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WMHPG news, information and resources 4 October 2019

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.

Sustainable development goals

Trade challenges at the World Trade Organization to national noncommunicable disease prevention policies: A thematic document analysis of trade and health policy space: https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002590 “Policy makers appear to face significant pressure to design food, beverage, and tobacco regulations that other countries will deem consistent with trade rules. Trade-related influence on public health policy is likely to be understated by analyses limited to formal trade disputes.”

Drop in vaccination rates in England alarming, experts warn: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/sep/26/drop-in-vaccination-rates-in-england-alarming-experts-warn “Experts have expressed alarm at the drop in take-up of all routine childhood vaccinations across England, with a marked decline in rates against 13 different diseases, which leaves many thousands of children under-protected.” – data available here - Childhood Vaccination Coverage Statistics - England 2018-19: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-immunisation-statistics/england-2018-19

The ‘Knock-On Effect’ Of Local Deprivation And Social Fragmentation On Wellbeing: https://whatworkswellbeing.org/blog/the-knock-on-effect-of-local-deprivation-and-social-fragmentation-on-individual-wellbeing/ “This complements existing evidence which finds that lower average income, higher unemployment and perceptions of anti-social behaviour in a place correlate with lower levels of life satisfaction at the individual level. Other studies also show that at the area level, lower incomes and higher unemployment are also associated with higher levels of wellbeing inequalities within areas.”

What are the respiratory effects of e-cigarettes? https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/366/bmj.l5275.full.pdf “Decades of chronic smoking are needed for development of lung diseases such as lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, so the population effects of e-cigarette use may not be apparent until the middle of this century. We conclude that current knowledge of these effects is insufficient to determine whether the respiratory health effects of e-cigarette are less than those of combustible tobacco products.”

Healthy planning & environment

Decision-making for active living infrastructure in new communities: a qualitative study in England: https://academic.oup.com/jpubhealth/advance-article/doi/10.1093/pubmed/fdz105/5573986 “We have developed a conceptual model with three factors needed to bridge the gap between evidence and ALI being built: influential public health practitioners; supportive policies in non-health sectors; and adequate resources.”

Design: process and tools: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/design “Well-designed places can be achieved by taking a proactive and collaborative approach at all stages of the planning process, from policy and plan formulation through to the determination of planning applications and the post approval stage. This guidance explains the processes and tools that can be used through the planning system and how to engage local communities effectively.”

Planning 2020 in Practice A Councillors’ Guide to Implementing the Raynsford Review of Planning in England: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=f52b324b-d727-4f66-881c-ce777a78330b “This guide is designed to support councillors in going further towards putting the Raynsford Review into practice. Ultimately, there is no better way of making the case for further reforms than proving the positive difference that better planning can make to people’s lives.”

Councils attack plans to extend permitted development rules: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-attack-plans-to-extend-permitted-development-rules/48243 “The Government has announced plans to extend permitted development rules to allow developers to convert commercial buildings into homes without planning permission.”

Planning for Climate Change – Law and Policy Briefing: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=4927d472-a9f0-4281-a6af-463ddc642201 “Local planning authorities in England are required to take strong, outcome-focused action

on climate change, but delivery on the ground remains slow. This briefing outlines the key overarching legislative and policy requirements, with some aspects also applying in other parts of the UK and EU.”

‘Save Money, Cut Emissions’ – Eu Pulls Plug On Wasteful, Unrepairable Products: https://meta.eeb.org/2019/10/01/save-money-cut-emissions-eu-pulls-plug-on-wasteful-unrepairable-products/ “A host of household appliances including TVs, fridges, freezers and washing machines will be easier to repair after new EU laws were formally adopted this week. For the first time, manufacturers will be obliged to make their products easier to take apart and fix. Companies will also need to provide spare parts and instructions on how to perform repairs for any products they put on the market. The new requirements could mean new electronic products last longer, saving consumers money and cutting harmful emissions. For now, covered by the regulation are TVs, fridges, freezers and washing machines, monitors, washer-dryers, dishwashers and lighting products.”

Fracking equipment removed from Cuadrilla site after operations suspended: ‘Work at this site could soon be at an end’: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/fracking-cuadrilla-lancashire-preston-new-road-suspended-equipment-removed-a9126671.html “Fracking company Cuadrilla has begun removing its equipment from its site at Preston New Road in Lancashire, after all drilling was suspended when the firm’s activities caused a 2.9-magnitude earthquake in August. The licence to carry out hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas expires on 30 November and Cuadrilla has said it will not seek a new licence.”

Green New Deal for Nature: https://common-wealth.co.uk/gnd-for-nature.html “This report proposes a Green New Deal for Nature to tackle these problems synergistically. The UK government should agree to design a UK Restoration and Rewilding Plan, to allocate 25% of the UK’s land primarily for wildlife and carbon sequestration, within a decade. Key to this Plan is to re-establish woodlands to link existing important remaining habitats together, and connect them to people.”

Ongoing accumulation of plant diversity through habitat connectivity in an 18-year experiment: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6460/1478 “Fragmentation of ecosystems leads to loss of biodiversity in the remaining habitat patches, but retaining connecting corridors can reduce these losses. Using long-term data from a large, replicated experiment, Damschen et al. show quantitatively how these losses are reduced.”

Over half of Europe’s endemic trees face extinction: https://www.iucn.org/news/species/201909/over-half-europes-endemic-trees-face-extinction “Over half (58%) of Europe’s endemic trees are threatened with extinction, according to assessments of the state of the continent’s biodiversity published today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The introduction of invasive species, unsustainable logging and urban development are key threats causing the decline of tree species such as the horse-chestnut across Europe.”

U.N. plans vast urban forests to fight climate change: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=8470059c-4532-4691-aa77-12b021949c05 “The United Nations unveiled plans to plant urban forests over an area four times the size of Hong Kong, seeking to make Africa and Asia's rapidly growing cities greener. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said the pace of urbanisation on both continents was contributing to climate change and planting trees could improve air quality, cut the risk of floods and heatwaves and halt land degradation. It will discuss plans to create up to half a million hectares of new urban forests - more than four times the size of Hong Kong - by 2030 in New York this week.”

Housing

Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales: 2018: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsofhomelesspeopleinenglandandwales/2018 “There were an estimated 726 deaths of homeless people in England and Wales registered in 2018, the highest year-to-year increase (22%) since our time series began. Most of the deaths in 2018 were among men (641 estimated deaths; 88% of the total). The mean age at death was 45 years for males and 43 years for females in 2018; in the general population of England and Wales, the mean age at death was 76 years for men and 81 years for women. Two in five deaths of homeless people were related to drug poisoning in 2018 (294 estimated deaths), and the number of deaths from this cause has increased by 55% since 2017.”

Glasgow council facing court action over lack of housing for homeless people: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/oct/02/glasgow-council-facing-court-action-over-lack-of-housing-for-homeless-people “In a legal action that could have consequences for local authorities across Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity is on Wednesday seeking a judicial review of the council’s actions after its own figures revealed that 3,365 applications for temporary accommodation had not been fulfilled in the year up to March 2019, compared with 3,055 over the previous 12 months.”

Chris Foye: What Does A ‘Fixed’ Housing System Look Like? https://housingevidence.ac.uk/chris-foye-what-does-a-fixed-housing-system-look-like/ “Dr Chris Foye gives an overview of the recent CaCHE seminar where we brought together a group of policymakers and practitioners and asked them to consider what their vision of a ‘fixed’ housing system looks like.”

Disabled children among social tenants blocked from communal gardens: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/sep/27/disabled-children-among-social-tenants-blocked-from-communal-gardens “Social and affordable housing residents are being denied access to the gardens of a multimillion pound west London development despite political promises to ban segregated play areas”

Climate change & sustainability

Dependence of economic impacts of climate change on anthropogenically directed pathways: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0578-6?utm “These results suggest that decisions on mitigation and development have a great influence in determining the economic impacts of climate change, regardless of the uncertainties in the climate response.”

Large influence of soil moisture on long-term terrestrial carbon uptake: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0848-x.epdf?shared_access_token=CE6QZ_zTwvFg_ge1qzgEkdRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0P1zrVDUN9uCi13Km7Pt2Xr_NRJw_C0XP65ZxvswDxlGM61DfJhwnNOo2-y2ZEMGWo57ICvLiZRHf13kLKjr8d4FCDQbYr-g9x60ZkLvYCRp5IkoETDq2_jH5qcQAH4UDw%3D “Our results emphasize that the capacity of continents to act as a future carbon sink critically depends on the nonlinear response of carbon fluxes to soil moisture and on land–atmosphere interactions. This suggests that the increasing trend in carbon uptake rate may not be sustained past the middle of the century and could result in accelerated atmospheric CO2 growth.”

State of the Climate in 2018: https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2019BAMSStateoftheClimate.1?af=R “In 2018, the dominant greenhouse gases released into Earth’s atmosphere—carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—continued their increase. The annual global average carbon dioxide concentration at Earth’s surface was 407.4 ± 0.1 ppm, the highest in the modern instrumental record and in ice core records dating back 800 000 years. Combined, greenhouse gases and several halogenated gases contribute just over 3 W m−2 to radiative forcing and represent a nearly 43% increase since 1990. Carbon dioxide is responsible for about 65% of this radiative forcing”

World's largest wind turbines to be built off Yorkshire coast: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/01/worlds-largest-wind-turbines-to-be-built-off-yorkshire-coast “Together, the new generation turbines – built by GE Renewable Energy – will make up a windfarm capable of generating enough renewable electricity to power 4.5m homes from 130km (80 miles) off the Yorkshire coast, or 5% of the UK’s total power supply.”

Tories ignore tough climate change recommendations in 2050 net zero plan, but promise nuclear fusion instead: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/conservative-net-zero-emissions-2050-climate-change-green-conference-a9123866.html “New Conservative plans for achieving their net-zero pledge to end carbon emissions by 2050 – including a nuclear fusion plant – have been criticised for lacking urgency and practical solutions. Green groups hit out after the Tories kicked off their annual conference with the first, long-awaited policy changes to help hit the legal commitment to end UK contributions to global warming.”

Scientists deride Johnson’s claim UK on ‘verge’ of creating commercial nuclear fusion reactors: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/boris-johnson-conservative-party-conference-commercial-fusion-reactors-a9130821.html “Scientists have attacked Boris Johnson’s claim that an Oxfordshire facility is “on the verge” of creating commercially viable fusion reactors, saying the technology is decades away, and poses a distraction from the government’s failure to cut emissions.”

Climate crisis: 6 million people join latest wave of global protests: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/27/climate-crisis-6-million-people-join-latest-wave-of-worldwide-protests “Six million people have taken to the streets over the past week, uniting across timezones, cultures and generations to demand urgent action on the escalating ecological emergency. A fresh wave of climate strikes swept around the globe on Friday with an estimated 2 million people walking out of schools and workplaces.”

Energy suppliers claim to sell '100% renewable' electricity without producing any green power: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/renewable-energy-suppliers-green-electricity-which-research-a9123566.html “Suppliers can be seen as “greenwashing” by purchasing certificates from companies that generate renewable electricity, which allow them to claim they provide zero-carbon energy, even though much of the power they actually supply may comes from fossil fuels, Which? has argued.“

Record renewables output helps push coal to less than one per cent of UK grid: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3082003/record-renewables-output-helps-push-coal-to-less-than-one-per-cent-of-uk-grid “Official data shows renewables provided over 35 per cent of UK power during the second quarter, as coal hit a record low of 0.6 per cent”

Active travel & transport

The impact of walking in different urban environments on brain activity in older people: https://citieshealth.world/impact_walking_urban_environments_brain_activity_older_people/ “Undertaking this research has led to identification of neural signatures associated with the experience of different kinds of urban spaces in older people. The findings and methodology are useful for planners and designers of public spaces and residential environments, as well as for policy-makers and health practitioners, in helping understand any beneficial or detrimental effects of urban places on an ageing population.”

Portals To Places Initiative: https://www.pps.org/portals-to-places?mc_cid=d8ea6dd9ab&mc_eid=ba4d196c58 “Imagine if our public spaces supported public transportation as the primary mode of everyday travel in our cities. Imagine if the station or stop where you board your bus or train every day was also where you shop, run errands, greet your neighbors, access retail, buy food, access public services, or do other activities that are an integral part of your daily life. Imagine a station and stop as the place where you gather to celebrate your community or even to envision and co-create its future.”

Sustrans - Our position on the use of cycle helmets: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/policy-positions/all/all/our-position-on-the-use-of-cycle-helmets/ “We believe that it is a personal choice whether to wear a cycle helmet or not, and for parents to make that choice for their children.”

Cities for People: http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DLreport_Cities-for-people_September2019.pdf “Brake asked 1,000 drivers questions about safe and healthy mobility in cities. The survey was carried out online in August 2019 by independent market research company, Surveygoo.”

Edinburgh cycling campaigner's call for 20mph speed limit to protect riders gets a sadly predictable response from newspaper's readers: https://road.cc/content/news/267061-edinburgh-cycling-campaigners-call-20mph-speed-limit-protect-riders-gets-sadly “A prominent cycling campaigner in Scotland has called for speed limits for motor vehicles to be reduced in Edinburgh to help safeguard cyclists – but his appeal has been given short shrift by readers of the newspaper which published his appeal.”

Transport can be young people’s ticket to a healthy future: https://www.transporttimes.co.uk/news.php/Transport-can-be-young-people-s-ticket-to-a-healthy-future-457 “Young people are often forgotten about when it comes to policy and transport is no different. With large sums of money being invested into making transport faster and better connected across the country, it's important that policies are in place to make getting from A to B both affordable and reliable for the younger generation. The short-term benefits from this move will ultimately benefit the future health of those moving into adulthood, helping us to create a healthier and happier society of tomorrow.”

A lower drink-drive limit in Scotland is not linked to reduced road traffic accidents as expected: https://discover.dc.nihr.ac.uk/content/signal-000815/scotland-drink-drive-limit-reduction-did-not-lower-accidents “The findings suggest that changes to the legal limit alone may not be sufficient to reduce drink driving. Changes may need to be supported by more intensive efforts to raise awareness of the limits and enforce them, and strategies to target those not complying.”

Air quality & pollution

Air pollution is linked to infant deaths and reduced lung function in children: https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l5772 “Three air pollutants—nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter (PM10), and sulfur dioxide—separately and together are associated with an increased risk of infant deaths, according to a study of nearly eight million live births. A second study of nearly 14 000 children shows that exposure to air pollution from road traffic as early as the first trimester of pregnancy is associated with small but significant reductions in lung function at eight years.”

Environmental pollution is associated with increased risk of psychiatric disorders in the US and Denmark: https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3000353 “These results show that air pollution is significantly associated with increased risk of psychiatric disorders. We hypothesize that pollutants affect the human brain via neuroinflammatory pathways that have also been shown to cause depression-like phenotypes in animal studies.”

Air pollution is now a leading stroke risk factor: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/310887.php “In detail, the researchers discovered that around 30 percent of disability associated with stroke is linked to air pollution, which is especially high in developing countries compared with developed countries, at 33.7 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively.”

Face masks could raise pollution risks: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02938-1 “People can get a false sense of security from flimsy gauze, and linger too long outdoors in toxic air, argue Wei Huang and Lidia Morawska.”

Pollutionwatch: how does World Car-free Day affect emissions? https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/26/pollutionwatch-how-does-world-car-free-day-affect-emissions “Working out the environmental impact of a car-free day is difficult because air pollution is influenced by the weather as well as by emissions. In Paris this year, nitrogen dioxide was estimated to be 7% less compared with the average Sunday. In one street there was a 45% decrease.”

Plastic Teabags Release Billions of Microparticles and Nanoparticles into Tea: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.9b02540 “The levels of nylon and polyethylene terephthalate particles released from the teabag packaging are several orders of magnitude higher than plastic loads previously reported in other foods. An initial acute invertebrate toxicity assessment shows that exposure to only the particles released from the teabags caused dose-dependent behavioral and developmental effects.”

Importance of Water-Volume on the Release of Microplastic Fibers from Laundry: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.9b03022 “These results indicate that a high water-volume-to-fabric ratio is the most influential factor for MF release, rather than agitation as previously thought. Therefore, consumers can reduce MF release by avoiding high water-volume washes (delicate cycles), transitioning to appliances that use a lower water-volume (North American high-efficiency washing machines), and ensuring that full wash loads are used.”

E-waste: Can businesses solve the world's fastest-growing domestic waste stream? https://www.edie.net/library/E-waste--Can-businesses-solve-the-world-s-fastest-growing-domestic-waste-stream-/6936 “edie reporter Sarah George places the world's fastest-growing domestic waste stream, e-waste, under the microscope, and investigates how businesses are tackling the global phenomenon.”

Turkey doctor gets 15 months for revealing pollution cancer risk: https://phys.org/news/2019-09-turkey-doctor-months-revealing-pollution.html “A Turkish scientist was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Thursday for revealing the cancer risks posed by toxic pollution in western Turkey.”

Food & food security

Sugar reduction: progress between 2015 and 2018: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sugar-reduction-progress-between-2015-and-2018 “For retailer own brand and manufacturer branded foods there has been an overall 2.9%

reduction in sugar since 2015. This is measured using a sales weighted average”

Sixty scientists sign open letter calling for less meat and dairy in schools and hospitals: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/scientists-meat-eating-climate-crisis-vegetarian-vegan-mayors-a9131926.html “More than 60 scientists from 11 countries have signed an open letter calling for governments around the world to cut the quantities of meat and dairy served in schools and hospitals. The letter urges mayors to do their bit by reducing animal products in public canteens as part of a move to “maintain a safe climate and planet for the future of humanity”.”

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