight times as much air pollution as those who drive to work, a groundbreaking study found.”

Doctors lead campaign to cut pollution danger from diesel cars: http://www.aol.co.uk/living/2017/02/14/doctors-lead-campaign-to-cut-pollution-danger-from-diesel-cars/The recently formed Doctors Against Diesel group is campaigning for greater awareness of the health impacts of diesel emissions and for action to reduce the number of vehicles using the polluting fuel in towns and cities.”

China is About to Build Vertical Forest to Combat City Smog: http://theantimedia.org/china-vertical-forest-combat-smog/With much of the developed world looking to China to take the lead on the highly controversial issue of climate change, it was reported this week that the global power will construct two ‘vertical forest’ towers in the major city of Nanjing in an effort to combat greenhouse gas emissions.”

Texts to warn of surge in smog: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/texts-to-warn-of-surge-in-smog-33kpq20fwA smog early warning system could be created to alert people across the UK with asthma, heart conditions or lung disease to stay indoors when air pollution is about to surge.”

Tipping point: revealing the cities where exercise does more harm than good: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/feb/13/tipping-point-cities-exercise-more-harm-than-goodIn at least 15 cities, air pollution has now become so bad that the danger to health of just 30 minutes of cycling outweighs the benefits of exercise altogether, according to new research

Sadiq Khan: government must pay drivers £3,500 to scrap diesel cars: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/12/london-mayor-plans-to-scrap-dieselsLondon mayor says £500m plan could help tackle growing crisis over poor air quality in the capital

Motorists shun diesel cars while eco-friendly sales rise: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38880019Motorists are shunning diesel cars, as they turn to buying vehicles that are much more eco-friendly, industry figures suggest.”

Resources and research

Not strictly healthy planning or environments – but a useful (and brief) summary of the history of public health & inequalities. From William Farr, to Chadwick, through the founding of the NHS and the  Crossman Formula, to the Black, Acheson & Marmot reports. With reflections on the political context: https://www.york.ac.uk/media/che/documents/papers/researchpapers/CHERP142_economics_health_inequality_NHS.pdf

House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee: Public Parks - Seventh Report of Session 2016–17: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmcomloc/45/45.pdf

Healthy Streets for London: Prioritising walking, cycling and public transport to create a healthy city: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/healthy-streets-for-london.pdf

New research into commuter exposure to air pollution: http://www.ciwem.org/new-research-into-commuter-exposure-to-air-pollution/Drivers in London are causing the most pollution per commuter, a new study by the University of Surrey has found. But drivers themselves are the commuters least exposed to harmful particulate matter (PM), when compared with those taking the underground or the bus.”

Total global agricultural land footprint associated with UK food supply 1986–2011: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378017301176Our analysis shows that 85% of the UK’s total land footprint is associated with meat and dairy production, but only 48% of total protein and 32% of total calories derive from livestock products. Our results suggest that, if countries reduce their ruminant product consumption, land could be freed up for other uses, including bio-energy production, forest regrowth, and biodiversity conservation.

A tool to predict perceived urban stress in open public spaces: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/a-tool-to-predict-perceived-urban-stress-in-open-public-spacesThis blog entry reports on a few findings in two recent publications, in which my colleagues and I from TU Darmstadt have introduced a framework of environmental factors and spatial analysis tools shown to be useful to describe and even predict PUS in open public spaces (OPS).”

Racial bias in driver yielding behavior at crosswalks: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369847815000923Black pedestrians were passed by twice as many cars and experienced wait times that were 32% longer than White pedestrians. Results support the hypothesis that minority pedestrians experience discriminatory treatment by drivers at crosswalks.”

Examining racial bias as a potential factor in pedestrian crashes: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000145751630361XBias in driver yielding behavior may be one influencing factor in higher rates of pedestrian crashes for people of color.”

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