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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 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.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 9 February 2017

This information has been marked as: IL0: UNCLASSIFIED

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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

New housing white paper - Fixing our broken housing market: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/590043/Fixing_our_broken_housing_market_-_housing_white_paper.pdf

Comments on Fixing our broken housing market;

Academy of Urbanism: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/statement-on-housing-white-paper/

TCPA: Government commits to a new generation of new communities: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/news/tcpa-pr-hwpnta

Planning Portal: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/489/planning_news_-_9_february_2017

Guardian: Housing market is 'broken', government admits in white paper:  https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/07/housing-market-government-white-paper-sajid-javid

LocalGov: Housing white paper criticised for ‘glaring omissions’: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Housing-white-paper-criticised-for-glaring-omissions/42503

Financial times: Sajid Javid sets out fix for ‘broken’ housing market: https://www.ft.com/content/dfb68f7c-ec97-11e6-930f-061b01e23655

BBC: Affordable rent measures promised in housing White Paper:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38873524

The Telegraph: Government launches 'radical' White Paper to fix the housing crisis - what wasn't in it that should have been? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/house-prices/government-launches-revolutionary-white-paper-fix-housing-crisis/

Healthy planning & environment

Lobbyists behind attack on green belt: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/lobbyists-behind-attack-on-green-belt-v8508lhx5Property industry lobbyists have been accused of using think tanks, charities and even MPs as “front operations” in a push to ease restrictions and allow massive new housebuilding projects on greenfield and greenbelt land.”

Should Britain build on its green spaces to solve the housing crisis? https://theconversation.com/should-britain-build-on-its-green-spaces-to-solve-the-housing-crisis-72522The challenge, then, is to identify where these benefits of the greenbelt can be optimised, and the costs of development minimised. At a national level, England lacks a strategic plan to identify the best sites for housing, jobs and key infrastructure.”

Cardiovascular disease-related hospital admissions jump on second day after major snowfall: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/hospital-admissions-heart-disease-snowstorms

Standardised housing need measure to decide infrastructure spend: http://www.transport-network.co.uk/Standardised-housing-need-measure-to-decide-infrastructure-spend/13781Ministers have pledged to align strategic infrastructure spending with house building by targeting the £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund at areas with the greatest housing need.”

BRE office building to become 'living lab' for occupant health and wellbeing: https://www.bre.co.uk/news/BRE-office-building-to-become-living-lab-for-occupant--health-and-wellbeing--1212.htmlBRE has announced a new project that will test the effects of biophilic design on office occupants. The Healthy Research Building will be the UK’s first live research workspace that measures the real-world health and well-being benefits of incorporating nature into a building’s design.

Grim reaping: http://www.monbiot.com/2017/01/11/grim-reaping/Brexit could wreck the British countryside – or it could save it. It depends on getting our voices heard.”

Catalyzing the power of parks for social connection: https://parkpeople.ca/archives/5093At a time when increasing attention is being paid to the growing inequality of our cities and neighbourhood-based inequities, it’s critical that we examine how engaging in our parks and public spaces can create more inclusive, equitable places that are shaped by and for the people living there.”

Active travel & transport

Camden school closes road for rush-hour drop-offs: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-38894174 “The school, which has 300 pupils, said there had been about a 50% reduction in children arriving by car.”

Six more police forces looking to run close pass operation - including in Leeds: http://road.cc/content/news/217038-six-more-police-forces-looking-run-close-pass-operation-including-leedsPolice across six forces in England, covering a population of 7.6 million people, have confirmed they are looking to roll out a close pass operation pioneered in the West Midlands last year.”

Commons Select Committee - Urban congestion examined with transport industry: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news-parliament-2015/urban-congestion-ev2-16-17/The Transport Committee holds the second evidence session of its urban congestion inquiry and hears from transport industry representatives and academics.”

Any journey is greener by bus: http://www.greenerjourneys.com/publication/journey-greener-bus/This new study focuses on the experience of bus users and the wider benefits of the bus to society and to the cities and communities in which they operate. Any Journey is Greener by Bus approaches the situation from the perspective of the passenger and those most directly affected by the developments in buses.”

Urban Transport Voice – latest newsletter from the Urban Transport Group: http://us6.campaign-archive2.com/?u=268196eed8&id=6ef41fa122&e=cd72cb7cb6Hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases decline on days with major snowfalls compared to days with no snowfall, but they jump by 23% two days later, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.”

Further progress toward putting autonomous vehicles on the roads: https://medium.com/enrique-dans/further-progress-toward-putting-autonomous-vehicles-on-the-roads-515977274ae5#.m5z3e4a9pDaimler and Uber have announced a non-exclusive collaboration agreement by which the German automobile company will add its autonomous vehicles to the fleet managed by Uber, becoming the first automotive brand to take advantage of the opening up of Uber as a platform for the operation of autonomous vehicles.”

Self-Driving: Who decides who will die? https://hackernoon.com/self-driving-who-decides-who-will-die-cffbed89c357#.b6o3cc2yaPrivately held companies are currently determining who self-driving cars will allow to live and choose to kill.”

Why Robots May Need Driving Lessons From Humans. //medium.com/@verilocation/why-robots-may-need-driving-lessons-from-humans-9dbe6d64fdec#.n91tjp59o">https://medium.com/@verilocation/why-robots-may-need-driving-lessons-from-humans-9dbe6d64fdec#.n91tjp59oTo drive safely in a human world, robots must learn to think like us — or at least understand how humans think. But how will they learn?

Wired-up roads will soon charge your electric car – while you’re driving: https://theconversation.com/wired-up-roads-will-soon-charge-your-electric-car-while-youre-driving-72625Due to their low local emissions, battery-powered electric cars are more in demand than ever, but they still have a reputation for being too expensive and having too short a driving range. So how about recharging them without having to plug in a cable, while parking or even driving on the road?

How Cycling Helps Save the World: http://readynutrition.com/resources/how-cycling-helps-save-the-world-and-save-your-a-when-the-shtf_12112016/Includes a discussion of the value of cycling in the zombie apocalypse

Volvo to seek volunteers for self-driving car trial in UK: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/02/volvo-seeks-volunteers-for-self-driving-car-trial-in-west-london-public-roadsVolvo is looking for drivers who commute into west London to take part in its self-driving cars trial, the largest conducted by the automobile industry. The Swedish carmaker said it was aiming to make operating self-driving cars as easy as using a smartphone.”

The school run: cycling and walking to school: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/what-you-can-do/children-and-families/school-run-cycling-and-walking-schoolEncouraging children to walk, cycle and scoot will reduce congestion and pollution around the school gates. It will also help your child’s mental and physical health. Teachers find that pupils who walk and cycle arrive at school more relaxed, alert and ready to start the day than those who travel by car.”

The world’s longest elevated cycle path built in record time: https://stateofgreen.com/en/profiles/dissing-weitling-architecture/news/the-world-s-longest-elevated-cycle-path-built-in-record-timeThe Danish architectural firm Dissing+Weitling has drawn an eight-kilometre-long elevated cycle path in the port of Xiamen in the south-eastern part of China. It is not only the first of its kind in China; it is also the world’s longest. Built in record time, the bridge is now complete.”

Air quality and pollution

Letter to Theresa May: Phasing out diesel: https://www.medact.org/2017/actions/sign-ons/letter-theresa-may-phasing-diesel/Doctors Against Diesel are calling for government level action to support local efforts to reduce air pollution.   Without government support for the phase out of diesel local authorities can only take limited action to reduce the single biggest source of nitrogen dioxide.  If you are a nurse, doctor or allied health professional please sign below and share.”

Viewpoint: the trouble with diesel: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38814297The UK government estimates that the harm done by particulates, tiny particles we can't see, in shortening our lives is equivalent to 29,000 premature deaths a year. Add in nitrogen dioxide emissions, which, like particulates, are partly generated by diesel traffic, and that figure rises to about 40,000. This would make air pollution more deadly than obesity and alcoholism combined.”

Officials 'drawing up plans' for diesel scrappage scheme to cut emissions: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/02/officials-drawing-plans-diesel-scrappage-scheme-cut-emissions/A scrappage scheme for diesel cars could be introduced within months as part of a plan to lower emissions and improve air quality across the country, the Telegraph understands.”

Government's claim Heathrow's third runway will not affect air quality contradicted by its own experts: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/air-quality-london-heathrow-airport-third-runway-not-affect-contradict-experts-scientists-a7561926.htmlAs London schools consider getting pupils to wear pollution masks, consultants say there is a risk that adding another runway to serve the city will affect attempts to stay within air quality safety limits

Reality Check: Was pollution worse in London than Beijing? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38829146The claim: Air pollution in London last week was worse than it was in Beijing.

Reality Check verdict: Some one-off readings were higher in London last week, but this was an unrepresentative snapshot and Beijing is generally far worse.”

Climate change and sustainability

Floods and erosion are ruining Britain’s most significant sites: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/07/floods-erosion-ruining-britains-significant-sites-climate-changeClimate change is already wrecking some of Britain’s most significant sites, from Wordsworth’s gardens in Cumbria to the white cliffs on England’s south coast, according to a new report.”

Costa goes nationwide with in-store coffee cup recycling scheme: http://www.edie.net/news/5/Costa-Coffee-cup-recycling-scheme-with-VeoliaCoffee shop chain Costa Coffee has taken a huge step forward in the war on waste coffee cups with the rollout of a pioneering cup recycling scheme to more than 2,000 of its stores across the UK.”

Factcheck: Mail on Sunday’s ‘astonishing evidence’ about global temperature rise: https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-mail-sundays-astonishing-evidence-global-temperature-riseIn an article in today’s Mail on Sunday, David Rose makes the extraordinary claim that “world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data”, accusing the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of manipulating the data to show more warming in a 2015 study by Tom Karl and coauthors.” More coverage here: http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/02/06/graph-nasa-gavin-schmidt-factcheck-mail-on-sunday-climate-data-noaa-whistleblower/

Millennials view SUVs as leading choice for fuel-efficient vehicles: http://www.edie.net/news/6/Millennials-view-SUVs-as-leading-choice-for-fuel-efficient-vehicles/Fresh from the announcement that Ford is commercialising a fully-electric SUV, a survey sponsored by the motor giant has revealed that millennials are making purchasing decisions based on the efficiency of a vehicle.”

DONG Energy to stop all use of coal by 2023 (Denmark’s largest energy company): https://stateofgreen.com/en/profiles/dong-energy/news/dong-energy-to-stop-all-use-of-coal-by-2023

Exclusive: US withdrawal from Paris Agreement 'could happen any day', says Trump aide: http://www.edie.net/news/11/Trump-aide--US-will-initiate-key-climate-policies--in-next-few-monthsThe US will initiate all of Donald Trump's major climate change policy changes - including highly controversial moves to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - in the next few months, a key aide of the President has told edie.”

‘Green’ street lighting attracts pests and harms environment: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/_TP_/article/green-street-lighting-attracts-pests-and-harms-environment-659w6c8ffA study by Exeter University found that LED street lights acted as a draw for predatory spiders and beetles, destroying vegetation and damaging other species. Pests were more likely to be attracted to grassland patches lit by cold white energy-efficient lighting than those with conventional sodium street lamps

Fracking firm Ineos accused of threatening landowners to allow exploration: http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/02/05/fracking-firm-ineos-accused-threatening-landowners-allow-exploration/The UK’s leading fracking company has been accused of threatening landowners into giving it access to conduct exploratory work, an Energydesk investigation has found.  “

Food & food security

Via Medact Events - Planet on a plate: Interconnected impacts of our global food system: https://www.medact.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/A1-Milja-Fenger-Samuel-Lee-Gammage.pdf

Maintaining a nutrition safety net for vulnerable families: http://endhungeruk.org/maintaining-nutrition-safety-net-vulnerable-families/Dr Helen Crawley of the Healthy Start Alliance argues for a commitment to increase the voucher value and uptake of the UK’s Healthy Start programme.”

Instagram generation is fuelling UK food waste mountain, study finds: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/10/instagram-generation-fuelling-uk-food-waste-mountain-study-sainsburys?CMP=Share_iOSApp_OtherResearch highlights generational divide in attitudes towards food as millennials focus on its appearance while buying too much

Brighton & Hove shares experience in measuring household food insecurity: http://sustainablefoodcities.org/newsevents/news/articleid/736/brighton-hove-shares-experience-in-measuring-household-food-insecurityBrighton & Hove Food Partnership shares with the Sustainable Food Cities Network how they have started to build a robust picture of household food insecurity in the city.”

Lettuce in February: the hidden cost of buying fresh vegetables all year round: https://theconversation.com/lettuce-in-february-the-hidden-cost-of-buying-fresh-vegetables-all-year-round-72445 “...but what are the costs of a system that means people get used to fresh produce of a high visual and quality specification available 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Who coordinates the many suppliers and their crops to ensure shelves are not empty and that the product on those shelves has a lengthy “shelf life”?”

Is a vegetarian diet really more environmentally friendly than eating meat? https://theconversation.com/is-a-vegetarian-diet-really-more-environmentally-friendly-than-eating-meat-71596 “...But what about all those fruit, vegetable and staples crossing the globe – can we really label them as more sustainable than eating meat?.”

And finally….

The beauty of transport - SHAFT! 8 – SHAFT ON THE TYNE IS ALL MINE (TYNE TUNNEL VENTILATION SHAFT BUILDINGS): https://thebeautyoftransport.com/2017/02/08/shaft-8-shaft-on-the-tyne-is-all-mine-tyne-tunnel-ventilation-shaft-buildings/Like gigantic up-ended Alpenhorns, two enormous upturned cones dominate their surroundings in Jarrow and Howdon, either side of the River Tyne. Unadorned concrete, stretching high into the sky, they pack an enormous visual punch. I don’t know about all those Viking-influenced artworks of George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire magical horns. I’m pretty sure that the Horn of Winter looks like this.“

Resources and research

How poverty affects people’s decision-making processes: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/how-poverty-affects-peoples-decision-making-processes – Another part of the picture influencing behaviour change such as active travel.  “As poverty continues to be a feature of the social and economic landscape in the United Kingdom, attention is turning towards the potentially damaging role played by individual decisions made in low-income contexts.”

Weather Warning: Britain’s Special Places Under Threat: http://climate.leeds.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Weather-warning-report.pdfIn recent years, some of these very special places have been damaged by extreme weather, in particular heavy rainfall and flooding. The British weather has always been changeable, but there is now a proven increase in extreme weather events and scientists have calculated that climate change is playing a role.”

EU Science for Environment Policy - Review confirms climate change is threatening many ecosystem services: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/review_confirms_climate_change_threatening_many_ecosystem_services_482na4_en.pdfThe research, which brings together the findings of over 100 other studies, found that 59% of reported impacts of climate change on ecosystem services are negative, while just 13% are positive. However, the method of research was shown to strongly influence whether impacts are reported as positive or negative, with expert opinion studies far more negative than other types of study.”

Between exposure, access and use: Reconsidering foodscape influences on dietary behaviours: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829216305664We 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.”

Generating political priority for regulatory interventions targeting obesity prevention: An Australian case study: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312645434_Generating_political_priority_for_regulatory_interventions_targeting_obesity_prevention_An_Australian_case_studyEffective obesity prevention requires a synergistic mix of population-level interventions including a strong role for government and the regulation of the marketing, labelling, content and pricing of energy-dense foods and beverages. In this paper we adopt the agenda of the Australian Federal Government (AFG) as a case study to understand the factors generating or hindering political priority for such ‘regulatory interventions’ between 1990 and 2011

The short-term health and psychosocial impacts of domestic energy efficiency investments in low-income areas: a controlled before and after study: http://www.housinglin.org.uk/_library/Resources/Housing/OtherOrganisation/art3A10.11862Fs12889-017-4075-4.pdf#163961_20170131034106The study showed that investing in energy efficiency in low-income communities does not lead to self-reported health improvements in the short term. However, investments increased subjective wellbeing and were linked to a number of psychosocial intermediaries that are conducive to better health. It is likely that better living conditions contribute to improvements in health outcomes in the longer term.”

Research on human vision preventing road accidents: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/news-events-and-publications/impact-case-studies/research-on-human-vision-preventing-road-accidents/The research showed that children under 11 are unable to accurately judge the approach of vehicles travelling above 25mph, emphasising the need to reduce speed limits in areas where children are present. It also showed that adults over the age of 75 are poor at judging the speed of oncoming vehicles, making them more likely to make mistakes, particularly at A-road intersections.”

Subnational governance for the low carbon energy transition: Mapping the UK’s ‘Energy Constitution’: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2399654416687999The paper therefore develops a more nuanced understanding of the spatiality, territorialisation and scaling of UK energy governance to highlight a nexus of ambiguity and partial power allocation distributed across a plurality of overlapping ‘legal’ jurisdictions.”

Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Intake among Children and Youth through Gardening-Based Interventions: A Systematic Review: http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S2212-2672(16)31296-5/fulltextAlthough the evidence is mixed and fraught with limitations, most studies suggest a small but positive influence of gardening interventions on children's F/V intake.”

World Economic Forum - The Global Risks Interconnections Map 2017: http://reports.weforum.org/global-risks-2017/global-risks-landscape-2017/ Interactive mapping of connections between major global risks. Could be useful for a teaching / discussion workshop?

7 Podcasts Urbanists Should Be Listening to Now: https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/7-podcasts-urbanists-should-be-listening-to-nowSo I’ve rounded up a list, in no particular order, of the seven podcasts urbanists should be listening to right now, focusing not only on design and planning, but also on the economic systems that undergird our cities. I hope you’ve got a lot of time on your hands.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 20 January 2017

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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.

A request:

If you have any articles, research or resources that will be of use to other WMHPG members please send them to me to include in the weekly update. This can include local case studies, news stories or projects. The update is an opportunity to highlight all the good work that is going on across the West Midlands. If at all possible please provide web links rather than documents so that they can be accessed when the update is put on the website.

News & information

 

Healthy environment and planning

Neighbourhood planning bill: Lords express concerns about planning conditions measures: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/486/planning_news_-_19_january_2017Members of the House of Lords have expressed both support for and concern about measures for pre-commencement planning conditions laid out in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill – some calling for more evidence to suggest they delay house building.”

'Walking buses' and council housing: a wishlist for world cities in 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/dec/30/walking-buses-council-housing-wishlist-world-cities-2017We asked a range of writers, architects and activists around the world to share their 2017 wishlist for their city – from better inclusivity in Accra to “walking school buses” in New York. Wherever you live, share your own wishes for urban change and improvement in the comments below.”

Agenda for The Future of Urbanism: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/agenda-for-the-future-of-urbanism/The Academy of Urbanism in collaboration with Barton Willmore have prepared an Agenda For The Future of Urbanism – a distillation of the key themes to emerge from our London Congress in June 2016. The document will be used to stimulate further discourse on the subject and identifies the three key areas which are to be the focus for the Academy in its next ten years.”

What makes a city resilient: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jan/27/what-makes-a-city-resilientWhile many point to robust disaster defences, others claim social cohesion is what makes a city great. They're both right, and new projects aim to unearth dozens of other factors

City Planning – video: https://review.bellmedia.ca/view/1330758657The current model for city design just doesn’t work” via @BrentToderian

A foundation to building: depth psychology and architecture: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/a-foundation-to-building-depth-psychology-and-architecture

Housing

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid sets out plans to ‘hand OAPs incentives’ to downsize from large homes to ease housing crisis: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2612515/communities-secretary-sajid-javid-sets-out-plans-to-hand-oaps-incentives-to-downsize-from-large-homes-to-ease-housing-crisis/Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, will set out proposals for elderly home owners to receive help with moving costs or exemptions on stamp duty to encourage them to move into bungalows or flats.” More coverage (£)  http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/incentives-for-pensioners-to-sell-their-home-8d5s2ngx2

London garage space could free up room for 16,000 new homes: http://www.thelondoneconomic.com/property/london-garage-space-free-room-16000-new-homes/16/01/More than 16,000 new homes could be built across London on land occupied by unused or rundown garages owned by councils, according to new research.”

Rural army masses behind ‘hero’ farmer in homes battle: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rural-army-masses-behind-hero-farmer-in-homes-battle-jt2tpzbr9Worsley, 50, became a folk hero for supporters of rural life in 2015 when he revealed to The Sunday Times that he had turned down the offer of £275m for his 550-acre farm in Twineham, in the district of Mid Sussex, from one of the developers that wanted to build a town of 10,000 homes on it.”

The radical model fighting the housing crisis: property prices based on income: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jan/16/radical-model-housing-crisis-property-prices-income-community-land-trustsCommunity land trusts battle gentrification by linking house prices to local wages rather than the market rate. But can this growing movement for ‘permanently affordable’ homes really ease Britain’s housing crisis?

Climate change & sustainability

Jevons paradox – Particularly relevant to sustainability & trying to use technology to tackle climate change without reducing our overall energy use: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox  “The Jevons paradox was discovered in 1865 by British economist William Stanley Jevons. By studying the effects of steam engine innovations made by engineers such as Thomas Newcomen and James Watt, he found that the increases in efficiency that they created actually increased consumption of coal rather than decreasing it, as it became more economical for people run them and thus more steam engines were being used. This could in theory also be applied to many modern technologies, such as cars; more fuel-efficient cars may result in increased consumption of oil as they would allow people to travel more often and in faster vehicles.”

2016 hottest year ever recorded – and scientists say human activity to blame: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/18/2016-hottest-year-ever-recorded-and-scientists-say-human-activity-to-blame2016 was the hottest year on record, setting a new high for the third year in a row, with scientists firmly putting the blame on human activities that drive climate change.”

Scotland raises climate ambition with new plan to cut emissions two thirds by 2032: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002936/scotland-raises-climate-ambition-with-new-plan-to-cut-emissions-two-thirds-by-2032The Scottish Government today set out draft proposals to achieve a 66 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2032 against a 1990 baseline, demonstrating what it described as "a new level of ambition" towards tackling climate change.”

Barnsley neighbourhood to demo solar smart battery technology: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002855/barnsley-neighbourhood-to-demo-solar-smart-battery-technology

Scant relief for green economy as May's Brexit speech skims over environmental considerations “ http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002723/scant-relief-for-green-economy-as-mays-brexit-speech-skims-over-environmental-considerationsCampaigners warn leaving the single market leaves UK environmental legislation vulnerable to erosion. Campaigners have warned Britain's environmental protections could be put at risk from the 'hard Brexit' trailed today by Prime Minister Theresa May.”

Ikea won't invest any of its £524m green energy fund in UK until Government backs renewables: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/ikea-renewable-energy-fund-wont-invest-in-uk-government-climate-change-policies-a7529921.htmlIkea won’t spend any of its £524m green energy fund in the UK because government policies on renewables have made it “difficult” to invest, the company said… Joanna Yarrow, Ikea UK’s head of sustainability, told the Huffington Post that the UK’s “political context” does not encourage investment in renewables.”

IKEA achieves zero-waste-to-landfill status in the UK: http://www.edie.net/news/5/Ikea-achieves-zero-waste-to-landfill-status-across-the-UKThe world's biggest furniture retailer has announced that it sent zero waste to landfill across all of its UK and Ireland facilities in 2016, achieving a 90% recycling rate in the process

UK wave power far too costly, warns energy research body: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/16/uk-wave-power-far-too-costly-warns-energy-research-bodyWave power devices being tested in Cornwall and at Orkney are 10 times more expensive than other sources of low carbon power and need a radical rethink, the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) said.”

Record number of oil and gas firms go bust as renewable energy revolution begins to bite: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/oil-gas-firms-industry-bust-renewable-energy-revolution-biofuel-solar-panel-wind-power-opec-saudi-a7507016.htmlA record number of oil and gas companies became insolvent last year, according to a new study which environmentalists said highlighted the need for the UK to prepare for the move to a low-carbon economy.”

Fracking is acceptable, says church: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/fracking-is-acceptable-says-church-x6qps72lzThe Church of England has concluded that fracking can be morally acceptable in a move that shale gas explorers hope could pave the way for drilling to take place on church land.”

Saudis seek up to $50 billion for first phase of renewables plan: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-16/saudis-seek-up-to-50-billion-for-first-phase-of-renewables-planSaudi Arabia will start soliciting bids in the next few weeks for the first phase of a “massive” renewable-energy program costing $30 billion to $50 billion, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said.”

Unilever sets goal to ensure all its plastic packaging is recyclable by 2025: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002595/unilever-sets-goal-to-ensure-all-its-plastic-packaging-is-recyclable-by-2025The company announced the latest in a series of environmental targets over the weekend, as it also confirmed plans to step up investment in plastics research and renewed its membership of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which campaigns for the wider adoption of circular economy models.”

China scraps construction of 85 planned coal power plants: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-scraps-construction-85-coal-power-plants-renewable-energy-national-energy-administration-paris-a7530571.htmlChina has suspended 85 planned coal power plants in a bid to meet a government coal capacity target laid out in its latest plan for social and economic development.”

Lidl rings up new electric car charging network: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002758/lidl-rings-up-new-electric-car-charging-networkThe UK's expanding electric vehicle charging network received a further boost yesterday with the news Lidl is to become the latest supermarket to install rapid charge points at some of its stores.”

Fuel for thought: will 2017 become the year of the zero emission fuel-cell vehicle? http://www.edie.net/library/Fuel-for-thought--Is-2017-the-year-of-the-fuel-cell-/6741Low-carbon energy and sustainable transport are becoming evermore intertwined as new green technologies emerge and become more affordable to the masses. But as the sectors move ahead with innovative battery and electrification plans, they could be missing out on a growing fuel cell market

Cool Block Shows How Neighborhoods Can Create Climate Resilience: http://www.shareable.net/blog/cool-block-shows-how-neighborhoods-can-create-climate-resilience “...Sandra Slater has learned quite a bit about human behavior, including the idea that just giving people information doesn't inspire a change in behavior. "If you just go in and say, 'Let's lower your carbon footprint,' it's a nonstarter," Slater says. "You have to go in with other motivators." She says people are looking for social connection, meaning, purpose, safety, and efficacy.”

Obama is spending another $500m to fight climate change before Trump can stop him: http://grist.org/briefly/obama-is-spending-another-500-million-to-fight-climate-change-before-trump-can-stop-himThe State Department announced Tuesday that it will send the money to the U.N.-affiliated Green Climate Fund, which helps developing nations shift to cleaner energy and adapt to climate change. …Trump said during his campaign that he would defund international climate action.”

Donald Trump: the (bad for) business president: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/blog-post/3002850/donald-trump-the-bad-for-business-presidentThe biggest story in the energy sector in recent years has been the viability of clean energy technologies and the headwinds faced by a coal industry Trump will simply not be able to save. The world's most successful and popular business leaders are increasingly to be found not in the Trump clique, but amongst the innovative entrepreneurs working to deliver a sustainable, zero carbon economy..

The threat to species from climate change should provoke shame in our hearts: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/20/the-threat-to-species-from-climate-change-should-provoke-shame-in-our-hearts?CMP=Share_iOSApp_OtherWhile Australia bakes through another hot, angry summer, its precious wildlife is increasingly under threat, not just from the extreme weather of fires and floods but by the growing reality of a changing climate.”

National Audit Office slams £100m cost of flawed CCG competition: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002924/national-audit-office-slams-gbp100m-cost-of-flawed-ccs-competitionThe government will today be accused of failing to deliver value for money from its latest carbon capture and storage (CCS) funding competition, which was controversially cancelled in late 2015.”

Active travel & transport

Cardiff aiming to become leading cycling city in 10 years: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-38684125The target is get half of commuters in the city out of their cars by 2021 and 60% by 2026.”

The end of traffic: increasing American prosperity and quality of life. From the co-founder of Lyft -  US based but much of it is relevant anywhere: //medium.com/@johnzimmer/the-end-of-traffic-6d255c03207d#.dammwt4md">https://medium.com/@johnzimmer/the-end-of-traffic-6d255c03207d#.dammwt4md

Sustran review for the year – annual report: https://www.sustainweb.org/resources/files/reports/Annual_Report_2016.pdf

IKEA $400 flat-pack city bike will hit US stores in February: http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/ikeas-400-flat-pack-city-bike-will-hit-stores-next-month.htmlSomewhere between the bookshelves, bedroom sets, and kitchen stuff, there will soon be flat-packed belt drive bicycles, which display the same understated and timeless Scandinavian design as the rest of IKEA's offerings. And they will be priced right in line with the company's other fast-moving products, so the retailer could be poised to move a bazillion of them.”

Vancouver prepares for a driverless future that includes extra space for walking, cycling and transit: http://www.modacitylife.com/blog/vancouver-prepares-for-driverless-futureIf you believe the hype coming out of Silicon Valley in recent years, the transportation world is about to experience its biggest disruption since the motorcar replaced the horse-drawn carriage at the beginning of the twentieth century.”

Air quality & pollution

Are we content with toxic air? http://www.insallandcoe.co.uk/blog/ Comments on the draft NICE guidance on air quality – with a link to their response to the consultation: http://www.insallandcoe.co.uk/s/comments-form-PHG92-P-Insall-for-blog-8pkd.pdfFor example, NICE says that new housing should be aligned so that living rooms face away from highly polluted roads, and that ‘high-risk groups’ should avoid exercise and close doors and windows when pollution is bad. That cannot be right!  What kind of dystopia are we living in?  The appropriate response is to keep the most polluting vehicles away and ensure that air quality reaches a standard where people can engage in normal daily activities.  Even going so far as to sit in their front room if they wish.  'High-risk group' or not.”

London motorists who leave engines running to face £80 fines: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/london-motorists-who-leave-engines-running-to-face-80-fines-a3439786.htmlMotorists who pump out toxic fumes in central London by leaving their engine idling are to face an £80 fine. Westminster council will enforce the regime from February 4. Drivers of cars, van, coaches and taxis will be penalised if they leave engines idling for more than a minute while parked up.”

Pollution warning as London air quality alerts are issued: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-38673310Air quality alerts have been issued by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan - with moderate pollution expected until the weekend across 17 London boroughs.”

And finally…

Obscure objects of transport beauty: the Bundy Clock: https://thebeautyoftransport.com/2017/01/18/obscure-objects-of-transport-beauty-the-bundy-clock/It’s a general rule of life that if you come across a weird but interesting-looking street furniture relic in a city, it will be something to do with trams or trolleybus, and so indeed was the case with the ones in Birmingham. They were the decrepit remains of an early tram (and later bus) driver tracking device, the Bundy Clock.

Resources and research

City of Well-Being: a radical guide to planning. A new book from Hugh Barton, Emeritus Professor of planning, health and sustainability at the WHO Collaborating Centre for healthy urban environments,

University of the West of England. “City of Well-Being provides a radical and holistic introduction to the science and art of town planning. It starts from the premise that the purpose of planning is the health, well-being and sustainable quality of life of people. Drawing on current and historic examples it offers inspiration, information and an integrated perspective which challenges all professions and decision-makers that affect the urban environment. It is both authoritative and readable, designed for students, practitioners, politicians and civil society.” https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/City-Well-being-radical-guide-planning/0415639328

 

Urbanism: 75 great places 2009-2013: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/urbanism-75-great-places-2009-2013/ New book from the Academy of Urbanism “This book is a compendium of 75 places that have been shortlisted as part of the Academy’s annual awards scheme which covers great Places, Streets, Neighbourhoods, Towns and Cities.”

UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-climate-change-risk-assessment-2017 This report outlines the UK and Devolved Governments’ views on the key climate change risks and opportunities that the UK faces. The report endorses the six priority risk areas identified in the independent evidence report by the Adaptation Sub-Committee:

  • from flooding and coastal change
  • to health and well-being from high temperatures
  • due to water shortages
  • to natural capital
  • to food production and trade
  • from pests and diseases and invasive non-native species

Pulses and climate change: http://www.fao.org/resources/infographics/infographics-details/en/c/454530/ From the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. “The changing climate will continue to put pressure on agricultural ecosystems, particularly in regions and for populations that are particularly vulnerable. Introducing pulses into crop production can be key to increasing resilience to climate change.”

Town and Country Planning Association: Planning for the climate change: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/planning-for-the-climate-challengeDespite the increasing intensity and frequency of climate-related impacts, local plans are not delivering on the basic standards set out in national law and policy for either mitigation or adaptation. To deliver the fundamental change required, climate change must be placed front and centre of the policy priorities of the spatial planning system. Only a radical refocusing of the system will meet the challenges of climate change, now and in the future.”

The case for cultivating community resilience: http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/316071/Practice_Deepening_Community/Case%20for%20Cultivating%20Community%20Resilience.pdf?t=1484751238387Communities today are shaped and impacted by a myriad of complex issues – the effects of climate change, deteriorating infrastructure, an aging population, growing debt levels at the household,

government and corporate levels, rising inequality, and growing rates of loneliness and isolation in people of all ages.”

DEFRA pollution forecasts: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/forecasting/. There are also local examples -   AirAlert for Hampshire: http://www.airalert.info/hants/. London: http://www.londonair.org.uk/london/asp/publicepisodes.asp

The case for active travel: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/resources/types/reports/case-active-travelThis report sets out the fivefold economic benefits of greater investment in active travel: saving costs to the health sector; the economic value of active travel trips; the economic benefits of an improved urban realm; promoting inclusive growth; and direct employment and spend. The report also sets out a concise and accessible summary of the wider evidence base for investing in active travel which urban transport planners and practitioners can use as a basis for building the case for policies and projects.

Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollutionThis report from the RCP and the RCPCH examines the impact of exposure to air pollution across the course of a lifetime.”

The bigger and denser the city you live in, the more unhappy you’re likely to be. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/66906/#.WGbjcQE4yls.twitterUrban living increases employment prospects and consumption opportunities but also exposes individuals to numerous urban problems including high living costs, congestion, pollution, crime, and traffic among others. New research by John Winters and Yu Li examines the overall effects of urban living on happiness in the US as measured by self-reported life satisfaction. They find that living in large metropolitan areas and counties with higher population densities reduces average happiness levels.”

The socio-legal implications of the new politics of climate change: http://www.academia.edu/30291359/THE_SOCIO-LEGAL_IMPLICATIONS_OF_THE_NEW_POLITICS_OF_CLIMATE_CHANGE

Sustainable food systems: the role of the city: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/browse-books/sustainable-food-systems-the-role-of-the-cityThis book, by a leading expert in urban agriculture, offers a genuine solution to today’s global food crisis. By contributing more to feeding themselves, cities can allow breathing space for the rural sector to convert to more organic sustainable approaches.”

IRENA – International Renewable Energy Agency – useful resource with reports on the global perspective for renewable energy: http://www.irena.org/Publications/index.aspx?mnu=cat&PriMenuID=36&CatID=141

WMHPG news, information and resources 13 January 2017

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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, housing and planning

Urban idiocy: brilliant ideas that ruined our cities – part 5: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/urban-idiocy-brilliant-ideas-that-ruined-our-cities-2/ - The neighbourhood unit.

Reaching out a helping hand: identifying and enfranchising the impoverished in Britain’s urban neighbourhoods | Julia Unwin CBE AoU: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/reaching-out-a-helping-hand-identifying-and-enfranchising-the-impoverished-in-britains-urban-neighbourhoods-julia-unwin-cbe-aou/

Why infrastructure investment matters: the contribution of civil society: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/why-infrastructure-investment-matters-the-contribution-of-civil-society-john-worthington-aou/From many years’ experience of observing how successful cities transform themselves, John Worthington MBE AoU provides some advice for cities at the beginning of a journey of change and for us all on how we can be involved in these transformations.”

From architecture to cultural life: how would you design a city from scratch? https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jan/05/grand-designs-how-to-build-a-garden-villageCities developed in the UK as a result of the industrial revolution, and some things have changed surprisingly little. A traffic jam, that modern peril, could wreak havoc for hours in 1749. Nearly three centuries on, streets are still cleaned mostly by a human with a broom and there are still more people than places for them to live. But now stop the clock. Design a city from scratch.”

New garden village coming to West Midlands: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/new-garden-village-coming-west-12394069A new 'garden village' with at least 1,500 homes is to be built in Warwickshire as part of an initiative which will deliver more than 48,000 new houses across the country.

Green belt at mercy of developers, say councils: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/green-belt-at-mercy-of-developers-say-councils-wjn33l2gtMost councillors in green-belt areas believe that the land will be given over to housing in the next five years.”

Sherwood Forest ‘should not be fracked’, says RSPB: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-38497045Sherwood Forest and other protected sites should be ruled out as locations for fracking, according to the RSPB conservation charity. Chemicals giant Ineos wants to survey part of the Nottinghamshire forest to see if there is potential for fracking. But the RSPB - which will manage the entire Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve from 2018 - opposes fracking.”

72% of councillors think planning system is undemocratic: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/485/planning_news_-_12_january_2017Councillors in England think that the planning system works in the interests of developers over councils and local communities, according to new survey.”

Project for Public Spaces - Our top 10 placemaking articles of 2016: https://www.pps.org/blog/our-top-10-articles-of-2016/

Sajid Javid’s folly would be to build new housing in Tory backyards: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/07/sajid-javids-folly-would-build-tory-back-yardsThanks primarily to two things – unchecked immigration and high divorce rates – we have insufficient housing. Prices are so high in the south-east that many live with their parents well into their 30s.  Essential staff, such as teachers and those in the emergency services, struggle to find a home anywhere near their workplace.”

Active travel

Institute of mechanical engineers – Promoting safe, efficient transport systems with minimal congestion is important for personal mobility and transportation of goods: http://www.imeche.org/policy-and-press/transport-themeYet the transport sector damages our environment: it produces over a quarter of UK CO2 emissions. Engineering is therefore key to meeting the requirements of increased mobility, lower carbon emissions and improving air quality.”

Encouraging car dooring is fine – it’s just “heavy irony” says Sunday Times: http://www.cyclinguk.org/blog/duncandollimore/encouraging-car-dooring-fine-just-heavy-irony-says-sunday-timesThe Sunday Times says it's fine for national newspapers to print articles promoting and encouraging crime, distressing victims’ families, and with boasts about the columnist's own attempted crimes. You just print it and say you were being heavily ironic - the poorest excuse for lazy journalism ever.”

Cyclists don’t count as road users, argues transport secretary: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/12/cyclists-dont-count-as-road-users-argues-transport-secretaryChris Grayling’s response to question in House of Commons draws fire from cycling groups and accusation of ‘astonishing lack of knowledge’ of his brief

EU to embrace safer ‘direct vision’ trucks – but with an 11 year delay: https://www.transportenvironment.org/news/eu-embrace-safer-%E2%80%98direct-vision%E2%80%99-trucks-%E2%80%93-11-year-delayProposals to make lorries safer for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians have been announced by the European Commission. T&E has welcomed the basis for the new legislation, but says the Commission’s 2028 deadline for improved direct vision for trucks is too long and must be shortened.”

Climate change

Putting a human face on climate change: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/climate-change-symposiumFocusing on the potential health impacts of climate change—such as malnutrition, an increase in infectious and chronic diseases, and more deaths from heat waves and cold snaps—may be the best way to communicate its dangers, according to speakers at a recent Harvard symposium.”

Q&A: How Climate Change Hurts Health: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine/magazine_article/qa-how-climate-change-hurts-healthAs associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard Chan School, he has explored the public health effects of such environmental stresses as global warming and loss of biodiversity and has shared the science with students, educators, policymakers, and the public.”

Can we eat our way out of climate change (podcast): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04kxn2sFood production accounts for as much global greenhouse gas emissions as all forms of transport combined. That’s why many scientists think we can’t tackle climate change without addressing what we eat.”

Science loses out to uninformed opinion on climate change – yet again: https://theconversation.com/science-loses-out-to-uninformed-opinion-on-climate-change-yet-again-70924

Modern agriculture cultivates climate change – we must nurture biodiversity: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jan/09/modern-agriculture-cultivates-climate-change-nurture-biodiversity-olivier-de-schutter-emile-frisonA future of continually increasing food supplies and ever more sophisticated manipulation of agro-ecosystems seems to be upon us. However, there is a risk that these technologies blind us to the very real problems facing modern agriculture – problems that are rapidly undermining the previous round of technological advances.”

Why are the social sciences so important in tackling climate change? https://blog.esrc.ac.uk/2017/01/11/why-are-the-social-sciences-so-important-in-tackling-climate-change/ “….as we are increasingly realising, to really make a dent in the targets agreed to at COP21, entire societies across the globe will need to take action. So while the natural sciences can tell us what is happening and develop technology to address the problems, social scientists such as economists, political scientists, psychologists and sociologists (to name but a few) are crucial to influencing major changes.”

It’s time to wake up to the devastating impact flying has on the environment: https://theconversation.com/its-time-to-wake-up-to-the-devastating-impact-flying-has-on-the-environment-70953 “...But here’s the peculiar thing: although no other human activity pushes individual emission levels as fast and as high as air travel, most of us don’t stop to think about its carbon impact.”

Church of England unveils low carbon investment tracker: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002275/church-of-england-unveils-low-carbon-investment-trackerSome of the UK's leading institutional investors, including the Church of England's National Investing Bodies and the Environment Agency Pension Fund, have launched a major new initiative to ensure their investments are well positioned for the transition to the low carbon economy.”

MPs call for halt to Green Investment Bank sale: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/01/11/mps-call-halt-green-investment-bank-salePoliticians from both sides of the House urged Theresa May’s government to rethink the sale of the GIB, which has invested £2.7bn in projects including street lights and windfarms since its creation as a public sector body in 2012.”

UK wind power generation overtakes coal for first time in 2016: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002037/uk-wind-power-generation-overtakes-coal-for-first-time-in-2016According to analysis released by energy and climate specialists Carbon Brief yesterday, wind power accounted for 11.5 per cent of UK electricity last year, while coal contributed only 9.2 per cent - its lowest level of output since 1935.” Full report and analysis here: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-uk-wind-generated-more-electricity-coal-2016

Wind power deliver all Scotland’s power for four straight days: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002112/wind-farms-deliver-all-scotlands-power-for-four-straight-daysWWF Scotland, drawing on data from WeatherEnergy, today reported all of Scotland's power demand was matched by output from wind turbines on the 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th of December.”

Blustery weather topples wind power records across Europe: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002472/blustery-weather-topples-wind-power-records-across-northern-europeIreland and the Nordics enjoy record levels of power production from wind farms, while UK breaks two new records for daily and half hourly generation

The year coal collapsed: 2016 was a turning point for Britain’s electricity: https://theconversation.com/the-year-coal-collapsed-2016-was-a-turning-point-for-britains-electricity-70877Britain’s electricity was the cleanest it had been in 60 years, as coal collapsed and renewables rose to record levels.”

Donald Trump urged to ditch his climate change denial by 630 major firms who warn it ‘puts American prosperity at risk’: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-climate-change-science-denial-global-warming-630-major-companies-put-american-a7519626.htmlMore than 630 companies and investors have called on Donald Trump and the Republican-dominated Congress to continue the move to a low-carbon economy, warning that failing to do so would “put American prosperity at risk”.”

Air quality and pollution

Diesel cars are 10 times more toxic than trucks and buses, data shows: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/06/diesel-cars-are-10-times-more-toxic-than-trucks-and-buses-data-showsThe stark difference in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) is due to the much stricter testing applied to large vehicles in the EU, according to the researchers behind a new report. They say the same strict measures must be applied to cars.”

FBI arrests Volkswagen executive on conspiracy charge in emissions scandal: http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/business/volkswagen-diesel-emissions-investigation-settlement.htmlThe F.B.I. has arrested a Volkswagen executive in Florida, accusing him of playing a central role in a broad conspiracy to keep United States regulators from discovering that diesel vehicles made by the company were programmed to cheat on emissions tests.”

The US has accused Fiat Chrysler of the same emissions cheating that cost Volkswagen billions: https://qz.com/884245/the-us-accuses-fiat-chrysler-of-emissions-cheating/Just as the dust starts to settle on Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accused Fiat Chrysler using similar methods to illegally manipulate the pollution levels in hundreds of thousands of diesel vehicles.

Auto industry execs predict rise of EVs to signal end of diesel cars: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002108/auto-industry-execs-predict-rise-of-evs-to-signal-end-of-diesel-carsKPMG survey of car firm executives finds three quarters believe many of today's car owners will not want to own a car within a decade

Automakers prepare for an America that’s over the whole car thing: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/22/business/automakers-prepare-america-fewer-cars.html?_r=0 “…. carmakers are looking ahead to a day when the automobile plays a smaller role, or even no role at all, in many people’s daily routines.

Brixton Road breaches annual air pollution limit in five days: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-38529928A south London road has breached its annual air pollution limit for 2017 in just five days. Readings taken in Brixton Road found levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), linked to nearly 5,900 early deaths a year, repeatedly breached the EU limit. King's College London, which runs the air quality monitoring stations, said some London streets have the highest levels of NO2 exposure in the world.”

And finally….

Travellers cast off inhibitions on no pants subway ride day – in pictures: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/09/travellers-cast-off-inhibitions-on-no-pants-subway-ride-day-in-picturesSubway riders around the world might have noticed something missing when their fellow transit users went trouserless on Sunday for the annual no pants subway ride. Participants were told to get on trains and act as they normally would and were given an assigned point to take off their pants. They are asked to keep a straight face and respond matter-of-factly to anyone who asks them if they’re cold.”

Resources and research

Essential evidence on a page 157: Liveable Neighbourhoods and evidence for increased walking: https://travelwest.info/essentialevidence/public-policiesTop line: In designing new neighbourhoods a unique policy experiment has highlighted the importance of implementing the community design element above and beyond that of the movement network and lot layout elements alone. A result is that walking for transport and particularly walking for recreation increased for new residents of a liveable neighbourhood.

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.”

Happy corporate holidays from Coca-Cola: http://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.i6833I suppose we should have realised that Coca-Cola was up to something when it opened a head office next to the Royal Society of Medicine in Wimpole Street. The path of associating unhealthy products with health, wellbeing, and healthy lifestyles is one that has been well trodden down the years by the tobacco industry. The lessons have not been lost on Coca-Cola. In fact, you could argue that Coca-Cola started even earlier than tobacco

New website resource: Citiscope: http://citiscope.org/Citiscope spurs innovations to help cities work better for all of their people through the power of independent journalism. We deliver: on-the-ground reporting by local journalists, extensive coverage of global debates on the future of cities & expert commentary and analysis

NOx emissions from heavy-duty and light-duty vehicles in the EU: Comparison of real-world performance and current type-approval requirements: http://www.theicct.org/nox-europe-hdv-ldv-comparison-jan2017Summary - Identifies key differences in the regulations governing certification of NOX emissions from diesel cars (Euro 6) and trucks (Euro VI) that help explain differences in their real-world emissions performance. Ultimately, an examination of the HDV regulation reveals insights that could be used to improve the LDV regulation.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 6 January 2017

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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

Event: Sustainability West Midlands – Carbon Management and Reduction Workshop: http://www.sustainabilitywestmidlands.org.uk/events/public-sector-carbon-management-workshop-2317/This event will provide public sector organisations with the latest picture regarding carbon management legislation and tools, share good practice case studies on carbon management and reduction and provide an opportunity to network with a variation of public sector organisations.

Event: The effects of busy roads on local people: https://khub.net/group/healthypeoplehealthyplaces/events/-/event/view/29830807UCL Street Mobility and Network Accessibility project final conference. Busy roads can have negative effects on people's mobility, wellbeing and health. The Street Mobility and Network Accessibility project (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/street-mobility ) team has developed tools to measure and value the impacts of busy roads on local people. On Wednesday 8th March 2017 (12.30 -5.30pm) we will hold our final conference.”

Consultation – limiting hot food takeaways near schools: “Haringey Council have asked us to circulate the following consultation open for public response until 13 January 2017. The Council is currently consulting on a Local Development Management Plan, which in part would allow them to limit the number of fast food outlets near schools. We encourage you to respond, especially if you’ve had similar experience in your local area:” http://www.haringey.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning/planning-policy/local-plan/examination-public-local-plan-eip

Sustrans enews: http://sustrans-info.org.uk/6EB-4MQBA-612GY4DP79/cr.aspx?v=1

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

Landscape Institute update: http://landscapeinstitute-news.org/6KZ-4OL4C-A7MKETF5A2/cr.aspx

How to support mental health through urban planning: http://www.citylab.com/design/2016/12/how-to-support-mental-health-through-urban-planning/510833Green spaces, active spaces, social spaces & safe spaces

Centre for Active Design – Affirming the connection between place and civic life: https://centerforactivedesign.org/affirmingplaceandciviclifeCan park enhancements encourage greater interaction with neighbors? Can community beautification inspire ongoing acts of stewardship? Can arts and cultural resources help stimulate a sense of civic trust? These are just a few of the questions that the Center for Active Design (CfAD) is exploring through Assembly, a pioneering initiative to leverage place-based design as a pivotal tool for enhancing the civic life of communities.”

Math myth-busting some of our worst urban planning misconceptions: http://www.metronews.ca/views/opinion/2017/01/03/math-myth-busting-our-worst-urban-planning-misconceptions.htmlTo be blunt, the math suggests that we’ve been doing a lot of things wrong.”

Working as one UN to address the root environmental causes of ill health: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/commentaries/2017/one-un-environmental-health/en/There are many compelling reasons why we need to clean up the global environment. One of the most pressing is that a polluted environment is a deadly one. Every year, almost 12.6 million people die from diseases associated with environmental hazards, such as air, water or soil pollution, and climate change. That is one in four deaths worldwide

Evidence that obesity is a problem is not evidence that sport is the solution: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/expertcomment/evidence-that-obesity-is-a-problem-is-not-evidence-that-sport-is-the-solution/This clearly shows that, despite considerable investment in sport, people are choosing ways, other than sport, by which to become active.”

Ministers press ahead with pre-commencement conditions revamp and neighbourhood plan regime changes: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/484/ministers_press_ahead_with_pre-commencement_conditions_revamp_and_neighbourhood_plan_regime_changesThe government has announced it will press ahead with controversial proposals to change the pre-commencement planning conditions regime in England. These changes are part of a package of measures on planning conditions previously consulted on. This move came as the administration also confirmed making a key modification to the neighbourhood planning regime.”

Beijing’s new highway network connects urban zone twice the size of New York: http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2052657/opening-beijings-1000km-seventh-ring-road-more-closely

Paris makes all public transport free in battle against ‘worst air pollution for 10 years’: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/paris-public-transport-free-air-pollution-spike-a7460191.html

Madrid bans half of cars from roads to fight air pollution: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/29/madrid-bans-half-of-cars-from-roads-to-fight-air-pollution?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

London air pollution ‘means children should be banned from playgrounds’: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/london-air-pollution-means-children-should-be-banned-from-playgrounds-a3431686.htmlChildren should be stopped from using playgrounds when London’s toxic air reaches dangerously high levels, a peer suggested today.”

The Square Mile wants a ban on all diesel minicabs by 2020: http://www.cityam.com/256363/square-mile-wants-ban-all-diesel-minicabs-2020The City of London Corporation wants Sadiq Khan to ban all diesel vehicles used by companies such as Uber and Addison Lee by 2020.New licenses would not be given to the most polluting private hire vehicles (PHV) immediately under the group's proposals, while current cars would be phased out over the next three years.

State of The Transition, December 2016: As fossil fuel diehards take over The White House, the evidence of a fast-moving global energy transition has never been clearer: http://www.jeremyleggett.net/2017/01/state-of-the-transition-december-2016-as-fossil-fuel-diehards-take-over-the-white-house-the-evidence-of-a-fast-moving-global-energy-transition-has-never-been-clearerAs captains of the fossil fuel industries and their lobbyists prepare to take over the White House – appointed by a President elected by a minority, claiming to represent the people on an anti-elite ticket yet possessing by far the highest cumulative wealth of any cabinet ever – they will face evidence breaking out all around them of a fast-moving global energy transition threatening to strand the fossil fuels they seek to boost.”

Christmas Day 2016 sets new UK record for renewable energy use: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3001734/christmas-day-2016-sets-new-uk-record-for-renewable-energy-useGreen energy such as wind power made up 40 per cent of electricity generated in Britain, compared with 25 per cent on 25 December 2015

Renewables investment in UK will fall 95% over next three years – study: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/04/renewables-investment-uk-fall-95-percent-three-years-study-subsidy-cuts-emissions-targetsMore than £1bn of future investment in renewable energy projects disappeared over the course of 2016, the Green Alliance found when it analysed the government’s latest pipeline of major infrastructure plans.”

Costa partners with Bio-Bean to give waste coffee a new lease of life: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3001387/costa-partners-with-bio-bean-to-give-waste-coffee-new-lease-of-lifeCoffee giant Costa has revealed that waste coffee grounds from more than 850 stores nationwide are now being used to make low-carbon fuel thanks to a new partnership with biomass specialists Bio-bean.”

Blenheim Palace goes green: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3001396/blenheim-palace-goes-greenThe Oxfordshire palace, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, announced last week it has reduced its use of heating oil by 81 per cent as well as cut its overall mains water consumption by 42 per cent since 2013.”

Friends of the Earth fracking leaflet ‘misleading’, ad watchdog says: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-37473276Friends of the Earth (FOE) misled the public in a leaflet which claimed fracking can cause cancer, the advertising watchdog has said.”

Ryedale fracking: protest camp has ‘national focus’: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-38463634

The city of Las Vegas is now powered entirely by renewable energy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-city-of-las-vegas-is-now-powered-entirely-by-renewable-energy_us_58594291e4b0b3ddfd8ea4e8

Solar and wind power cheaper than fossil fuels for the first time: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/solar-and-wind-power-cheaper-than-fossil-fuels-for-the-first-time-a7509251.htmlDespite the low price, not enough money is being put into renewable ways of generating electricity

2 remarkable facts that illustrate solar power’s declining costs: http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2016/12/22/14022114/solar-year-two-remarkable-factsLast week, the internet was overrun with headlines about how solar energy has officially become the cheapest form of electricity in the world. This is … not quite right. Solar has seen remarkable cost declines and is competing in more circumstances with every passing year. But it is not the world’s cheapest source of electricity.”

Re-invent Paris: https://stateofgreen.com/en/profiles/sla-architects/solutions/reinvent-parisLast year, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, invited architects all over the world to reinvent the French Capital in an international competition asking for an environmental and sustainable approach. In the project Ternes-Villiers, SLA’s winning project covers the Boulevard Périphérique, the big ring road that circles around the entire city, as it discovers urban life and city nature in three dimensions.”

India’s double first in climate battle: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38391034?ocid=socialflow_twitterTwo world-leading clean energy projects have opened in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. An industrial plant is capturing the CO2 emissions from a coal boiler and using the CO2 to make valuable chemicals. It is a world first. And just 100km away is the world's biggest solar farm, making power for 150,000 homes on a 10 sq km site.”

The Beauty of Transport – A station fit for a king: http://feedly.com/i/subscription/feed/http://thebeautyoftransport.wordpress.com/feed/

Everything I needed to know about urban transport planning I (could have) learned from watching “the Simpsons”… https://thebeautyoftransport.com/2016/12/21/seasonal-special-everything-i-needed-to-know-about-urban-transport-planning-i-could-have-learned-from-watching-the-simpsons/

Media coverage of housing & affordable homes

Announcements of new garden towns and villages –  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/first-ever-garden-villages-named-with-government-support : wide media coverage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38486907: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/02/new-garden-towns-villages-provide-200000-homes-ease-housing/ : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/locations-of-14-new-garden-villages-revealed-a7505131.html : https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2517967/garden-villages-towns-what-where-why/

UK’s new cycle-friendly Garden Villages could need bike shops: http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/uk-s-new-cycle-friendly-garden-villages-could-need-bike-shops/020508

Row over ‘affordable’ starter homes that will cost up to £450,000: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/row-over-affordable-starter-homes-cost-up-to-450000-pounds-a7506216.html . Financial times coverage: https://www.ft.com/content/2e2229e2-d49c-11e5-829b-8564e7528e54 : BBC – why starter homes are controversial: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34465513

Church of England urged to release land for new homes: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/12/31/church-england-urged-release-land-new-homes/

Top 10 biggest house builders control land for almost one million homes: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/12/18/top-10-biggest-house-builders-control-land-almost-one-millionThe UK’s 10 biggest house builders are sitting on 14 years’ worth of land, on which almost one million homes could potentially be built, Shelter has claimed.

Pilot scheme launched to speed up home building blocked by infrastructure delays: http://www.propertywire.com/news/europe/pilot-scheme-launched-speed-home-building-blocked-infrastructure-delays/The scheme will pay particular attention to housing developments that have been delayed due to a lack of water, sewage, electricity, gas or road connectivity. If successful, the plan is to roll the scheme out across the UK later in 2017.”

Hundreds of homes are built each year despite flood risk objections: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/environment/hundreds-homes-built-year-despite-flood-risk-objections/Hundreds of homes are being approved by planning chiefs in England each year in spite of official objections from the Environment Agency about the risk of flooding, it can be revealed.

Resources and research

Living near major roads and the incidence of dementia, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis: a population-based cohort study: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)32399-6/fulltextInterpretation - In this large population-based cohort, living close to heavy traffic was associated with a higher incidence of dementia, but not with Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis.”

Healthy Travel Choices in Warwickshire: https://apps.warwickshire.gov.uk/api/documents/WCCC-630-839 (Exec summary: https://apps.warwickshire.gov.uk/api/documents/WCCC-630-838 ) “The Healthy Travel Choices document is a tool for members and others within Warwickshire County Council which outlines evidence based methods that have been proven to help reduce some of the difficulties people face when deciding on their commute, their journey and their choices.”

Shared Assets – Land Explorer: http://landexplorer.uk/Land Explorer helps you find information on land in the UK.” It is a free-to-use map-based platform aimed at helping people who are trying to use land for the common good. It combines various different land-related datasets with an easy to use interface, and clear explanations of how to use the information.” More information: http://www.sharedassets.org.uk/landexplorer/launching-land-explorer/

A measure of diversity from production to diets: the value of an agrobiodiversity index: http://www.bioversityinternational.org/news/detail/a-measure-of-diversity-from-production-to-diets-the-value-of-an-agrobiodiversity-index

Report: small is beautiful: delivering more homes through small sites: http://www.lgiu.org.uk/report/small-is-beautiful-delivering-more-homes-on-small-sitesThis new report from LGiU in partnership with the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) focuses on how local authorities can help to make this happen.”

Each Home Counts: http://site-shapuk.rhcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Peter-Bonfield-Each_Home_Counts__December_2016_1.pdfAn Independent Review of Consumer Advice, Protection, Standards and Enforcement for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Jane Jacobs: is there good science behind urban planning? : https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/jane-jacobs-is-there-good-science-behind-urban-planning/?wt.mc=SA_Twitter-ShareIn the 1960s, activist Jane Jacobs (who would have turned 100 on May 4, 2016) questioned whether massive urban planning projects work, and objected to demolishing old neighborhoods for sterile new buildings and highways. She described factors including mixed-age buildings and short blocks as leading to better neighborhoods. Has the state of city planning science changed since then?”

Air pollution and health: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(16)30023-8/fulltext?rss=yesAir pollution is one of the great killers of our age. Polluted air was responsible in 2015 for 6·4 million deaths worldwide: 2·8 million from household air pollution and 4·2 million from ambient air pollution.1, 2 In the same year, tobacco caused 7 million deaths, AIDS 1·2 million, tuberculosis 1·1 million, and malaria 0·7 million.3 In the absence of aggressive control, ambient air pollution is projected by 2060 to cause between 6 million and 9 million deaths per year.”

Journal of Transport and Health: Special edition on the built environment & health: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/22141405/3/4

Essential evidence on a page, No. 156: Transport and social exclusion – where are we now? https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-156-transport-social-exclusion-nowTop line: If properly designed and delivered, public transport can provide part of a solution to social exclusion, but it is most likely that other forms of more flexible (and often informal) transport services will be needed to complement mainstream services.

Future proofing housing stock for an ageing population: http://www.trustha.org.uk/about-us/ Resources produced by Trust Housing Association: http://www.trustha.org.uk/media/uploads/nlc/01_ColourWayfinding_15%2011.pdf ; http://www.trustha.org.uk/media/uploads/nlc/02_DaylightSpaces_15%2011.pdf ; http://www.trustha.org.uk/media/uploads/nlc/03_Remodelling_15%2011.pdf

Get Warm Soon: progress to reduce ill health associated with cold homes in England: http://www.nea.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Get-Warm-Soon-Full-Report.pdf

WMHPG news, information and resources 16 December 2016

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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

Event: The effects of busy roads on local people: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-effects-of-busy-roads-on-local-people-tickets-29332178335Busy roads can have negative effects on people's mobility, wellbeing and health. The Street Mobility and Network Accessibility project has developed tools to measure and value the impacts of busy roads on local people. This free conference will tell practitioners, policy-makers, community groups, the public, and academics about the three-year multi-disciplinary research project.”

Call for bids: nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) Health and Wellbeing Tool (The NSIP Tool): “Public Health England (PHE) is inviting tender applications to develop a resource tool to facilitate a consistent and evidence-based approach to the identification of health and wellbeing issues linked to NSIPs consultation and assist PHE in the development and formulation of its comments in response to these. Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) are usually large scale developments relating to energy, transport, water, waste water or waste.”

Neighbourhood plans strengthened by government: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/478/neighbourhood_plans_strengthened_by_governmentProtection increased for neighbourhood plans so that they are no longer deemed out-of-date unless there is a significant lack of land supply in the wider local authority area...

Where next for discussions on household food insecurity in the UK? https://blog.esrc.ac.uk/2016/12/13/where-next-for-discussions-on-household-food-insecurity-in-the-ukThe rise of food banks and increasing need for help with food has been a high profile – and hotly contested – issue in recent years. Recent UN Food and Agriculture Organisation figures suggest that 8.4 million people struggle to access enough adequate food in the UK. Since the issue came to the political fore in about 2013, there have been numerous inquiries and reports, including an All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the UK and the Fabian Society’s commission on Food and Poverty.”

Coventry given £100m for City Centre South scheme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-38268489The sum - £98.8m in total - is the biggest slice of devolution funding yet approved by West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).”

Lack of planning resources make housing targets impossible – report: https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/communities/housing/opinion/federation-master-builders/81677/lack-planning-resources-makeThe Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) has jointly released a report warning the Government is not set to meet its housing target.”

People asked to pay £36 to protect Shropshire parks: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire-38287738People are being asked to pay £36 a year to secure the future of a county's country parks in the wake of cuts. Under Shropshire's Great Outdoors initiative, people are being asked to pay £3 a month to protect the spaces.”

Wind farms saved 36 million tonnes of carbon emissions over six years, study shows: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3001044/wind-farms-saved-36-million-tonnes-of-carbon-emissions-over-six-years-study-shows

Fossil fuel divestment top $5tr, as investors ‘fast losing faith’ in high carbon assets: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3001071/fossil-fuel-divestment-pledges-top-usd5tr-as-investors-fast-losing-faith-in-high-carbon-assets

Challenge over ‘unlawful’ fracking license in Cheshire: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-38329848An environmental campaigner has won the right to mount a High Court challenge against a fracking licence which he claims is "unlawful".”

Policymakers call on stock markets worldwide to embrace new climate risk disclosure guidance: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3001260/policymakers-call-on-stock-markets-worldwide-to-embrace-new-climate-risk-disclosure-guidanceA group of over 140 policymakers from around the world yesterday signalled their support for the recommendations put forward by the Financial Stability Board's Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (FSB TCFD), calling on all stock markets to ensure listed firms embrace the new guidance on climate risk disclosure.”

Southwark Council pension fund promises to divest from fossil fuels: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3001193/southwark-council-pension-fund-promises-to-divest-from-fossil-fuelsSouthwark Council Pension Fund has become the largest in the UK to announce plans to divest from all fossil fuel investments, with councillors citing the growing financial risks of maintaining such investments.”

Camden council launches fuel poverty tackling solar project: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3001075/camden-council-launches-fuel-poverty-tackling-solar-project

Methane surge needs ‘urgent attention’: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38285300

The energy storage gap: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/the-energy-storage-gap/Right now arguably the most critical technology that is lagging behind other related technologies is energy storage. As we try to update our energy infrastructure, specifically with the goal of incorporating more renewable sources, energy storage appears to be the main limiting factor.”

Energy thinktank cuts coal demand forecast for fifth year in row: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/12/energy-thinktank-cuts-coal-demand-forecast-for-fifth-year-global-coal-useThe volume of coal used across the world fell for the second year running in 2015 and is set to stay below peak levels in 2016, reported the International Energy Agency (IEA).”

Majority of councils warn housing targets are impossible to meet: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Majority-of-councils-warn-housing-targets-are-impossible-to-meet/42216Nearly 90% of local authorities believe the Government’s housing targets will be impossible to meet because of a lack of planning resources, according to new research.”

The Beauty of Transport: In case of emergency, open box (AA and RAC telephone boxes, UK): https://thebeautyoftransport.com/2016/12/07/in-case-of-emergency-open-box-aa-and-rac-telephone-boxes-uk/There are 19 remaining in-situ examples of this week’s transport beauty at the sides of roads across Britain, making journeys more interesting and attractive, and acting as a reminder of an age in which emergency communications were much more difficult than they are today. They are AA emergency telephone boxes, and they’re quite fabulous little buildings.”

Green environment examples from Merseyside & Liverpool:

The Mersey Forest Plan: http://www.merseyforest.org.uk/about/plan/Welcome to the web home of The Mersey Forest Plan, the long term and strategic guide to the work of The Mersey Forest team and partners. We believe that by working together and getting "more from trees", we can make Merseyside and North Cheshire one of the best places in the country to live.”

New plan for greener Northwich includes street trees, green walls and rain gardens: http://www.merseyforest.org.uk/news/new-plan-for-greener-northwich-includes-street-trees-green-walls-and-rain-gardens/The Green Infrastructure Plan, created by The Mersey Forest on behalf of the Northwich Business Improvement District (BID), identifies locations around the town that could benefit from being greener. These include planting street trees along Chester Way, creating a 'boulevard effect' and installing green, living walls and roofs on buildings. The report makes the case that increasing 'green infrastructure' around the town centre can increase tourism, economic growth and land values while also reducing flooding and boosting health and wellbeing.”

Nature 4 Health: http://www.nature4health.org.uk/?page_id=2Nature4Health uses the power of nature to help people give their minds and bodies a boost. It’s a three year project funded by The Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities Programme to tackle health inequalities in targeted communities across The Mersey Forest. The programme provides health-promoting, enjoyable group activities in a green, therapeutic environment.”

Air pollution is a hot topic, the number of articles & news items on air pollution are increasing and are showing up across a much wider range of sources.

Are we content with toxic air? http://www.insallandcoe.co.uk/blog/2016/12/8/are-we-content-with-toxic-airThe impact of local toxic air pollution on our health is now a political priority.  NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, is consulting on its draft guidance to local authorities and others.  Want a say in what NICE recommends?  Read on…..”

Paris makes all public transport free in battle against ‘worst air pollution for 10 years’: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/paris-public-transport-free-air-pollution-spike-a7460191.html

VW ‘dieselgate’ payout offer outrageously low, says Sadiq Khan: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/dec/11/vw-dieselgate-payout-offer-outrageously-low-says-sadiq-khanSadiq Khan has called on the government to secure proper compensation from Volkswagen for the “dieselgate” scandal, saying the £1.1m pledged so far was outrageous.

Doctors call for ban on diesel engines in London: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-38274792A campaign led by medical professionals is calling for all diesel cars to be banned from London.

Doctors Against Diesel claim 9,400 Londoners a year die prematurely from breathing in toxic fumes from diesel engines.”

Take a deep breath – here’s what 2016 revealed about the deadly dangers of air pollution: https://theconversation.com/take-a-deep-breath-heres-what-2016-revealed-about-the-deadly-dangers-of-air-pollution-70375Beijing, London, Mexico City, New Delhi and Paris are among the cities that have drawn attention for their dangerously high air pollution levels in 2016 – but they’re not alone. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that 92% of the world’s urban population now live in cities where the air is toxic.”

Resources and research

From Canada - Caring for the Air Reports: http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/air-quality/information-public/caring-for-the-air/Pages/default.aspxMetro Vancouver’s Caring for the Air report is an easy-to-read annual publication that provides information about air quality and climate change issues in our region, as well as programs that protect public health and the environment, improve visual air quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Beyond Return on Investment: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2016/12/11/beyond-return-on-investment/ Blog piece from Greg Fell (DPH in Sheffield - well worth following his blog) on return on investment tools & approaches in public health. Links to some useful resources. “Not that long ago the world was clamouring for good evidence the return on investment for public health interventions. There was a great response and the world is now full of ROI tools, models and papers.”

Report: small is beautiful: delivering more homes through small sites: http://www.lgiu.org.uk/report/small-is-beautiful-delivering-more-homes-on-small-sites/We will not build the homes we need in the UK on large sites alone. Instead we will have to find ways to unlock a range of smaller sites for development and work with small and medium developers to build on them. This is the only way to provide the capacity and variety of tenure that we need, while being sensitive to local needs and supporting local economic growth, jobs and skills. This new report from LGiU in partnership with the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) focuses on how local authorities can help to make this happen.

New system to convert food waste into fertiliser for greenhouse use gives potential 95% reduction in CO2 emissions: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/new_system_convert_food_waste_fertiliser_greenhouse_95pc_reduction_co2_479na1_en.pdfA new method of processing food waste into fertiliser has been outlined in a recent study. The process uses a digester system with microorganisms to break down organic waste into fertiliser.”

Tactical urbanism – guerrilla gardening, pavement to parks, open streets. Tactical urbanism is an umbrella term used to describe a collection of low-cost, temporary changes to the built environment, usually in cities, intended to improve local neighbourhoods and city gathering places (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tactical_urbanism). Tactical Urbanism Guide: http://tacticalurbanismguide.com/

Green buildings: researchers call for fuller environmental assessment: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/green_buildings_fuller_environmental_assessment_479na3_en.pdfOver half of a low-energy building’s environmental impact occurred before it was even occupied, a new case study from Italy calculates.”

Website resource – Shared Assets http://www.sharedassets.org.uk/  “At Shared Assets we believe that land is a common good that should deliver shared benefits for everyone. We provide practical advice, support and training to landowners and communities who want to manage land as a sustainable and productive asset. We also undertake research, policy and advocacy work to help create an environment where common good models of land management can flourish.” There is also a regular newsletter: http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/?u=3f92e811206004e669a01ab11&id=b2998d69bf

Solar park impacts on microclimate, plants and greenhouse gas emissions: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/solar_park_impacts_microclimate_plants_greenhouse_gas_emissions_479na4_en.pdfA UK solar park has been found to change the local microclimate, reports recently published research. Moreover, the microclimate coupled with management activities had an impact on greenhouse gas emissions and plant-community diversity and productivity under the solar panels.”

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. Improving and maintaining the walking environment around existing workplaces and ensuring infrastructure around new workplaces is designed to support commuter walking should be considered a priority area for investment.

Cycling infrastructure: financial returns can be over 20 times the initial investment: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/378na1_en.pdf

Economic value of green infrastructure estimated by new method: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/270na4_en.pdfA new study has proposed a method to place monetary value on green infrastructure at both a project and regional scale, which illustrates the value of investing in green infrastructure to the public and other stakeholders.”

Overcoming the tendency of those living in energy efficient buildings to use more energy: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/overcoming_the_tendency_of_those_living_in_energy_efficient_buildings_to_use_more_energy_49si8_en.pdfZero Energy Buildings (ZEBs) are a viable means to reduce global energy demand, a new study suggests. However, in response to the drop in energy costs for the household due to better energy efficiency, people may begin to consume more energy than they otherwise would. These so-called ‘rebound effects’ can undermine emissions reductions, the study says, and it proposes approaches that could lessen these impacts.”

The Case for Healthy Places. Report from the Project for Public Places: http://www.pps.org/blog/pps-releases-new-report-the-case-for-healthy-places-how-to-improve-health-through-placemaking/Today, PPS is proud to release The Case for Healthy Places—a report of peer-reviewed research that offers evidence-based guidance, recommendations, and numerous case studies to which health institutions, community organizations, and other partners can refer in order to create and support healthy placemaking initiatives.”

First ever survey into run-commuting: https://www.run247.com/articles/article-5578-first-ever-survey-into-run-commuting.htmlResearch carried out by Simon Cook (Royal Holloway, University of London), in partnership with run2work and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), indicates the number of people choosing to run to or from work as an alternative mode of transport has nearly tripled in the last two years. The physical (98%) and mental (96%) benefits of run-commuting are two main reasons for this growth in popularity.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 9 December 2016

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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 and information

Webinar 15 December – making the case and measuring progress: towards a systems approach to healthy and sustainable food: http://sustainablefoodcities.org/webinarsThis webinar will discuss the first results of a year-long study undertaken by Cardiff University and the Sustainable Food Cities Network involving over 100 sector experts and practitioners. The result is a toolbox providing evidence of impact of place-based approaches to food against key health, economic and environmental outcomes and their indicators of progress

Event: Boosting cycling activity and improving safety: tackling the UK’s overdependence on motorised road transport: https://www.publicpolicyexchange.co.uk/events/HC16-PPE 16th March 2017

Mind the satisfaction gap: https://onthisbus.wordpress.com/2016/11/15/mind-the-satisfaction-gap/Interesting blog on the future of buses & transport ….concludes that the West Midlands is still suffering from a policy approach that has its origins in the 1960s, prioritising road building and car use – and if you stand in the middle of the City Centre, you can’t fail to appreciate that. This has resulted in a level of car dependency – 65% of all journeys – which is far higher than comparable areas in German areas such as Munich, Stuttgart and Dusseldorf, which are at a 35-45% level.”

Junk food ads targeting children banned in non-broadcast media: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/08/junk-food-ads-targeting-children-banned-in-non-broadcast-media

Fracking firm Cuadrilla pledges 'commitment to Lancashire': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-38182508

Ecotricity submits planning applications for Green Gas Mills on Lancashire fracking sites: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3000959/ecotricity-submits-planning-applications-for-green-gas-mills-on-lancashire-fracking-sitesGreen energy specialist files two planning applications to build biogas plants on proposed shale gas sites in bid to highlight that 'there's an alternative to fracking'

North Yorkshire fracking protesters ‘not terrorist threat’: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-38235177Anti-fracking protesters "‎are not seen as a terrorist threat", North Yorkshire Police has said. The force's statement came after City of York Council named campaigners on a list of "key risks to York" alongside Islamic terrorists and right-wing activists.”

Bookmakers making last-ditch plea to Government to prevent crackdown on high-stakes betting machines: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-3997160/Bookmakers-need-100-stakes-shops-close.html

The food we waste is now generating electricity and being turned into fertiliser at a new £14m plant: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/food-waste-now-generating-electricity-12264369

Tesco boss calls for greater transparency to tackle food waste: http://www.edie.net/news/5/Tesco-chief-calls-for-greater-reporting-transparency-to-tackle-food-waste/Retailers are showing a "growing appetite" to collaborate to tackle food waste, but still need to provide clearer information and deliver better reporting standards to drive change, the chief executive of Britain's largest supermarket group has told edie.”

'No plans' for free M6 Toll road, says government: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-38201755

Four major cities move to ban diesel vehicles by 2025: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38170794The mayors of Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens say they are implementing the ban to improve air quality. They say they will give incentives for alternative vehicle use and promote walking and cycling.”

Air pollution exceeds WHO levels in 90% of UK, and may cause increase in traffic accidents, says UK study: https://www.transportxtra.com/rudi/news/main-story/50241/air-pollution-exceeds-who-levels-in-90-of-uk-and-may-cause-increase-in-traffic-accidents-says-uk-studyAir pollution appears to be causing an increase in traffic accidents, according to a new study published by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science.”

Mayor Sadiq Khan promises to spend £875m to clean up London’s poisonous air: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/mayor-sadiq-khan-promises-to-spend-875m-to-clean-up-londons-poisonous-air-a3414376.html

PM’s local council could stop Heathrow expansion plans: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-38247351

Truckers think automation won’t take their jobs for 40 years. Silicon Valley strongly disagrees. http://qz.com/854117/truckers-think-automation-wont-take-their-jobs-for-40-years-silicon-valley-strongly-disagrees/Market forces make the rapid deployment of an automated trucking industry almost an inevitability. US truck transport, says freight company Flexport, can double its output for less than half the cost just with partial automation.

Sadiq Khan announces £770m cash injection for London cycling infrastructure: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/sadiq-khan-announces-770-cash-injection-for-london-cycling-infrastructure-a3412221.htmlThe Mayor announced plans for two new cycle superhighways as he claimed he had gone “well beyond” a manifesto pledge to increase the proportion of Transport for London’s budget spent on cycling.

The most affluent areas of London have the worst air pollution: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/revealed-westminster-kensington-chelsea-and-the-city-worst-for-killer-pollution-a3413211.html

Madrid’s Christmas present to itself: a car ban: http://www.citylab.com/commute/2016/12/madrid-car-ban-pollution-holiday-shopping/509570/

Financial heavyweights highlight attractive investment prospects for low carbon economy: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3000765/financial-heavyweights-highlight-attractive-investment-prospects-for-low-carbon-economy

Winning the Carbon War: State of the transition, November 2016: Steps forward continue to outnumber steps back, notwithstanding the Trump election. BUT…… : http://www.jeremyleggett.net/2016/12/state-of-the-transition-november-2016-steps-forward-continue-to-outnumber-steps-back-notwithstanding-trump-election-but/The global energy transition remains in a state of net forward momentum as of the end of November. However, evidence that the society is in danger of reaching its eventual target of complete or near-complete energy decarbonisation too late to save the planet from runaway global warming was particularly clear this month. As if we didn’t know it before the events of November, this is going to be a tight race.”

Report warns of ‘inappropriate’ development in national parks: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/472/report_warns_of_inappropriate_development_in_national_parks

Britain’s green groups unite to fight for environmental protection post-Brexit: http://www.edie.net/news/9/New-green-coalition-calls-on-UK-Government-to-take-a--once-in-a-generation-opportunity--to-protect-the-UK-s-natural-enironment-post-brexit/

Scottish government proposes huge hike in planning charges: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/468/scottish_government_proposes_huge_hike_in_planning_charges

Climate change in a post-Trump world: game over or business as usual? http://www.edie.net/library/Climate-action-a-post-Trump-world--game-over-or-business-as-usual-/6734

Resources and research

Worcestershire County Council are consulting on their draft Planning for Health in South Worcestershire Supplementary Planning Document. “ThisSPD has been prepared in partnership with the three South Worcestershire Planning Authorities (Malvern Hills, Worcester City & Wychavon) and the Strategic Planning team and Directorate of Public Health at Worcestershire County Council. This is a planning  document that provides guidance on how to plan for and create healthier developments in South Worcestershire, covering issues of healthy ageing, dementia, health inequalities, physical activity, etc.” Consultation closes 27 January 2017: http://www.swdevelopmentplan.org/?page_id=13121

Town and Country Planning Association – a range of resources on healthy planning: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/healthyplanning

Food sustainability index – from the Economist Intelligence Unit: http://foodsustainability.eiu.com/ Country rankings: http://foodsustainability.eiu.com/country-ranking/ Infographics: http://foodsustainability.eiu.com/infographics/The Food Sustainability Index is a ranking of 25 countries on food system sustainability. It was created as a quantitative and qualitative benchmarking model, constructed from 58 indicators that measure the sustainability of food systems across three themes: Food Loss and Waste, Sustainable Agriculture, and Nutritional Challenges. The index contains three types of key performance indicators: environmental, societal, and economic.”

Good Food Oxford annual report: http://goodfoodoxford.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/GFO-Annual-Report-2015-16.pdf

Where the rubber meets the road: Walking, riding, and driving, or walking, walking, walking for our health: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140516302730The essay reviews books on how the transportation industry is directly and indirectly shaping our health. It reports on how to improve cities from the perspective of the least polluting and most energy efficient modes – pedestrians, bicyclists and transit. A broad panoply of innovative and time-tested set of street smart strategies is presented.”

The Propensity to Cycle Tool: an open source online system for sustainable travel planning: https://www.jtlu.org/index.php/jtlu/article/view/862 . The tool is available here: http://pct.bike/

BreatheLife: http://breathelife2030.org/BreatheLife is a joint campaign led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) to mobilize cities and individuals to protect our health and planet from the effects of air pollution.” Interactive site – put in where you live and see the level of air pollution. For Birmingham http://breathelife2030.org/city-data-page/?city=2557

WMHPG news, information and resources 2 December 2016

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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

Consultation: Funding for Supported Housing – ends 13 February 2017: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/funding-for-supported-housingThis consultation seeks views on the government’s plans for a new housing costs funding model for supported housing as well as views on how funding for emergency and short term placements should work. It covers the following areas:

devolved top-up funding to local authorities in England, funding for emergency and short term supported housing placements across Great Britain.

UK fuel poverty to last a lifetime, report says:https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/29/uk-fuel-poverty-last-lifetime-national-energy-action-report

Why park designers need to think more about mental health: http://www.citylab.com/design/2016/11/why-park-designers-need-to-think-more-about-mental-health/507956

London cycling and the ‘by chance’ success of Amsterdam: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/davehillblog/2016/nov/26/london-cycling-and-the-by-chance-success-of-amsterdama new book about the cycling cultures of Dutch and other European cities offers some valuable guidance for London

Why protected bike lanes save lives: http://www.citylab.com/commute/2016/11/why-protected-bike-lanes-save-lives/508436/Bicycle sensors in Copenhagen clocked a new record this month: there are now more bikes than cars in the heart of the city. In the last year, 35,080 more bikes have joined the daily roll, bringing the total number to 265,700, compared with 252,600 cars.”

Two-wheel takeover: bikes outnumber cars for the first time in Copenhagen: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/nov/30/cycling-revolution-bikes-outnumber-cars-first-time-copenhagen-denmark

Sustrans view on the autumn statement: Autumn statement is a missed opportunity to deliver an economy that works for all:  http://www.sustrans.org.uk/blog/autumn-statement-missed-opportunity-deliver-economy-works-all  

Streets with no game: https://aeon.co/essays/why-boring-streets-make-pedestrians-stressed-and-unhappyboring cityscapes increase sadness, addiction and disease-related stress. Is urban design a matter of public health?

Build it and they will come, or the Black Hole theory of highway investment: http://urbandemographics.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/build-and-they-will-come-or-black-hole.html

One-Way Street. Blog from George Monbiot: http://www.monbiot.com/2016/11/09/one-way-street/The government’s defeat in the High Court last week was devastating – but I’m not talking about the Brexit judgement. The environmental lawyers ClientEarth sued it over air pollution for the second time, and for the second time won. “

Carbon war can be won, but it’s a race against time: http://reneweconomy.com.au/carbon-war-can-be-won-but-its-a-race-against-time-60809/Solar entrepreneur Jeremy Leggett on Tuesday gave the Solar Oration at the ANU. He won a standing ovation. This is an edited version of his speech notes, which he kindly shared with RenewEconomy.

Council backs Jaguar Land Rover’s electric car production bid: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-38122052

Government announces nearly £300m investment into green vehicles: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Government-announces-nearly-300m-investment-into-green-vehicles/42137Transport secretary Chris Grayling has announced a £290m investment plan to support lean and green vehicles as part of the Government's target for nearly all cars and vans to be zero emission by 2050.

Councils urged to bid for £35m funding for environmentally friendly vehicles: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-urged-to-bid-for-35m-funding-for-environmentally-friendly-vehicles/41842The Government is encouraging councils to bid for funding from a multi-million pound package designed to boost the uptake of ultra-low emission taxis and cars.”

Drive smoothly to reduce harmful effects of air pollution, says NICE: https://www.nice.org.uk/news/article/drive-smoothly-to-reduce-harmful-effects-of-air-pollution-says-niceWe haven't called for a ban on speed bumps or their removal. We say roads should be designed for smooth driving

Parking bays widened for bigger cars, says NCP: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38048793Car parking spaces are having to be made bigger to meet the growing size of family cars and 4x4s, the UK’s largest car park provider has said”

Toll roads: one more reason to ditch your car: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/toll-roads-one-more-reason-to-ditch-your-car/article33063568/Cars are a financial liability that will only get worse

Richard Rogers: “When public space is eroded, our civic culture suffers, even our democracy”: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/04/architecture/richard-rogers-guest-editor/Later projects -- the Bordeaux Law Courts, the Welsh Assembly, the Leadenhall Building -- all sought to democratize the brief, creating places for the passerby and the casual visitor, as well as for the office worker, lawyer or legislator.”

9% of homes built in England last year ‘in areas at high risk of flooding’: http://home.bt.com/news/uk-news/9-of-homes-built-in-england-last-year-in-areas-at-high-risk-of-flooding-11364117385144Some 9% of residential properties constructed in 2015/2016 were in areas at a high risk of river or coastal flooding, up from 8% the previous year and 7% in 2013/2014, the figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show.”

Copenhagen wins European City of the Year at 2017 Urbanism awards: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/2017-urbanism-awards-results/

As soda taxes gain wider acceptance, your bottle may be next: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/26/well/eat/as-soda-taxes-gain-wider-acceptance-your-bottle-may-be-next.html

Government ‘delayed fracking report’ until after vote, Greenpeace claims: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-38105768

Costa Coffee launches in-store cup recycling scheme: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/26/costa-coffee-launches-in-store-cup-recycling-scheme

Solar powered sensors help Walkers Crisps slice farm water and carbon use in half: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3000404/solar-powered-sensors-help-walkers-crisps-slice-farm-water-and-carbon-use-in-half

Jodrell Bank: new homes would impair telescope, rules government: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-38133597

Caroline Lucas calls for new environmental act to strengthen green policy post-Brexit: http://www.edie.net/news/11/Caroline-Lucas--UK-has-opportunity-to-strengthen-environmental-laws-post-BrexitThe UK must create a new Environmental Act, subject to legal oversight and accountability mechanisms, which replaces and strengthens environmental protections post-Brexit, Green Party Co-Leader Caroline Lucas has said.”

White paper delayed and Javid ups the ante on land-banking: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/466/white_paper_delayed_as_javid_ups_the_ante_on_land-banking

Resources and research

Glasgow Centre for Population Health – History, politics and vulnerability: explaining excess mortality. http://www.gcph.co.uk/publications/635_history_politics_and_vulnerability_explaining_excess_mortality“this report summarises all the research that has been undertaken into this phenomenon, and from a detailed examination of all the available evidence, identifies the most likely underlying causes and, therefore, the most appropriate policy responses. “

Low social status ‘can damage immune system’: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-38092146 “ Sir Michael Marmot…  This is hard science saying there's a plausible biological mechanism that results in clear differences depending where you are in the hierarchy. The gateway through which the social environment impacts health is the mind. Whether it is unhealthy behaviours or direct stress, the mind is crucial and this study is lending real credence to that.

3 steps towards healthier marketing: http://epha.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/3-Steps-Towards-Healthier-Marketing.pdf

Towards a new model of evidence for public health: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2816%2932243-7/fulltextThere is a pressing need to change the focus of research and action to tackle complex public health problems. Research funding must address the challenges of evaluating not only complex interventions, but also simple interventions within complex systems “

TCPA – Planning for the climate challenge: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/planning-for-the-climate-challengeThis study found that local plans in England are not dealing with carbon dioxide emissions reduction effectively, nor are they consistently delivering the adaptation actions necessary to secure the long-term social and economic resilience of local communities.”

The case for active travel: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/resources/types/reports/case-active-travelThis report sets out the fivefold economic benefit of greater investment in active travel: saving costs to the health sector, the economic value of active trips, the economic benefits of an improved urban realm, promoting inclusive growth, and direct employment and spend

Bicycle use and cyclist safety following Boston’s bicycle infrastructure expansion, 2009-2012: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303454Conclusions. The expansion of Boston’s bicycle infrastructure was associated with increases in both bicycle use and cyclist safety.”

NICE – draft guidance consultation: Air pollution: outdoor air quality and health: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/indevelopment/gid-phg92/documentsThe Department of Health in England has asked NICE to produce guidance on reducing the ill-effects of outdoor air quality on health. It will focus on how local authorities can reduce exposure to air pollution from road traffic. This guideline will also be used to develop a NICE quality standard on air pollution.”

Age Friendly Places – from Age UK: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/professional-resources-home/public-affairs/age-friendly-places/The Age friendly places guide is a tool to support local dialogue in communities about the importance of age friendly places and gives suggestions for how we can make our communities a great place to grow older.”

Tyndall centre for climate change research – travel strategy to reduce carbon footprint. E.g. should you attend that conference? Something that could be adopted by others? http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/travel-strategy

Cycle Boom: http://www.cycleboom.org/cycle BOOM was a study to understand cycling among the older population and how this affected independence, health and wellbeing. The ultimate aim was to advise policy makers and practitioners how our environment and technologies could be designed to help people to continue to cycle in older age or to reconnect with cycling.”

Travel time measures for local ‘A’ roads, England: October 2015 to September 2016: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/travel-time-measures-for-local-a-roads-england-october-2015-to-september-2016

Urban blight remediation as a cost-beneficial solution to firearms violence: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303434

WMHPG news, information and resources 25 November 2016

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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 and information

Consultation – Transport Select Committee – inquiry into urban congestion. Closing date 9 December 2016. https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/urban-congestion-16-17/

Sustainability West Midlands – Green Leaders Award: http://www.sustainabilitywestmidlands.org.uk/news/sustainability-west-midlands-2016-green-leaders-competition-entry-open/We are delighted to once again open the search for the region’s leading individuals that are playing a key role in leading us towards a more sustainable future. We are encouraging the area’s most influential people to step forward in a bid to highlight sustainable initiatives and promote the skills needed to drive the low carbon agenda.”

Why do we live, where we live? https://heartfoundation.org.au/news/why-do-we-live-where-we-liveThe Heart Foundation (Australia) surveyed 1000 people to see what impact their surroundings had on their physical activity and how important this factor was in selecting a place to live.”

Where you live can kill you: http://discoversociety.org/2016/11/01/where-you-live-can-kill-you/In 1842, the English social reformer Edwin Chadwick documented a 30-year discrepancy between the life expectancy of men in the poorest social classes and the gentry. …. Today, these inequalities persist. People in the most affluent areas of the United Kingdom, such as Kensington and Chelsea, can expect to live 14 years longer than that those in the poorest areas, such as Glasgow or Blackpool. Men and women in the North of England will, on average die 2 years earlier than those in the South. Scottish people also suffer a health penalty with the highest mortality rates in Western Europe.

Older people and housing: towards a wiser economy: http://discoversociety.org/2016/11/01/older-people-and-housing-towards-a-wiser-community/Housing is almost exclusively talked about as a crisis for young people, a shortage of so-called starter homes. The real issue, if we are to plan housing with the needs of the whole population in mind, is the shortage of smaller homes.“

International conference on transport and health 2017, Barcelona, Spain: http://www.tphlink.com/icth-2017---barcelona.html

Motorists across the West Midlands could be asked to pay for Birmingham’s parks: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/motorists-across-west-midlands-could-12177850 “They could be asked to pay because they drive in to the city and cause air pollution, according to Lisa Trickett, Birmingham City Council's Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and Environment.”

HS2: North West and Yorkshire routes confirmed: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/454/majority_of_hs2_route_confirmed BBC coverage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37981840

“Whose streets, our streets”: Democracy still lives in public spaces: http://www.pps.org/blog/democracy-still-lives-in-public-spaces/Democracy depends on having a safe space—a commons—for citizens to come together. “

Heathrow plans congestion charge for drivers:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/10819628/Heathrow-plans-congestion-charge-for-drivers.html“Drivers could be charged for dropping off passengers at Heathrow Airport under plans to manage congestion”

A call to action for healthy communities – from the American Public Health Association: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Zhh3K_05x8

Australia – A sugary drinks tax: recovering the community costs: http://grattan.edu.au/report/a-sugary-drinks-tax-recovering-the-community-costs/

To green our cities, we must rethink our relationship with nature: http://www.citymetric.com/fabric/green-our-cities-we-must-rethink-our-relationship-nature-2513

Conservative councils reluctant to grant planning permission: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Conservative-councils-reluctant-to-grant-planning-permission/42077 - as always - need to be aware of the source of the report when considering their findings.

Government lifts block on Sutton Coldfield green belt development:http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/government-lifts-block-sutton-coldfield-12226096Housing minister Gavin Barwell lifts block on the Birmingham Development Plan and plans for 6,000 homes on green fields to the east of Walmley”

Coventry council to suspend some bus lanes in congestion trial: http://www.itv.com/news/central/2016-11-22/council-to-suspend-some-bus-lanes-in-congestion-trial/

Midland Metropolitan Hospital: take a look around the £300m building site of the Black Country’s newest landmark: http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2016/11/15/midland-metropolitan-hospital-take-a-look-around-the-300m-building-site-of-the-black-countrys-newest-landmark/“A three-dimensional computerised model of the hospital, complete down to every detail, exists on the internet. It is just one of the ways in which this is a ground-breaking project. The hospital is the first public-private finance scheme to use BIM, or building information management, which allows planners and builders to work out all the details – and the potential problems – before construction started. Project director David Hollywood said: “We built it in 3D before we laid a brick.

‘Pay to stay’ social housing plan dropped: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38058402

Autumn statement promises funds to boost housebuilding: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/460/autumn_statement_promises_funds_to_boost_housebuilding

Reading drivers may face £20 fines for ‘vehicle idling’: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-38052193

Resources and research

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

Mud pies and green spaces – why children do better when they can get outdoors: https://theconversation.com/mud-pies-and-green-spaces-why-children-do-better-when-they-can-get-outdoors-43151new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a team of researchers from Spain, Norway, and the US found that time spent near or in green places, especially those in and around schools, can improve learners’ cognitive development. ….found that pupils’ ability in memory tasks and to maintain attention improved over time if their schools had green spaces on their campus and nearby.”

Housing and health inequalities briefing from NHS Scotland: http://www.healthscotland.scot/publications/housing-and-health-inequalities-briefingThis briefing focuses on the role that good-quality housing can play in improving health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities.”

The first report from the Committee on Fuel Poverty: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cfp-report-september-2016This report: sets out where we see early opportunities to make a difference and makes recommendations on these; gives our views on matters which are subject to current or imminent Government decisions. Beyond this, the report discusses some of the key issues in tackling fuel poverty and outlines our early views on these.

Meeting carbon budgets – 2016 progress report to Parliament: https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/meeting-carbon-budgets-2016-progress-report-to-parliamentThe Progress Report shows that UK emissions have fallen rapidly in the power sector, but that progress has stalled in other sectors, such as heating in buildings, transport, industry and agriculture.”

World Energy Outlook 2016: https://stateofgreen.com/en/profiles/state-of-green/news/world-energy-outlook-2016As a result of major transformations in the global energy system that take place over the next decades, renewables and natural gas are the big winners in the race to meet energy demand growth until 2040, according to the latest edition of the World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency’s flagship publication.

Essential evidence on a page No. 155 – Road user charging: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-essential-evidence-page-no-155-road-user-chargingTop line: Despite the perceived effectiveness of a Road User Charge (RUC), issues with acceptance has meant other ‘second-best alternatives’, such as parking policies, have been increasingly used to manage congestion.”

What makes an urban neighbourhood more resilient to flood? New assessment tool trialled in Hamburg: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/urban_neighbourhood_resilient_flood_new_assessment_tool_hamburg_477na1_en.pdfThe method identifies features of urban landscapes that contribute to three elements of flood resilience; resistance, absorption and recovery.”

The influence of mobility on mental health status in young people: The role of area-level deprivation: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829216302519Moving to a deprived area in childhood is linked to later poor mental health. Residential moves mediate the effect of area change on mental health…….

Sustainable drainage systems: new ecosystem services-based evaluation methods: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/suds_ecosystem_services_biodiversity_communities_new_evaluation_methods_477na6_en.pdf

Health and Place alert – new articles list: http://rt2-m.notifications.elsevier.com/nl/jsp/m.jsp?c=%40y2SfHisMZvjyvFavS4NqpYNmusHJhsdoIcmtLbglOqM%3D

Air pollution exposure in relation to the commute to school: a Bradford UK case study: http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/13/11/1064

The effectiveness of average speed cameras – Road Safety Analysis report: http://www.roadsafetyanalysis.org/2016/09/new-rsa-report-analyses-average-speed-cameras/ the RAC Foundation have published research carried out by Road Safety Analysis and Professor Richard Allsop that reviews the effectiveness of Average Speed Cameras (ASC). The project has taken just of a year to complete and offers an independent review of collision records over 25 years at 50 sites in Great Britain.”

Analysing the ‘safety in numbers’ effect in England: http://www.roadsafetyanalysis.org/2016/11/cycling-safety-in-numbers-research/Several international studies have pointed to the effect known as 'safety in numbers' (SIN), which suggests that when there are more cyclists on the road, the rate of injury collisions involving cyclists reduces. Using data from every English local authority this unique report explores whether SIN can be demonstrated, and what different levels of risk exist around the country.“

WMHPG news, information and resources 11 November 2016

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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 week – brought to you via @belfasthealthy, @harryrutter, @philipInsall, @BrentToderian

News & information

PushBike Survey. National Rail are consulting with people who use cycles and rail, consultation open until the 20 November: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PlusBike_2016 

Empowering communities – a new look for public health: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-william-bird-mbe/empowering-communities-a-_b_12838208.html

UK’s first ‘green energy’ Isa goes on sale: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/nov/05/green-energy-isa-invest-swindon-abundance

Air pollution alerts to be displayed across London: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-36985088Notices will be displayed at bus stops, river pier stops, tube stations and on road signs, from 15 August

Do we REALLY need the green belt? http://www.localgov.co.uk/Do-we-REALLY-need-the-Green-Belt/41594

How many flights for a life? http://www.insallandcoe.co.uk/blog/2015/9/15/how-many-flights-for-a-lifeBut why, when the evidence is so clear, is there not more debate about air travel?  For most of us, flying is by far the worst behaviour we display when it comes to environmental destruction and threatening the lives of others.  Why do we not have robust models for how many plane kilometres, or how many individual air trips cost a life?  Or indeed for how many lives per plane?  Is someone out there developing the evidence?”

Scotland generates enough wind energy to power almost every household for an entire month: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/scotland-wind-energy-power-houses-month-a7401666.htmlwind power is helping Scotland avoid ‘over a million tons of carbon emissions a month’”.

Indian government declares Delhi air pollution an emergency: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/06/delhi-air-pollution-closes-schools-for-three-daysThe Indian government has declared severe levels of toxic air pollution in Delhian “emergency situation” as administrators announce a plan to temporarily shut construction sites and a coal-fired power station to bring the situation under control. Schools in the capital will be closed for three days and traffic may be rationed, following six days of heavy smog and concentrations of harmful particles so high they cannot be measured by most air quality instruments.

Greek goddess will rule the waves at marine energy farm off Cornwall: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/greek-goddess-will-rule-the-waves-at-marine-energy-farm-off-cornwall-h8v9xv9q0Britain’s first wave farm is to be built off Cornwall in what could be an alternative to unsightly offshore wind farms. The Ceto, a giant buoy named after a sea goddess from Greek mythology, moves up and down with waves and uses the motion to drive a hydraulic cylinder and generate electricity. Unlike other wave-power devices it is fully submerged, meaning that it is safer from storms and invisible from the shore.

Bus gates on Manchester corridor drive down traffic by 95%: https://www.transportxtra.com/publications/local-transport-today/news/51784/bus-gates-on-manchester-corridor-result-in-95-drop-in-trafficThere has been a 95% drop in general traffic on Oxford Road into Manchester city centre since the installation of a ‘bus gate’ and cyclist and pedestrian friendly measures, reports Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).”

‘Mini Holland’ scheme in Walthamstow hailed as major success as traffic falls by half: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/mini-holland-scheme-in-walthamstow-hailed-as-major-success-as-traffic-falls-by-half-a3389936.htmlCampaigners have called for “mini Holland” walking and cycling schemes to be introduced in towns across Britain after the first London pilot scheme produced dramatic results. Traffic levels in 12 key roads in the “village” area of Walthamstow fell by 56 per cent, or 10,000 fewer vehicles a day…“

HS2 rail link ‘will destroy irreplaceable ancient woodland’: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/10/hs2-rail-link-will-destroy-irreplaceable-ancient-woodland“The HS2 rail link will destroy irreplaceable ancient woodland that has been continuously wooded for hundreds of years, the conservation agency Natural England has warned. The Government agency published a review warning that areas that have been continuously covered with trees since 1600 was irreplaceable.”

Time to put commitments into action, FAO chief urges: https://www.sustainweb.org/news/oct16_fao_state_of_agriculture_2016/What climate change does is to bring back uncertainties from the time we were all hunter gatherers. We cannot assure any more that we will have the harvest we have planted.' With these apocalyptic words, José Graziano da Silva, director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, launched its latest landmark report, The State of Food and Agriculture 2016.”

Food companies are unprepared for global water scarcity, says new report: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/may/07/ceres-coca-cola-kellogg-nestle-water-food-shortage-california-droughtGlobal food prices, which have been rising since 2012, may be ready for another hike. In a report released Thursday, Ceres, a sustainable business consortium based in Boston, found that most food companies aren’t prepared to deal with the water risks that it expects will lead to higher water and food prices.

NHS in England ponders sugary drinks ban: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37914050 and https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/09/nhs-england-chief-proposal-sugar-ban-drinks-hospitals

Tax meat and dairy to cut emissions and save lives, study urges: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/07/tax-meat-and-dairy-to-cut-emissions-and-save-lives-study-urgesClimate taxes on meat and milk would lead to huge and vital cuts in carbon emissions as well as saving half a million lives a year via healthier diets, according to the first global analysis of the issue.”

Councillor calls for boycott of Coca-Cola truck visit: http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/NEWS/14870949.Councillor_calls_for_boycott_of_Coca_Cola_truck_visit/…. Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, leader of the Council’s Liberal Democrat group, said fizzy drink promotions had no place in Bradford while it was fighting a “public health battle”.

The beauty of transport has been nationalised (somewhat to my surprise): https://thebeautyoftransport.wordpress.com/2016/11/09/the-beauty-of-transport-has-been-nationalised-somewhat-to-my-surprise/ “The UK government has decided that transport infrastructure should look nice as well as working well, enhancing the built environment rather than detracting from it. “

Resources and research

Via the WHO UK Healthy City Network – Carnegie UK: Sharpening Our Focus: Guidance on Wellbeing Frameworks for Cities and Regions: http://www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk/publications/sharpening-focus-guidance-wellbeing-frameworks-cities-regions/  “Cities and regions face particular challenges in developing wellbeing frameworks. Carnegie Associate Pippa Coutts, in partnership with the OECD Regional Development Policy Division, has developed straightforward guidance for cities and regions that want to develop their own wellbeing frameworks to measure progress and prioritise resources. The next stage of the project is to gather further evidence from around the globe on using wellbeing in policy and practice at all levels – community, local government, neighbourhoods, cities and regions. We have established a ‘crowdsourcing’ system to collect international examples. Our hope is that we will uncover examples of innovation, which we will share.

Food industry funding of nutrition research: the relevance of history for current debates: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2548251

Feeding ourselves thirsty: how the food sector is managing global water risks: http://www.ceres.org/issues/water/agriculture/water-risks-food-sector/food-water-risks

The State of Food and Agriculture. Report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization: http://www.fao.org/publications/sofa/2015/en/This edition of The State of Food and Agriculture 2015 makes the case that social protection measures will help break the cycle of rural poverty and vulnerability, when combined with broader agricultural and rural development measures.“

Sustainability and climate change: opportunities for PHE: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sustainability-and-climate-change-opportunities-for-phe/sustainability-and-climate-change-opportunities-for-phe

A green bus for every journey: http://www.greenerjourneys.com/publication/green-bus-every-journey/With almost 4,000 ‘green’, low emission buses currently in operation, no single technology will fit every route and nor will a specific route fit every technology, but with the unrivalled number of clean bus options now available to the UK operators this report shows that there truly is ‘A Green Bus for Every Journey’. - See more at: http://www.greenerjourneys.com/publication/green-bus-every-journey/#sthash.0PVvRRIW.dpuf

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

Report of the House of Lords Select Committee on the Built Environment – Government Response: https://khub.net/documents/6097685/0/Government+Response+to+the+House+of+Lords+Select+Committee+on+the+Built+Environment/7411f925-01ee-4412-8683-dbc01a609a4a Planning Portal coverage: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/446/government_rejects_call_by_peers_for_built_environment_specialist

Building in the green belt – from the RTPI: http://www.rtpi.org.uk/knowledge/research/projects/building-in-the-green-belt/By using travel-to-work data from the 2011 Census, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has found that building one million homes around railway stations in the Metropolitan green belt could result in between 3.96 and 7.45 million additional car journeys per week on roads which are already struggling with congestion and delays. These findings also question the extent to whichnew residents would use trains to access jobs in central London.”

Via Belfast Healthy Cities http://www.belfasthealthycities.com/

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