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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 18 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

The Health Impacts of Brexit: risks of harmful impacts increase whilst chances of positive impacts remain unchanged: https://phw.nhs.wales/news1/news/the-health-impacts-of-brexit-risks-of-harmful-impacts-increase-whilst-chances-of-positive-impacts-remain-unchanged/ “The report builds on a detailed analysis, The Public Health Implications of Brexit in Wales: A Health Impact Assessment Approach, originally published in January 2019, and examines the potential effects of Brexit on the short, medium and long-term health and well-being of people living in Wales. The original report and the update look at the likelihood and intensity of any potential positive impacts and opportunities, as well as potential negative impacts.”

UN Sustainable Development Goals: How does climate change jeopardise the chances of a sustainable future? https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2019/10/11/un-development-goals-how-does-climate-change-jeopardise-the-chances-of-a-sustainable-future/ “The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a global initiative that pledges to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The ONS has a leading role in the UK’s response and is now busy measuring our progress towards achieving each of the seventeen goals. As Fiona Dawe explains, measuring the social impact of climate change is emerging as a key theme of the work and was the subject of special ONS conference this week.”            

Assessing the impact of rising child poverty on the unprecedented rise in infant mortality in England, 2000–2017: time trend analysis: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/10/e029424 “This study provides evidence that the unprecedented rise in infant mortality disproportionately affected the poorest areas of the country, leaving the more affluent areas unaffected. Our analysis also linked the recent increase in infant mortality in England with rising child poverty, suggesting that about a third of the increase in infant mortality from 2014 to 2017 may be attributed to rising child poverty.”

The data behind mortality trends: explaining the recent improvement in mortality in England: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/explaining-the-recent-improvement-in-mortality-in-england/ “One of the most important functions of a government is to ensure the health of its population, with the main indicator being measures of mortality such as life expectancy. Mike Murphy writes that, contrary to popular belief, current levels of mortality are the lowest ever recorded by a substantial margin.”

Harnessing data and technology for public health: five challenges: https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-comment/blogs/harnessing-data-and-technology-for-public-health-five-challenges “Responding to the government’s prevention green paper. In this long read, we set out five challenges that the government needs to address if it is to harness the full potential of data and technology in public health, and offer a suggestion to help address each.”

We must turn the tide on inequality for all our children: https://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/we-must-turn-tide-inequality-all-our-children “A person's ethnicity can mean they're more likely to be locked in poverty than other people. It's the right thing to do to change our policies and systems to enable everyone to break free from poverty.”

Modelling the impact of alcohol duty policies since 2012 in England & Scotland: https://figshare.shef.ac.uk/articles/Modelling_the_impact_of_alcohol_duty_policies_since_2012_in_England_Scotland/9958763 “Changes in UK alcohol duty since 2012 have led to increased levels of alcohol consumption, greater levels of alcohol-related ill health, premature mortality, higher rates of alcohol-related crime and workplace absence than if the alcohol duty escalator had remained in place until 2015 as originally planned. There have been almost 2,000 additional deaths caused by alcohol in England and 250 more in Scotland as a result of these changes in Government policy since 2012. These additional deaths have occurred disproportionately in more deprived households, widening inequalities in health”

Vaccination Ethics: https://academic.oup.com/phe/pages/vaccination-ethics “To contribute to the current ethical and political discussions on immunization, we present a virtual special issue of Public Health Ethics that brings together some of the best work on vaccination ethics in the past few years. We look forward to receiving more work on immunization in the future.”

Healthy planning & environment

PHE Data – Wider Determinants of Health - Built and natural environment: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/wider-determinants/supporting-information/built-and-natural-environment An excellent starting point for data, toolkits, and evidence for practice

Urban green spaces raise nearby house prices by an average of £2,500: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/articles/urbangreenspacesraisenearbyhousepricesbyanaverageof2500/2019-10-14 “Urban properties close to public parks, gardens and playing fields are more expensive, analysis reveals. Explore your area to see how much green space adds to the value of your property.”

‘Infrastructure revolution’ is road to nowhere: https://www.cpre.org.uk/media-centre/sound-bites/item/5185-infrastructure-revolution-is-road-to-nowhere “CPRE today strongly criticises the decision to go ahead with a significant £25 billion investment in new roads, which is incompatible with the government’s commitment to tackle the climate emergency. Ours and others’ research shows that building new and bigger roads actually drives more traffic, and consistently fails to show measurable benefits to local economies, while also leading to permanent and significant environmental damage. Climate change is the biggest threat facing the countryside and better public transport in rural areas is the best way to keep cars off the road and emissions out of the atmosphere.”

Stirling Prize 2019: A Momentous Moment For Architecture And Housing: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/stirling-prize-2019-a-momentous-moment-for-architecture-and-housing/ “Monday’s decision to award the Stirling Prize, the Royal Institute of British Architects most prestigious award, to Goldsmith Street in Norwich designed by architects Mikhail Riches working with Cathy Hawley was a momentous moment for architecture and for housing more widely. It celebrates the real skill of architects, those delicate design moves that can make such a difference not only to the way we people feel about a place as well as its long term value.”

New report reveals that prescribing nature is excellent value for money: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/news/new-report-reveals-prescribing-nature “A new report published today reveals that prescribing contact with nature for people who have low levels of mental wellbeing is excellent value for money by improving people’s health and wellbeing.” – more here - ‘Nature prescriptions’ would be cheap way to improve country’s mental health, study finds: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature-prescriptions-nhs-mental-health-nature-wellbeing-a9148751.html

Black absence in green spaces: https://theecologist.org/2019/oct/10/black-absence-green-spaces “People of colour spend less time in nature in the UK than white people. But we are often closely connected to nature in our countries of heritage - the disconnect seems to occur in the west.  Why is this? My ethnographic research explores the relationship of black and Asian people to nature in the UK, drawing on my work as a nature allied psychotherapist and leading a nature connection programme in London.”

Assessing effects from four years of industry-led badger culling in England on the incidence of bovine tuberculosis in cattle, 2013–2017: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-49957-6 “Industry-led culling was associated with reductions in cattle TB incidence rates after four years but there were variations in effects between areas.”

Two-thirds of U.S. birds face extinction due to climate-linked 'emergency': Audubon: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-science-birds-audubon/two-thirds-of-u-s-birds-face-extinction-due-to-climate-linked-emergency-audubon-idUKKBN1WP2PT “Two-thirds of bird species in North America, already disappearing at an alarming rate, face extinction unless immediate action is taken to slow the rate of climate change, the National Audubon Society said on Thursday.”

What's in the government's new environment bill? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-50044870 “A bill to tackle environmental priorities is to be published by the government later. It aims to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution, restore wildlife, and protect the climate. Environmentalists have welcomed several of the proposals, especially on restoring nature. But they say on other green issues ministers are going backwards - and they're anxious to see details of the new policies.”

‘Devil is in the detail’: Criticism of ‘tokenistic’ environmental policies in Queen’s Speech: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/queens-speech-environment-bill-extinction-rebellion-recycling-plastic-a9155351.html “The government has announced measures to improve air quality, household recycling services and protect nature, but campaigners have warned although policies look encouraging the “devil will be in the detail”.”

Housing

What impact is the standard method for assessing local housing need having on housing requirements in local plans? https://lichfields.uk/blog/2019/october/10/what-impact-is-the-standard-method-for-assessing-local-housing-need-having-on-housing-requirements-in-local-plans/ “We’ve now undertaken further research which illustrates the startlingly different impacts that the standard methodology is having in the North and South of the country. The three northern regions in our original research were planning for a 13% uplift above the Standard Method, compared to a proposed under-supply of 6% in the South East and East regions. Our new research reveals that the negative impact of the Standard Method on housing requirements has become even greater.”

West Midlands experts call for policy changes to address the homelessness crisis: https://blog.bham.ac.uk/publicaffairs/west-midlands-experts-call-for-policy-changes-to-address-the-homelessness-crisis/ “Cities like Birmingham have been particularly affected, with official figures showing 23 deaths in 2018, the highest recorded number for any local authority in England and Wales. Despite this, there’s a clear recognition that something must be done… We brought together academics with local authorities, medical practitioners and support workers and asked them to consider what can be done to reduce homelessness and improve people’s quality of life.”

Government accused of wrecking plans to build more social housing: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/oct/11/government-accused-wrecking-plans-build-more-social-housing “Councils reacted with frustration to the one percentage point increase on public works loan board (PWLB) finance, which was imposed “out of the blue” this week, warning it could delay or scupper housebuilding and regeneration schemes. They said rise would lead to fewer council homes being built, and would reduce local authorities’ ability to build and maintain schools, roads and waste facilities, and invest in commercial property.”

Climate change & sustainability

Analysis: UK renewables generate more electricity than fossil fuels for first time: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-uk-renewables-generate-more-electricity-than-fossil-fuels-for-first-time “In the third quarter of 2019, the UK’s windfarms, solar panels, biomass and hydro plants generated more electricity than the combined output from power stations fired by coal, oil and gas, Carbon Brief analysis reveals.”

Rapid CO2 release from eroding permafrost in seawater: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019GL084303?af=R “We show that large amounts of carbon dioxide are being produced during the Arctic open‐water season. Our study indicates that eroding permafrost coasts in the Arctic are potentially a major source of carbon dioxide. With increasing loss of sea‐ice, longer open‐water seasons and exposure of coasts to waves, we highlight the importance of coastal erosion for potential carbon dioxide emissions.”

How accurately can the climate sensitivity to CO2 be estimated from historical climate change? https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00382-019-04991-y “We conclude that energy-balance estimates of   CO2  EffCS are most accurate from periods unaffected by volcanic forcing. Atmosphere GCMs provided with observed sea surface temperature for the 1920s to the 1950s, which was such a period, give a range of about 2.0–4.5 K, agreeing with idealised CO2 AOGCM experiments; the consistency is a reason for confidence in this range as an estimate of   CO2  EffCS.”

There has been wide, and varied, coverage of the global Extinction Rebellion protests. I have selected a few articles that provide an overview of the protests and the responses from different commentators;

Sea-level rise has claimed five whole islands in the Pacific: first scientific evidence: https://theconversation.com/sea-level-rise-has-claimed-five-whole-islands-in-the-pacific-first-scientific-evidence-58511 “These islands lost to the sea range in size from one to five hectares. They supported dense tropical vegetation that was at least 300 years old. Nuatambu Island, home to 25 families, has lost more than half of its habitable area, with 11 houses washed into the sea since 2011.”

Here’s how climate change policies could end up widening the wealth gap: http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2019/10/how-climate-change-policies-widen-wealth-gap/ “The findings suggest that without careful attention to equity, climate change policies could wind up reinforcing existing disparities in society rather than easing them.”

Acknowledging uncertainty impacts public acceptance of climate scientists’ predictions: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0587-5 “Predictions about the effects of climate change cannot be made with complete certainty, so acknowledging uncertainty may increase trust in scientists and public acceptance of their messages. Here we show that this is true regarding expressions of uncertainty, unless they are also accompanied by acknowledgements of irreducible uncertainty.”

Scientists endorse mass civil disobedience to force climate action: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-scientists/scientists-endorse-mass-civil-disobedience-to-force-climate-action-idUKKBN1WS01K “In a joint declaration, climate scientists, physicists, biologists, engineers and others from at least 20 countries broke with the caution traditionally associated with academia to side with peaceful protesters courting arrest from Amsterdam to Melbourne.”

Eden Project secures funding for geothermal power plant: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/eden-project-secures-funding-for-geothermal-power-plant-38592966.html “ The Eden Project has secured £16.8 million of funding for a geothermal heat and power project, with drilling due to start on the site next summer. This funding follows a 10-year campaign to bring the technology to Cornwall, where the visitor attraction opened in a former clay quarry in 2001. It comes from a mixture of public and private sources, with £9.9 million from the European Regional Development Fund and £1.4 million from Cornwall Council.”

Revealed: top UK thinktank spent decades undermining climate science: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/10/thinktank-climate-science-institute-economic-affairs “The UK’s most influential conservative thinktank has published at least four books, as well as multiple articles and papers, over two decades suggesting manmade climate change may be uncertain or exaggerated.”

Ghost Forests Are Visceral Examples of the Advance of Climate Change: https://time.com/5694648/ghost-forests-climate-change/ “Kirwan is standing in the midst of what is known as a “ghost forest.” These swaths of dead, white, trees are created when salty water moves into forested areas, first slowing, and eventually halting, the growth of new trees. That means that when old trees die, there aren’t replacements.”

Active travel & transport

CONSULTATION - The Draft Games Strategic Transport Plan: https://www.tfwm.org.uk/the-draft-games-strategic-transport-plan/ “The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place across the West Midlands from 27 July to 7 August 2022 and it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to put Birmingham and the West Midlands on the map…  A key focus of the draft plan, known as the ‘Games Strategic Transport Plan’ is to make sure residents and businesses in the West Midlands can continue to get from A to B while over 1 million visitors and more than 12,000 athletes, Games Family and international media make their way around the region to training and competition venues. Are we focusing on the right things when it comes to transport for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games? Let us know by completing our survey:”

The draft plan covers things like how we will plan transport, principles for making decisions and the transport projects we are accelerating in time for the Games, which will help us move thousands of extra people around our transport network.

Effects of 20 mph interventions on a range of public health outcomes: A meta-narrative evidence synthesis: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140519301859?via%3Dihub “This review suggests 20 mph ‘zones’ are effective in reducing collisions and casualties. However, it provides insufficient evidence to draw conclusions on the effect of 20 mph ‘zones’ on pollution, inequalities or liveability. For 20 mph ‘limits’ more rigorous evaluations are required in order to draw robust conclusions.”

Birmingham floats £500 Workplace Parking Levy: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/10/10/birmingham-floats-500-workplace-parking-levy/ “o help tackle air pollution, businesses in Birmingham could be charged £500 to offer parking spaces to their staff, under plans being considered by the city council. A report on the plans for a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) will go before the cabinet on Tuesday (October 15) and it is hoped the measure would encourage those working in the centre of the city to shift to ‘sustainable and active’ transport alternatives.”

I attended the Healthy City Design International conference earlier this week. Below are links to reports & toolkits from a session on active travel. Two of these are from the USA, but do have relevance to the UK context.

Air quality & pollution

One in four of London’s green spaces breaches air quality safety limits: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/193331/one-four-londons-green-spaces-breaches/ “They found that 24% of play spaces and 27% of public parks had NO2 limits exceeding safety standards, with 67% of private parks failing to keep within safe levels. The closest play space for 250,000 children under the age of 16 (14% of the city’s children) had NO2 concentration averages exceeding European Union limits, with the majority of children affected living in the most deprived areas of the city.”

Exposure to air pollution increases violent crime, study suggests: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/10/03/exposure-to-air-pollution-increases-violent-crime-study-suggests/ “The study, which was published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, cross analysed daily criminal activity data in the U.S with the daily county-level air pollution from 2006-2013 and found that a 10 microgram-per-cubic meter increase in same-day exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is associated with a 1.4% increase in violent crimes. They also found that an increase of 0.01 parts-per-million in same-day exposure to ozone is associated with a 0.97% increase in violent crime or a 1.15% increase in assault.”

Air pollution could be turning men bald: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/10/09/air-pollution-could-be-turning-men-bald/ “Researchers from South Korea exposed cells from the human scalp at the base of hair follicles to various concentrations of PM10-like dust and diesel particulate. After 24 hours, the researchers performed a scientific process called western blotting, to study levels of specific proteins in the cells. The results showed that the presence of PM10 and diesel particulate decreased levels of β-catenin, the protein responsible for hair growth and morphogenesis.”

Food & food security

Global Hunger Index 2019: https://www.concern.net/insights/global-hunger-index-2019 “The 2019 GHI measures hunger in 117 countries where the assessment is most relevant and where data on all four component indicators are available. 43 countries out of 117 countries have levels of hunger that remain serious. 4 countries Chad, Madagascar, Yemen, and Zambia suffer from hunger levels that are alarming and 1 country Central African Republic from a level that is extremely alarming.”

Directors of Public Health back ‘bold action’ on childhood obesity: https://www.adph.org.uk/2019/10/directors-of-public-health-back-bold-action-on-childhood-obesity/ “The report clearly presents the evidence of the ways that social and commercial determinants of health overwhelmingly shape our weight. We support the recommendations to address these, particularly those tackling the production, supply, marketing and sale of high calorie sugar and fat foods. This is something our members have frequently called for, and we note there is strong public support for it as well. We were also pleased to see the emphasis on creating healthy places that give children ample opportunity to be active and healthy. Directors of Public Health have long played a key role in promoting children’s health in their areas, including by leading whole system approaches to obesity, of which the built environment is a core part.”

Italy proposes to cut prices for food sold without packaging: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/10/italy-seeks-to-be-a-sustainable-economy-leader-with-climate-bill “Italian shoppers could soon enjoy a discount on products sold loose as part of a range of measures expected to be approved by the government as it strives to take action on the environment. The initiative would give financial incentives to shopkeepers to reduce the price of food items and detergents sold without packaging, and of drinks, shampoos and other liquids sold from dispensers or in reusable containers.”

Leaked: Liz Truss’ department will push to weaken food standards for US trade deal: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/10/07/brexit-liz-truss-theresa-villiers-defra/ “A leaked briefing prepared for Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers warns that her ministry will come under “significant pressure” from the Department for International Trade (DIT) to weaken the UK’s food and environmental standards to secure a trade deal with the United States. The internal document states that DIT will push the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to “accommodate” American requests to lower the UK’s sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS) post-Brexit.”

And finally….

Fat Bear Week 2019: Holly is the fattest brown bear in Katmai National Park, Alaska: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/10/2/20894942/fat-bear-week-2019-katmai-national-park-fattest-bear-contest “Over the past week, the employees of Katmai National Park have been asking people to vote, March Madness-style, on which bear has grown the fattest over the summer. The park has posted picture matchups of bear pairs on its Facebook page, and the public got to choose the fattest with their “likes.” This yearly contest began in 2014, and every year it becomes even more of a viral sensation.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 11 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

Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The Gender Snapshot 2019: https://reliefweb.int/report/world/progress-sustainable-development-goals-gender-snapshot-2019 “UN Women and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs have released “Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The gender snapshot 2019”. This publication brings together the latest available evidence on gender equality across all 17 Goals, underscoring the progress made as well as the action still needed to accelerate progress.”

Structurally Unsound: exploring inequalities – igniting research to better inform UK policy: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/grand-challenges/sites/grand-challenges/files/structurally-unsound-report.pdf “Inequalities are deeply embedded in our society, permeating throughout our social structures and institutions. Legislative responses that outlaw discriminatory behaviours and promote positive change are an essential part of the battle, but the structural nature of horizontal inequalities (that is, those that apply to entire groups such as women, disabled people, LGBT individuals, and people of colour rather than just at the individual level) mean that they are not necessarily sufficient. That is particularly the case once we account for additional complications associated with the intersection of various forms of horizontal inequality. The inequalities faced by women of colour are not simply those faced by white women with a racial element ‘added on’: they are fundamentally different.”

Just tax: Reforming the taxation of income from wealth and work: https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/just-tax “This briefing paper focusses on two sets of proposals designed to make the taxation of income simpler, more progressive and better able to raise public money. The proposals are united by the principle that income, regardless of source, should be taxed equally across individuals.”

Community engagement to reduce inequalities in health: a systematic review, meta-analysis and economic analysis: https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/85w02 “Overall, community engagement interventions are effective in improving health behaviours, health consequences, participant self-efficacy and perceived social support for disadvantaged groups. There are some variations in the observed effectiveness, suggesting that community engagement in public health is more likely to require a ‘fit for purpose’ rather than ‘one size fits all’ approach. We identified trends in the evidence that could provide useful directions for future intervention design and evaluation.”

Vaccinations and herd immunity – an animation that explains how herd immunity works: https://twitter.com/RARohde/status/1179323361274580992 “So, I made a little animation trying to explain how herd immunity works. When enough of the population has been vaccinated, a disease is no longer able to spread effectively, protecting even the unvaccinated.  The percentage needed varies with the disease.”

Austerity and the gender-age gap in the 2015 and 2017 general elections: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/gender-austerity-and-vote-choice/ “In our latest article in the British Journal of Politics and International Relations, we explore whether austerity policies led to gender differences in voting behaviour in Britain. In doing so, we use the British Election Study’s face-to-face post-election surveys to examine vote choice at the 2015 and 2017 British general elections.”

Spending on youth services cut 73% in decade: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Spending-on-youth-services-cut-73-in-decade/48291 “A new analysis from the Labour Party has revealed that public spending on youth services in England has been reduced by £1bn – or 73% – since 2010. The study, which the party has published alongside its promise to introduce a new national ‘Youth Service Guarantee’, also found that the cuts have led to hundreds of youth centres closing. Over 750 youth centres have closed their doors since 2012 and 14,500 youth and community work jobs have been lost since 2008, the party’s analysis found.”

Healthy planning & environment

RTPI - A Smarter Approach to Infrastructure Planning: https://www.rtpi.org.uk/integratedinfrastructure “There is evidence of a disconnect between infrastructure and planning, and demand for a more joined-up approach that proactively addresses the infrastructure needs of new development and the deficits of existing settlements alike. Without this, the UK will struggle to reduce the productivity gap that exists relative to its international competitors, to meet its international obligations on climate change mitigation, to adapt to growing environmental risks, to deliver the quality and quantity of housing currently required, and to create healthy, sustainable places. But across the country, people are developing new ways of collaborating, sharing information and using technology to plan infrastructure in a more efficient and coordinated way. This research takes an in-depth look at how infrastructure planning takes place in city-regions and counties across England and Scotland, the barriers experienced, and what needs to change.”

State Of Nature 2019: https://nbn.org.uk/stateofnature2019/ “State Of Nature 2019 presents an overview of how the country’s wildlife is faring, looking back over nearly 50 years of monitoring to see how nature has changed in the UK, its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories. As well as this long-term view, we focus on what has happened in the last decade, and so whether things are getting better or worse for nature. In addition, we have assessed the pressures that are acting on nature, and the responses being made, collectively, to counter these pressures.” – media coverage: Populations of UK’s most important wildlife have plummeted since 1970: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/03/populations-of-uks-most-important-wildlife-have-plummeted-since-1970

Inheriting the Earth? The unprecedented challenge of environmental breakdown for younger generations: https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/inheriting-the-earth “Younger generations, in addition to being economically worse off than their parents, face a future of unprecedented environmental breakdown. They will disproportionately bear the burden of having to rapidly transform economic systems in order to decelerate environmental breakdown while withstanding its increasingly destabilising consequences; an unprecedented challenge. Leaders in older generations are failing to act and so younger and future generations face a toxic inheritance: a future of compounding environmental breakdown and destabilisation. In response, many young people are already leading the discussion on the threats of environmental breakdown and the need for action. This leadership should be better recognised, including through formal representation of the interests of younger and future generations in decision-making systems.”

'A masterpiece': Norwich council houses win Stirling architecture prize: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/oct/08/stirling-prize-architecture-goldsmith-street-norwich-council-houses “One hundred years since the 1919 Addison Act paved the way for the country’s programme of mass council housing, the prize for the best new building in the UK has been awarded to one of the first new council housing projects in a generation. Goldsmith Street in Norwich represents what has become a rare breed: streets of terraced homes built directly by the council, rented with secure tenancies at fixed social rents. And it’s an architectural marvel, too.”

Green roofs improve the urban environment – so why don’t all buildings have them? https://theconversation.com/green-roofs-improve-the-urban-environment-so-why-dont-all-buildings-have-them-123420 “A recent report in the UK suggested that the green roof market there is expanding at a rate of 17% each year. The world’s largest rooftop farm will open in Paris in 2020, superseding similar schemes in New York City and Chicago. Stuttgart, in Germany, is thought of as “the green roof capital of Europe”, while Singapore is even installing green roofs on buses.”

Badger culling may increase spread of tuberculosis, say researchers: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/09/badger-culling-may-increase-spread-of-tuberculosis-say-researchers “Badgers start to roam much further afield when culling starts nearby, research has found, potentially increasing the spread of bovine tuberculosis, the disease culling is meant to control. The findings raise questions about the government’s culling strategy, begun in 2011 and intended to reduce the harm to dairy herds from a rising incidence of bovine TB in hotspots around the country. Last month the government announced a major extension.”

If We Connect Fragmented Habitat, New Species Will Come, Study Shows: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/study-shows-new-species-will-show-if-we-connect-fragmented-habitat-180973234/ “Now, an 18-year-long published in the journal Science is one of the first long-term experiments to confirm that hypothesis, showing that relatively small habitat corridors can have big impacts on conservation parcels.”

Housing

Evidence tools - Our Evidence Tools support those working in homelessness to have greater impact: https://www.homelessnessimpact.org/tools “Our Evidence Tools for homelessness put evidence at people's fingertips, making the evidence that’s available easier to assess and use. Current tools show what the evidence says about homelessness interventions and help you make smarter decisions about how to best serve those experiencing homelessness in the future. We believe that over time these and future tools we develop will form a vital infrastructure to end homelessness effectively.”

Rent caps needed to curb housing crisis, report says: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Rent-caps-needed-to-curb-housing-crisis-report-says/48272 “A new report from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and One Manchester, calls for the rollout of Scottish-style ‘rental pressure zones’ to curb spiralling rents. Looking specifically at the housing crisis in Manchester, the report found that house prices in Manchester have quadrupled in recent years, with 48% of millennial renters cutting back on basics like food and heating to pay for housing costs.”

Cache Response To Mhclg Section 21 Consultation: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/news/cache-response-to-mhclg-section-21-consultation/ “In October 2019, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) launched a consultation asking for views on implementing the government’s decision to remove Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 in England and improve Section 8 eviction grounds. In this response, we point to that research undertaken by the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) relating to the question set out in the consultation.”

Local Housing Allowance 'inadequate' for family homes, research warns: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Local-Housing-Allowance-inadequate-for-family-homes-research-warns/48279 “Research by the National Housing Federation (NHF) found 94% of homes are unaffordable to local housing allowance claimants, with some towns only having one affordable property available. The NHF found there are some parts of the country where less than 1% of private rented properties are covered by the Local Housing Allowance rate.”

Homeless photographer's haunting images spotlight London's 'invisible' population: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=b015d61c-5055-468d-99f4-d9e77b3d8f74 “The largely black and white photos conjure the invisibility of the homeless, Palfreyman said, as well as the way in which homeless people around the world are often looked down upon, both physically and metaphorically.”

Climate change & sustainability

Evidence for sharp increase in the economic damages of extreme natural disasters: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/10/01/1907826116 “Our results are consistent with an upwardly curved, convex damage function, which is commonly assumed in climate-economics models. They are also robust to different specifications of control variables and time range considered and indicate that the risk of extreme damages has increased more in temperate areas than in tropical ones. We use simulations to show that underreporting bias in the data does not weaken our inferences; in fact, it may make them overly conservative.”

Carbon-Neutral Helsinki 2035: https://www.hel.fi/static/liitteet/kaupunkiymparisto/julkaisut/esitteet/HNH2035_en_summary_14022019.pdf “The goal of Helsinki City Strategy 2017–2021 is to create a carbon-neutral Helsinki by 2035. When this goal is reached, operations taking place in Helsinki will no longer warm up the climate. The Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035 action plan describes how Helsinki can get on the right track in terms of reducing emissions.”

ONS - Do summer heatwaves lead to an increase in deaths? https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/articles/dosummerheatwavesleadtoanincreaseindeaths/2019-10-07 “...we can see that after a rise in deaths, there is a period where the deaths tend to be lower than the five -year average. This means that at a daily level, extreme heat seems to have an impact on the number of deaths, but across the summer period as a whole the number of deaths is similar to previous years. This could be because the most vulnerable people, for example, those with pre-existing respiratory or cerebrovascular diseases are more susceptible to death during heatwaves.”

Extinction Rebellion protests – a wide range of media coverage;

And.. for different perspectives.

Revealed: the 20 firms behind a third of all carbon emissions: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/09/revealed-20-firms-third-carbon-emissions “The analysis, by Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in the US, the world’s leading authority on big oil’s role in the escalating climate emergency, evaluates what the global corporations have extracted from the ground, and the subsequent emissions these fossil fuels are responsible for since 1965 – the point at which experts say the environmental impact of fossil fuels was known by both industry leaders and politicians.”

Revealed: How the Tobacco and Fossil Fuel Industries Fund Disinformation Campaigns Around the World: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/02/19/how-tobacco-and-fossil-fuel-companies-fund-disinformation-campaigns-around-world “MIT Associate Professor David Hsu analyzed organisations in DeSmog’s disinformation database and the Guardian’s tobacco database and found 35 thinktanks based in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand that promote both the tobacco and fossil fuel industries’ interests.”

Guest post: The problem with net-zero emissions targets: https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-the-problem-with-net-zero-emissions-targets “However, our newly published research – based on findings from expert interviews and stakeholder deliberations – suggests that combining emissions reductions and negative emissions into a single target of reaching “net-zero” may create problems. These could include delayed emissions cuts, but also insufficient focus on developing negative emissions technologies. Here, we explain how these problems arise and suggest one possible solution.”

Neutralizing misinformation through inoculation: Exposing misleading argumentation techniques reduces their influence: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0175799 “Misinformation can undermine a well-functioning democracy. For example, public misconceptions about climate change can lead to lowered acceptance of the reality of climate change and lowered support for mitigation policies. This study experimentally explored the impact of misinformation about climate change and tested several pre-emptive interventions designed to reduce the influence of misinformation.”

Solar energy generating noise barriers undergo tests in the Netherlands: https://newatlas.com/solar-energy-generating-noise-barriers-netherlands/38532/ “Highway barriers could deliver more than just noise protection if a test currently underway in the Netherlands proves successful. The colorful roadside barriers incorporate luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) which transfer light to conventional solar panels at the side in order to generate energy. The technology developed by Michael Debije at the Eindhoven University of Technology is being tested along the A2 highway in the Netherlands. Over the course of a year, the barriers will be tested for their effectiveness in power-generation as well as vandal-resistance and maintenance requirements.”

'This situation brings me to despair': Two reef scientists share their climate grief: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/10/this-situation-brings-me-to-despair-two-reef-scientists-share-their-climate-grief/ “…This situation brings me to despair. For the past 45 years I have researched and managed coral reef water quality in Australia and overseas. Now 72, I see that much of my work, and that of my colleagues, has not led to a bright future for coral reefs. In decades to come they will probably still contain some corals, but ecologically speaking they will not be growing, or even functioning.”

Active travel & transport

Report on key outcomes following the implementation of 20mph speed limits in the City of Edinburgh: http://www.scphrp.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/NIHR_project_final_report_PDF.pdf “1. Average speed was reduced by 1.34mph when considering 66 streets in which the 20mph limit was implemented and data was collected. 2. The number of vehicles with average speeds that were 20mph or less increased following the rollout. 3. Our results indicate a reduction of 38% in annual road traffic collision rates (overall) and by level of severity on 20mph and 30mph streets post speed limit introduction. (It should also be noted that collisions are falling across Scotland)”

Groundbreaking research identifies factors behind high bus use: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/media-centre/press-releases/groundbreaking-research-identifies-factors-behind-high-bus-use “The research - by Transport for Quality of Life and published today by the Urban Transport Group – analysed a mass of data sets to identify six conditions which, when combined, can be used to define what the report calls the ‘Intrinsic Bus Potential’ (IBP) of a local authority area. IBP can be used to predict nearly 85% of the variation in bus use between local authorities and areas with a high IBP can be considered “good bus territory”.”

Road pricing urged as fuel duty declines: https://www.ciht.org.uk/news/road-pricing-urged-as-fuel-duty-declines/ “New road taxation systems that reflect distance driven and vary according to when and where journeys take place need to be brought in to replace dwindling income from fuel duty, the Institute for Fiscal Studies warns.”

Navigating Main Streets as Places - A People-First Transportation Toolkit: https://www.mainstreet.org/howwecanhelp/navigatingmainstreets?mc_cid=b1567e3e3b&mc_eid=ba4d196c58 USA based but some relevance to the UK “Navigating Main Streets as Places: A People-First Transportation Toolkit provides guid­ance to Main Street leaders, community advocates, local officials, transportation professionals, and everyone else in between on how to: 1) Evaluate streets and transportation through the lens of placemaking, 2) Balance the needs of mobility and other street activities, and 3) Build stronger relationships with other decision-makers and the community.”

Air quality & pollution

Defra announces £2m of clean air funding for councils: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/10/04/defra-announces-2m-of-clean-air-funding-for-councils/ “Local authorities have been invited to bid for the latest round of Air Quality Grant funding, with £2m available for projects to improve local air quality, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced today (October 4).”

Thousands of ships fitted with ‘cheat devices’ to divert poisonous pollution into sea: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/shipping-pollution-sea-open-loop-scrubber-carbon-dioxide-environment-a9123181.html “More than $12bn (£9.7bn) has been spent on the devices, known as open-loop scrubbers, which extract sulphur from the exhaust fumes of ships that run on heavy fuel oil. This means the vessels meet standards demanded by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) that kick in on 1 January. However, the sulphur emitted by the ships is simply re-routed from the exhaust and expelled into the water around the ships, which not only greatly increases the volume of pollutants being pumped into the sea, but also increases carbon dioxide emissions.”

Indonesia’s huge fires and toxic haze will cause health problems for years to come: https://theconversation.com/indonesias-huge-fires-and-toxic-haze-will-cause-health-problems-for-years-to-come-124556 “To see what mass exposure to this sort of pollution may mean in the longer term, we can look at the effects of massive wildfires in late 1997, which burned more than 5m hectares of land and sent a huge pollution cloud across South-East Asia. Before 2015, these were Indonesia’s biggest fires on record.”

How much are you polluting your office air just by existing? https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2019/Q4/how-much-are-you-polluting-your-office-air-just-by-existing.html “Just by breathing or wearing deodorant, you have more influence over your office space than you might think, a growing body of evidence shows. But could these basic acts of existence also be polluting the air in the office room where you work? To find out, a team of engineers at Purdue University has been conducting one of the largest studies of its kind in the office spaces of a building rigged with thousands of sensors. The goal is to identify all types of indoor air contaminants and recommend ways to control them through how a building is designed and operated.”

Ocean cleanup device successfully collects plastic for first time: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/03/ocean-cleanup-device-successfully-collects-plastic-for-first-time “A huge floating device designed by Dutch scientists to clean up an island of rubbish in the Pacific Ocean that is three times the size of France has successfully picked up plastic from the high seas for the first time.”

The women taking the plastic out of periods: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/02/the-women-taking-the-plastic-out-of-periods “Sanitary products are the fifth most common item found on Europe’s beaches, more widespread than single-use coffee cups, cutlery or straws. Some 200,000 tonnes of material is believed to end up in UK landfill every year. The water engineer Hazem Gouda has estimated that 700,000 panty liners, 2.5m tampons and 1.4m sanitary towels are flushed down the toilet every day in the UK.”

Food & food security

Launch of 'A menu of actions to shape urban food environments for improved nutrition': https://www.gainhealth.org/media/news/launch-menu-actions-shape-urban-food-environments-improved-nutrition “The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is pleased to announce the launch of 'A menu of actions to shape urban food environments for improved nutrition', a reference resource developed in cooperation with the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) and the RUAF Global Partnership. Available for free download from the GAIN website, the menu of actions contains over 70 examples of policies and programmes that city governments have implemented to improve food security and nutrition by making healthy and nutritious food more accessible, desirable, and affordable within the urban setting.”

The key to food security in Africa lies in the treasure trove of global crop biodiversity: http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2019/10/the-future-of-29-staple-foods-in-africa-depends-on-global-crop-diversity/ “Global plant diversity could be a lifeline for food security in sub-Saharan Africa, finds a new study. The analysis reveals that replacing some at-risk African food crops with more resilient crops from other parts of the world, as well as tapping the huge genetic diversity of crop wild relatives, could help shore up already beleaguered African agriculture against climate change.”

The recent controversy over a research study into the health risk from eating red and processed meat is an interesting case study into assessing risks related to nutrition, and the differences between individual and population risk (see David Speigelhalter’s view in the first link). Below are a range of articles covering the topic. A key difference with previous studies is the use of the GRADE methodology – so there is a link to a Cochrane page covering this approach.

It takes 21 litres of water to produce a small chocolate bar. How water-wise is your diet? https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/07/it-takes-21-litres-of-water-to-produce-a-small-chocolate-bar-how-water-wise-is-your-diet “There is a big focus on food that produces the most emissions, but the water-scarcity footprint also has a huge environmental impact”

Even meat lovers go veggie when plant-heavy meals abound: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02934-5 “Emma Garnett and her colleagues at the University of Cambridge, UK, collected data on more than 94,000 meals sold in 3 of the cafeterias at the university in 2017. When the proportion of meatless options doubled from one to two of four choices, overall sales remained about constant. But sales of meat-containing meals dropped, and sales of vegetarian meals, such as “wild mushroom, roasted butternut squash and sun blushed tomato risotto with parmesan”, rose 40–80%.”

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”.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 28 September 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

What does the next 25 years hold for global health? https://rstmh.org/sites/default/files/files/GlobalHealthReport.pdf Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene – “Perhaps surprisingly, considering the dominant negative narrative that grips us globally at the moment, many respondents believe that in terms of global health, the future is bright. 52.5% said they were very or somewhat optimistic about the future of global healthcare. Respondents from the African continent were most optimistic, with 62.5% reporting being very/ somewhat optimistic. In comparison, respondents from Europe were among the least optimistic (42%). Men were also more optimistic than women, with 58.6% of men reporting being very/ somewhat optimistic compared to 46.8% of women. This gender effect remained after controlling for continent of residence.”

Immediate impact of minimum unit pricing on alcohol purchases in Scotland: controlled interrupted time series analysis for 2015-18: https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l5274 “In terms of immediate impact, the introduction of minimum unit pricing appears to have been successful in reducing the amount of alcohol purchased by households in Scotland. The action was targeted, in that reductions of purchased alcohol only occurred in the households that bought the most alcohol.”

What arguments and from whom are most influential in shaping public health policy: thematic content analysis of responses to a public consultation on the regulation of television food advertising to children in the UK: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/8/e028221.full “Public health policy making appears to be considered as a balance between commercial and public health interests. Tactics such as the questioning and reframing of scientific evidence may be used. In this example, exploring the development of policy regulating television food advertising to children, commercial considerations appear to have led to a watering down of initial regulatory proposals, with proposed packages not including the measures public health advocates considered to be the most effective. This seems likely to have compromised the ultimate public health effectiveness of the regulations eventually implemented.”

PHE Strategy 2020-25: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/831562/PHE_Strategy_2020-25.pdf “When we think about good health, the vast majority of us think about our

NHS and the care we get through hospitals and GPs. But the NHS of itself cannot improve the health of the nation. This depends more substantially on a prosperous economy and the choices that we make as individuals and families. The most important contributors to a life in good health, including mental health, are to have a job that provides a sufficient income, a decent and safe home and a support network. More simply put – a job, a home and a friend.”

Turning the tables: global poverty conference to be held in a slum: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/sep/25/global-poverty-conference-to-be-held-in-slum “The inaugural World Poverty Forum will be announced on Wednesday in New York at the Decade of Action event taking place during UN general assembly week. It is already being dubbed as “Davos with the poor”. Social entrepreneur Kennedy Odede, who was raised in the slum of Kibera, in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, has founded the event to bring world leaders and policymakers together to “change the dynamic” of the way the big global issues are discussed. He said it was about making “worlds collide”.”

For the sake of life on Earth, we must put a limit on wealth: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/19/life-earth-wealth-megarich-spending-power-environmental-damage “It’s not just the megarich: increased spending power leads us all to inflict environmental damage. It’s time for a radical plan”

Cuts to youth services to reach breaking point during critical time for youth community support: https://www.ymca.org.uk/latest-news/cuts-to-youth-services-to-reach-breaking-point-during-critical-time-for-youth-community-support “Figures released today by YMCA show that spending on youth services across England looks set to reach its lowest ever point in a generation. An analysis of 84 local authorities across England reveals that while the average spend on youth services per local authority in 2010 was £7.79m, planned average spend for 2019/20 is just £2.45m – a 69% decline.”

U.S. joins 19 nations, including Saudi Arabia and Russia: ‘There is no international right to an abortion’: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2019/09/24/us-joins-nations-including-saudi-arabia-russia-there-is-no-international-right-an-abortion/ “The Trump administration declared there’s no “international right to abortion” at a United Nations meeting in New York this week, calling on other countries to join a coalition pushing the elimination of what it calls “ambiguous” terms and expressions, such as sexual and reproductive health, from U.N. documents.”

Healthy planning & environment

Creating healthy places: perspectives from NHS England’s Healthy New Towns programme: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/creating-healthy-places “Creating healthy places: perspectives from NHS England’s Healthy New Towns programme provides personal insights from those involved in the programme, illustrating how powerful a coherent local approach to improving population health can be. It highlights the importance of a number of themes, including the value of taking a place-based approach to population health, the need for specific action on health inequalities, the importance of working closely with communities and the potential to use new places as a test bed for integrated care.”

Independent review calls for radical plan for England’s National Parks: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/independent-review-calls-for-radical-plan-for-englands-national-parks “Major review calls for biggest shakeup of the running of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty since they were founded 70 years ago.”

Housing

New Research Resource – UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence Data Navigator: https://cache-web-live.cf.ac.uk/ “The CaCHE Data Navigator is a web application that enhances a researcher’s ability to search, discover and download housing data related to the UK. The aim is to signal key data sources from the public and private sectors in an easy to use single location.”

8.4 million people in need of a suitable home – briefing and resources: https://www.housing.org.uk/resource-library/browse/8.4-million-people-in-need-of-a-suitable-home-briefing-and-resources/ “For the first time, our new research reveals the true extent of the housing crisis in England. It shows that 8.4 million people – that’s one in every seven people – are directly affected by the housing crisis.”

Housing to 2040: https://www.gov.scot/publications/housing-to-2040/ “This document is designed to support a conversation about how we can together plan for what we want our homes and communities to look and feel like in 2040. It sets out the Scottish Government’s draft vision and principles for 2040 and how you can get involved.”

Mass Sell Off Of Public Land Fails To Deliver Social Housing: https://neweconomics.org/2019/09/mass-sell-off-of-public-land-fails-to-deliver-social-housing?mc_cid=1786c8e691&mc_eid=a15a43d447 “With over one million households on the waiting list for social housing, public land could play a major role in meeting this urgent need for affordable homes. But new NEF research has found that just 6% of the houses built on former public land, will be available for social rent. This represents a massive missed opportunity.”

Homes on the right tracks: Greening the Green Belt to solve the housing crisis: https://www.centreforcities.org/publication/homes-on-the-right-tracks/ “This report, authored by academics from the LSE and UCL and published by Centre for Cities sets out detailed plans to release green belt around more than one thousand existing commuter rail stations and build more than two million new homes with fast connections into many of Britain’s largest cities.”

Social housing crisis builds as government passes the buck: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/sep/25/social-housing-crisis-builds-government-passes-buck “Thousands of homeless children are growing up in cheaply converted shipping containers and cramped rooms in former office blocks; 130,000 families in England are being crammed into one-bedroom flats; and social housing residents of a block of flats in east London engulfed in flames say they are being forced to move back despite safety fears.”

Identifying the health care system benefits of housing with care: https://www.housinglin.org.uk/blogs/Identifying-the-health-care-system-benefits-of-housing-with-care/ “The expression of these basic needs provides a clear insight into where the benefits of housing with care can positively impact the health and social care system in a way that could provide modern- day solutions to the crisis in care for older people. The new Housing LIN report shines a light on the need for the re-allocation of public funding to reflect older peoples own aspirations.”

Millennials aren’t the only ones struggling – older renters share their challenges finding decent housing: https://theconversation.com/millennials-arent-the-only-ones-struggling-older-renters-share-their-challenges-finding-decent-housing-123950 “Much attention has been given to the plight of millennials – aka “generation rent” – who research indicates are much less likely to own their own home than previous generations. Yet the number of older renters is also increasing – and much less is known about their experiences.”

Climate change & sustainability

IPPC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate: https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/home/ “Global warming has already reached 1°C above the pre-industrial level, due to past and current greenhouse gas emissions. There is overwhelming evidence that this is resulting in profound consequences for ecosystems and people. The ocean is warmer, more acidic and less productive. Melting glaciers and ice sheets are causing sea level rise, and coastal extreme events are becoming more severe. The IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, approved on 24 September 2019 by the 195 IPCC member governments, provides new evidence for the benefits of limiting global warming to the lowest possible level – in line with the goal that governments set themselves in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions limits the scale of ocean and cryosphere changes. Ecosystems and the livelihoods that depend on them can be preserved.”

UN Climate Summit

If nothing else – watch this 4 min clip of Greta Thunberg at the UN Summit: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/video/2019/sep/23/greta-thunberg-to-world-leaders-how-dare-you-you-have-stolen-my-dreams-and-my-childhood-video

Climate change report card: These countries are reaching targets: https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/environment-and-conservation/2019/09/climate-change-report-card-these-countries-are-reaching “Following the UN Climate Change Conference, we take a look at which nations are on track to meet climate goals – and which are tanking.”

Estimating the Health‐Related Costs of 10 Climate‐Sensitive U.S. Events During 2012: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019GH000202 “We estimated a total of $10.0 billion (2018 dollars) in health‐related costs from these 10 events, with mortality costs ($8.4 billion) exceeding illness costs and lost wages ($1.6 billion combined). The high health‐related costs of climate‐sensitive events highlight the need to mitigate climate change and adapt to its unavoidable impacts.”

EVENT - ONS Forum – SDGs: The Social Impact of Climate Change: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ons-forum-sdgs-the-social-impact-of-climate-change-tickets-73944583239 “The Office for National Statistics (ONS) are holding a policy forum on SDGs: The Social Impact of Climate Change. The forum will explore how we can measure the impact of climate change using the Sustainable Development Goals framework. It will look at some of the recognised links between climate, health, ageing and inequalities, and how those links can be used to highlight the impacts of climate change on different groups in society.” 10 October, am, London.

Heathrow CEO: Aviation sector must set net-zero plan 'as soon as possible': https://www.edie.net/registration/regwall.asp?mid=123852&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eedie%2Enet%2Fnews%2F9%2FHeathrow%2DCEO%2D%2DAviation%2Dsector%2Dmust%2Dset%2Dnet%2Dzero%2Dplan%2D%2Das%2Dsoon%2Das%2Dpossible%2D%2F&title=Heathrow+CEO%3A+Aviation+sector+must+set+net%2Dzero+plan+%27as+soon+as+possible%27 “Heathrow Airport's chief executive John Holland-Kaye has joined the growing calls for the aviation sector to implement a net-zero strategy, claiming that "imposing punitive costs" will not deter people from flying less.”

Nuclear energy too slow, too expensive to save climate: report: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-energy-nuclearpower/nuclear-energy-too-slow-too-expensive-to-save-climate-report-idUSKBN1W909J “Nuclear power is losing ground to renewables in terms of both cost and capacity as its reactors are increasingly seen as less economical and slower to reverse carbon emissions, an industry report said.” – report here: https://www.worldnuclearreport.org/

Hinkley Point C nuclear plant to run £2.9bn over budget: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49823305 “French power company EDF said the new nuclear plant it is building at Hinkley Point C will cost up to £2.9bn more than thought. It raised its estimate for the project, in Somerset, to between £21.5bn and £22.5bn, blaming "challenging ground conditions". It also said the risk of the project being 15 months late had risen.”

How extreme weather threatens people with disabilities: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/09/how-extreme-weather-threatens-people-with-disabilities “According to the CDC, one in four American adults, or 61 million people, live with a disability. For many, high temperatures can be a major challenge. Alex Ghenis, a policy and research specialist at the World Institute on Disability, manages New Earth Disability, a project addressing the ways that climate change affects people with disabilities.”

Not convinced on the need for urgent climate action? Here’s what happens to our planet between 1.5°C and 2°C of global warming: https://theconversation.com/not-convinced-on-the-need-for-urgent-climate-action-heres-what-happens-to-our-planet-between-1-5-c-and-2-c-of-global-warming-123817 “Many numbers are bandied around in climate emergency discussions. Of them, 1.5°C is perhaps the most important. At the Paris Agreement in 2015, governments agreed to limit global warming to well below 2°C and to aim for 1.5°C. By 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change… had made worryingly clear in a special report how much graver the consequences of the higher number would be. Together with the University of Queensland’s Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and colleagues around the world, we’ve explored in newly published work just how much sticking to 1.5°C matters.” – original paper here: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6459/eaaw6974

There’s evidence that climate activism could be swaying public opinion in the US: https://theconversation.com/theres-evidence-that-climate-activism-could-be-swaying-public-opinion-in-the-us-123740 “I’m a scholar of environmental communication who examines how people become engaged with solving dilemmas such as climate change, and how activism motivates others to take action. A new study I worked on suggests that large rallies, such as this youth-led Climate Strike, could be influencing public opinion.”

'The devil's excrement': How did oil become so important? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49499443 “It was 27 August 1859, and a crucial message had been sent. Entrepreneur Edwin Drake's last financial backer had finally lost patience. Pay off your debts, give up and come home, the message read. Drake had been hoping to find "rock oil", a brownish unrefined "crude" oil that sometimes bubbled near the surface of western Pennsylvania. He planned to refine it into kerosene, for lamps - a substitute for increasingly expensive whale oil. There would also be less useful by-products, such as gasoline, but if he couldn't find a buyer for that he could always pour it away.”

Active travel & transport

Correlates of Walking for Travel in Seven European Cities: The PASTA Project: https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/EHP4603 “Living in high-density residential areas with richness of facilities and density of public transport stations was associated with increased walking for travel, whereas the same characteristics at the work/study area were less strongly associated with the outcome when the residential and work/study environments were entered in the model jointly. A walk-friendly social environment was associated with walking for travel. All three factors describing different opinions about walking (ranging from good to bad) were associated with increased minutes of walking per week, although the importance given to certain criteria to choose a mode of transport provided different results according to the criteria.”

90% back ‘School Streets’ in their area: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/09/23/90-back-school-streets-in-their-area/ “90% of parents and residents would back a School Streets scheme in their area, according to a Sustrans poll.”

Air quality & pollution

Deadly red haze shrouds Indonesia as rainforest burns after palm oil clearances: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/red-haze-air-pollution-indonesia-rainforest-fires-slash-and-burn-palm-oil-climate-change-a9116696.html “Fires burning since July have destroyed over 800,000 hectares of rainforest in Indonesia, blanketing the islands in thick toxic smoke which has turned the sky a violent red. The gigantic conflagrations are causing respiratory problems and there are numerous reports of deaths, including at least six farmers and two children. Air pollution has reached hazardous levels in neighbouring Singapore, where smoke has shrouded the city state.”

MPs call on government to enshrine WHO PM2.5 guidelines in law: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/09/19/mps-call-on-government-to-enshrine-who-pm2-5-mps-call-on-government-to-enshrine-who-pm2-5-guidelines-in-law/ “MPs have again called on the government to enshrine in law World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline limits for particulate matter (PM2.5) in its upcoming Environment Bill.”

LNG lorries pollute up to five times more than diesel, suggests study: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/09/20/lng-lorries-pollute-up-to-five-times-more-than-diesel-suggests-study/ “Lorries that are powered by liquified natural gas (LNG) emit up to five times more nitrogen oxide (NOx) than diesel, according to on-road tests commissioned by the Dutch government.”

Food & food security

The problem with environmental food policies that are blind to food inequality: http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2019/09/ending-hunger-doesnt-have-to-cost-the-earth “To end world hunger, we’ll need to dramatically increase food production…right? Not so, says a group of researchers who have found that if we fight hunger by addressing food inequality, we’d only require a tiny 3% increase in global food production. On the other hand, simply producing more food – often seen as the default response to ending hunger – would cause an unnecessary 20% surge in global production, leading to profound environmental damage, the researchers reveal.”

Mitigation efforts will not fully alleviate the increase in water scarcity occurrence probability in wheat-producing areas: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/9/eaau2406 “Our projections show that, without climate change mitigation (representative concentration pathway 8.5), up to 60% of the current wheat-growing area will face simultaneous SWS events by the end of this century, compared to 15% today. Climate change stabilization in line with the Paris Agreement would substantially reduce the negative effects, but they would still double between 2041 and 2070 compared to current conditions.”

And finally….

Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2019 finalists – in pictures: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2019/sep/13/comedy-wildlife-photography-awards-2019-finalists-in-pictures - when in doubt, resort to pictures of animals….

WMHPG news, information and resources 20 September 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.

Healthy placemaking - call for evidence and case studies - The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is carrying out research to explore the policies and practices that enable healthy placemaking with a focus on tackling and accommodating mental health-related issues. We are calling for evidence, best practice and case studies. You can get involved by completing a simple form or volunteering for a short telephone interview. The deadline for involvement is 1 November 2019. Find out more and get involved at www.rtpi.org.uk/briefing-room/news-releases/2019/september/rtpi-calls-for-evidence-for-research-on-healthy-placemaking/

Sustainable development goals

Examining Inequality - How Geography And Gender Stack The Deck For (Or Against) You: https://www.gatesfoundation.org/goalkeepers/report/2019-report/#ExaminingInequality “Goalkeepers is our annual report card on the world’s progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 17 ambitious goals the member states of the United Nations committed to reaching by 2030. As we write, billions of people are projected to miss the targets that we all agreed represent a decent life. If we hope to accelerate progress, we must address the inequality that separates the lucky from the unlucky.”

Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 - The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development: https://reliefweb.int/report/world/global-sustainable-development-report-2019-future-now-science-achieving-sustainable “Achieving human well-being and eradicating poverty for all of the Earth’s people—expected to number eight and a half billion by 2030—is still possible, but only if there is a fundamental—and urgent—change in the relationship between people and nature, and a significant reduction in social and gender inequalities between and inside countries, according to a new United Nations report by an independent group of scientists to be launched at the 2019 SDG Summit, but made available today.”

Cuts force councils to slash public health funding by £72m: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Cuts-force-councils-to-slash-public-health-funding-by-72m/48153 “Local authorities plan to cut public health spending by £72m this year in response to reductions in Whitehall funding, the Labour Party says. An analysis by the main opposition party has shown that 82% of English councils plan to slash spending on vital services in 2019/20. Drug and alcohol treatment services have been hit the hardest with planned reductions across the board by £27.1m.”

For proper prevention, we need a General S*** Life Reduction Strategy: http://publichealthy.co.uk/for-proper-prevention-we-need-a-general-shit-life-reduction-strategy “We don’t do nearly enough primary prevention. Proper prevention. Politicians tend to focus on policies like increasing access to mental health services (for those who already have poor mental health) or increasing prison numbers (to lock up people who have already committed a crime), but not on changing the social conditions which make mental illness or crime more likely in the first place.  Too much focus on fixing problems and not enough on avoiding them, so we spend a bloody fortune just trying to keep a lid on things. It reminds me of the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass: “it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place”.”

Healthy planning & environment

Greener Birmingham – Join the Big Conversation: https://www.greenerbirmingham.com/events-2019 “Join the Big Green Conversation by… Telling us what kind of city you want to live in by filling in the short survey below, helping us to create a People's Charter for the Environment during the Year of Green Action 2019 (to be published in November).” – survey here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd3Bt_I9sX6YajEznt14q_gQo9pL7DllPz3K6araYL-bNI7KQ/viewform

Court of Appeal upholds housing planning refusal on air quality grounds: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/09/13/court-of-appeal-upholds-housing-refusal-on-air-quality-grounds/ “The Court of Appeal yesterday (September 12) upheld a planning permission refusal on air quality grounds for 330 homes in Kent, making it the first time a planning appeal has been refused due to concerns over air pollution and public health.”

Healthy Planning – from the Joint Law Conference in Oxford: https://youtu.be/BvNmYZ8ddrA?list=PL5WvOjInNdJKfMyZ6VMivyR7p2vSsl2Zd “Sir Malcolm Grant spoke about healthy planning at the weekend’s Joint Planning Law Conference in Oxford. Attached his speech for info and also his podcast here”

Beautiful Development – In the eye of the beholder? https://lichfields.uk/blog/2019/september/13/beautiful-development-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder/ “‘Say no to ugliness’, that is the message to councils in the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’s interim report ‘Creating space for beauty’, which looks at how England should address the poor-quality design of new buildings and places whilst ensuring a sufficient supply of new homes. In the eyes of the Commission, building beautifully comprises walkable, human-scale developments, and buildings with finely textured designs and materials, and it urges changes to the planning system to make the delivery of such developments a key objective.”

When adding green space reduces urban heat—and when it doesn’t: http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2019/09/the-solution-to-urban-heat-is-not-one-size-fits-all/ “Planting trees and other vegetation is often touted as a solution to mitigate the urban heat island effect—the tendency for cities to be a few degrees warmer than surrounding rural areas. But this strategy won’t be effective in every city, a new study suggests. In dry cities like Phoenix, Arizona, and temperate ones like London, England, adding green space is likely to be a great way to reduce the urban heat island effect. But in wet, tropical cities – including some of the world’s fastest growing cities in Africa and Southeast Asia – it may not be.”

Jair Bolsonaro’s government blocked funding for fire prevention: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/09/17/jair-bolsonaro-amazon-fires-ibama-icmbio/ “The document shows that R$13.5m (Brazilian reals) or £2.7m was frozen from Ibama’s fund for fire prevention earlier this year. With what the agency has already spent on tackling fires in 2019, it only has R$5m or £1m left to tackle the blazes that continue to rage in the Amazon, with the fire season likely to continue until October.”

Housing

CONSULTATION – Priorities and solutions in housing and health: https://surveys.phe.org.uk/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=86KK7o81H# “In November PHE will be launching a Health Matters on housing and health. We’re asking colleagues to complete this short survey to tell us their top housing priorities. Thank you for taking the time to respond, this will help ensure that this Health Matters is as relevant and practical as possible for colleagues in local settings. If you have any questions please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..”

The Housing and Ageing Alliance: https://www.housinglin.org.uk/housing-networks/HAA/ “The Housing and Ageing Alliance is made up of a broad spectrum of people from local and national organisations working together with a single objective; to bring about improvements to the housing and living conditions of older people.” The Alliance manifesto – Time for Action: https://www.housinglin.org.uk/_assets/Resources/Housing/HAA/Housing-Ageing-Alliance-Manifesto-2019.pdf “At a time of unprecedented demographic change, it is critical that housing, planning, health & social care policies and plans all address population ageing. This will result in more

sustainable growth, wider fiscal gains, e.g. health dividend, and improved quality of life for individuals.”

Birmingham takes action against HMO landlord in first civil penalty case: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/news/article/470/birmingham_takes_action_against_hmo_landlord_in_first_civil_penalty_case “Birmingham City Council has issued its first civil penalty against a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) landlord in the Small Heath area. Following the introduction of the civil enforcement policy earlier this year, the HMO team has cracked the whip on its first landlord, with the hopes of bringing greater regulation to the sector.”

Climate change & sustainability

Two decades of glacier mass loss along the Andes: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0432-5 “These results provide a comprehensive, high-resolution and multidecadal data set of recent Andes-wide glacier mass changes that constitutes a relevant basis for the calibration and validation of hydrological and glaciological models intended to project future glacier changes and their hydrological impacts.”

In-depth Q&A: The UK Climate Projections 2018: https://www.carbonbrief.org/in-depth-qa-the-uk-climate-projections-2018 “Produced by the Met Office Hadley Centre, the UK Climate Projections 2018 – or “UKCP18” – is the “most comprehensive picture yet of how the climate could change” in the UK… In this in-depth Q&A, Carbon Brief delves into what information the projections provide, what they say about the UK’s future climate and how they compare to previous projections.”

Coverage of the global climate strike starting on 20 September (& Greta Thunberg);

China and India demand cash for climate action on eve of UN summit: https://www.climatechangenews.com/2019/09/17/china-india-demand-cash-climate-action-eve-un-summit/ “China and India demanded rich countries provide financial support for them to increase their climate plans, as leaders prepared to meet at a UN summit in New York.”

Oil jumps nearly 15% in record trading after attack on Saudi facilities: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-global-oil/oil-jumps-nearly-15-in-record-trading-after-attack-on-saudi-facilities-idUKKBN1W00UH “Oil ended nearly 15% higher on Monday, with Brent logging its biggest jump in over 30 years amid record trading volumes, after an attack on Saudi Arabian crude facilities cut the kingdom’s production in half and fanned fears of retaliation in the Middle East. – More detailed analysis here: Around the halls: Brookings experts react to the attack on Saudi oil facilities: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2019/09/17/around-the-halls-brookings-experts-react-to-the-attack-on-saudi-oil-facilities/

'Like a sunburn on your lungs': how does the climate crisis impact health? https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/16/climate-crisis-health-risks-extreme-weather “The climate crisis is making people sicker – worsening illnesses ranging from seasonal allergies to heart and lung disease. Children, pregnant people and the elderly are the most at risk from extreme weather and rising heat. But the impact of the climate crisis – for patients, doctors and researchers – is already being felt across every specialty of medicine, with worse feared to come.”

What you think you know about the climate is probably wrong – new UK poll: https://theconversation.com/what-you-think-you-know-about-the-climate-is-probably-wrong-new-uk-poll-123103 “A new survey of Britons which tested understanding of some key facts about the environment reveals the extent of environmental misperceptions. Rather than asking people what they thought might happen, this study instead focused on assessing knowledge of the world as it is right now.”

Revealed: The Climate Cost Of ‘Disposable Smartphones’: https://meta.eeb.org/2019/09/19/revealed-the-climate-cost-of-disposable-smartphones/ “Extending the lifespan of smartphones and other electronics by just one year would save the EU as much carbon emissions as taking 2 million cars off the roads annually, a new study reveals.”

Where climate cash is flowing and why it’s not enough: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02712-3 “A decade after that Copenhagen summit, arguments still rage over whether the $100-billion goal is close to being met — partly because negotiators never agreed what kind of financing counts. Some estimates include loans and private finance leveraged by public money, for instance, whereas others say only direct grants, a much smaller sum, should be included.“

Vegetarian diets not always the most climate-friendly, researchers say: http://news.trust.org/item/20190916233621-1b5yo “It may be possible to help tackle climate change while still munching on the occasional bacon sandwich or slurping a few oysters, a new study suggested on Tuesday. Scientists found that diets in which meat, fish or dairy products were consumed only once a day would leave less of a footprint on climate change and water supplies than a vegetarian diet including milk and eggs, in 95% of countries they analysed.”

Money Is the Oxygen on Which the Fire of Global Warming Burns: https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/money-is-the-oxygen-on-which-the-fire-of-global-warming-burns “Last fall, the world’s climate scientists said that, if we are to meet the goals we set in the 2015 Paris climate accord—which would still raise the mercury fifty per cent higher than it has already climbed—we’ll essentially need to cut our use of fossil fuels in half by 2030 and eliminate them altogether by mid-century. In a world of Trumps and Putins and Bolsonaros and the fossil-fuel companies that back them, that seems nearly impossible. It’s not technologically impossible: in the past decade, the world’s engineers have dropped the price of solar and wind power by ninety and seventy per cent, respectively. But we’re moving far too slowly to exploit the opening for rapid change that this feat of engineering offers.”

The silenced: meet the climate whistleblowers muzzled by Trump: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/17/whistleblowers-scientists-climate-crisis-trump-administration “Six whistleblowers and ex-government scientists describe how the Trump administration made them bury climate science – and why they won’t stay quiet”

Active travel & transport

CONSULTATION - Draft Transport plan for the Commonwealth Games published: https://www.tfwm.org.uk/news/draft-transport-plan-for-the-commonwealth-games-published/ “A blueprint which sets out how the region’s transport network will be managed during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is to be considered by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) board, when it meets Friday, September 13. The draft plan sets out which transport projects will be delivered in time for the Games including improvements to Coventry, University and Perry Barr rail stations extending the West Midlands Metro to Edgbaston and the first phase of three new Sprint rapid bus routes.”

Parliamentary Transport Committee – Pavement Parking: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmtrans/1982/198202.htm “Chair of the committee, Lilian Greenwood, said: ‘In the long-term we believe the Government should ban pavement parking across England - as is already the case in London. Local authorities could create exemptions if they choose to do so, but drivers would know that unless it was expressly permitted it was illegal to park their car on the pavement. ‘We recognise that implementing a nationwide ban will take time. In the short-term we have said that they Government should make it easier for local authorities to put in place parking restrictions by removing some of the bureaucratic burdens they currently have to contend with.’”

Council chiefs call for control over bus services: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Council-chiefs-call-for-control-over-bus-services/48149 “Councils must be allowed to control bus services in their areas, according to local government leaders. The demand by the Local Government Association follows the latest Government figures showing the number of people making journeys by bus has fallen to their lowest level in more than a decade.”

Air quality & pollution

Ambient black carbon particles reach the fetal side of human placenta: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-11654-3 “Our finding that BC particles accumulate on the fetal side of the placenta suggests that ambient particulates could be transported towards the fetus and represents a potential mechanism explaining the detrimental health effects of pollution from early life onwards.”

Climate and air-quality benefits of a realistic phase-out of fossil fuels: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1554-z “Our results indicate that even the most aggressive plausible transition to a clean-energy society provides benefits for climate change mitigation and air quality at essentially all decadal to centennial timescales.” – Carbon Brief summary - Cutting air pollution would not cause ‘near-term spike’ in global warming: https://www.carbonbrief.org/cutting-air-pollution-would-not-cause-near-term-spike-in-global-warming

New online tool reveals air pollution levels at London addresses: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/09/17/new-online-tool-to-reveal-air-pollution-levels-at-london-addresses/ “A new website has launched to show Londoners how exposed their home is to air pollution and whether where they live exceeds World Health Organisation (WHO) annual guidelines for nitrogen dioxide (NO2).”

ONS: road traffic increased by 30% since 1990, but many air pollutants down: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/09/17/ons-road-traffic-increased-by-30-since-1990-but-many-air-pollutants-down/ “Road traffic in the UK has increased by almost 30% since 1990 but transport-related emissions of many air pollutants including particulate matter and nitrogen oxide (NOx) have reduced, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis of the most recent environmental accounts.”

Dolphins in Channel carry 'toxic cocktail' of chemicals: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/12/dolphins-in-channel-carry-toxic-cocktail-of-chemicals “Bottlenose dolphins in the Channel have been found to carry a “toxic cocktail” of chemicals in their bodies, some of which have been banned for decades and which may be harming the marine mammals’ health, scientists have said.”

Trump administration to revoke California’s power to set stricter auto emissions standards: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/trump-administration-to-revoke-californias-power-to-set-stricter-auto-emissions-standards/2019/09/17/79af2ee0-d97b-11e9-a688-303693fb4b0b_story.html “The Trump administration plans this week to revoke California’s long-standing right to set stricter air pollution standards for cars and light trucks, the latest step in a broad campaign to undermine Obama-era policies aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change, two senior administration officials said. The move threatens to set in motion a massive legal battle between California and the federal government, plunge automakers into a prolonged period of uncertainty and create turmoil in the nation’s auto market.”

US lifts ban on old-style light bulbs: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/world-us-canada-49591143 “The US is scrapping a ban on energy-inefficient light bulbs which was due to come in at the beginning of 2020. The rule would have prohibited the sale of bulbs that do not reach a standard of efficiency, and could have seen an end to incandescent bulbs. Many countries have phased out older bulbs because they waste energy. But the US energy department said banning incandescent bulbs would be bad for consumers because of the higher cost of more efficient bulbs.”

Food & food security

The role of global dietary transitions for safeguarding biodiversity: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959378018309038 “The links shown between global meat consumption and agricultural expansion and intensification in the biodiverse regions of the world indicates the potential to help safeguard biodiverse natural ecosystems through dietary change.” – media summary here: Dietary change could save a quarter of tropical forest from destruction: http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2019/09/dietary-change/

Our Planet, Our Health – Environmental Audit Committee report: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/1803/180302.htm “Everything we do to the planet, we do to ourselves. Humans are living longer, healthier lives than ever as a result of advances in food production, public health and access to medicines.1 But the systems that support human life rely on a healthy natural environment and “natural systems are being degraded to an extent unprecedented in human history”.2 We are concerned that the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry is not sufficiently resourced to deal with projected changes: non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71 per cent of all deaths globally.”

Government says it has no duty to secure food supplies in a no-deal Brexit (nor any other crisis): https://www.sustainweb.org/blogs/sep19_government_says_it_has_no_duty_to_secure_food_in_a_crisis/ “Two official documents this week reveal that our Government feels no legal responsibility for securing our food supplies in an emergency – neither fire, flood, disease epidemic, conflict, supply chain disruption, nor no-deal Brexit.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 13 September 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

Anti-corruption and the 5 pillars of sustainable development: https://www.unssc.org/news-and-insights/resources/anti-corruption-and-5-pillars-sustainable-development/ - video

The Public Health Implications of Brexit in Wales: a health impact assessment approach: https://whiasu.publichealthnetwork.cymru/files/1815/4806/3883/The_Public_Health_Implications_of_Brexit_in_Wales_-_A_Health_Impact_Assessment_Approach._Executive_Summary..pdf “Policy makers and public services should consider the range of potential impacts of Brexit identified in this report (Sections 5 and 6) and the areas for future action (Section 7) and ensure co-ordinated actions are in place to address each. The report should also be considered by multi-agency structures that have been set up to prepare for and respond to Brexit, in order to provide co-ordination across activities and ensure interdependencies between them have been identified and addressed.”

Assessing the health effects of a “no deal” Brexit: https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l5300.full “Leaving the EU without a deal threatens health and the NHS in many ways, but the scale of the threat remains unclear. We propose a framework that could be the basis for the comprehensive health impact assessment to inform politicians and the public. The government’s claims that it is prepared for no deal are implausible and, at best, might mitigate some of the worst consequences”

It Will Take Up To 11 Years For The Government To Reverse Austerity: https://neweconomics.org/2019/09/it-will-take-up-to-11-years-for-the-government-to-reverse-austerity?mc_cid=9cc6ceb99c&mc_eid=a15a43d447 “The analysis shows that it will take almost a full parliament to reverse austerity in real terms (just taking into account inflation). Taking into account inflation and population growth means a full reversal will take 6 years. And to fully reverse the impacts of austerity as a percentage of GDP will take 11 years.2

The Fourth Edition Of The Advocacy In Action Toolkit Is Here!: https://www.phaiwa.org.au/the-fourth-edition-of-the-advocacy-in-action-toolkit-is-here/ “PHAIWA is excited to announce that the fourth edition of the Advocacy in Action: A Toolkit for Public Health Professionals is now available and ready for download! The new edition helps breakdown advocacy in a way that makes it easy for practitioners, organisations, communities and individuals to apply strategies that will help them to achieve policy change.”

Healthy planning & environment

Changing the urban design of cities for health: The superblock model: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019315223?via%3Dihub “We estimated that 667 premature deaths (95% CI: 235–1,098) could be prevented annually through implementing the 503 Superblocks. The greatest number of preventable deaths could be attributed to reductions in NO2 (291, 95% PI: 0–838), followed by noise (163, 95% CI: 83–246), heat (117, 95% CI: 101–137), and green space development (60, 95% CI: 0–119). Increased PA for an estimated 65,000 persons shifting car/motorcycle trips to public and active transport resulted in 36 preventable deaths (95% CI: 26–50). The Superblocks were estimated to result in an average increase in life expectancy for the Barcelona adult population of almost 200 days (95% CI: 99–297), and result in an annual economic impact of 1.7 billion EUR (95% CI: 0.6–2.8).”

To build safe streets, we need to address racism in urban design: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2019/08/28/to-build-safe-streets-we-need-to-address-racism-in-urban-design/ “Place-based disparities in pedestrian casualties and gun violence are not unique to the nation’s capital. Across the nation, street safety is dictated by race, class, and place. The lower a metro area’s median household income, the more dangerous its streets are for people walking. And similar trends persist for gun violence: a small set of high-poverty neighborhoods, typically born out of decades of racial segregation, experience disproportionate clusters of violence that concentrate fatalities among marginalized groups.” – USA focused but with some relevance to the UK

The amendments to the CIL Regulations that will be felt most immediately: https://lichfields.uk/blog/2019/august/29/the-amendments-to-the-cil-regulations-that-will-be-felt-most-immediately/ “The most recent amendments to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Regulations (2010) come into force on 1 September and the consequences of many of the changes to the Regulations will be felt immediately.  But only in England – this is the first set of amendments to the CIL Regulations that do not apply in Wales.”

Facing the crisis: Rethinking economics for the age of environmental breakdown: https://www.ippr.org/environmentalbreakdown “IPPR is undertaking a major research programme to understand the implications of environmental breakdown for policy and politics. We are seeking to develop the narratives and policy needed to manage risk in this new era, protect societies from disruption caused by environmental breakdown, and enable future generations to flourish.”

Ecosystems and ecological breakdown: https://theecologist.org/2019/aug/27/system-change-youth-activism “The threats to balance in an ecosystem may be a natural disaster or the spread of disease, for example, but are also human interference and habitat destruction. Around the globe, human activity threatens the fine balance of the ecosystems that all life on earth, including our own, depends on.”

Squirrel 'threat' to critical infrastructure: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/technology-38650436 “He concludes that the damage done by real cyber-attacks - Stuxnet's destruction of Iranian uranium enrichment centrifuges and disruption to Ukrainian power plants being the most high profile - was tiny compared to the "cyber-threat" posed by animals. Most of the animal "attacks" were on power cables but Mr Thomas also discovered that jellyfish had shut down a Swedish nuclear power plant in 2013, by clogging the pipes that carry cool water to the turbines.”

Housing

Beyond Generation Rent: Understanding The Aspirations Of Private Renters Aged 35-54: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/publications/beyond-generation-rent/ “This report specifically looks at renters aged 35-54 and their experiences of private renting. The study found that as well as encountering similar issues as younger renters – unaffordable rents, insecure housing, and poor quality properties – older renters also experienced distinct issues, such as the impact on family life, challenges in adapting properties for age-related health and mobility impairments, and being aged out of a mortgage.”

The affordability of “affordable” housing in England: conditionality and exclusion in a context of welfare reform: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02673037.2019.1653448 “The research highlights that the combination of welfare and housing policies, in the context of a financialising housing association sector, has the potential to erode access to social housing for those who are perceived as a financial risk, reshaping the focus of social housing.”

Solutions to an Age Old Problem in London: https://lichfields.uk/media/5350/elderly-housing-in-london.pdf “London’s population of older people is growing rapidly. Consequently, there is an urgent need to provide more specialist accommodation for

older people.”

Climate change & sustainability

Climate Strike 2019

The impact of temperature on mortality across different climate zones: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-019-02519-1 “This paper finds that the majority of deaths related to temperature in Australia are caused by heat. It also finds that the reference temperature used to separate impacts into heat-/cold-related mortality has a notable impact on the magnitude of these estimates. Previous studies (using the same methodology) found that most of the temperature-related mortality burden in Australia was attributed to cold temperatures… This analysis indicates that studies that found net benefits from climate change need to be re-assessed, especially for Australia and warmer climate zones.”

Increased shear in the North Atlantic upper-level jet stream over the past four decades: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1465-z “Our results indicate that climate change may be having a larger impact on the North Atlantic jet stream than previously thought. The increased vertical shear is consistent with the intensification of shear-driven clear-air turbulence expected from climate change, which will affect aviation in the busy transatlantic flight corridor by creating a more turbulent flying environment for aircraft. We conclude that the effects of climate change and variability on the upper-level jet stream are being partly obscured by the traditional focus on wind speed rather than wind shear.”

World faces ‘climate apartheid’ risk, 120 more million in poverty: UN expert: https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/06/1041261 “Climate change “threatens to undo the last 50 years” of development, global health and poverty reduction, a United Nations expert said on Tuesday, citing the risk of a new era of “climate apartheid” where the rich buy their way out of rising heat and hunger.”

Climate change is environmental racism: https://theecologist.org/2019/sep/03/climate-change-environmental-racism “Climate change doesn’t affect us all equally, with those in the developing world being far more ‘climate vulnerable’ to soaring temperatures which result in an increased prevalence of droughts and therefore famine and migration. However the Global North - which is primarily to blame for the climate crisis that we are in - is only just seeing the impact of this emergency.”

Climate crisis is greatest ever threat to human rights, UN warns: https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/sep/09/climate-crisis-human-rights-un-michelle-bachelet-united-nations “Climate change is not only having a devastating impact on the environments we live in, but also on respect for human rights globally, the UN has warned. The UN rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, cited the civil wars sparked by a warming planet and the plight of indigenous people in an Amazon ravaged by wildfires and rampant deforestation.”

Breakdown in spawning synchrony: A silent threat to coral persistence: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6457/1002 “Our changing climate is a threat to corals, causing disfiguring bleaching and mortality to reefs that once teemed with life. Shlesinger and Loya alert us to an equally dangerous yet nearly invisible hazard to coral: loss of breeding synchrony (see the Perspective by Fogarty and Marhaver). They found that environmental changes have resulted in shifts in the timing of gamete release in several species of broadcast-spawning corals in the Red Sea. Similar changes are likely occurring globally. Such a loss of spawning synchrony could result in reproductive failure, a much less obvious but no less insidious threat to coral reefs.”

Guest post: How the Greenland ice sheet fared in 2019: https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-how-the-greenland-ice-sheet-fared-in-2019 “Our estimates show that the surface of the ice sheet gained 169bn tonnes of ice over 2018-19 – this is the seventh smallest gain on record. And using new satellite data, we show that – once all ice sheet processes are factored in for the past year – the Greenland ice sheet saw a net decline of 329bn tonnes in ice.”

Attribution of extreme weather events: how does climate change affect weather? https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wea.3610 “...Therefore, it cannot be said that an extreme weather event was caused by climate change. However, we now have the ability to estimate whether and to what extent the likelihood or intensity of an extreme event occurring has changed due to human‐induced climate change.”

Summer heat killed nearly 1,500 in France, officials say: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-49628275 “Record heatwaves in June and July caused the deaths of 1,435 people in France this year, according to the country's health minister. Speaking on French radio, Agnès Buzyn said half of those who died were aged over 75. But Ms Buzyn said, thanks to preventative measures, the rate was 10 times lower than the same period in 2003 when a deadly heatwave hit Europe.”

Video: The North Atlantic ocean current, which warms northern Europe, may be slowing: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/08/video-the-north-atlantic-ocean-current-may-be-slowing/ “Stefan Rahmstorf of the University of Potsdam, Germany, says this circulation – called the thermohaline circulation, but popularly known to many in the U.S. as “the Gulf Stream” – keeps northern Europe several degrees warmer than it would otherwise be at that latitude.”

'Staggering failure to act': Government attacked for allocating just £30m to zero-carbon goal: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-zero-carbon-uk-net-target-environment-sajid-javid-spending-a9092986.html “Money promised by the government to help the country meet its 2050 net-zero target is just 0.1 per cent of what is required, environmental experts have warned.”

Hundreds of climate sceptics to mount international campaign to stop net-zero targets being made law: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-science-deniers-boris-johnson-environment-leak-a9094631.html “Hundreds of climate change deniers including academics, politicians and lobbyists are to launch a campaign to stop commitments to net zero carbon emissions being enshrined in law, The Independent can reveal. A letter titled “There is no climate emergency” – which has been signed by 400 people who deem climate change to be a myth – is being sent to leaders of European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) institutions in the coming weeks ahead of key environment talks.”

How do climate experts think about geoengineering? They get personal: http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2019/09/how-climate-experts-think-about-geoengineering-get-personal/ “Climate experts who hail from countries that will be heavily impacted by climate change are more open to geoengineering than their colleagues from less threatened countries, according to a study published September 2 in Nature Climate Change. The findings, based on a survey of 723 individuals from 153 countries, provide a rare glimpse into the views of the people who are shaping the global community’s response to climate change.”

Adapt Now – A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience: https://gca.org/global-commission-on-adaptation/report “Our research finds that investing $1.8 trillion globally in five areas from 2020 to 2030 could generate $7.1 trillion in total net benefits. The five areas we consider are early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture, mangrove protection, and investments in making water resources more resilient. This represents only a portion of the total investments needed and total benefits available.”

BBC Updates Editorial Guidelines to Improve Scrutiny of Thinktank Pundits: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/09/04/bbc-changes-editorial-guidelines-improve-scrutiny-unbiased-thinktanks “The broadcaster has now added “think tanks” to a list of groups that it says presenters and producers should “not automatically assume … are unbiased”.  “Appropriate information about their affiliations, funding and particular viewpoints should be made available to the audience, when relevant to the context,” the guidelines say. The change could have significant ramifications for representatives of anti-regulation, pro-Brexit think tanks and campaign groups based in and around offices at 55 Tufton Street, including the UK's principal climate science denial campaign group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, on which DeSmog has extensively reported.”

12 books on climate change and public health: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/08/12-books-on-climate-change-and-public-health/ “In the two years that have passed since Yale Climate Connections first highlighted the growing collection of books and reports that address the health impacts of climate change, evidence for the changing climate has compounded… The other lesson learned since 2017: the interactions between air pollution and climate change are more complex – and dangerous – than previously thought. It’s time, then, for an updated list.”

Renewable power pays for itself with better health: http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2019/09/renewable-power-pays-for-itself-with-better-health/ “Building out that renewable infrastructure will cost $3.5 billion and yield $2.8 billion in savings from avoided climate change impacts, according to an analysis published August 12 in in Environmental Research Letters. But it will also result in $4.7 billion in health benefits from avoided medical bills and lost wages.”

Three thought-provoking analogies for climate change: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/09/three-thought-provoking-analogies-for-climate-change/ “Though by definition no analogy is perfect, a good one can create a flash of insight or provoke thought. A strong analogy can clarify a point or an argument. It can bring dry facts to life, attaching them to images and emotions and showing us why they matter. And it can help us work through something complex and difficult.“

From Fashion Week To Fashion Future: https://meta.eeb.org/2019/09/10/from-fashion-week-to-fashion-future/ “The Swedish Fashion Council hit headlines this summer when it announced it was cancelling its annual fashion week due to sustainability concerns – with plans afoot to help companies reduce their environmental footprint instead. And amid the nature and climate crisis, now the pressure is mounting on other cities to rethink their own fashion weeks – which, some fashion watchers say, continue to promote an industry responsible for staggering rates of waste, pollution and emissions.”

Active travel & transport

UK Chief Medical Officers' Physical Activity Guidelines: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/829841/uk-chief-medical-officers-physical-activity-guidelines.pdf “This report presents an update to the 2011 physical activity guidelines issued by the four Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK CMOs draw upon global evidence to present guidelines for different age groups, covering

the volume, duration, frequency and type of physical activity required across the life course to achieve health benefits.”

What future for the car? https://www.transporttimes.co.uk/news.php/What-future-for-the-car-454/ “The impetus to introduce electric propulsion for road vehicles is to eliminate carbon emissions, which requires the electricity supply system to be decarbonised in parallel. Electric propulsion also eliminates noxious tailpipe emissions and so improves urban air quality. The sustainability of road transport has long been a concern, initially because of reliance on non-renewable oil, and more recently on account of oil's contribution to global warming. Electrification goes a long way to mitigating this concern. Yet electric propulsion in place of the internal combustion engine does not significantly alter the behaviour of the car and driver.”

TfL to roll out 20mph limits in central London: https://www.localgov.co.uk/TfL-to-roll-out-20mph-limits-in-central-London/48102 “Transport for London (TfL) is set to take forward plans to lower speed limits on its roads across central London.”

Car-free school planned for Leeds: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/aug/30/britains-first-car-free-school-planned-for-leeds “A school being planned in Leeds will be among the first to be designed as car-free. It will form part of a multi-generational building that includes a care home for older people. The developers hope many children will walk to the 420-place primary school, which will have no parking spaces for staff or visitors and will discourage drop-offs.”

Air quality & pollution

Researchers find ‘clear link’ between air pollution exposure and dementia: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/09/04/researchers-find-clear-link-between-air-pollution-exposure-and-dementia/ “The first global study of its kind has found a ‘clear link’ between exposure to air pollution and developing dementia later in life. Australian researchers found that that rates of dementia were more likely when people were exposed over a long period of time to two types of air pollutants; particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrous oxides (NOx).”

MP proposes Clean Air Act to tackle toxic air: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/09/04/mp-proposes-clean-air-act-to-tackle-toxic-air/ “The Conservative MP Chris Philp has proposed a new Clean Air Act to improve air quality in the UK. The wide-ranging legislation looks at reducing air pollution in the UK by expanding the use of Clean Air Zones and banning vehicle idling outside schools. The act, backed by Labour, Lib Dem, SNP and fellow Tory MPs, would also restrict the sale of diesel vehicles and require local authorities to plant trees and promote electric buses and taxis.”

Multidecadal increase in plastic particles in coastal ocean sediments: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/9/eaax0587 “After correcting for contamination introduced during sample processing, we found an exponential increase in plastic deposition from 1945 to 2009 with a doubling time of 15 years. This increase correlated closely with worldwide plastic production and southern California coastal population increases over the same period… This increase in plastic deposition in the post–World War II years can be used as a geological proxy for the Great Acceleration of the Anthropocene in the sedimentary record.”

Worms fail to thrive in soil containing microplastics – study: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/12/worms-fail-to-thrive-in-soil-containing-microplastics-study “If the presence of microplastics inhibits earthworm growth on a wide scale, it could have implications for soil health and farming, as worms are vital part of the farmland soil ecosystem.”

Food & food security

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019: safeguarding against economic slowdowns and downturns: http://www.fao.org/3/ca5162en/ca5162en.pdf “We must recognize the importance of safeguarding food security and nutrition in

times of economic difficulty. We must invest wisely during periods of economic booms to reduce economic vulnerability and build capacity to withstand and quickly recover when economic turmoil erupts.”

A Menu of Solutions to Feed Nearly 10 Billion People by 2050: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/poverty-reduction/creating-a-sustainable-food-future.html “The report offers a five-course menu of solutions to ensure we can feed 10 billion people by 2050 without increasing emissions, fueling deforestation or exacerbating poverty. Intensive research and modeling examining the nexus of the food system, economic development, and the environment show why each of the 22 items on the menu is important and quantifies how far each solution can get us.”

Food banks increasing in schools for pupils' families: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/education-49515117 “More schools in England are setting up food banks to help feed their pupils' families, according to the biggest school governors' organisation. The National Governance Association's annual survey found 8% of governors were in schools which had food banks - up from 7% last year.”

UK food banks run low as demand surges in school holidays: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/aug/29/food-bank-supplies-low-demand-surges-school-holidays “Food banks in some of the UK’s poorest areas are running critically low on supplies because of a spike in demand during the school holidays. Organisers say more families are seeking help in the summer holidays than in previous years, yet donations are falling.”

World's largest urban farm to open – on a Paris rooftop: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/aug/13/worlds-largest-urban-farm-to-open-on-a-paris-rooftop “Currently under construction in the south-west of the city, this urban oasis will span approximately 14,000 sq metres (150695 sq feet) – also making it the largest urban farm in Europe. With the plan to grow more than 30 different plant species, the site will produce around 1,000kg of fruit and vegetables every day in high season.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 30 August 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

UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) 2019 report: https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/glaas-report-2019/en/ “GLAAS findings on the status of WASH systems are varied. Most countries have requisite components in place, but many countries responded that they have yet to operationalize and fully implement measures to support and strengthen their national WASH

systems. GLAAS findings highlight gaps and vulnerabilities in WASH systems and the need for further strengthening to assure sustainable and effective WASH service delivery in countries.”

Healthy environments: Why do they matter, and what can we do? https://www.who.int/phe/publications/healthy-environments/en/ “Globally, 23% of all deaths could be prevented through healthier environments – and scaled-up action is required. This document presents an overview of sectoral actions that can be taken by various actors – and the support that is being offered by the World Health Organization – to create healthier environments, including in priority settings such as workplaces, cities, dwellings, health care facilities, and emergency settings. Key risk areas are addressed, such as air pollution; water, sanitation and hygiene; chemical safety and radiation; and climate change.”

The King’s Fund - What is population health? https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/audio-video/population-health-animation “What is a 'population health' approach? And what role do we all play in keeping our communities healthy? Watch our new animation to find out.”

First Death in a Spate of Vaping Sicknesses Reported by Health Officials: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/23/health/vaping-death-cdc.html “A patient in Illinois is the first to die of a mysterious lung illness linked to vaping, public health officials announced on Friday. The death occurred as doctors and hospitals nationwide report an increasing number of vaping-related respiratory illnesses this summer: 193 cases have now been reported in 22 states, including 22 cases in Illinois, officials said.”

The problem with industry-sponsored vaping research: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/the-problem-with-industry-sponsored-vaping-research/ “Use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products including Juul is soaring, especially among youths. Between 2017 and 2018, the prevalence of current e-cigarette use among U.S. high school students increased from 12% to 21%. Andy Tan, assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences, recently co-authored a Lancet article examining how Juul is funding scientific research—and why this is problematic.”

Healthy planning & environment

Flat-packed cities: wooden skyscrapers sprout over concrete concerns: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=59e87fbe-681a-47a8-8a6a-16f7a78b5700& “With concrete a major source of climate-changing emissions, cities around the world are looking at high-rise wooden buildings instead”

How we discovered UK shale gas reserves are at least 80% smaller than thought: https://theconversation.com/how-we-discovered-uk-shale-gas-reserves-are-at-least-80-smaller-than-thought-122076 “Our findings, now published in the journal Nature Communications, are the result of 11 years work developing a way to simulate in a lab the conditions that rocks would be exposed to deep underground, and therefore figure out how much oil or gas these rocks would “generate”. We then applied this method to shale gas, which meant we were able to measure and estimate shale reserves.” – original research here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-11653-4

Lancashire fracking: 2.9 magnitude tremor recorded: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-england-lancashire-49471321 “An earthquake with a magnitude of 2.9 has been recorded near the UK's only active shale gas site in Lancashire. The tremor near Blackpool was recorded at about 08:30 BST and is stronger than those that forced Cuadrilla to suspend test fracking in 2011 . Cuadrilla said it was investigating the tremor and said no fracking was being carried out at the time. The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) said fracking would be suspended while it assessed recent seismic activity. The latest quake is the third recorded in less than a week.”

Natural Assets North: Water in the Northern Powerhouse: https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/natural-assets-north-water-in-the-northern-powerhouse “Without a reliable and sustainable supply of clean water, and effective and efficient wastewater systems, activity in the Northern Powerhouse would quickly grind to a halt. To date, conversations about the future of the region and its economy have largely taken the North’s water resources for granted.”

Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44097-3 “Compared to no nature contact last week, the likelihood of reporting good health or high well-being became significantly greater with contact ≥120 mins (e.g. 120–179 mins: ORs [95%CIs]: Health = 1.59 [1.31–1.92]; Well-being = 1.23 [1.08–1.40]). Positive associations peaked between 200–300 mins per week with no further gain. The pattern was consistent across key groups including older adults and those with long-term health issues. It did not matter how 120 mins of contact a week was achieved (e.g. one long vs. several shorter visits/week).”

A diversity of plants helps stabilize ecosystems: http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2019/08/plant-diversity-stabilizes-ecosystems/ “Our results expand by several orders of magnitude the spatial scale of evidence that high biodiversity strengthens the resistance of key ecosystem features to climatic fluctuation,””

UK ‘is failing to protect wildlife habitats’, new EU report shows: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/25/uk-failing-to-protect-wildlife-new-eu-report-shows “Member states have to report every six years on progress. But the draft figures for the UK for 2013-2018 show it faring worse than many other member states and making no progress on key measures. During the period, the draft data show 82% of the UK’s designated habitats to be in “bad” or “poor” condition, unchanged from the last reporting period of 2007-12. The percentage in a “bad” state was 71%, compared with 36% in Germany and 32% in France.”

Scoop: Trump suggested nuking hurricanes to stop them from hitting U.S.: https://www.axios.com/trump-nuclear-bombs-hurricanes-97231f38-2394-4120-a3fa-8c9cf0e3f51c.html “Trump has suggested multiple times to senior Homeland Security and national security officials that they explore using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes from hitting the United States, according to sources who have heard the president's private remarks and been briefed on a National Security Council memorandum that recorded those comments.”

Nuclear weapons and hurricanes don't mix, NOAA advises: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-49471093 “Using nuclear weapons to destroy hurricanes is not a good idea, a US scientific agency has said, following reports that President Donald Trump wanted to explore the option.” – it is a little surprising that this needed to be said.

Housing

Bleak Houses: https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/publication/bleak-houses/ “Growing up in a stable, healthy and secure home is so important for any child. Yet we know there are thousands of children in England who are living in homeless families, stuck in poor quality temporary accommodation, often with low prospects of finding something permanent. There are many others who are at risk of ending up homeless. This report shines a light on this homelessness crisis and shares the experiences of some of those children.”

Homeless person dying every 19 hours in UK, figures show: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/homeless-deaths-homelessness-housing-rough-sleeping-a9055671.html “The new data, published by the Museum for Homelessness, suggests more than 30 per cent of fatalities since 2017 have occurred where people were in emergency or temporary accommodation, raising concerns that services provided to the most vulnerable people regularly fail to meet an acceptable standard.”

Tackling The UK Housing Crisis: Is Supply The Answer? https://housingevidence.ac.uk/publications/tackling-the-uk-housing-crisis-is-supply-the-answer/ “UK average house prices have risen by over 160% in real terms since the middle of 1996. Home ownership remains around its lowest level for a generation. Among political leaders, policymakers and commentators there is a broad consensus that these problems are largely down to one failing: decades of undersupply of housing. But this paper argues that the housing shortage story is unconvincing… This implies that the current policy focus on boosting supply does not offer a solution to the housing crisis and a fundamental rethink is badly needed.”

Climate change & sustainability

Global concern and coverage over the burning of the Amazon rainforest;

And some articles that take a wider look at the issues;

Commons Science and Technology Committee - Government’s target for ‘net-zero’ by 2050 undeliverable unless clean growth policies introduced: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/science-and-technology-committee/news-parliament-2017/clean-growth-report-published-17-19/ “The Committee welcomes the Government’s decision to strengthen its long-term emissions reduction target, to effectively eliminate all emissions by 2050. However, the Committee on Climate Change has warned that the UK is not even on course to meet its existing legally binding targets for 2023 to 2032. The Committee’s Report on clean growth highlights that urgent Government action is needed to reverse the current policy trend of cut backs and slow progress.”

UK government planning fuel duty cut in emergency budget - Sunday Times: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-fuelduty/uk-government-planning-fuel-duty-cut-in-emergency-budget-sunday-times-idUKKCN1VF09C “he British government is planning to cut fuel duty for the first time in eight years in a possible emergency October budget, the Sunday Times newspaper reported.”

Amplification of mega-heatwaves through heat torrents fuelled by upwind drought: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0431-6 “Since subtropical droughts are projected to aggravate during this century, in light of our results, this may be accompanied by consequent intensification of midlatitude mega-heatwaves. We therefore recommend considering not only local, but also upwind land cover and land-use management in the design of adaptation strategies against compound drought–heatwave events.”

Kids play in Arctic seas as 22C heatwave grips North Pole at climate change frontline: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/kids-play-arctic-seas-22c-19016180.amp “A heatwave is gripping The Arctic, melting away Greenland’s ice sheet on an unprecedented scale and threatening a global rise in sea levels – an urgent reminder of the climate crisis we are now all facing. Kids splashing each other in the sea and locals wearing t-shirts were unheard of here in August 10 years ago. But now, alongside teenage girls wearing skirts to school and increasing mosquitoes, it is a common occurrence for the residents of Qaanaaq, in north-west Greenland, one of the world’s most northerly cities situated 700 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Information about the 9 August power cut and the ESO: https://www.nationalgrideso.com/information-about-great-britains-energy-system-and-electricity-system-operator-eso “On this page, you’ll find information relating to the power cut in Great Britain on 9 August 2019 and a link to materials to help you understand the energy system and role of the ESO.”

Solar power could replace all US hydro dams using ‘just 13% of the space’: https://www.carbonbrief.org/solar-power-could-replace-all-us-hydro-dams-using-just-13-of-the-space “Banks of solar panels would be able to replace every electricity-producing dam in the US using just 13% of the space, according to a new study.”

Carbon emissions from U.S. buildings could be cut by nearly 80% – here’s how: http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2019/08/carbon-emissions-from-u-s-buildings-could-be-cut-by-nearly-80-heres-how/ “So researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory built an open-source software program, dubbed Scout, that models how specific energy-saving technologies deployed in particular types of buildings in different climates are likely to affect energy use and carbon emissions at a national scale. They used the new software to show that cutting nearly four-fifths of building emissions by midcentury is possible – but it will be a heavy lift, requiring simultaneous action on multiple fronts.”

UK weather: Hottest late August bank holiday weekend on record: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49466596 “It has been the hottest late August bank holiday weekend ever - with temperatures reaching 33.3C (91.94F) in west London. The Met Office confirmed the new record temperature, which was set at Heathrow. It beats the previous record of 31.5C (88.7F), set in 2001 and again at Heathrow. And BBC Weather said UK temperatures could reach similar levels on Monday - with highs of up to 33C in south-east England.”

Discrepancy in scientific authority and media visibility of climate change scientists and contrarians: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09959-4 “These results demonstrate why climate scientists should increasingly exert their authority in scientific and public discourse, and why professional journalists and editors should adjust the disproportionate attention given to contrarians.”

How climate change threatens public health: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/08/how-climate-change-threatens-public-health/ “Those pathways include heat, air pollution, extreme weather, vector-borne diseases, and access to safe water and food. The health risks posed by climate change already disproportionately harm marginalized groups including people with disabilities or infirmities, low-income families and individuals – and climate change is likely to deepen those disparities.”

Underground line to heat up north London homes: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-england-london-49482840 “Heat from London Underground tunnels will be used to keep homes in Islington warm under a new scheme, Transport for London (TfL) has said. Warm air from a disused Northern Line station will support a heat network supplying up to 1,000 homes and businesses by the end of the year.”

Travel the world without destroying it – Imagine newsletter #5: https://theconversation.com/travel-the-world-without-destroying-it-imagine-newsletter-5-121269 “In this fifth issue of Imagine, we asked researchers to scan the horizon of air travel. Does the climate crisis demand we turn our backs on the skies and remain permanently grounded? Or could a technological breakthrough keep our travel obsessions afloat?”

Five weird and wonderful ways nature is being harnessed to build a sustainable fashion industry: https://theconversation.com/five-weird-and-wonderful-ways-nature-is-being-harnessed-to-build-a-sustainable-fashion-industry-119840 “Here are five ways nature is being explored by individuals, research teams and industry to help make fashion more sustainable. Scientists are uncovering and exploiting underlying mechanisms and models found in nature to design new materials, processes and products as well as systems of production for the future.”

Active travel & transport

House of Commons Transport Committee – Active Travel: increasing levels of walking and cycling in England: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmtrans/1487/1487.pdf?mc_cid=c3e9e5cc87&mc_eid=f209095101

DfT – Reported road casualties in Great Britain: main results 2018: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/820562/Reported_road_casualties_-_Main_Results_2018.pdf “There were 1,782 reported road deaths in 2018, similar to the level seen since 2012, which followed a period of substantial reduction in fatalities from 2006 to 2010.”

  • Brake comments as stagnation in Britain’s road safety record continues: http://www.brake.org.uk/media-centre/1938-brake-comments-as-stagnation-in-britain-s-road-safety-record-continues?mc_cid=722121be36&mc_eid=f209095101 “Once again, we are talking about a stagnation in Britain’s road safety record, a situation which must change. Whilst the Government’s new road safety action plan set out last week is a step in the right direction, there is always more that can be done to end the unacceptable number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. We are calling for a clear commitment by Government to a Vision Zero approach, striving to eliminate road death and serious injury, with clear targets set out to achieving this goal. We would never accept such carnage in rail or aviation so why should we on the road?”

Physical activity of electric bicycle users compared to conventional bicycle users and non-cyclists: Insights based on health and transport data from an online survey in seven European cities: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S259019821930017X “Therefore, this data suggests that e-bike use leads to substantial increases in physical activity in e-bikers switching from private motorized vehicle and public transport, while net losses in physical activity in e-bikers switching from cycling were much less due to increases in overall travel distance.”

Effects of city-wide 20 mph (30km/hour) speed limits on road injuries in Bristol, UK: https://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/early/2019/07/25/injuryprev-2019-043305.full “These findings highlight the potential benefits of city-wide 20 mph speed limits. We hypothesise that this city-wide approach may encourage a general behaviour change in drivers that, in turn, may contribute to reducing injuries across the city.”

Rearranging elephants on the Titanic: the astonishing absence of the carbon reduction imperative in transport policy and research: https://www.creds.ac.uk/rearranging-elephants-on-the-titanic-jillian-anables-keynote-presentation-from-utsg-annual-conference/ “Why is it that we – including transport academics – have so continuously and fundamentally failed over carbon mitigation? Climate change remains a peripheral issue within core transport research and teaching efforts and academics have not yet catalysed a meaningful mitigation agenda. Where does the balance of responsibility lie between wilful delusion versus well-intentioned political pragmatism? As we face losing our integrity over this issue, how can we embed hard-hitting debate and fresh perspectives that focus on radical as opposed to incremental change? And have we left it all too late?”

HS2 thrown into uncertainty as Boris Johnson asks former boss to conduct review into rail project: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/hs2-boris-johnson-review-rail-project-transport-tory-leadership-contest-a8963986.html “Boris Johnson has been accused of throwing the future of HS2 into uncertainty after it emerged he has asked a former boss of the £56 billion pound rail project to conduct a review into “whether and how” it should proceed.”

Cyclists demand access to rural footpaths: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Cyclists-demand-access-to-rural-footpaths/48006 “he group British Cycling argues that countryside paths should be opened up to everyone – cyclists and ramblers alike – so that everyone can enjoy them. ‘We need to open up our countryside paths to be enjoyed responsibly by everyone, in a healthy, non-polluting way. That’s what I want for my kids and family,’ British Cycling’s policy advisor, Chris Boardman, said.”

London set for three times more transport investment than the North: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/London-set-for-three-times-more-transport-investment-than-the-North/16094 “London is in line for almost three times more transport investment per person than the North of England - adding up to £2,389 more per head - according to IPPR North.”

Dutch take cycling to a new level, with world's biggest multistorey bike park: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/aug/19/dutch-take-cycling-to-a-new-level-with-worlds-biggest-bike-park “In a nation with more bikes than people, finding a space to park can be a problem. The Dutch city of Utrecht is unveiling an answer at its railway station on Monday morning: the world’s largest multistorey parking area for bicycles. The concrete-and-glass structure holds three floors of gleaming double-decker racks with space for 12,500 bikes, from cargo bikes that hold a family to public transport bikes for rent.”

London’s ‘Healthy Streets Officers’ to encourage people out of their cars: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/08/16/londons-healthy-streets-officers-to-encourage-people-out-of-their-cars/ “Transport for London (TfL) will appoint a network of ‘Healthy Streets Officers’ to encourage people to walk and cycle in the city and discourage vehicle idling. The new network will be managed by the charity Sustrans and will also support boroughs with London-wide events including World Car Free Day, Walk to Work Week and Road Safety Week.”

Air quality & pollution

DEFRA - Report: Non-Exhaust Emissions from Road Traffic: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/reports.php?report_id=992 “The available data indicate that brake, tyre and road-surface wear contribute approximately

equally to UK sources of NEE, and are predominantly derived from cars because of the much greater vehicle-km travelled for this class of vehicle. NEE particles are also an important source of metals to the atmosphere; the national inventory estimates NEE contributions of 47% and 21% for Cu and Zn, primarily associated with brake and tyre wear, respectively. The national inventory does not include estimates of road dust resuspension.”

New study links air pollution to heart disease treatment: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/08/27/new-study-links-air-pollution-to-heart-disease-treatment/ “‘The study shows that the incidence of acute coronary syndromes treated with PCI (stents) was higher in winter and rose along with increasing pollution, and this rise was higher in regions with initially cleaner air, if taking the same increment in pollution into account. ‘This is further evidence that more needs to be done to lower pollution levels and protect the public’s health.’”

Toxic air at the doors of the NHS: https://www.blf.org.uk/take-action/campaign/nhs-toxic-air-report “The report outlines that more than 2,000 health centres are located in areas with levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) above the World Health Organisation’s limit. PM2.5 are minuscule particles invisible to the naked eye that are small enough to pass through the lungs, and enter the bloodstream. The report contains six case studies: Birmingham, London, Nottingham, Worthing, Aberdeen and Cardiff.”

Most of London’s ​NHS facilities​ exceed legal air pollution limits: https://www.bmj.com/company/newsroom/most-of-londons-%E2%80%8Bnhs-facilities%E2%80%8B-exceed-legal-air-pollution-limits/ “Air pollution at most of London’s NHS facilities, including hospitals and GP surgeries, is well above legal limits, according to new data from King’s College London and the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change. It provides additional proof that London’s air is toxic and harms the most vulnerable in society, including children, older adults and people with pre-existing conditions who need to travel regularly to health centres.”

World Health Organization – Microplastics in drinking-water: https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/microplastics-in-drinking-water/en/ “We urgently need to know more about the health impact of microplastics because they are everywhere -  including in our drinking-water,” says Dr Maria Neira, Director, Department of Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants of Health, at WHO. “Based on the limited information we have, microplastics in drinking water don’t appear to pose a health risk at current levels. But we need to find out more. We also need to stop the rise in plastic pollution worldwide.”

Amazon under fire for new packaging that cannot be recycled: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/aug/20/amazon-under-fire-for-new-packaging-that-cant-be-recycled “While supermarkets and other retailers have been reducing their use of single use plastics, the world’s biggest online retailer has started sending small items in plastic envelopes, seemingly to allow more parcels to be loaded on to each delivery truck.”

'Plastic recycling is a myth': what really happens to your rubbish? https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/17/plastic-recycling-myth-what-really-happens-your-rubbish “You sort your recycling, leave it to be collected – and then what? From councils burning the lot to foreign landfill sites overflowing with British rubbish, Oliver Franklin-Wallis reports on a global waste crisis”

Food & food security

Stanford experts explain oceans’ role in solving food insecurity: https://news.stanford.edu/2019/08/20/food-security-oceans/ “The world will have an additional 2 billion people to feed over the next 30 years – and doing that without decimating the planet’s resources will require exploring as many options as possible. Yet, a significant option – seafood – is often overlooked in global food security planning and discussions about future diets.”

Improving low fruit and vegetable intake in children: Findings from a system dynamics, community group model building study: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0221107 “Several actions to improve children’s FV intake by improving the local food environment were identified, which will be co-designed further and tested by a collaborative group involving community leaders. This project highlights the effectiveness of group model building for engaging a local community in systems change to improve child nutrition, and supplies a blueprint for future qualitative system dynamics research.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 23 August 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.

A question from Phil Shreeve from Norfolk County Council – “I've recently reviewed two planning applications which suggest internal noise thresholds are likely to be breached. One is from urban / night time economy noise and the other from a new rural dual carriageway. In both cases mitigation is suggested through double or triple glazed windows with air brick and /or trickle or mechanical vent methods to enable ventilation whilst keeping noise down and windows closed. I'm a bit concerned about how this impacts e.g. indoor air quality and removal of damp from bathrooms or clothes drying where there are flats. Does anyone have views or evidence on the balance between noise and ventilation methods or if building standards allow this and I'm unable to request a rethink? Many thanks. “ If you have an answer, or any evidence, case studies or experience, please send them to me & I’ll forward to Phil via the (very useful) PHE Healthy Places Khub group - https://khub.net/group/healthypeoplehealthyplaces

Sustainable development goals

Gender equality, education and the environment at the forefront of new SDG Advocate campaigns: https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/08/1043601 “Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are the direct objectives of Goal 5, but they also play a key role in the achievement of many other goals, as well as supporting the overall success of the SDGs”, said the 33-year-old champion. “There really can be no development that is sustainable without gender equality”

Vaccines: The fights against infectious disease and anti-vaxxers' fears: https://theconversation.createsend.com/t/ViewEmail/r/14BAE2D77978FBF02540EF23F30FEDED/C67FD2F38AC4859C/?tx=0 “What are the frontiers of vaccine science today? What can be done about anti-vaxxers and the fears they have? The challenge of fighting infectious disease raises as many moral and legal questions as it does scientific ones. Over the last few months, we have asked experts at the cutting edge of vaccine research and public health to feed into the global debate. Here we present their analysis and thoughts on key aspects of a crucial international challenge.”

Health inequalities: place-based approaches to reduce inequalities: https://phelibrary.koha-ptfs.co.uk/practice-examples/pba/ “A suite of practice examples provide insights on measurable approaches to reduce health inequalities. We hope these examples will be helpful to inspire collaborative action among multiple partners at the local level. The learning was collected through a number of channels by engaging internal and external Public Health England, Association of Directors of Public Health and Local Government Association networks. The following criteria were used to identify and prioritise these case studies: regional variation, seldom heard, innovation, level of engagement of multiple partners, rural/urban split, outcome-focused.”

Healthy planning & environment

Delivering public health improvements through better planning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTNly9MJDT4&feature=youtu.be “Creating connected communities is one of the ways currently being used to help deliver Scotland's public health priorities.”

City of London tightens rules on skyscrapers over wind tunnel fears: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/20/city-of-london-tightens-rules-on-skyscrapers-over-wind-tunnel-fears-cyclist-pedetrians “Tougher building rules for skyscrapers have been drawn up by the City of London because of concerns that a high-rise, urban microclimate will generate winds capable of knocking over cyclists and pedestrians. Developers will have to provide more comprehensive safety assessments of how proposed buildings will affect people on street level, with more robust testing of roadways and pavements using detailed scale models in wind tunnels and computer simulations.”

Fury as developer advertises for tenants BEFORE getting planning permission: https://www.halesowennews.co.uk/news/17846966.fury-developer-advertises-tenants-getting-planning-permission/ “CAMPAIGNERS fighting a proposed distribution centre on green space in Oldbury are furious that developers are advertising for tenants before it has been given planning permission.”

Ash dieback is just the start of killer plagues threatening Britain’s trees: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/15/ash-dieback-killer-plagues-britain-trees “Our disease prevention rules, whose scope is restricted by the European Union and the World Trade Organization, and whose enforcement is restricted by the British government’s austerity, do little to prevent similar plagues afflicting our remaining trees. Several deadly pathogens are marching across Europe.”

Are cities planting the right trees—not just for the present, but for the future? http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2019/06/are-cities-planting-the-right-trees-not-just-for-the-present-but-for-the-future/ “…But overall, the results “indicate that a substantial proportion of the most common urban trees face climate change risks where they are currently planted,” the researchers write. Irrigation and shading can help some trees survive in unsuitable areas. But that requires more resources, and urban forests are attractive precisely because they are a fairly low-cost and low-impact strategy for climate change adaptation.”

Government's shift to relax shale gas fracking safeguards condemned: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/15/governments-shift-to-relax-shale-gas-fracking-safeguards-condemned “Environmental groups have voiced fears that the government is preparing to row back on fracking regulations after officials said they were considering reviewing earthquake safeguard rules. The limits affecting shale gas fracking are strongly contested by the industry because they bring an immediate halt to fracking if even a minor tremor of 0.5 on the Richter scale is recorded.”

How conserving nature’s ‘umbrella’ species could benefit whole habitats: https://theconversation.com/how-conserving-natures-umbrella-species-could-benefit-whole-habitats-119122 “We had a unique opportunity to test the idea with one of the largest field experiments in Europe. In a region called Breckland in the East of England, we used a tractor to churn tall grassland into bare, sandy plots for Eurasian stone-curlew, a rare summer visitor. The disturbed soil provides excellent camouflage for stone-curlew nests and chicks, and Breckland holds the majority of the UK’s breeding population.”

Cooling goo sidewalks and other strange new weapons in the war on urban heat: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/aug/21/cooling-goo-sidewalks-and-other-strange-new-weapons-in-the-war-on-urban-heat “Los Angeles faces a doubling of its extreme heat days but has fresh ideas to keep residents cool - and tackle the inequality of who suffers”

Housing

TACKLING THE UK HOUSING CRISIS: IS SUPPLY THE ANSWER? https://housingevidence.ac.uk/publications/tackling-the-uk-housing-crisis-is-supply-the-answer/ “Examining official data on housing volumes and the day-to-day cost of putting a roof over one’s head the report makes the case that supply growth has in fact been sufficient to restrain upward pressure on house prices. However, much more powerful countervailing forces have driven them to record multiples of income. This implies that the current policy focus on boosting supply does not offer a solution to the housing crisis and a fundamental rethink is badly needed. The paper has been published alongside peer-review commentary pieces”

Weekly Economics Podcast: The Rent Is Too High: https://neweconomics.org/2019/08/weekly-economics-podcast-the-rent-is-too-high?mc_cid=21737f596d&mc_eid=a15a43d447 “Rents are sky high. Saving for a deposit can take a decade or longer. And for many people, property ownership seems unachievable. But what if we could do something about it? Could rent controls be the answer? To help answer this question, Ayeisha is joined by Hanna Wheatley, researcher here at the New Economics Foundation and co-author of a NEF report on rent controls, and Eva Freeman, private renter and member of the London Renters Union.”

Climate change & sustainability

Arctic sea ice over the past 1,450 years: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature10581 “Here we use a network of high-resolution terrestrial proxies from the circum-Arctic region to reconstruct past extents of summer sea ice, and show that—although extensive uncertainties remain, especially before the sixteenth century—both the duration and magnitude of the current decline in sea ice seem to be unprecedented for the past 1,450 years.”

The global and regional impacts of climate change under representative concentration pathway forcings and shared socioeconomic pathway socioeconomic scenarios: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab35a6 “For the temperature-based indicators, the largest source of scientific uncertainty is in the estimated magnitude of equilibrium climate sensitivity, but for the indicators determined by precipitation the largest source is in the estimated spatial and seasonal pattern of changes in precipitation. By 2100, the range across socio-economic scenario is often greater than the range across the forcing levels.”

At the bottom of a glacier in Greenland, climate scientists find troubling signs: https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/08/19/weather/greenland-nasa-climate-battle-intl/index.html “NASA oceanographer Josh Willis and his team are investigating how the ice is being attacked not only by rising air temperatures but also by the warming ocean, which is eating it away from underneath.”

Teenage activists and an IPCC triumph: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02425-7 “The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a well-timed blueprint for action. Decision makers must now pay attention — a nascent youth movement is showing them how.”

Committee on Climate Change - Letter: The future of carbon pricing: https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/letter-the-future-of-carbon-pricing/ “This is a letter from CCC Chairman, Lord Deben, to Rt Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Lesley Griffiths AM and Dr. Denis McMahon about the future of carbon pricing. It was sent in response to a request from the UK Government, Scottish Government and Welsh Government of May 2nd to the Committee on Climate Change on the future of carbon pricing in the UK, specifically in relation to the successor to the EU Emissions Trading System after EU exit. In the absence of a Minister, senior Northern Ireland Officials have indicated their support for advice being sought.”

Wind power prices now lower than the cost of natural gas: https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/08/wind-power-prices-now-lower-than-the-cost-of-natural-gas/ “This week, the US Department of Energy released a report that looks back on the state of wind power in the US by running the numbers on 2018. The analysis shows that wind hardware prices are dropping, even as new turbine designs are increasing the typical power generated by each turbine. As a result, recent wind farms have gotten so cheap that you can build and operate them for less than the expected cost of buying fuel for an equivalent natural gas plant.”

What do Alaska Wildfires Mean for Global Climate Change? https://blog.ucsusa.org/carly-phillips/alaska-wildfires-climate-change “While these fires pose risks to human life and infrastructure, they also exacerbate climate warming by releasing millions of tons of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere as Alaska’s vegetation and carbon rich soils burn, meaning that the impact of this year’s fires could reverberate for generations.”

Iceland's Okjokull glacier commemorated with plaque: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-49345912 “Mourners have gathered in Iceland to commemorate the loss of Okjokull, which has died at the age of about 700. The glacier was officially declared dead in 2014 when it was no longer thick enough to move. What once was glacier has been reduced to a small patch of ice atop a volcano.”

Video: The North Atlantic ocean current, which warms northern Europe, may be slowing: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/08/video-the-north-atlantic-ocean-current-may-be-slowing/ ““We are 50 to a hundred years ahead of schedule with the slowdown of this ocean circulation pattern, relative to the models,” according to Mann. “The more observations we get, the more sophisticated our models become, the more we’re learning that things can happen faster, and with a greater magnitude, than we predicted just years ago.””

Architectural history offers clues to low-carbon relief from the heat: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/08/architectural-history-offers-clues-to-low-carbon-relief-from-the-heat/ “Examples of this aesthetic can be found in traditional building styles that evolved over centuries in response to local environments and cultures. In India’s warm, humid regions, builders gravitated toward thin-walled structures with raised floors in order to promote air flow. In the country’s hot, arid zones, thick, windowless walls were used to keep out the sun’s heat, while courtyards promoted ventilation and fountains provided evaporative cooling.”

Global sea level rise began accelerating ‘30 years earlier’ than previously thought: https://www.carbonbrief.org/global-sea-level-rise-began-accelerating-30-years-earlier-than-previously-thought “Global sea level rise began to accelerate in the 1960s, 30 years earlier than suggested by previous assessments, a new study finds.”

The 5+ Effects of Oppressive Heat Waves: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-5-effects-of-oppressive-heat-waves/?amp “A heat wave is an extended period of intense heat, often caused by hot air trapped in place by high pressure systems. Last week saw record breaking temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere and cities like Chicago, Paris, and New Delhi have seen historic heat waves in the last decade. Climate change will bring with it not just hotter summers but also more intense and more frequent heat waves. What is at risk in this increased heat?”

China and allies challenge UN chief’s climate vision: https://www.climatechangenews.com/2019/08/15/china-allies-challenge-un-chiefs-climate-vision/ “Emerging economies are calling on rich countries to meet their pre-2020 climate targets and ramp up climate finance, at a meeting in Brasilia… In a pointed message to UN chief António Guterres, they wrote that the climate summit he is hosting in New York next month “should be fully respectful of the principles and provisions of the [UN climate convention]”. That is code for countries with bigger historic emissions and more money shouldering greater responsibility for action.”

Here’s How Climate Change Is Viewed Around the World: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-06-26/here-s-how-climate-change-is-viewed-around-the-world “The crisis might be global, but glaring disparities make a united response more complicated.”

Why the Guardian is putting global CO2 levels in the weather forecast: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/05/why-the-guardian-is-putting-global-co2-levels-in-the-weather-forecast “The Guardian will now publish the Mauna Loa carbon count, the global benchmark, on the weather page of the paper every day. “When I read the letter from Guardian reader Daniel Scharf encouraging us to include information on climate change in our weather forecasts, we thought it was a fantastic idea,” said the Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner.”

Climate Deniers Receive More Media Attention Than Climate Scientists — Research: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/08/13/climate-deniers-receive-more-media-attention-climate-scientists-research “Journalists should have moved beyond this supposed debate that really doesn’t exist, and should move onto other aspects of climate change communication – for example discussing how policy should proceed to really take action. Yes, there’s a small pool of these sceptics but it’s not clear to me why they’re even in the conversation.”

Pacific islands will survive climate crisis because they 'pick our fruit', Australia's deputy PM says: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/aug/16/pacific-islands-will-survive-climate-crisis-because-they-can-pick-our-fruit-australias-deputy-pm-says “Pacific island nations affected by the climate crisis will continue to survive “because many of their workers come here to pick our fruit”, Australia’s deputy prime minister has said. Michael McCormack’s comments were made after critical talks at the Pacific Islands Forum that almost collapsed over Australia’s positions on coal and climate change. Fears are growing the situation might come at a diplomatic cost for Australia in a region where China has become increasingly influential.”

Sewn up: G7 deal with retailers aims to bury fast fashion: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/21/fashion-g7-summit-sustainability-kering-inditex-macron “The deal to be concluded in Biarritz at the weekend comes as the global fashion industry faces an unprecedented backlash from young people concerned that it is contributing more to climate change than the aeronautical and shipping industries combined. Without action, the industry could account for a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050.”

Active travel & transport

Glasgow council launches car-free zones around schools: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Glasgow-council-launches-car-free-zones-around-schools/47992 “The scheme will see temporary pedestrian areas created for limited periods in the morning and afternoon to help ensure pupils can arrive and leave school safely. It follows a series of concerns such as poor and risky driving outside schools, obstructive parking that forces pupils on to the road, as well as issues created by congestion and harmful emissions.”

How will we travel the world in 2050? https://theconversation.com/how-will-we-travel-the-world-in-2050-121713 “If the aviation industry was a country, it would rank among the world’s top ten emitters of carbon dioxide (CO₂). Aviation emissions have risen by 70% since 2005 and as demand increases in rich and poorer countries, they’re forecast to increase by between 300% and 700% by 2050.”

Air quality & pollution

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/microplastics-in-drinking-water/en/ “This report critically examines the evidence related to the occurrence of microplastics in the water cycle (including both tap and bottled drinking-water and its sources), the potential health impacts from microplastic exposure and the removal of microplastics during wastewater and drinking-water treatment. Recommendations are made with respect to monitoring and management of microplastics and plastics in the environment, and to better assess human health risks and inform appropriate management actions, a number of key knowledge gaps are identified.”

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.”

Traffic-related air pollutants increase the risk for age-related macular degeneration: https://jim.bmj.com/content/early/2019/07/11/jim-2019-001007 “Compared with the lowest exposure quartile, the highest quartile of each air pollutant was associated with an increased risk for AMD. The adjusted HR was 1.91 (95% CI 1.64 to 2.23, p<0.001) for the highest NO2 quartile, and was 1.84 (95% CI 1.5 to 2.15, p<0.001) for the highest CO quartile. In this study, chronic exposure to the highest quartile of ambient NO2 or CO significantly increases the risk for AMD.”

Sefton Council Public Health Annual Report- Air Quality and Health in Sefton: https://sefton.gov.uk/public-health/public-health-annual-report.aspx “The report for 2018/19 highlights the issue of air quality in Sefton”

Study to probe air pollution on macro level: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/08/19/study-to-probe-air-pollution-on-macro-level/ “The University of Surrey and Imperial College London have been awarded a share of a £2.79m grant by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to investigate the impact indoor and outdoor pollution has on people’s physical health.”

PM2.5 levels exceeded at one in four England hospitals: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/08/19/pm2-5-levels-exceeded-at-one-in-four-england-hospitals/ “One in four hospitals in England are in areas that exceed World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended levels of particulate matter (PM2.5), research has found. These were the findings of a British Lung Foundation and UK100 study which analysed the location of 484 NHS trusts in England with air pollution data.”

Leeds university trees removing 350kg of pollutants every year: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/08/14/leeds-university-trees-removing-350kg-of-pollutants-every-year/ “During the summers of 2017 and 2018, over 1400 trees were surveyed by volunteer staff and students on the University of Leeds campus, with more than 130 different species identified. By combining measurements of the trees with software called i-Tree Eco, the scientists were able to estimate the benefits being provided by the campus trees. The trees were particularly effective at soaking up nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from the area, removing 124kg from the air every year which scientists say is the equivalent to around 1 million cars driving past the campus. The trees also remove 12kg of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and 7kg of particulate matter (PM2.5) from the atmosphere every year.”

Mystery lung illness linked to vaping reported in nearly 100 people: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/vaping-safe-lung-illness-ecigarettes-disease-control-prevention-us-a9063276.html “US health officials are investigating around 100 cases of mysterious lung illnesses believed to be linked to vaping and e-cigarette use in 14 states. Many of those who have fallen ill are teenagers and young adults. A large number have been hospitalised, with some in intensive care and on ventilators. Medical authorities said it is unclear whether patients will fully recover. Clinicians and the public have been told to stay alert for a severe and potentially dangerous lung injury.”

Designing new ways to make use of ocean plastic: https://theconversation.com/designing-new-ways-to-make-use-of-ocean-plastic-120180 “But this beachcombing, recycling and re-use of larger plastic items does not even scratch the surface of the problem. The smaller fragments of plastic that are harder to collect are more likely to enter the food chain, or be drawn back into the sea. Storms cutting away at riverbanks often reveal an alarming plastic geology, with layers of plastic fragments in the soil several feet below the surface.”

Food & food security

No-deal Brexit: key points of Operation Yellowhammer report: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/18/no-deal-brexit-key-points-of-operation-yellowhammer-report “A government report on Operation Yellowhammer was leaked on Sunday, revealing the probable consequences of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement, which is due to happen on 31 October. Here are the key points”

Goldsmiths bans beef burgers as it declares 'Climate Emergency': https://www.edie.net/news/9/Goldsmiths-bans-beef-burgers-as-it-declares--Climate-Emergency-/ “To complement the University’s new carbon-neutral vision, Corner has introduced a ban on the sale of beef products from campus outlets, due to come into effect at the start of the new academic year next month. She has additionally moved to add a 10p levy to bottled water and single-use plastic cups sold on campus, with funds raised in this way to be earmarked for a green student behaviour change scheme.”

It's a global death sentence to keep eating like this: dinnertime at the Foreclaws: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/13/its-a-global-death-sentence-to-keep-eating-like-this-dinnertime-at-the-foreclaws “A quarter of worldwide emissions is from food production. No more engastrated confit wagyu chicken, mother!”

WMHPG news, information and resources 16 August 2019

Event – Healthy City Design 2019. 14-15 October, Royal College of Physicians, London. https://healthycitydesign2019.salus.global/conference-show/healthy-city-design-2019 . This will include the inaugural meeting of the Health in Planning Network (@HiPNetworkUK) including a lunchtime workshop on 15 October -  ‘Taking action towards trans-disciplinary partnership working for planning inclusive and health places’.

Sustainable development goals

Everyday authoritarianism: an anthropology of citizenship and welfare in austerity Britain: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/an-anthropology-of-citizenship-and-welfare/ “Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, Insa Koch explains how British citizens experience democracy and what grassroots understandings of politics and care they bring to their encounters with the state… Liberal democracy appears in crisis. From law and order policies to austerity measures to the Brexit vote, commentators have rushed to explain the current conjuncture. But while many have argued over ‘why’ liberal democracy has taken an illiberal turn, less attention has been paid to the ‘how’ and the ‘what’: to how democracy is experienced by its most marginalized citizens and what it means to them.”

guide to medical conditions that are most sensitive to social determinants of health: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/guide-to-medical-conditions-that-are-most-sensitive-to-social-determinants-of-health/ “Is there a straightforward guide to medical conditions that are most sensitive to social determinants of health. Was asked this q a few months ago, did a quick tweet by answer. With promise to follow up - Thanks to @mellojonny who prompted the q. He then gave me a list of eg of how we medicalise social determinants of health”

Healthy planning & environment

Embedding public health in Coventry’s licensing policy statement: https://www.gov.uk/government/case-studies/embedding-public-health-in-coventrys-licensing-policy-statement “A review of Coventry City Council's statement of licensing policy (SLP) benefits from considering public health and health equality issues.”

Missing capitals – How ONS measures the value of our environment: https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2019/08/08/missing-capitals-how-ons-measures-the-value-of-our-environment/ “Traditional methods of measuring the economy tend to exclude the value of some of our most important assets. At the Office for National Statistics we have been working to develop measures of these so-called ‘missing capitals’. Top of that list is the thing that sustains all activity on our planet; the natural environment. Dr Adam Dutton explains how the ONS is part of a growing international movement that is seeking to find the economic value of our “Natural Capital”.”

A Quarter of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crises: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/06/climate/world-water-stress.html “Countries that are home to one-fourth of Earth’s population face an increasingly urgent risk: The prospect of running out of water. From India to Iran to Botswana, 17 countries around the world are currently under extremely high water stress, meaning they are using almost all the water they have, according to new World Resources Institute data published Tuesday.”

Rising water stress could counteract ‘global greening’, study says: https://www.carbonbrief.org/rising-water-stress-could-counteract-global-green-study-says “The increased growth rate of plants seen worldwide in response to rising CO2 levels – a phenomenon known as “global greening” – could be stalled by growing water stress, a study finds.”

Residents’ perceptions of sustainable drainage systems as highly functional blue green infrastructure: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204618311848 “Generally, residents liked the wildlife and green space but this was tempered with concerns over pests (rats and mosquitoes) and litter. Maintenance of SuDS was also an issue and at three sites residents were charged management fees which were not well understood and caused concern. The majority of residents were unwilling to contribute more to maintenance. Most residents and local estate agents did not perceive that SuDS increased property values. Raising awareness of the benefits of SuDS may lead to greater acceptance by residents and encourage developers to include them in developments, which could contribute to overcoming one of the barriers to wider implementation.”

Trump Weakens Endangered Species Protections, Making It Harder to Consider Effects of Climate Change: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/13082019/climate-change-endangered-species-act-arctic-trump-changes-polar-bears-wildlife “The changes also let the government consider economic interests and could open doors to oil and gas drilling and mining in sensitive areas, including the Arctic.”

Housing

Huge jump in property repossession figures ‘raises fears’ for UK households: https://www.independent.co.uk/money/spend-save/jump-property-repossession-alarm-bells-mortgages-house-prices-affordability-interest-rates-brexit-a9047716.html “This week, the Ministry of Justice reported mortgage possessions claims (the first step in the legal process of taking ownership of a home after mortgage arrears reach a critical point) are up by a staggering 39 per cent in the three months to June this year compared with the same quarter last year. Around 6,180 households had mortgage possessions claims made against them in the past three months. That’s the fourth consecutive increase in the number of claims made after a three-year period of stability. And yet repossession is the last-resort action taken by lenders who have been pushed hard in recent years to provide more help to borrowers struggling to pay their bills.”

Alternative Housing Tenures: https://sp-bpr-en-prod-cdnep.azureedge.net/published/2019/8/6/Alternative-Housing-Tenures/SB%2019-51.pdf “The briefing covers alternative housing tenures, which are additional to the three established tenures: owner occupation, private rent and social rent. The emergence of alternative tenures is set within the context of changing housing markets and new categories of housing need in Scotland. The effects of the Global Financial Crisis are still being felt and will continue to influence Scotland's housing market for years to come.”

Climate change & sustainability

Global coverage of the IPCC report on Climate Change and Land: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/srccl/

Solar PV Power Potential is Greatest Over Croplands: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-47803-3 “Solar power production potential was classified based on local land cover classification, with croplands having the greatest median solar potential of approximately 28 W/m2. The potential for dual-use, agrivoltaic systems may alleviate land competition or other spatial constraints for solar power development, creating a significant opportunity for future energy sustainability. Global energy demand would be offset by solar production if even less than 1% of cropland were converted to an agrivoltaic system.”

Council-owned solar farm generates £1.2m for frontline services: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Council-owned-solar-farm-generates-1.2m-for-frontline-services/47975 “One of the largest local authority owned solar farms in the UK has exceeded expectations and generated more than £1.5m of income in its third year – around £100,000 more than anticipated. The 12.4MW solar farm at Toggam Farm in Lakenheath has raised nearly £4m for West Suffolk Council since it was started in August 2016 thanks to sales to the National Grid.”

Market awaits record low prices as UK starts offshore wind showdown: https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/trending/llr7WeMvk_d51eA730xiOQ2 “...While the auction is open to a range of renewable energy technologies — excluding established sectors like onshore wind and solar photovoltaic but including, for the first time, wind projects on remote British islands — the low price ceiling set by the government for offshore wind means the technology is expected to be the overriding victor.”

Solar now ‘cheaper than grid electricity’ in every Chinese city, study finds: https://www.carbonbrief.org/solar-now-cheaper-than-grid-electricity-in-every-chinese-city-study-finds “Solar power has become cheaper than grid electricity across China, a development that could boost the prospects of industrial and commercial solar, according to a new study. Projects in every city analysed by the researchers could be built today without subsidy, at lower prices than those supplied by the grid, and around a fifth could also compete with the nation’s coal electricity prices.”

Every Premier League team ranked (by sustainability): https://www.edie.net/news/7/Every-Premier-League-team-ranked--by-sustainability-/ “As Premier League clubs scramble to secure deals before the end of Transfer Deadline Day, edie explores exactly what each of them are doing to champion sustainability.”

Major power outage across England and Wales;

The Multi-Billion-Dollar “Climate Services” Industry Is Altering Access To Climate Change Data. Critics Fear Some May Lose Out: https://ensia.com/features/private-climate-services-industry-environmental-justice-corporations-inequity/ “How do we avoid a future in which the best data for saving lives and property from climate destruction are only available to those who can afford it? That’s the question some observers and critics of “climate services” are asking. The fast growth of this field in recent years marks a profound shift in how our society creates and uses science. Rather than focus broadly on the regional, national or global impacts of rising temperatures, providers of climate services create data tailored to specific decision-makers: the mayor of a coastal city, say, or the CEO of an energy utility.”

ITV News launches 'major' climate change series at top of News at Ten to 'make people sit up and take notice': https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/itv-news-launches-major-climate-change-series-at-top-of-news-at-ten-to-make-people-sit-up-and-take-notice “ITV News devoted two-thirds of its flagship programme last night to a “major” new series on the impacts of climate change after deciding the issue needed to be made more “tangible” to its heartland viewers.”

American Meteorological Society - State of the Climate 2018: https://www.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/publications/bulletin-of-the-american-meteorological-society-bams/state-of-the-climate/ “This is the 29th issuance of the annual assessment now known as State of the Climate, published in the Bulletin since 1996. As a supplement to the Bulletin, its foremost function is to document the status and trajectory of many components of the climate system. However, as a series, the report also documents the status and trajectory of our capacity and commitment to observe the climate system.”

Global sea level rise began accelerating ‘30 years earlier’ than previously thought: https://www.carbonbrief.org/global-sea-level-rise-began-accelerating-30-years-earlier-than-previously-thought “Global sea level rise began to accelerate in the 1960s, 30 years earlier than suggested by previous assessments, a new study finds.”

Rapid Coral Decay Is Associated with Marine Heatwave Mortality Events on Reefs: https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)30804-8 “These results demonstrate that severe-heatwave-induced mortality events should be considered as a distinct biological phenomenon from bleaching events on coral reefs. We also suggest that such heatwave mortality events, and rapid reef decay, will become more frequent as the intensity of marine heatwaves increases and provides further compelling evidence for the need to mitigate climate change and instigate actions to reduce marine heatwaves.”

'Ecological grief': Greenland residents traumatised by climate emergency: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/12/greenland-residents-traumatised-by-climate-emergency “The climate crisis is causing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety to people in Greenland who are struggling to reconcile the traumatic impact of global heating with their traditional way of life.”

North Pole: multiple lightning strikes follow record-low sea ice levels: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/13/north-pole-multiple-lightning-strikes-follow-record-low-sea-ice-levels “Multiple lightning strikes have been observed 300 miles from the North Pole, according to the US National Weather Service, in the latest sign of extreme changes to the Arctic environment. The strikes, detected by the NWS station in Fairbanks, Alaska, were produced by towering storm clouds. They were detected on Saturday, and while not unique, come as the region is experiencing record-low sea ice levels, high temperatures and widespread fires on areas of tundra.”

Active travel & transport

Essential Evidence on a Page No. 187: Examining the politics of transport planning: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-187-examining-the-politics-of-transport-planning “Top line: Politics is a key determinant of transport policy. Attempts at evidence-based transport policy are often thwarted by ideological stances at odds with environmental sustainability, and focused on road building rather than on access for all.”

Away With All Cars: https://common-wealth.co.uk/away-with-all-cars.html “This report sets out the contours of an alternative vision for transport: public focused, multi-modal, and zero carbon. It sets out how London could become a private car free-zone by 2030 and the multiple benefits that would generate, alongside a strategy for rapidly improving connectivity, affordability, and quality of low carbon travel across the rest of the UK, including new powers and funding to deliver a better, net-zero transport system.” – more here - London could go car-free by 2030, says think tank: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/08/12/london-could-go-car-free-by-2030-says-think-tank/

Copenhagen has taken bicycle commuting to a whole new level: https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2019-08-07/copenhagen-has-taken-bicycle-commuting-to-a-new-level “Cycling has been a part of the good life in Copenhagen for decades. It started its modern comeback in 1973 after global oil price shocks hit motorists in this once-grimy industrial city hard. Despite windy and rainy conditions for much of the year, biking in Copenhagen became increasingly popular in the 1980s and 1990s, thanks to a build-it-and-they-will-come mentality — and plenty of public clamoring for a network of wide, segregated cycling lanes elevated a few inches above street level.”

Air quality & pollution

Emission Impossible: Air Pollution, national governance and the transport sector: http://brightblue.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Emission_Impossible_Final.pdf “This report focuses on the sources of, impacts of, and attitudes towards air pollution across the whole of the United Kingdom. It then goes on to explore the role the national Government does and could play in reducing air pollution, particularly from NO2. Bright Blue is an independent think tank and pressure group for liberal conservatism.”

NASA-funded study to map ground level air pollution: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/08/01/nasa-funded-study-to-map-ground-level-air-pollution/ “While effective at delivering big-picture data, scientists say the current network of satellites struggles to provide details on the number of pollutants that we currently breathe at ground level as they only provide data from five or 10 miles above ground. So to obtain this data closer to earth, the research team will merge satellite data with data obtained from NASA’s aircraft observational campaigns and meteorological data that is logged by commercial airlines and various atmospheric models.”

Air pollution in a tweet: communicating complex science: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/air-pollution-tweet-communicating-complex-science “Air pollution is a complex issue that is difficult to communicate to most people. What causes air pollution? How does it affect our children’s cognitive development? What does air pollution have to do with rising temperatures? Pallavi Pant is an air quality scientist who received her PhD in urban air quality in 2014. Today, she is a staff scientist at the Health Effects Institute in Boston. She is also Social Media Editor with the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, where she aims to communicate the journal’s work to a broader audience.”

Changes in hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) emissions in China during 2011‐2017: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019GL083169?af=R “In this study, we estimate emission magnitudes and changes of four major HCFCs in China over the period 2011‐2017 based on atmospheric observations at seven sites. We find the emissions of all four HCFCs reached their peaks before 2015, which generally agree with the emission inventories estimated using production and consumption information, suggesting the effectiveness of the implementation of Montreal Protocol in China. However, there is a big gap between the total HCFC‐22 emission from China, the European Union and the USA and global totals, suggesting large HCFC emitted from the rest of the world.”

White and wonderful? Microplastics prevail in snow from the Alps to the Arctic: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/8/eaax1157 “Microplastics (MPs) are ubiquitous, and considerable quantities prevail even in the Arctic; however, there are large knowledge gaps regarding pathways to the North. To assess whether atmospheric transport plays a role, we analyzed snow samples from ice floes in Fram Strait. For comparison, we investigated snow samples from remote (Swiss Alps) and populated (Bremen, Bavaria) European sites.”

Food & food security

No-deal food planning in UK Brexit: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)31769-6/fulltext “Even for a country with a long history of arguments about food supply,1 the UK's present situation is remarkable. A country that received 28% of its food in 2018 directly from the European Union (EU),2 plus 11% more through EU trade deals,3 is now planning, under the leadership of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to leave the EU (“Brexit”) on Oct 31, 2019, with or without an agreement on how and what the terms are for trade, customs, and food security. The food implications for consumers and public health of a no-deal Brexit are seeping out of government but deserve full scrutiny.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 9 August 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

Urban drought challenge to 2030 sustainable development goals: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719334552 “This review is intended to fill this knowledge gap by identifying the key concepts behind urban drought, including the definition, occurrence, characteristics, formation, and impacts. Then, four sub-categories of urban drought are proposed, including precipitation-induced, runoff-induced, pollution-induced, and demand-induced urban droughts.”

How much does the world spend on the Sustainable Development Goals? https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2019/07/29/how-much-does-the-world-spend-on-the-sustainable-development-goals/ “In a forthcoming paper, we zoom out on the global SDG financing landscape in order to zoom back in on country-specific contexts and gaps. In particular, we consider how much the world’s governments are already spending on SDG-related issues every year, how spending varies across income levels, and how the spending patterns link to country-by-country estimates of needs.”

Public Health Outcomes Framework: indicator changes 2019 to 2022: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/public-health-outcomes-framework-proposed-changes-2019-to-2020 “This is the government response to the consultation on reviewing the 2016 to 2019 Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF). From 2019 to 2020, there will be 75 high level indicator categories which include 161 individual indicators. A full list of the indicators from 2019 to 2020 is available in Annex C. The indicators help us measure the public’s health and wellbeing.”

New resource - Cochrane Evidence Essentials: https://training.cochrane.org/essentials “Cochrane Evidence Essentials is a free online resource offering an introduction to health evidence, and how to use it to make informed health choices.”

FPH – Brexit Campaign: https://www.fph.org.uk/policy-campaigns/campaigns/brexit/ “FPH is making a strong case for prevention and public health in the Brexit negotiations and its central importance to our future economic prosperity. We aim to mitigate the risk of exacerbating inequalities, and ideally to support a levelling up of outcomes, through seeking the continued protection of existing law, strengthening our defence against infectious disease, and securing health-focused trade agreements.”

Public health spending: where prevention rhetoric meets reality: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2019/07/public-health-spending-blog “The government has published its much-trailed Green Paper (now an 'open consultation') on prevention. It contains warm words, some movement on existing issues such as childhood obesity – the prime one banning sales of energy drinks to children under 16 (on which the government has been consulting for some time) and setting out further intent – re-announced steps towards a smoke-free society and re-announcing the creation of a health index to rival GDP in government decision-making.”

FPH Past President’s end of term report (parts 1-3)

https://betterhealthforall.org/2019/06/12/presidents-end-of-term-report-part-one-professional-public-health-development/

https://betterhealthforall.org/2019/07/30/past-presidents-end-of-term-report-part-2-the-health-of-the-public/

https://betterhealthforall.org/2019/07/30/past-presidents-end-of-term-report-part-three-on-a-lighter-note-songs-of-a-presidency/

Healthy planning & environment

Improved estimates of forest cover and loss in the Brazilian Amazon in 2000–2017: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-019-0336-9 “We find that forest area was ~15% higher than the estimate by the official Brazilian forest dataset (PRODES), but annual forest-loss rates were twice the PRODES estimates (~0.027 × 106 km2 yr–1 during 2001–2016). Forest-loss rates increased again after 2013. The El Niño and drought year (2015/2016) drove large forest area loss. The cumulative forest-loss area within the protected areas (which include ~50% of forests in the region) was ~11% of the total forest-loss area, which highlights the roles of protected areas in forest conservation.”

Ethiopia 'breaks' tree-planting record to tackle climate change: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-49151523 “Ethiopia has planted more than 350 million trees in a day, officials say, in what they believe is a world record. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is leading the project, which aims to counter the effects of deforestation and climate change in the drought-prone country. Some public offices have been shut down to allow civil servants to take part. The UN says Ethiopia's forest coverage declined from 35% of total land in the early 20th Century to a little above 4% in the 2000s.”

Project for Public Spaces – A Playbook for Inclusive Placemaking;

Whaley Bridge dam collapse is a wake-up call: concrete infrastructure will not last forever without care: https://theconversation.com/whaley-bridge-dam-collapse-is-a-wake-up-call-concrete-infrastructure-will-not-last-forever-without-care-121423 “It should be clear then that earthfill dams are extremely vulnerable without the protection of their spillways. At almost 50 years old, the thin grey line of concrete protecting the town of Whaley Bridge from the reservoir just a mile away has reached the end of its life. To fail to invest in and maintain these structures is reckless.”

Nose for a problem: Barcelona tests first global odour map: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=6d9338e7-17b7-41d7-8b6b-bf6f3394654b “The D-Noses project, which began in 2016 and was officially piloted in 2018, lets local residents report their fragrance complaints - like garbage, chemicals and sewage - directly through the free OdourCollect app, to build the first-ever global odour map.”

Housing

National Housing Federation: Great Places Commission: Ten recommendations for creating great places to live: https://www.housingnet.co.uk/pdf/NHF_Great_Places_Commission_report.pdf “With support from the National Housing Federation, the Commission visited towns and cities across the North and Midlands, meeting housing associations, stakeholders and local residents. Using the learning from this process, the Commission has made 10 recommendations”

Blog: The housing and climate crises can be tackled together: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/blog/blog-the-need-for-better-environmental-standards-in-homes-old-and-new  “Britain faces a housing crisis – that is no longer news to anyone.  It’s widely accepted that we need to build about 3 million new homes over the next 20 years. We also face a climate emergency and are already seeing the impacts of the climate breakdown here in Britain with intense flooding and unseasonal temperatures. They are both huge challenges but addressing one doesn’t mean we have to ignore or neglect the other. The housing crisis is an opportunity to take much-needed climate action to reduce our carbon emissions.”

A century of public housing: lessons from Singapore, where housing is a social, not financial, asset: https://theconversation.com/a-century-of-public-housing-lessons-from-singapore-where-housing-is-a-social-not-financial-asset-121141 “...Take Singapore, for example. Singapore had its own “Brexit” in 1965 when it separated from Malaysia. In 1960 the Singapore Housing and Development Board (HDB) was formed to provide affordable and high-quality housing for residents of this tiny city-state nation. Today, more than 80% of Singapore’s 5.4m residents live in housing provided by the development board.”

Climate change & sustainability

Significant feedbacks of wetland methane release on climate change and the causes of their uncertainty: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab2726 “Wetland feedback causes an additional temperature increase between 0.6% and 5.5% over the 21st century, with a feedback on climate ranging from 0.01 to 0.11 Wm−2 K−1. Wetland CH4 emissions amplify atmospheric CH4 increases by up to a further possible 25.4% in one simulation, and reduce remaining allowed anthropogenic emissions to maintain the RCP2.6 temperature threshold by 8.0% on average.”

Top ten UK’s hottest years all since 2002: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/press-office/news/weather-and-climate/2019/state-of-the-uk-climate-2018 “An updated analysis of the annual UK temperature records from the Met Office shows that since 1884 all of the UK’s ten warmest years have occurred since 2002; whereas none of the ten coldest years have occurred since 1963.”

Wells, Wires and Wheels…: https://docfinder.bnpparibas-am.com/api/files/1094E5B9-2FAA-47A3-805D-EF65EAD09A7F “The economics of oil for gasoline and diesel vehicles versus wind- and solar-powered EVs are now in relentless and irreversible decline, with far-reaching implications for both policymakers and the oil majors.”

How much warmer is your city? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-985b9374-596e-4ae6-aa04-7fbcae4cb7ee Interactive model “The world is getting hotter. July 2019 was one of the warmest months ever recorded - and July temperatures almost everywhere on Earth have been higher in the last 10 years compared with 1880-1900, as this globe shows. Scroll below to find out how the temperature in 1,000 major cities across the world has changed already and how much it could increase by in the coming years.”

China’s emissions ‘could peak 10 years earlier than Paris climate pledge’: https://www.carbonbrief.org/chinas-emissions-could-peak-10-years-earlier-than-paris-climate-pledge “With its enormous population and heavy reliance on coal, China is by far the world’s biggest polluter, responsible for more emissions than the US and EU combined. One of the drivers behind Chinese emissions is the intense urbanisation that has taken place across the country in recent years, as millions of people flock from rural areas to rapidly expanding cities. However, in new analysis published in Nature Sustainability, a team of researchers has shown that as China’s burgeoning cities become wealthier, their per capita emissions begin to drop.”

Historic Greenland Melt Is a “Glimpse of the Future”: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/historic-greenland-melt-is-a-glimpse-of-the-future “Greenland is in the midst of one of its strongest melting events on record, as a major heat wave—the same one that scorched much of Europe last month—grips the Arctic.”

Mapped: The Anti-Climate Lobbyists Infiltrating Boris Johnson's Government: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/08/01/boris-johnson-cabinet-tufton-street-ties-map “Boris Johnson has named his first full cabinet, and his appointments will have had one set of lobby groups rubbing their hands with glee. His selection includes a large number of people with ties to 55 Tufton Street, the Westminster address that is home to a large collection of pro-Brexit, anti-regulation, anti-climate action campaign groups. Boris’ cull of Theresa May’s government means many Tufton Street staff members have now found themselves a lot closer to 10 Downing Street. We’ve mapped all the key connections. Here’s a quick run-down…”

How the world’s dirtiest industries have learned to pollute our politics: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/fossil-fuel-lobby-pollute-politics-climate-crisis “The oil and gas industry intends to spend $4.9tn over the next 10 years, exploring and developing new reserves, none of which we can afford to burn. According to the IMF, every year governments subsidise fossil fuels to the tune of $5tn – many times more than they spend on addressing our existential predicament. The US spends 10 times more on these mad subsidies than on its federal education budget. Last year, the world burned more fossil fuels than ever before.”

Harvard creates advisory panel to oversee solar geoengineering project: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02331-y “Plans to test a technique that would cool the planet by blocking sunlight are one step closer to reality. Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has created an external advisory panel to examine the potential ethical, environmental and geopolitical impacts of this geoengineering project, which has been developed by the university’s researchers.”

Carney Says Capitalism Can Be Part of Climate Crisis Solution: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-31/carney-says-capitalism-can-be-part-of-climate-crisis-solution “Capitalism is part of the solution and part of what we need to do,” he said in the interview broadcast Wednesday. “The costs of ignoring climate change are rising. The opportunity of doing something about it, those are rising. That’s what the system does. It shifts money away from where it’s costly, towards where it has opportunity.”

Starvation deaths of 200 reindeer in Arctic caused by climate crisis, say researchers: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/30/deaths-of-200-reindeer-in-arctic-caused-by-climate-change-say-researchers “During an annual census of the wild reindeer population on the group of islands about 1,200km (746 miles) from the north pole, three researchers from the institute identified the carcasses of about 200 deer believed to have starved to death last winter.”

Active travel & transport

Tram system related cycling injuries: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00402-018-2890-4?fbclid=IwAR3s15fjre3RfmBLG7CJZ2iLJwu-byf0VW2zriWnGZwuWMGzfR4gglp7-to “SRCI occur predominantly in young to middle-aged adults with low levels of socioeconomic deprivation, most commonly when bicycle wheels get caught in tram-tracks. They result in various injuries, frequently affecting the upper limb. Traffic pressures are commonly implicated. Most patients report negative effects on confidence and a sizeable minority do not resume cycling. TSRCI can result in significant loss of working and cycling days.”

Cycling And Walking Trips Stationary Since 2002, As Doctors Urge Greater Investment In Active Travel: http://www.ukhealthalliance.org/cycling-and-walking-levels-stationary/ “Despite significant advances in our understanding of the long-term health benefits of an active life, the National Travel Survey – published on Tuesday by the Department for Transport1 – shows that levels of cycling and walking in the UK have remained stationary for the seventeenth year in a row. Since 2002, cycling has accounted for just 2% of all trips made in England, while the average number of cycling trips made per person per year has decreased by one in 2018 to just 17.”

Total Transport: totally worth it? https://urbantransportgroupblog.org/2019/07/24/total-transport-totally-worth-it/ “As the nation awaited the announcement of the next Prime Minister this week, the Department for Transport (DfT) – quietly and without fanfare – released its review of the 37 Total Transport pilot projects which begun in 2015. The information on which the review is based was collected back in April 2017 and – reportedly by popular demand – the findings have now been made public.”

A new era for active travel? https://urbantransportgroupblog.org/2019/07/31/a-new-era-for-active-travel/ “Active travel is entering an exciting phase which is seeing investment on a new scale. However, with the upcoming Spending Review, there is also some nervousness around revenue funding streams and ensuring that we can continue the good progress that’s been made. These were two of the topics of discussion at our recent active travel meeting in Birmingham, hosted by our member Transport for West Midlands.”

Air quality & pollution

Outdoor Air Pollution and the Burden of Childhood Asthma across Europe: https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/early/2019/07/08/13993003.02194-2018 “A significant proportion of childhood asthma cases may be attributable to outdoor air pollution, and these cases could be prevented. Our estimates underline an urgent need to reduce children's exposure to air pollution.”

Pulmonary inflammation induced by low dose particulate matter exposure in mice: https://www.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/ajplung.00232.2019 “In conclusion, a sub-chronic low level exposure to PM can have an adverse effect on lung health, which should be taken into consideration for the planning of roads and residential buildings.”

Defra’s reporting of air quality and emissions data criticised in report: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/07/31/defras-air-quality-and-emissions-statistics-criticised-in-report/ “While the report credits Defra for using ‘rigorous and robust’ quality assurance procedures alongside Ricardo when measuring air quality, it says much more can be done to provide a better insight into its statistics, which it says can be confusing and hard to follow.”

Plastic bags drop 90 percent after 5p charge: https://theecologist.org/2019/aug/01/plastic-bags-drop-90-percent-after-5p-charge “Sales of plastic carrier bags in England's largest supermarkets have fallen by 90 percent since a 5p charge was introduced in 2015, according to government figures. Tesco, Waitrose, Asda, Sainsbury's, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons and The Co-operative Group sold 549 million plastic bags in 2018-19, which was half the number purchased in the previous year.”

Working-class towns are becoming dumping grounds for waste: https://theconversation.com/amp/working-class-towns-are-becoming-dumping-grounds-for-waste-121153 “Dirt and waste are infused with undesirable connotations, which can be deeply hurtful. To be connected with dirt is to lose respectability, and to lose respectability is to lose class status. Consequently, plans to transport waste into working-class towns like Corby could be especially harmful to those communities.”

Food & food security

We must change food production to save the world, says leaked report: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/03/ipcc-land-use-food-production-key-to-climate-crisis-leaked-report “A leaked draft of a report on climate change and land use, which is now being debated in Geneva by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), states that it will be impossible to keep global temperatures at safe levels unless there is also a transformation in the way the world produces food and manages land.”

Coverage this week of the potential food security implications of a no-deal Brexit

Brexit Britain 'could face food shortages': https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/08/brexit-britain-face-food-shortages-190807142456780.html

Britain would face food shortages in no-deal Brexit, industry body says: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-food/britain-would-face-food-shortages-in-no-deal-brexit-industry-body-says-idUKKCN1UX0J6

A ‘no deal’ Brexit will indeed mean shortages – mainly of food and farming jobs, workers, transport and common sense: https://www.sustainweb.org/blogs/aug18_brexit_no_deal_means_shortage_of_common_sense/

No-deal Brexit: 10 ways it could affect you: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-47470864

Interactive: How climate change could threaten the world’s traditional dishes: https://interactive.carbonbrief.org/how-climate-change-could-threaten-worlds-traditional-dishes/?utm_campaign=traditionaldishes0819 “Warming temperatures could cause growing conditions to change – meaning that a crop that was once suited to its climate may need to be grown elsewhere. Rising temperatures in the oceans, too, could drive fish and other seafood out of their traditional range. These shifting conditions could make it more difficult to produce traditional delicacies, which often rely on a combination of favourable climate conditions and local knowledge. From the US hamburger to South Korea’s kimchi, Carbon Brief explores how some of the world’s most iconic traditional dishes could fare as the world warms.”

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Hosted by Sandwell MBC
Freeth Street
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West Midlands
B69 3DE

 

Jo Dodd - 07815 490436

Rajdeep Atwal - 0121 569 5121