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West Midlands Health and Planning group

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 22 May May 2020

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

Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals: https://reliefweb.int/report/world/families-family-policy-and-sustainable-development-goals

What’s really happening to poverty during the coronavirus outbreak? https://medium.com/inside-jrf/whats-really-happening-to-poverty-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak-81beb11936b7

Children Cut Adrift As Poverty Leaves Covid-Generation Facing A Perilous Future: https://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/children-cut-adrift-as-poverty-leaves-covid-generation-facing-a-perilous-future/

Citizens Advice - Down to the minute: how our data reveals the nation’s concerns in real-time: https://wearecitizensadvice.org.uk/down-to-the-minute-how-our-data-reveals-the-nations-concerns-in-real-time-24fb8c9ceee “As the coronavirus outbreak continues and the government announces new measures, there are very few ways to instantly understand how the nation is reacting. But Citizens Advice is one of the unique organisations that can provide that insight down to the minute.”

Why we need the human touch in contact tracing for coronavirus: https://theconversation.com/why-we-need-the-human-touch-in-contact-tracing-for-coronavirus-137933

Coronavirus: big tobacco sees an opportunity in the pandemic: https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-big-tobacco-sees-an-opportunity-in-the-pandemic-138188

An Overview of Measurements In Epidemiology (via @paimadhu on Twitter): https://t.co/6BFZXMBqT8?amp=1 “Incidence, prevalence, odds, risk, rate, relative risk, excess risk, risk reduction, hazard... Confused? When I was a PhD student @UCBerkeleySPH, I worked on a handout to reduce my confusion. Here is the latest iteration I use for teaching epi.”

Healthy planning & environment

The Recovery Will Happen in Public Space: https://www.pps.org/article/the-recovery-will-happen-in-public-space

Event – Place Alliance: Delivering Urban Quality Time to Get Serious – Online launch: National Design Quality Unit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/online-launch-national-design-quality-unit-tickets-105508595048 27 May, 10-11am.

Report suggests a new tax for people living near to public parks: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Report-suggests-a-new-tax-for-people-living-near-to-public-parks/50482 - from the Social Market Foundation – (as an aside, Powerbase is a useful resource for understanding think tanks - https://powerbase.info/index.php/Social_Market_Foundation)


Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic: the central role of home: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/coping-with-the-covid-19-pandemic-the-central-role-of-home/

New project: Housing policies and the COVID-19 pandemic: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/new-project-housing-policies-and-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Climate change & sustainability

Guest post: A brief history of climate targets and technological promises: https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-a-brief-history-of-climate-targets-and-technological-promises

India's carbon emissions fall for first time in four decades: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-52614770 “India's CO2 emissions have fallen for the first time in four decades - and not just as a result of the country's coronavirus lockdown.”

A range of views and commentary around the impact of the pandemic on the future of energy and on climate change;

Major tropical cyclones have become ‘15% more likely’ over past 40 years: https://www.carbonbrief.org/major-tropical-cyclones-have-become-15-more-likely-over-past-40-years

Climate Change Is Making Hurricanes Stronger, Researchers Find: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/climate/climate-changes-hurricane-intensity.html

Just how hot will it get this century? Latest climate models suggest it could be worse than we thought: https://theconversation.com/just-how-hot-will-it-get-this-century-latest-climate-models-suggest-it-could-be-worse-than-we-thought-137281

Arctic sea ice has melted by 20% in a decade, Nasa research finds: https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/arctic-sea-ice-melted-thinner-nasa-research-2854392

Climate change is turning parts of Antarctica green, say scientists: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/20/climate-change-turning-parts-antarctica-green-say-scientists-algae

Climate change 'undermining progress in fight against cancer': https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-cancer-greenhouse-gas-oil-wildfires-a9520256.html

The unknown climate-killer deal we’ll have to tackle next: http://www.foeeurope.org/climate-killer-deal-tackle-next-180520

The court case that could spoil BP’s North Sea oil drilling plans: https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/news/the-court-case-that-could-spoil-bps-north-sea-oil-drilling-plans/

The hidden carbon tradeoffs of telecommuting - Working from home might not save as much energy as we wish: https://anthropocenemagazine.org/2020/05/the-hidden-carbon-tradeoffs-of-telecommuting/

Brexit and Climate Science Denial: Johnson, Gove and Raab – all part of the Tufton Street Network: https://bylinetimes.com/2019/06/10/brexit-and-climate-science-denial-johnson-gove-and-raab-all-part-of-the-tufton-street-network/

Active travel & transport

Statutory guidance: Traffic Management Act 2004: network management in response to COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reallocating-road-space-in-response-to-covid-19-statutory-guidance-for-local-authorities/traffic-management-act-2004-network-management-in-response-to-covid-19 “When the country gets back to work, we need them to carry on cycling, and to be joined by millions more. With public transport capacity reduced, the roads in our largest cities, in particular, may not be able to cope without it.”

Following on from the previous item – the Government is promoting the development of active travel as part of exiting lockdown and longer term management of Covid19 – some articles that develop these ideas;

Report: Tesla’s Next Battery Will Make EVs Cost the Same as Gas Cars: https://www.caranddriver.com/news/amp32476367/tesla-battery-electric-cars-cheaper/

Air quality & pollution

Property website listing local air quality levels: https://airqualitynews.com/2020/05/19/property-website-listing-local-air-quality-levels/

Silly Billy: what the Ikea bookcase tells us about the true cost of fast furniture: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/may/19/silly-billy-what-the-ikea-bookcase-tells-us-about-the-true-cost-of-fast-furniture

The end of plastic? New plant-based bottles will degrade in a year: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/16/the-end-of-plastic-new-plant-based-bottles-will-degrade-in-a-year

Everyday products are full of harmful chemicals. Can green chemistry lead the way to safer alternatives? https://ensia.com/features/green-chemistry-safer-consumer-products/

Food & food security

2020 Global Nutrition Report – launch video and presentation slides: https://globalnutritionreport.org/resources/about-malnutrition/

Food security annual review demand: https://theecologist.org/2020/may/13/food-security-annual-review-demand

Building resilient local food systems: https://landworkersalliance.org.uk/building-resilient-local-food-systems/

Food security: do we need to rethink our just in time supply chain post coronavirus? https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/supply-chain/food-security-do-we-need-to-rethink-our-just-in-time-supply-chain-post-coronavirus/604872.article

Revealed: US meat lobby working to ditch chlorinated chicken ban in UK trade talks: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2020/05/14/chlorinated-chicken-brexit-trade-talks-liz-truss/

The government must take a stand on food security – or the US will do it for us: https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/the-grocer-blog-daily-bread/the-government-must-take-a-stand-on-food-security-or-the-us-will-do-it-for-us/604785.article

And finally….

Winners of the 2020 BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition: https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2020/05/winners-2020-bigpicture-natural-world-photography-competition/611491/

Robot dog to noodle hats: eight quirky ways cities are encouraging distancing: https://news.trust.org/item/20200515134812-x35pd/

WMHPG news, information and resources 8 May May 2020

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

Universal basic income seems to improve employment and well-being: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2242937-universal-basic-income-seems-to-improve-employment-and-well-being/#Echobox=1588847201

Ethnic minority deaths and Covid-19: what are we to do? https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2020/04/ethnic-minority-deaths-covid-19

Public health must be strengthened for a healthy post-COVID world: https://epha.org/public-health-must-be-strengthened-for-a-healthy-post-covid-world/

Talking about coronavirus and poverty: a guide to framing your messages: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/talking-about-coronavirus-and-poverty-guide-framing-your-messages

The scandal of modern slavery in the trade of masks and gloves: https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1676

Risk of 'dole queue' future for young people after Covid-19 crisis: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/may/06/risk-dole-queue-future-young-people-after-covid-19-crisis

Millions predicted to develop tuberculosis as result of Covid-19 lockdown: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/may/06/millions-develop-tuberculosis-tb-covid-19-lockdown

Around 300,000 quit smoking due to coronavirus: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Around-300000-quit-smoking-due-to-coronavirus/50423

Healthy planning & environment

Urban and transport planning pathways to carbon neutral, liveable and healthy cities; A review of the current evidence: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412020302038

TCPA Practical Guides - Guide 12: Modern methods of construction: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/tcpa-practical-guides-guide-12-modern-methods-of-construction

Most London pavements too narrow for social distancing, researchers find: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Most-London-pavements-too-narrow-for-social-distancing-researchers-find/50410

New plans unveiled for ‘UK’s first’ net-zero neighbourhood: https://environmentjournal.online/articles/new-plans-unveiled-for-uks-first-net-zero-neighbourhood/

Lockdown isn’t good news for all wildlife – many animals rely on humans for survival: https://theconversation.com/lockdown-isnt-good-news-for-all-wildlife-many-animals-rely-on-humans-for-survival-137213

Amazon faces ‘perfect storm’ of forest clearance, coronavirus and wildfire: https://www.climatechangenews.com/2020/05/05/amazon-faces-perfect-storm-forest-clearance-coronavirus-wildfire/

Forests Are Vanishing More Slowly, But Not Slowly Enough: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-07/forests-are-vanishing-more-slowly-but-not-slowly-enough

Covid-19: One Part of an Ecological Public Health Crisis: https://discoversociety.org/2020/04/19/covid-19-one-part-of-an-ecological-public-health-crisis/

The age of stability is over, and coronavirus is just the beginning: https://environmentjournal.online/articles/the-age-of-stability-is-over-and-coronavirus-is-just-the-beginning/


Coronavirus pandemic puts the spotlight on poor housing quality in England: https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-pandemic-puts-the-spotlight-on-poor-housing-quality-in-england-136453

Homelessness & Public Space During COVID-19: Seven Takeaways: https://www.pps.org/article/homelessness-public-space-during-covid-19-seven-takeaways

District councils warn 500,000 at risk of homelessness: https://www.localgov.co.uk/District-councils-warn-500000-at-risk-of-homelessness/50442

UK housing market grinding to a halt after coronavirus lockdown – Nationwide: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-britain-houseprice/uk-housing-market-grinding-to-a-halt-after-coronavirus-lockdown-nationwide-idUKKBN22D4LZ

Survey – Your homes and neighbourhoods during the Covid-19 pandemic: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PlaceAlliance-HomesDuringCovid-19 “This survey is an attempt to understand how well or poorly the design of our home environments – our homes and neighbourhoods – have been supporting us during the period of Coronavirus lockdown£

Four steps to unlock affordable home-ownership: https://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/four-steps-unlock-affordable-home-ownership

The unequal impact of COVID-19 on black, Asian, minority ethnic and refugee communities: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/the-unequal-impact-of-covid-19-on-black-asian-minority-ethnic-and-refugee-communities/

Climate change & sustainability

This interactive tool shows you how the coronavirus pandemic is—and is not—affecting climate change: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/01/interactive-tool-how-coronavirus-pandemic-affecting-climate-change.html

Future of the human climate niche: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/04/28/1910114117 “We demonstrate that depending on scenarios of population growth and warming, over the coming 50 y, 1 to 3 billion people are projected to be left outside the climate conditions that have served humanity well over the past 6,000 y. Absent climate mitigation or migration, a substantial part of humanity will be exposed to mean annual temperatures warmer than nearly anywhere today.”

Committee on Climate Change - Letter: Building a resilient recovery from the COVID-19 crisis to Prime Minister Boris Johnson: https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/letter-building-a-resilient-recovery-from-the-covid-19-crisis-to-prime-minister-boris-johnson/

Analysis: What impact will the coronavirus pandemic have on atmospheric CO2? https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-what-impact-will-the-coronavirus-pandemic-have-on-atmospheric-co2

Leading economists: Green coronavirus recovery also better for economy: https://www.carbonbrief.org/leading-economists-green-coronavirus-recovery-also-better-for-economy

On a Melting Planet, More Precisely Tracking the Decline of Ice: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/30042020/ice-glacier-melting-science-study

'What can I realistically do about climate change?' https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/05/what-can-i-realistically-do-about-climate-change/

Amid pandemic, U.S. renewable power sources have topped coal for 40 days: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-usa-electricity-renewables/amid-pandemic-u-s-renewable-power-sources-have-topped-coal-for-40-days-idUKKBN22G2X2

The Syrian Job: Uncovering the Oil Industry's Radioactive Secret: https://desmog.co.uk/2020/04/29/syrian-job-oil-industry-radioactive-secret

Michael Moore's 'Planet of the Humans' documentary peddles dangerous climate denial: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/05/michael-moores-planet-of-the-humans-documentary-peddles-dangerous-climate-denial/

NASA space lasers show sea levels have risen by 14mm in 17 years: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/sea-levels-antarctica-greenland-nasa-ice-satellite-a4428946.html

Active travel & transport

First online tool to help residents share views on emergency walking and cycling infrastructure: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/news/2020/may/first-online-tool-to-help-residents-share-views-on-emergency-walking-and-cycling-infrastructure/

Air quality & pollution

India chemical leak: more evacuations amid fears of second gas release: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/08/india-chemical-leak-more-evacuations-amid-fears-of-second-gas-release

Air quality making headlines during the coronavirus lockdown: https://airqualitynews.com/2020/05/04/air-quality-making-headlines-during-the-coronavirus-lockdown/

How to reduce and manage your exposure to indoor air pollution: https://www.c40knowledgehub.org/s/article/How-to-reduce-and-manage-your-exposure-to-indoor-air-pollution?language=en_US

'Microplastic Hot Spots' Are Tainting Deep-Sea Ecosystems: https://www.wired.com/story/microplastic-hotspots/

Rubbish is piling up and recycling has stalled – waste systems must adapt: https://environmentjournal.online/articles/rubbish-is-piling-up-and-recycling-has-stalled-waste-systems-must-adapt/

Food & food security

Food banks report record spike in need as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds: https://www.trusselltrust.org/food-banks-report-record-spike/

The pandemic’s implications for food security: https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/the-pandemic-s-implications-for-food-security-35871

Returning our food systems to business as usual would be a historic mistake: https://meta.eeb.org/2020/04/29/returning-our-food-systems-to-business-as-usual-would-be-a-historic-mistake/

Locusts and Covid-19: Africa braces for a double blow: http://climatetracker.org/locusts-covid-19-africa/

WMHPG news, information and resources 1 May 2020

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

Masks for the public: laying straw men to rest: https://www.authorea.com/users/316109/articles/446320-masks-for-the-public-laying-straw-men-to-rest

Universal basic income could improve the nation’s mental health: https://theconversation.com/universal-basic-income-could-improve-the-nations-mental-health-123816

Mitigating the wider health effects of covid-19 pandemic response: https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1557.full “Health inequalities are likely to widen without action to support those most vulnerable to the economic and other effects of social distancing measures, argue Margaret Douglas and colleagues”

Gender and Covid-19: the immediate impact the crisis is having on women: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/gender-and-covid19/

Parenting in Poverty Under Lockdown: https://atd-uk.org/2020/04/20/the-right-to-family-life-under-lockdown/

Sorry, we’re closed: Understanding the impact of retail’s decline on people and places: https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/sorry-were-closed-understanding-the-impact-of-retails-decline-on-people-and-places/

Healthy planning & environment

Strengthening the links between planning and health in England: https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m795

RTPI - Priorities for Planning Reform in England: https://www.rtpi.org.uk/prioritiesforplanning “This paper sets out the RTPI’s analysis of the government’s objectives and proposals for planning reform, as well as RTPI’s own objectives and recommendations. It urges the government to consider a wider set of objectives for planning reform, and to recognise the value of strategic, proactive planning in supporting a sustainable economic recovery."

Councillors show support for remote planning consultations: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Councillors-show-support-for-remote-planning-consultations/50374

Coronavirus: we’re in a real-time laboratory of a more sustainable urban future: https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-were-in-a-real-time-laboratory-of-a-more-sustainable-urban-future-135712

Councils praised for reopening hundreds of parks: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-praised-for-reopening-hundreds-of-parks/50384

Lithuanian capital to be turned into vast open-air café: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/28/lithuanian-capital-to-be-turned-into-vast-open-air-cafe-vilnius

Breaking down the Amazon: how deforestation could drive the next pandemic: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2020/04/24/deforestation-amazon-next-pandemic-covid-coronavirus/

Insects: worldwide study reveals widespread decline since 1925: https://theconversation.com/insects-worldwide-study-reveals-widespread-decline-since-1925-137089

The insect apocalypse is more nuanced than we thought: https://anthropocenemagazine.org/2020/04/lessons-learned-from-freshwater-bugs-can-lead-us-out-of-the-insect-apocalypse/

Breaking down the Amazon: how deforestation could drive the next pandemic: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2020/04/24/deforestation-amazon-next-pandemic-covid-coronavirus/


Coronavirus pandemic puts the spotlight on poor housing quality in England: https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-pandemic-puts-the-spotlight-on-poor-housing-quality-in-england-136453

Homelessness & Public Space During COVID-19: Seven Takeaways: https://www.pps.org/article/homelessness-public-space-during-covid-19-seven-takeaways

Blog series: coronavirus, housing and home: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/news/blog-series-coronavirus-housing-and-home/

Private renters’ housing experiences in lightly regulated markets: Review of qualitative research: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/publications/private-renters-housing-experiences-in-lightly-regulated-markets-review-of-qualitative-research/

Climate change & sustainability

Mini quiz (one question…) – When was the first solar panel produced?  - First Solar Battery: https://www.onthisday.com/photos/1st-solar-battery

Eunice Foote: the mother of climate change: https://www.chemistryworld.com/culture/eunice-foote-the-mother-of-climate-change/4011315.article “The first person to link carbon dioxide to atmospheric warming has almost been forgotten. Rachel Brazil uncovers her story”

The Best Way to Slow Global Warming? You Decide in This Climate Simulator: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2020-global-warming-simulator/

State of the climate: First quarter of 2020 is second warmest on record: https://www.carbonbrief.org/state-of-the-climate-first-quarter-of-2020-is-second-warmest-on-record

IEA: Coronavirus impact on CO2 emissions six times larger than 2008 financial crisis: https://www.carbonbrief.org/iea-coronavirus-impact-on-co2-emissions-six-times-larger-than-financial-crisis

Oil market faces storage crisis in a world awash with crude: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/apr/25/oil-market-storage-crisis-coronavirus-plummeting-demand

The world is on lockdown. So where are all the carbon emissions coming from? https://grist.org/climate/the-world-is-on-lockdown-so-where-are-all-the-carbon-emissions-coming-from/

Analysis: Great Britain hits coal-free electricity record amid coronavirus lockdown: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-great-britain-hits-coal-free-electricity-record-amid-coronavirus-lockdown

Solar and Wind Cheapest Sources of Power in Most of the World: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-28/solar-and-wind-cheapest-sources-of-power-in-most-of-the-world

Coronavirus lockdown sees solar generation reach record levels: https://environmentjournal.online/articles/coronavirus-lockdown-sees-solar-generation-reach-record-levels/

Comment on the potential for sustainable development as part of pandemic recovery;

The Number of People Affected by Floods Will Double by 2030: https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/04/aqueduct-floods-investment-green-gray-infrastructure

Seabed fossils show the ocean is undergoing a change not seen for 10,000 years: https://theconversation.com/seabed-fossils-show-the-ocean-is-undergoing-a-change-not-seen-for-10-000-years-136804

The Sound of One Shrimp Snapping - How climate change is altering nature’s sonic landscape: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/21/science/climate-change-sound-animals.html

Michael Moore produced a film about climate change that’s a gift to Big Oil: https://www.vox.com/2020/4/28/21238597/michael-moore-planet-of-the-humans-climate-change

COVIDeniers: Anti-Science Coronavirus Denial Overlaps with Climate Denial: https://www.desmogblog.com/covideniers-anti-science-covid-19-denial-overlaps-climate-denial

Active travel & transport

Sustrans launches first online map to help key workers find offers on bikes and repair services: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/news/2020/april/sustrans-launches-first-online-map-to-help-key-workers-find-offers-on-bikes-and-repair-services/

Councils urged to make cycling and walking safer during lockdown: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-urged-to-make-cycling-and-walking-safer-during-lockdown/50379

Transport and Environment – From evolution to revolution: T&E 2019 annual report: https://www.transportenvironment.org/annual-report-2019/

Calls for more space for walking and cycling in UK during lockdown: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/28/calls-for-more-space-walking-cycling-uk-during-lockdown-coronavirus

Air quality & pollution

Coronavirus detected on particles of air pollution: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/24/coronavirus-detected-particles-air-pollution

Air pollution returns to China: https://meta.eeb.org/2020/04/23/air-pollution-returns-to-china/

Microplastics disrupt hermit crabs' ability to choose shell, study suggests: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/29/microplastics-disrupt-hermit-crabs-ability-to-choose-shell-study-suggests

Food & food security

Global Report on Food Crises reveals scope of food crises as COVID-19 poses new risks to vulnerable countries: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_714

COVID-19 Is Expected To Be A Key Driver Of Acute Food Insecurity: https://www.forbes.com/sites/emanuelabarbiroglio/2020/04/23/covid-19-is-expected-to-be-a-key-driver-of-acute-food-insecurity/#28c2f50478ef

Coronavirus crisis puts 8.5m children in UK a pay cheque away from going without food: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/coronavirus-crisis-puts-85m-children-21908857

Wastewater-heated greenhouses could ‘change the face’ of UK sustainable food production: https://environmentjournal.online/articles/wastewater-heated-greenhouses-could-change-the-face-of-uk-sustainable-food-production/

WMHPG news, information and resources 17 April 2020

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

Masks for all? The science says yes.: https://www.fast.ai/2020/04/13/masks-summary/ “Confused about mask wearing? Sure, it’s complicated. But not as complicated as some people imply. We’ve been looking at the science (see our papers Face Masks Against COVID-19: An Evidence Review — with 84 references! — and Face masks for the public during the covid-19 crisis). Here’s a summary of the different streams of evidence, and our take on what it all means.”

COVID-19 in Italy: impact of containment measures and prevalence estimates of infection in the general population: https://mattioli1885journals.com/index.php/actabiomedica/article/view/9511/8735

UN University - Working Paper: Estimates of the impact of COVID-19 on global poverty: https://www.wider.unu.edu/publication/estimates-impact-covid-19-global-poverty - media coverage here: Coronavirus could turn back the clock 30 years on global poverty: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/apr/09/coronavirus-could-turn-back-the-clock-30-years-on-global-poverty

Covid-19: What Austerity Means For Our Health: https://neweconomics.org/2020/03/covid-19-what-austerity-means-for-our-health

A Safety Net For All: The Minimum Income Guarantee would make sure no one falls through the gaps in our social security system: https://neweconomics.org/2020/04/an-income-floor-for-all

Coronavirus response must include digital access to connect us all: https://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/coronavirus-response-must-include-digital-access-connect-us-all

Ten EU countries urge bloc to pursue 'green' coronavirus recovery: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-climatechange-stim/ten-eu-countries-urge-bloc-to-pursue-green-coronavirus-recovery-idUKKCN21R3BG

Anatomy of the coronavirus collapse: https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/anatomy-of-the-coronavirus-collapse/

Vaccine skepticism reflects basic cognitive differences in mortality-related event frequency estimation: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X20302644

Healthy planning & environment

Temporary urban solutions help us deal with crisis – and can lead to radical shifts in city space: https://theconversation.com/temporary-urban-solutions-help-us-deal-with-crisis-and-can-lead-to-radical-shifts-in-city-space-135248

Planning for an uglier future: https://matthew-carmona.com/2020/03/27/70-planning-for-an-uglier-future/ “Alongside the budget this year we saw the publication of the policy document Planning for the Future.  The document exemplifies the continued split personality that has come to characterise this and previous governments when it comes to planning.”

Opinion: To Reduce The Likelihood Of Future Pandemics, We Need To Rethink Our Relationship With Wild Animals And Wild Places: https://ensia.com/voices/covid-19-coronavirus-pandemic-wild-animals-ecosystems/

Call for abstracts - Cities In A Changing World: Questions Of Culture, Climate And Design – New York/Virtual 2021: https://architecturemps.com/new-york%202021/


What Is The Likely Impact Of The Covid-19 Pandemic On The Uk Private Rented Sector? https://housingevidence.ac.uk/what-is-the-likely-impact-of-the-covid-19-pandemic-on-the-uk-private-rented-sector/

Life Under Lockdown: Our Complex And Varied Relationship With ‘Home’: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/life-under-lockdown-our-complex-and-varied-relationship-with-home/

Climate change & sustainability

The projected timing of abrupt ecological disruption from climate change: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2189-9 “These results highlight the impending risk of sudden and severe biodiversity losses from climate change and provide a framework for predicting both when and where these events may occur.”

Attributing extreme weather to climate change: https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-how-climate-change-affects-extreme-weather-around-the-world

Half UK's true carbon footprint created abroad, research finds: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/16/britain-climate-efforts-undermined-failure-imports-carbon#

Methane Levels Reach an All-Time High: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/methane-levels-reach-an-all-time-high/

Climate change could trigger sudden losses of world's wildlife – study: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-climate-change-biodiversity/climate-change-could-trigger-sudden-losses-of-worlds-wildlife-study-idUKKCN21Q28W

Climate change: UK forests 'could do more harm than good': https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52200045

The world will recover from coronavirus – but unless we learn from the pandemic, it won’t recover from climate change: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/coronavirus-climate-change-co2-emissions-economy-a9448006.html

Climate monitoring and research could fall victim to coronavirus, scientists fear: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/apr/03/climate-monitoring-research-coronavirus-scientists

Analysis: Coronavirus set to cause largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-coronavirus-set-to-cause-largest-ever-annual-fall-in-co2-emissions

Coronavirus shows we are not at all prepared for the security threat of climate change: https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-shows-we-are-not-at-all-prepared-for-the-security-threat-of-climate-change-136029

Greenland ice sheet shrinks by record amount - climate study: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-climate-change-greenland-idUKKCN21X1UO

Climate crisis: UK aid money funnelled into fossil fuel companies: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-crisis-uk-foreign-aid-money-fossil-fuel-africa-asia-cdc-group-a9464561.html

Climate Science Deniers Use Coronavirus to Downplay Environmental Threats: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2020/04/01/coronavirus-covid-19-climate-denier-response

Artificial intelligence and climate change converge: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/03/artificial-intelligence-and-climate-change-converge/

As the planet warms, can we afford to treat poop as waste? https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/04/as-the-planet-warms-can-we-afford-to-treat-poop-as-waste/

Active travel & transport

Sustrans launches first online map to help key workers find on offer bikes and repair services: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/news/2020/april/sustrans-launches-first-online-map-to-help-key-workers-find-on-offer-bikes-and-repair-services/ “Our Cycles for Key Workers map helps to make cycling easier for NHS staff and other key workers amid Covid-19. It shows offers on bike purchasing and hire, equipment, repairs and maintenance available to key workers in their local area.”

Effect of reducing the posted speed limit to 30 km per hour on pedestrian motor vehicle collisions in Toronto, Canada - a quasi experimental, pre-post study: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-8139-5#citeas “Declines in the rate of PMVC were observed on roads with posted speed limit reductions from 40 km/h to 30 km/h, although this effect was not statistically greater than reductions on comparator streets.”

Amateur team builds ultra-efficient electric car in a barn: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/03/amateur-team-builds-ultra-efficient-electric-car-in-a-barn/

Air quality & pollution

Coronavirus: lockdown’s effect on air pollution provides rare glimpse of low-carbon future: https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-lockdowns-effect-on-air-pollution-provides-rare-glimpse-of-low-carbon-future-134685

VW installed 'defeat devices' to subvert emissions tests, high court finds: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/apr/06/volkswagen-installed-thousands-unlawful-defeat-devices-high-court-dieselgate

Researchers turn used coffee grounds into biodegradable plastic: https://anthropocenemagazine.org/2020/04/waste-coffee-grounds-could-find-new-use-in-plastics/

2018 Saddleworth Moor wildfires exposed 5 million to toxic air: http://airqualitynews.com/2020/04/14/2018-saddleworth-moor-wildfires-exposed-5-million-to-toxic-air/

Food & food security

New Food Foundation Survey: Three Million Britons Are Going Hungry Just Three Weeks Into Lockdown: https://foodfoundation.org.uk/new-food-foundation-survey-three-million-britons-are-going-hungry-just-three-weeks-into-lockdown/

COVID-19 and food security in vulnerable countries: https://unctad.org/en/pages/newsdetails.aspx?OriginalVersionID=2331

Q&A: Are the 2019-20 locust swarms linked to climate change? https://www.carbonbrief.org/qa-are-the-2019-20-locust-swarms-linked-to-climate-change

Ban wildlife markets to avert pandemics, says UN biodiversity chief: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/06/ban-live-animal-markets-pandemics-un-biodiversity-chief-age-of-extinction

WMHPG news, information and resources 13 March 2020

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

Health inequalities: death by political means: https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m755.short?rss=1

In-work poverty. A toolkit to support the recognition of in-work poverty: https://www.revocommunity.org/document/in-work-poverty-toolkit

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health - State of Child Health in the UK: https://stateofchildhealth.rcpch.ac.uk/ “Our landmark report into the health and wellbeing of children and young people looks at the evidence on child health outcomes and data trends across the UK.”

Disabled adults face some of the highest risks of poverty and Universal Credit must be redesigned, says Institute of Health Equity: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/february/disabled-adults-face-some-highest-risks-poverty-and-universal-credit-must-be

Last year’s language? Reframing public health: briefing paper for the UK Public Health Network: https://ukpublichealthnetwork.org.uk/resources/last-years-language-query-reframing-public-health-briefing-paper-for-the-uk-public-health-network/

Analysis of the budget;

What role do taxes and regulation play in promoting better health? https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/taxes-regulation-better-health

How wealthy is your neighbourhood? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51742156

Healthy planning & environment

Planning and Public Health professionals’ experiences of using the planning system to regulate hot food takeaway outlets in England: A qualitative study: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S135382921930783X “Participants felt that planning policy adoption was appropriate and can successfully regulate takeaway food outlets with the intention to improve health… Barriers included “nanny-state” criticism, and difficulty demonstrating planning policy effectiveness.”

Press Release: TCPA Writes to Prime Minister Ahead of Planning White Paper: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/news/press-release-tcpa-writes-to-pm-ahead-of-planning-white-paper

Huge ecosystems could collapse in less than 50 years – new study: https://theconversation.com/huge-ecosystems-could-collapse-in-less-than-50-years-new-study-133008

Leaked documents reveal Environment Agency ‘overwhelmed’ by staffing cuts and surge in pollution incidents: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2020/03/07/environment-agency-pollution-flooding-cuts/


Housing Exclusion In The English Rental Market: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/housing-exclusion-in-the-english-rental-market/

Delivering health and care for people who sleep rough: going above and beyond: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/delivering-health-care-people-sleep-rough

Number of homeless people admitted to hospital rises 130% in five years: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Number-of-homeless-people-admitted-to-hospital-rises-130-in-five-years/50096

Centre for Ageing Better – Home and Dry: The need for decent homes in later life: https://www.ageing-better.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-03/Home-and-Dry-non-decent-homes-report.pdf

Climate change & sustainability

UK government lifts block on new onshore windfarm subsidies: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/mar/02/uk-government-lifts-block-on-new-onshore-windfarm-subsidies

New GP contract encourages action to reduce carbon heavy inhalers: https://www.sduhealth.org.uk/news/702/new-gp-contract-encourages-action-to-reduce-carbon-heavy-inhalers

Analysis: UK’s CO2 emissions have fallen 29% over the past decade: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-uks-co2-emissions-have-fallen-29-per-cent-over-the-past-decade

Blue carbon gains from glacial retreat along Antarctic fjords: What should we expect? https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.15055 “Marine ice (sea ice, ice shelf and glacier retreat) losses generate a valuable negative feedback on climate change. Blue carbon change with sea ice and ice shelf losses has been estimated, but not how blue carbon responds to glacier retreat along fjords.”

Q&A: Are the 2019-20 locust swarms linked to climate change? https://www.carbonbrief.org/qa-are-the-2019-20-locust-swarms-linked-to-climate-change

Exposé Shows Rise of Heartland Institute’s Climate Denial Efforts Overseas, Using Dark Money and a YouTuber: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2020/02/20/heartland-institute-climate-denial-germany-naomi-seibt-correctiv

Analysis: Fuel-duty freeze has increased UK CO2 emissions by up to 5%: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-fuel-duty-freeze-has-increased-uk-co2-emissions-by-up-to-5-per-cent

Coronavirus poses threat to climate action, says watchdog: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/12/coronovirus-poses-threat-to-climate-action-says-watchdog

Why online shopping can be the eco-friendly choice: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00562-y

Active travel & transport

Sustrans - Bike Life UK 2019 report: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/download-the-bike-life-uk-report/here-is-the-bike-life-uk-report/

Would you ditch your car if public transport was free? Here’s what researchers have found: https://theconversation.com/would-you-ditch-your-car-if-public-transport-was-free-heres-what-researchers-have-found-133001

The Congestion Con: how more lanes and more money equals more congestion: http://t4america.org/maps-tools/congestion-con/

Oslo saw zero pedestrian and cyclist deaths in 2019. Here’s how the city did it: https://www.curbed.com/platform/amp/2020/1/3/21048066/oslo-vision-zero-pedestrian-cyclist-deaths  

Air quality & pollution

Loss of life expectancy from air pollution compared to other risk factors: a worldwide perspective: https://academic.oup.com/cardiovascres/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cvr/cvaa025/5770885 “Ambient air pollution is one of the main global health risks, causing significant excess mortality and LLE, especially through cardiovascular diseases. It causes an LLE that rivals that of tobacco smoking. The global mean LLE from air pollution strongly exceeds that by violence (all forms together), i.e. by an order of magnitude (LLE being 2.9 and 0.3 years, respectively).”

5 ways reducing pollution can improve equality for women: https://www.sei.org/featured/5-ways-reducing-pollution-can-improve-equality-for-women/

Coronavirus: Nasa images show China pollution clear amid slowdown: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-51691967

Dangerous ultra-fine particles from diesel cars ‘ignored’ by the law: https://airqualitynews.com/2020/02/26/dangerous-ultra-fine-particles-from-diesel-cars-ignored-by-the-law/

Interview: James Lee, professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of York: https://airqualitynews.com/2020/03/04/interview-james-lee-professor-of-atmospheric-chemistry-at-the-university-of-york/

Invention sucks 60% of particulates from tyres: https://airqualitynews.com/2020/03/02/invention-sucks-60-of-particulates-from-tyres/

EU Action Needed To Tackle Environmental Crime Spree: https://meta.eeb.org/2020/03/02/eu-action-needed-to-tackle-environmental-crime-spree/

Food & food security

Projected impact of the Portuguese sugar-sweetened beverage tax on obesity incidence across different age groups: A modelling study: https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003036 “The tax triggered both a reduction in demand and product reformulation. These, together, can reduce obesity levels among frequent consumers of SSBs. Such taxation is an effective population-wide intervention. Reformulation alone, without the decrease in sales, would have had a far smaller effect on obesity incidence in the Portuguese population.”

Walking in Michael Faraday’s footsteps - How do we reduce the millions of tonnes of food wasted every year? https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2020/03/02/walking-in-michael-faradays-footsteps/

WMHPG news, information and resources 28 February 2020

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

 Health in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On: http://www.instituteofhealthequity.org/the-marmot-review-10-years-on “Ten years since the publication of The Marmot Review, for the first time in more than 100 years life expectancy has failed to increase across the country, and for the poorest 10% of women it has actually declined. Over the last decade health inequalities have widened overall, and the amount of time people spend in poor health has increased since 2010. Marmot2020 confirms an increase in the north/south health gap, where the largest decreases were seen in the most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods in the North East, and the largest increases in the least deprived 10% of neighbourhoods in London.”

UK income inequality greater than previously thought, says ONS: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2020/feb/25/uk-income-inequality-greater-than-previously-thought-says-ons “The gap between the best and worst paid people in Britain is greater than previously thought, according to revised government figures for income inequality levels across the country. Illustrating the scale of the national divide as Boris Johnson promises to “level-up” the country, the Office for National Statistics said that income inequality was as much as 2.4 percentage points higher on average than official figures had suggested over the decade since the financial crisis in 2008.” – ONS report here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/uksectoraccounts/compendium/economicreview/february2020/topincomeadjustmentineffectsoftaxesandbenefitsdatamethodology

Negative Budgets: A new perspective on poverty and household finances: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/policy/policy-research-topics/debt-and-money-policy-research/negative-budgets-a-new-perspective-on-poverty-and-household-finances/ “People often think that problem debt is the result of overspending, such as big credit card bills and bad money management. That story doesn’t ring true for the people at Citizens Advice who help families manage their debts on a daily basis. Increasingly, advisers are helping people who simply don’t have enough money to meet their key living costs. Since 2016, the proportion of people Citizens Advice helps with debt, who have negative budgets has grown from under a third (32%) to nearly 2 in 5 (38%).”

In defense of the Gini Coefficient: https://blogs.worldbank.org/developmenttalk/defense-gini-coefficient “In this post, I will take up the old-fashioned, unhip and uncool position of defending the poor old Gini coefficient: not as the single or even the best scalar measure of inequality. But as a perfectly valid one that is, in important ways, far superior to frequently-used alternatives.”

Bradford puts money on libraries to boost city's health: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/feb/17/bradford-puts-money-on-libraries-to-boost-city-health-wellbeing “At a January meeting, a rescue package was proposed — diverting funds from the council’s health and wellbeing budget to reduce the impact of the cuts on libraries. If the decision is ratified by the full meeting of the council’s executive on 4 March, it will mean injecting £700,000 into libraries, dramatically reducing the proposed cuts for the coming financial year and alleviating fears voiced by library campaigners and staff — who took strike action in October in protest against the cuts — that job losses and branch closures would be inevitable.”

Healthy planning & environment

Webinar – Participatory & Equity Focussed HIA: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/participatory-and-equity-focussed-health-impact-assessment-hia-webinar-tickets-87126354271 “The Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit (WHIASU) leads the development of HIA in Wales, and has expertise in HIA policy and practice, ranging from community participatory approaches through to comprehensive policy driven HIAs. WHIASU works across multiple sectors and is a global leader in HIA and Health in all Policies. Join us to learn more about the Welsh approach to HIA and share experiences of HIA policy and practice in different member states.”

Continued coverage of the devastating floods across the UK;

Beavers are set to recolonise the UK – here’s how people and the environment could benefit: https://theconversation.com/beavers-are-set-to-recolonise-the-uk-heres-how-people-and-the-environment-could-benefit-132116 “The results of the five-year trial are striking. The beavers built dams, creating wetland and ponds that slowed down peak river flows that might have caused flooding. Their engineering holds back water in the catchment area, stopping it from running off the land quickly and overloading the river, creating a bottle neck in towns downstream.”

Environment Bill: Green groups' five key asks for a 'gold standard' nature emergency response: https://www.edie.net/news/11/Environment-Bill--Green-groups--five-key-asks-for-a--gold-standard--nature-emergency-response/ “The Environment Bill was re-introduced to Parliament in its updated form last month, following almost two years of delays – largely Brexit-related - since its original inception. Designed to set out how the UK’s green standards and environmental protection laws will look during and after the Brexit transition period, the Environment Bill is headlined by the creation of the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) - the UK’s post-Brexit “watchdog” for green issues.”

This is not a forest: https://theecologist.org/2020/feb/21/not-forest “The word ‘forest’ in my mind summons the feel and smell of diverse old-growth, towering moss-clad beeches and twisting oaks, dense undergrowth overwhelmed with insects and fungi. Clambering over rocks carpeted in lichen and interspersed with feathery fingers of fern. Landscapes that embody hundreds of years of accumulation and regeneration. It seems now that a ‘forest’ can be orderly rows of skinny, non-native conifers, planted too close together for any sunlight to penetrate the forest floor. Eerily empty places hosting a singular species, efficiently grown for human need.”


ONS - Together at last – UK’s planning and housing statistics now in one place: https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2020/02/25/together-at-last-uks-planning-and-housing-statistics-now-in-one-place/ “Today the Government Statistical Service (GSS) has launched a new housing statistics interactive tool, which will help users explore the landscape and range of housing, planning, homelessness and rough sleeping statistics produced by Government. Debra Prestwood gives an update the latest work to improve the accessibility of official statistics and reflects on cross government initiatives completed in 2019/20.”

Deaths of homeless people sleeping in bins prompt calls for action: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/feb/24/deaths-homeless-people-sleeping-bins-calls-action-uk “Rough sleepers are sheltering in bins all year round, with surging homelessness in the UK blamed for a rising number of deaths by crushing and near misses while containers are being emptied, a waste industry report has found.”

About the size of a London flat: https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2020/02/21/about-the-size-of-a-london-flat/ “Over-crowding is an indicator of housing deprivation and living in such conditions is associated with adverse personal and health effects.  Brogan Taylor explains how the ONS is seeking to fill an evidence gap in this important policy area by combining new sources of data with other information about people and houses to provide new measures of living conditions.”

High-rise residents warn worries over fire safety causing mental distress: https://www.localgov.co.uk/High-rise-residents-warn-worries-over-fire-safety-causing-mental-distress/50057 “A survey of residents living in high-rise buildings in Manchester has found fire safety risks are damaging their mental health and wellbeing. The report, published by the Greater Manchester High-Rise Task Force, found seven in 10 residents are worried about a fire in their building.”

Climate change & sustainability

Climate campaigners win Heathrow expansion case: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51658693 “The government's Heathrow's expansion decision was unlawful because it did not take climate commitments into account, the Court of Appeal said. Heathrow said it would challenge the decision, but the government has not lodged an appeal. The judges said that in future, a third runway could go ahead, as long as it fits with the UK's climate policy. The case was brought by environmental groups, councils and the Mayor of London.”

Rescaling the Governance of Renewable Energy: Lessons from the UK Devolution Experience: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1523908X.2015.1008437 “...Our findings show how the devolved governments have created new, sub-national renewable energy strategies and targets, yet their effectiveness largely depends on UK-wide systems of subsidy. Moreover, shared support for particular objects of governance—large-scale, commercial electricity generation facilities—has driven all the devolved government to centralize and expedite the issuing of consents. This leads to a wider conclusion. While the level at which environmental problems are addressed can affect how they are governed, what key actors believe about the objects of governance can mediate the effects of any rescaling processes.”

First look under imperilled Antarctic glacier finds ‘warm water coming from all directions’: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00497-4 “Taking advantage of rare ice-free waters in West Antarctica last February, scientists got their first look underneath Thwaites Glacier, a massive and increasingly unstable formation perched at the edge of the continent. What they saw only increased fears of a collapse that could raise global sea levels by more than half a metre. Data gathered by a robotic submarine deployed by scientists with the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration suggest that warm water from the deep ocean is welling up from three directions and mixing underneath the ice.”

How heat can be used to store renewable energy: https://theconversation.com/how-heat-can-be-used-to-store-renewable-energy-130549 “Existing storage technologies like batteries wouldn’t be good for this kind of process, due to their high cost per unit energy. Currently, over 99% of large-scale electricity storage is handled by pumped hydro dams, which move water between two reservoirs through a pump or turbine to store or produce power. However, there are limits to how much more pumped hydro can be built due to its geographical requirements. One promising storage option is pumped thermal electricity storage. This relatively new technology has been around for about ten years, and is currently being tested in pilot plants.”

Factcheck: What is the carbon footprint of streaming video on Netflix? https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-what-is-the-carbon-footprint-of-streaming-video-on-netflix “The use of streaming video is growing exponentially around the world. These services are associated with energy use and carbon emissions from devices, network infrastructure and data centres. Yet, contrary to a slew of recent misleading media coverage, the climate impacts of streaming video remain relatively modest, particularly compared to other activities and sectors.”

JP Morgan economists warn climate crisis is threat to human race: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/21/jp-morgan-economists-warn-climate-crisis-threat-human-race “The world’s largest financier of fossil fuels has warned clients that the climate crisis threatens the survival of humanity and that the planet is on an unsustainable trajectory, according to a leaked document.”

No backsliding on climate goals, carbon price, EU tells Britain: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-britain-eu/no-backsliding-on-climate-goals-carbon-price-eu-tells-britain-idUSKBN20J1XA “Britain must uphold EU climate change targets and environmental standards after the post-Brexit transition period, the bloc will say in negotiations to strike a deal on future ties.”

BP praised for ambition to destroy Africa but potentially a bit slower: https://africanarguments.org/2020/02/21/bp-praised-for-ambition-to-destroy-africa-but-potentially-a-bit-slower/ “From the Wit-hole countries is African Arguments’ satirical section. It’s the news, but absurd. It’s sometimes better than the real thing, sometimes not quite real, and sometimes much more real. In a heavily-trailed speech last week, BP’s new CEO Bernard Looney announced a new low-cost idea to improve the oil and gas major’s public image. Speaking to journalists and investors, he explained that the leading polluter would pretend to be concerned about the climate crisis by now saying it would like to become a net zero carbon emitter “by 2050 or sooner”.”

Climate change could add around $100 billion to costs of extreme weather: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-costs/climate-change-could-add-around-100-billion-to-costs-of-extreme-weather-idUSKCN20K2EN “Climate change could add around $100 billion, or more than 20%, to the global cost of extreme weather events such as floods, heatwaves and droughts by 2040, research from Cambridge University showed on Wednesday. The findings come from the university’s Climate Change Business Risk Index, which uses climate modeling data to quantify extreme weather event risks and their potential to disrupt business operations and supply chains globally.”

New and recent books about hope in a time of climate change: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/02/new-and-recent-books-about-hope-in-a-time-of-climate-change/ “These books explore how people might sustain their optimism and hope in the face of the often bleak news of a steadily warming world.”

Study finds quarter of climate change tweets from bots: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51595285 “A study by researchers at Brown University has found a quarter of posts about climate change on Twitter were written by bots. Bots are computer programs that can masquerade as humans to post or send messages on social media. Researchers discovered tweets posted by bots created the impression there was a high level of climate change denial.”

Active travel & transport

Councils spend average of £2 per head on cycling infrastructure, study reveals: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-spend-average-of-2-per-head-on-cycling-infrastructure-study-reveals/50080 “Local authorities have spent on average just £2 per head of population per year on cycling infrastructure over the last ten years, new research reveals.”

What future do we want? https://www.transporttimes.co.uk/news.php/What-future-do-we-want-496/ “The challenge for public transport operators is how to respond dynamically to changing demand in the most cost-effective way possible. If technological changes and innovations are not managed effectively, they could precipitate a sharp reduction in public transport use. This would have damaging impacts for the economy, and lead to a worsening of pollution and congestion and an increase in social exclusion.”

Development of WHO Guidelines on Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Sleep for Children Less Than 5 Years of Age: https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/jpah/17/1/article-p96.xml “Additional literature searches to update the existing systematic reviews yielded the following: for physical activity, 15 additional studies were identified, of which only 6 were of experimental or longitudinal design and were extracted; for sedentary behavior, an additional 15 studies were identified, of which only 4 were longitudinal studies (no experimental studies) and that were extracted; for sleep, an additional 11 studies were identified, of which only 5 were of longitudinal study design and were extracted; and for integrated physical activity, sedentary, and sleep (movement) behaviors, an additional 4 studies were identified, of which 3 were of experimental or longitudinal design and were extracted.”

70% of car buyers now considering purchasing an EV: https://airqualitynews.com/2020/02/19/70-of-car-buyers-now-considering-purchasing-an-ev/ “70% of car buyers are now considering purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) for their next car, according to a survey conducted by Shell Energy Retail. In light of the government’s announcement to ban the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles by 2035, Shell conducted a survey on over 1,000 people in the UK in order to understand attitudes towards this shift. According to the survey, 80% of recipients said that their desire to do more for the planet made EVs more appealing.”

Air quality & pollution

World’s largest platform for air quality data launched at Tenth World Urban Forum: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/worlds-largest-platform-air-quality-data-launched-tenth-world-urban “The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), together with UN-Habitat and IQAir, a Swiss air quality technology company, today launched the world’s largest air quality data platform, bringing together real-time air pollution data from over 4,000 contributors, including citizens, communities, governments and the private sector to work towards healthier, more sustainable cities.”

This is your brain on air pollution: https://www.ted.com/talks/maria_neira_this_is_your_brain_on_air_pollution?language=en “Air pollution knows no borders -- even in your own body, says public health expert María Neira. In this startling talk, she describes how the microscopic particles and chemicals you breathe affect all your major organs (including your brain) and calls on both the public and those in power to take action to stop the sources of pollution.”

New data shows Mayor’s action is dramatically cleaning up London’s air: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/data-shows-mayors-action-cleaning-up-londons-air “The figures reveal that during 2016, London’s air exceeded the hourly legal limit for nitrogen dioxide for over 4,000 hours. Last year, this fell to just over 100 hours – a reduction of 97 per cent. Between 2004 to 2017 London breached the permitted number of exceedances for NO2* within the first week of the year. In 2019 only one site breached and it did not occur until July. There have also been significant reductions in Londoner’s long-term exposure to air pollution, with every monitoring site in the capital recording a reduction in annual average NO2 levels. Londonwide, there has been an average reduction of 21 per cent between 2016 and 2019.”

Innovate UK launches £100,000 indoor air quality competition: https://airqualitynews.com/2020/02/24/innovate-uk-launches-100000-indoor-air-quality-competition/ “Organisations have been invited to apply for a share of £100,000 as part of a new government competition to tackle indoor air pollution. Action to reduce the health impacts of harmful air pollutants tends to focus on the outdoors, however, indoor levels of some air pollutants can often be far higher. The government says they want to raise awareness of this and so have launched the competition in order to find solutions to the problem.”

Dark Waters’ pollution threat isn’t Hollywood hysteria – it could be a ticking timebomb worldwide: https://theconversation.com/dark-waters-pollution-threat-isnt-hollywood-hysteria-it-could-be-a-ticking-timebomb-worldwide-131873 “If you live in the US or Australia, you’re likely to know about PFAS (or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances). But in the UK, few people have heard of them, despite one scientist I know describing the presence of these pollutants in UK groundwater as “a ticking timebomb”.”

Food & food security

Sustainable Food Cities Newsletter February 2020: https://mailchi.mp/2357c5e831e7/sustainable-food-cities-newsletter-feb-2687439 “Welcome to the Sustainable Food Cities newsletter. We are passionate about towns and cities taking a joined up approach to food and want to help public agencies, NGOs, businesses and communities to work together to make healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where they live. If you have news, events or questions for discussion for the newsletter get in touch.”

Farmers pile pressure on UK government over chlorinated chicken: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/25/farmers-pile-pressure-on-uk-government-over-chlorinated-chicken “Farmers have hit back at suggestions the government will allow imports of chlorinated chicken and other low-standard farm produce in trade talks with the US, escalating the row over post-Brexit food standards. Minette Batters, the president of the National Farmers’ Union, will call for rules on minimum standards for imports to be enshrined in law, and insist that other countries must trade with the UK “on our terms”, rather than seek to water down food rules.”

Shipping pollution regulations 'could harm food chain': https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/17/shipping-pollution-regulations-could-harm-food-chain “New shipping pollution regulations introduced earlier this year could harm humans by contaminating fish and crustaceans with toxins, according to an internal report compiled by the International Maritime Organization and obtained by the Guardian. In the report the IMO, the United Nations agency responsible for regulating shipping, says that there is insufficient “toxicity data” to be able to assess the risk to humans caused by the increased use of exhaust gas cleaning systems, which are also known as “scrubbers”.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 14 February 2020

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

Gender Matters: https://lankellychase.org.uk/resources/publications/gender-matters/ “…Perhaps the starkest finding of the report is the degree to which violence and abuse in the home are ongoing facts of life, from childhood onwards, for many people facing severe and multiple disadvantage, particularly women.”

UK Poverty 2019/20: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/uk-poverty-2019-20 “This is a summary of the 2019/20 edition of JRF’s annual report on the nature and scale of poverty across the UK and how it affects people who are caught in its grip. It highlights how poverty has changed in our society recently, as well as over the longer term. It examines overall changes to poverty, with chapters looking at the impact of work, the social security system and housing, and shows how carers and people with disabilities are affected by poverty.”

Health inequality greater than previously thought, report finds: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/feb/12/health-inequality-greater-than-previously-thought-report-finds “Women are living nearly ten years longer in poor health than previous estimates, while men are living an extra seven years, according to a report based on new NHS data launched by the health secretary on Wednesday. The new analysis means that men on average are being diagnosed with their first significant long-term condition at 56 and women at 55. In the poorest areas, women are getting their first significant long-term illness at just 47 and men at 49 years old.”

The report, The Health of the Nation: A Strategy for Healthier Longer Lives, has been written by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Longevity.

What has driven the rise of in-work poverty? https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/what-has-driven-rise-work-poverty “As a society we believe that working families should have a decent standard of living, yet one in eight workers now live in poverty. Building on recent successes in the labour market can turn the tide on in-work poverty.”

The UK Population Is Still Poorer Than It Was In 2008: https://neweconomics.org/2020/02/the-uk-population-is-still-poorer-than-it-was-in-2008 “Today’s first quarter estimates for GDP show that in the three months to Christmas, the UK population was still £97 poorer on average compared to the first three months of 2008 after taking into account rises in inflation as experienced by consumers, according to analysis from the New Economics Foundation (NEF). This is despite the official statistics suggesting average living standards returned to 2008 levels in 2015. The analysis shows that the official statistics do not bear out the lived experience in the economy.”

Healthy planning & environment

The Government has published the updated Environment Bill

  • Environment Bill sets out vision for a greener future: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/environment-bill-sets-out-vision-for-a-greener-future “Our precious natural environment will be better protected for generations to come with today’s introduction of a far-reaching Environment Bill. The speedy return of the Bill to Parliament following the General Election underlines the government’s commitment to tackling climate change and to protecting and restoring our natural environment for future generations.”
  • These three post-Brexit bills bulldoze a hole through environmental protections: https://www.edie.net/news/11/UK-Government-s--gold-standard--Environment-Bill-reintroduced/ “The environment bill, agriculture bill and fisheries bill replace the EU’s comprehensive framework directives, common agricultural policy and common fisheries policy. All three bills contain major flaws that undermine the government’s claims. They leave gaps, fail on enforcement and oversight, open loopholes for future ministers to quietly backslide from existing standards, and turn what is currently a coherent system of long-term, stable regulation into a patchwork of competing and sometimes contradictory proposals.”
  • 43 things you need to know about the Environment Bill: https://www.endsreport.com/article/1672471/43-things-need-know-environment-bill “The Environment Bill has returned to parliament with new powers on plastic waste and a requirement for ministers to review and report on international green law.”
  • UK Government's 'gold standard' Environment Bill reintroduced: https://www.edie.net/news/11/UK-Government-s--gold-standard--Environment-Bill-reintroduced/ “The UK Government's long-awaited Environment Bill has finally been reintroduced to Parliament, outlining powers to stop the exports of plastic waste to developing countries, and revamped governance systems on clean air and biodiversity and two-yearly reviews to update the Bill if required.”

Healthy weight environments: using the planning system: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/healthy-weight-environments-using-the-planning-system “Practical support for local authorities that wish to use the planning system to achieve these important public health outcomes. Set in the context of a whole systems approach to tackling obesity, this document provides a framework and starting point for local authorities to clearly set out in local planning guidance how best to achieve healthy weight environments, based on local evidence and needs. The document sets out a template for a supplementary planning document (SPD).”

How peat could protect the planet: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00355-3 “Across the globe, drained peatlands are emitting billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. Scotland has emerged as a leader in efforts to restore bogs to health.”

222 scientists say cascading crises are the biggest threat to the well-being of future generations: https://theconversation.com/222-scientists-say-cascading-crises-are-the-biggest-threat-to-the-well-being-of-future-generations-131551 “The report includes a survey of 222 leading scientists from 52 countries who identified five global risks: failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation; extreme weather events; major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse; food crises; and water crises.”

Deforestation is leading to more infectious diseases in humans: https://api.nationalgeographic.com/distribution/public/amp/science/2019/11/deforestation-leading-to-more-infectious-diseases-in-humans? “It’s pretty well established that deforestation can be a strong driver of infectious disease transmission,” says Andy MacDonald, a disease ecologist at the Earth Research Institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It’s a numbers game: The more we degrade and clear forest habitats, the more likely it is that we’re going to find ourselves in these situations where epidemics of infectious diseases occur.”

Bumblebees’ decline points to mass extinction – study: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/06/bumblebees-decline-points-to-mass-extinction-study “Bumblebees are in drastic decline across Europe and North America owing to hotter and more frequent extremes in temperatures, scientists say. A study suggests the likelihood of a bumblebee population surviving in any given place has declined by 30% in the course of a single human generation. The researchers say the rates of decline appear to be “consistent with a mass extinction”.”

England’s beavers are back, and they've already made a big impact: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/beavers-england-water-floods “Researchers involved say the beavers’ activities over the past five years have helped manage water flow, raising the possibility that their dams could help reduce the risk of flooding further along river systems. The beavers’ handiwork has created new habitats for wildlife living around the river, including water voles, otters, and wading birds, according to the trust. It says their building is also giving plants more direct access to sunlight and encouraging the regrowth of native species such as willow.”

Our Future on Earth: https://futureearth.org/publications/our-future-on-earth/ “Humanity is at a critical stage in the transition to a more sustainable planet and society. Our actions in the next decade will determine our collective path forward. Our Future on Earth 2020 aims to tell the story of where we are on our collective journey by connecting the dots between what society is currently experiencing – from fires to food shortages to a rise in populism – with recent developments in the research community.”

Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health: https://e360.yale.edu/features/ecopsychology-how-immersion-in-nature-benefits-your-health “A growing body of research points to the beneficial effects that exposure to the natural world has on health, reducing stress and promoting healing. Now, policymakers, employers, and healthcare providers are increasingly considering the human need for nature in how they plan and operate.”


Housing charity 'farmed' half a million pounds in benefits while people lived and died in squalor: https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/housing-charity-farmed-half-million-3813741.amp “Two people who ran a bogus housing charity made more than half a million pounds between them in the space of just two years by taking housing benefit from scores of vulnerable people and putting them up in slum conditions. They are among the findings of a Charity Commission inquiry into Alternative Housing, a now-defunct organisation which was named a couple of years ago as one of Britain’s most prosecuted charity.”

Homeless Mothers: Key Research Findings: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/publications/homeless-mothers-key-research-findings/ “Responding to an identified gap in evidence this reports explores and makes visible the experiences of homeless mothers and their interaction with housing and other social services. Based on qualitative interviews with 26 homeless mothers living in in the north of England, and consultation with organisations that offer housing and other support to women and families, the research findings raise questions about whether policy and legislation is adequately protecting and supporting this group of women.”

Scotland has ‘highest rate’ of homeless deaths in Britain, figures reveal: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Scotland-has-highest-rate-of-homeless-deaths-in-Britain-figures-reveal/49955 “Deadly “day-night hot extremes” are increasing across the northern hemisphere due to climate change, a new study finds. And the number of people exposed to such events, also known as “compound hot extremes”, is likely to increase “several-fold” as temperatures continue to climb in the coming decades, the study authors tell Carbon Brief.”

The Science of a Happy Home: Briefing for Policymakers: https://buildpathio.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/assets/happy_homes/resi%7Cbriefing_for_policymakers.pdf “This document is a supplementary document to Resi’s 2020 report, ‘The Science of a Happy Home’. Our report provides the public with a guide to our research findings and what it means for how they live in their homes. The full report can be downloaded here. A Literature Scan Summary, Methodology, Industry Insights paper and a copy of the national data set used to develop these findings can be found here.”

Climate change & sustainability

Climate change driving surge in ‘day-night hot extremes’ in northern hemisphere: https://www.carbonbrief.org/climate-change-driving-surge-in-day-night-hot-extremes-in-northern-hemisphere

They Came From The Pacific: How changing Arctic currents could contribute to an ecological regime shift in the Atlantic Ocean: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019EF001394 “In conclusion, we note that while tipping points for ecological connectivity are species‐dependent, even the most direct routes require multi‐annual connectivity timescales.”

Explainer: Nine ‘tipping points’ that could be triggered by climate change: https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-nine-tipping-points-that-could-be-triggered-by-climate-change “...And while climate records are being routinely broken, the cumulative impact of these changes could also cause fundamental parts of the Earth system to change dramatically and irreversibly. These “tipping points” are thresholds where a tiny change could push a system into a completely new state.”

How climate change affects mental health: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/02/how-climate-change-affects-mental-health/ “There are two distinct but connected ways that climate change can affect mental health. First, people can experience psychological responses to direct exposure to the consequences of climate change, such as living through a disaster. The other way that climate change can affect mental health is through indirect exposure – such as watching a disaster unfold from afar or reading about a dire new scientific report.”

The Heartland Lobby: https://correctiv.org/en/top-stories-en/2020/02/11/the-heartland-lobby/ “A joint investigation from CORRECTIV and Frontal21 reveals how the American Heartland Institute is supporting climate change deniers in Germany with the goal of undermining climate protection measures. We went undercover to meet with the institute’s chief strategist. He told us how the network of climate change deniers works, how donations are disguised and how they intend to use a German YouTuber affiliated with the AfD to reach young people. In the end, he made us a concrete offer.”

Wind Turbine Blades Can’t Be Recycled, So They’re Piling Up in Landfills: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-02-05/wind-turbine-blades-can-t-be-recycled-so-they-re-piling-up-in-landfills? “A wind turbine’s blades can be longer than a Boeing 747 wing, so at the end of their lifespan they can’t just be hauled away. First, you need to saw through the lissome fiberglass using a diamond-encrusted industrial saw to create three pieces small enough to be strapped to a tractor-trailer.”

How Thawing Permafrost Is Beginning to Transform the Arctic: https://e360.yale.edu/features/how-melting-permafrost-is-beginning-to-transform-the-arctic “The frozen layer of soil that has underlain the Arctic tundra for millennia is now starting to thaw. This thawing, which could release vast amounts of greenhouse gases, is already changing the Arctic landscape by causing landslides, draining lakes, and altering vegetation.”

Buildings mad of “moss-growing concrete” could remove more CO2 and air pollution than thousands of trees: https://returntonow.net/2020/02/03/new-living-concrete-allows-plants-to-grow-right-out-of-the-wall/ “Spanish researchers have developed a porous, acidic concrete that acts almost like soil for moss, lichen, fungi and other drought-tolerant vegetation. They are using the material to construct prototypes of office building capable of sucking more CO2 and pollution out of the air than thousands of trees, while emitting fresh oxygen for us to breathe.”

Revealed: big oil's profits since 1990 total nearly $2tn: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/feb/12/revealed-big-oil-profits-since-1990-total-nearly-2tn-bp-shell-chevron-exxon “BP, Shell, Chevron and Exxon have made almost $2tn in profits in the past three decades as their exploitation of oil, gas and coal reserves has driven the planet to the brink of climate breakdown, according to analysis for the Guardian. The scale of their profits is revealed as experts say the fossil fuel boom is coming to an end, with big oil entering a “death knell” phase, according to one prominent Wall St commentator.”

Active travel & transport

The Government has given approval to completion of the whole HS2 programme. There has been wide coverage and discussion of the decision and the impact, both environmental and economic.

The PM must put the forthcoming national bus strategy at the heart of his climate strategy: https://www.transporttimes.co.uk/news.php/The-PM-must-put-the-forthcoming-national-bus-strategy-at-the-heart-of-his-climate-strategy-491/ “Transport has become the largest emitting sector of the UK economy accounting for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is the only sector to have increased emissions over the last carbon budget. This increase is largely the result of rising demand for car and van travel. We need a major switch from private to public transport. This is not only vital to reduce carbon emissions. The disbenefits of our current transport system become painfully more apparent by the day.”

Every child in England to be offered cycle training: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/every-child-in-england-to-be-offered-cycle-training “The commitment will see an additional 400,000 training places offered on the scheme each year, providing children with the core skills to cycle safely and confidently on the road. More than 80% of children aged between 8 and 10 years old own a bike and since its launch in 2006, more than 3 million children have taken part in the Bikeability scheme.”

Winter wheelies: Finland blazes trail in keeping citizens cycling and healthy: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/07/finland-blazes-trail-in-keeping-citizens-cycling-and-healthy “The temperature, even at 9.30am, is -13C, and light snow is falling on the already white-blanketed playground. But dozens of primary-age children are out, and doing something you might not expect in such conditions: riding bikes. Teachers say about half of the children at Joensuu normal school in eastern Finland usually arrive by bicycle, even during the icy winters. Even more have done so today, as an external instructor is here to lead them around a snowy bike obstacle course and other fun challenges.”

Cycling is the healthiest way to get around cities: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/187688/cycling-healthiest-around-cities/ “People who cycled in cities were found to have better self-perceived general health, better mental health, greater vitality, lower self-perceived stress and fewer feelings of loneliness.”

Air quality & pollution

BreatheGB: How Tackling Air Pollution Can Unleash the Potential of UK Sport: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5e37f65b59e605777fcea4ec/t/5e41cc3ae14f6e738f112328/1581370434842/Breathe+GB+-+Air+pollution+Report+10+Feb+2020.pdf “UK children who play sport in urban areas are regularly exposed to illegal levels of air pollution, which inhibits their lung function. This report proposes that measures to reduce air pollution will have significant beneficial impacts both on children’s health and the future of UK sport as a whole.”

Check if you'll be charged to drive in a Clean Air Zone: https://www.gov.uk/check-clean-air-zone-charge “Use this service to find out if there will be a daily charge to drive your vehicle in a Clean Air Zone. You might need to pay to drive in a Clean Air Zone if your vehicle does not meet emissions standards. Birmingham and Leeds will have the first Clean Air Zones in 2020.”

Joining the dots between climate change and air quality: https://airqualitynews.com/2020/02/11/joining-the-dots-between-climate-change-and-air-quality/ “‘You can argue that air pollution came first, but as with many aspects of environmental systems it’s never quite as simple as this,’ says Dr Porter. ‘With the industrial revolution and consequent air pollution in the West, emissions rose, enhancing post-glacial warming, while simultaneously atmospheric particulate pollution levels increased. However, if we consider a concept called “global dimming”, increased particle pollution can potentially increase cloud formation,’ he adds.”

Food & food security

Academics, farmers and consumers to tackle threats to food security: https://environmentjournal.online/articles/academics-farmers-and-consumers-to-tackle-threats-to-food-security/ “The University of Sheffield has received £1.2m of funding to bring together academics, farmers, consumers and policymakers to help address global food security challenges by creating sustainable and resilient food systems.”

Food fight: controversy over red meat guidelines rumbles on: https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m397 “Few studies have landed with quite such a bang as the dietary guideline recommendations published last October in the Annals of Internal Medicine. After a thorough meta-analysis that largely discounted all but the highest quality randomised studies, an international review panel reached a conclusion directly contrary to the public health advice we’ve heard for years. They suggested that adults should continue their current consumption of both red and processed meat.”

To reduce food waste, we actually need more grocery stores: http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2020/02/to-reduce-food-waste-we-actually-need-more-grocery-stores/ “Researchers have described an unexpected solution to food waste: simply build more places where people can buy groceries. While that would seem to fuel excessive consumerism, it actually does the opposite, their new study shows – reducing the quantities of food that people buy, and thus leaving less leftover to fester in landfills and belch greenhouse gases into the air.”

UK willing to face border checks as government looks to move away from EU food standards  https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2020/02/03/brexit-trade-deal-food-standards-border-checks/ “The government is willing to accept that food products coming in and out of the EU will face checks and additional paperwork at the border, as it looks to secure a swift free trade agreement with the bloc, according to a leaked document seen by Unearthed.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 7 February 2020

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Sustainable development goals

Working hard(ship): An exploration of poverty, work and tenure: https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/working-hardship/ “This report explores the nexus between poverty, work and housing, and adds to our knowledge of the topic in two distinctive ways. First, we look at in-work poverty not just as a static but also a dynamic condition. Second, we explore the intersection between housing tenure and in-work poverty. In particular, we focus on the fortunes of social renters, drawing on a collaboration with Clarion Housing Group.”

Universal Credit: What Needs To Change: https://cpag.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/report/universal-credit-what-needs-change “Universal credit: what needs to change to reduce child poverty and make it fit for families? calls for design and funding changes to improve claimants’ experience of universal credit and to reduce child poverty. It includes new analysis by IPPR”

Healthy planning & environment

A New Approach to Healthy Urban Design and Planning. https://healthycitydesign2019.salus.global/uploads/media/conference_lecture_presentation/0001/20/db7adf1b232b18535fd9f16d19f125eff3a2111b.pdf Dr Helen Pineo and her team at University College London Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering are developing a new framework for healthy urban design and planning. The attached presentation provides an overview of the project and progress so far.

How A Road Diet Can Amplify The Impact Of Placemaking: https://www.pps.org/article/how-a-road-diet-can-amplify-the-impact-of-placemaking “That’s why the Transportation team at Project for Public Spaces is excited to announce A Placemaker’s Primer on Road Diets. Popular in progressive transportation engineering circles, a "road diet" reallocates the space on a street to open it to uses and modes of transportation beyond moving car traffic. This guide provides an accessible walkthrough for non-experts on how to make the case for a road diet, how to select a site, how to evaluate success, how to select the right strategies to rightsize a street, and a roundup of technical road diet resources.”

Bristol declares it faces 'ecological emergency': https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-51376517 “Bristol City Council made the decision at a cabinet meeting on 4 February to build on the city's declaration of a climate emergency in 2018. Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees and Ian Barrett from Avon Wildlife Trust said they wanted to recognise it as a threat to well-being in the city. The council hopes it will kick-start a response from the whole city. Ecological emergency priorities will include looking at ways to stop wildlife habitats from being destroyed and managing land in a sustainable way that will preserve wildlife.”

Britain has failed the beauty test: in our cities and countryside, planners run amok: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/01/britain-beauty-test-cities-countryside-planners “The late Roger Scruton’s government-backed report on “building better, building beautiful” is political philosophy in the raw. It comes hot on the heels of the government’s agriculture bill proposing a complete shift in farm support away from food and into “public money for public goods”. If adopted, these twin pillars of rural and urban environment could see the greatest reordering of Britain’s public face in the 75 years since the war. They are both about that most elusive concept, beauty.”

A room of one's own? London carves out spaces for women: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=9c1161c7-ece7-4d19-ae9b-4a3770ccd588 “Projects that cater solely to women are cropping up around the British capital, carving out spaces for women to meet and support each other”

Privatisation, public health and the 'water lords': https://theecologist.org/2020/jan/31/privatisation-public-health-and-water-lords “This case is emblematic of the types of battles that local governments face when squaring-off toe to toe with large multi-national corporations that are attempting to privatise water around the country and around the world. Ironically, even Nestlé's own investigation into the repercussions of its pumping such immense quantities of water from Michigan’s aquifers demonstrates that increased pumping could harm Michigan's wetlands. Yet, for over three years Nestlé argued that its own research had not suggested this in order to pull more water and profits. There is little stopping companies like Nestlé which are setting up camp across the planet, attempting to manipulate local and national laws to extract vast quantities of water to bottle and then sell back to the very people whose aquifers they are depleting.”


Housing options for older people in a reimagined housing system: a case study from England: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19491247.2019.1644020 “This study responds by situating the housing options of older people within wider debates about the reimagining of the housing system driven by the neoliberal transformation in housing politics. Taking a case study approach, it explores the gap between the ambitions of policy and realities of provision at the local level, relates this to the particular intersection of state practices and market mechanisms manifest within the case study and, in doing so, rises to the challenge of extending analysis of the impacts of the neoliberal approach on the right to housing to new groups and different settings.”

Helping People Living in Cold Homes training programme: https://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/cold-homes/ “This e-learning module has been developed to help people whose health is affected by living in a cold home. It supports health and social care professionals to put NICE Guidance NG6 ‘Excess winter deaths and illness and the health risks associated with cold homes’ into practice.  It empowers professionals to direct people in cold homes to services that can help them overcome the problem. This can be via each local council’s environmental health team or through other local services that provide support to repair or replace heating systems, install insulation, switch to a cheaper energy deal or better manage temperature and ventilation at home.”

Forms And Mechanisms Of Exclusion In Contemporary Housing Systems: A Scoping Study: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/publications/forms-and-mechanisms-of-exclusion-in-contemporary-housing-systems/ “This report explores the central research question: what do stakeholders and housing providers identify as the key mechanisms of exclusion in contemporary English rental housing systems? We address this through qualitative, in-depth interviews with individuals and organisations involved in the housing system, comprising housing associations, local authorities, and stakeholders from third sector organisations, charities, professional and membership bodies, and tenant organisations.”

Combined authority re-defines ‘affordable housing’: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Combined-authority-re-defines-affordable-housing/49933 “The new definition, which has been approved by the WMCA’s Housing and Land Board, is based on local people paying no more than 35% of their salary on mortgages or rent. The WMCA believes the change will not only provide affordable homes for local people but will also encourage new types of affordable housing to come onto the market. The new definition is significant because any development schemes receiving WMCA investment from its devolved housing and land funds must make a minimum of at least 20% of the homes in their scheme affordable.”

Climate change & sustainability

Changing rapid weather variability increases influenza epidemic risk in a warming climate: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab70bc “We demonstrate, from historical data, that the large rapid weather variability in autumn can precondition the deadly influenza epidemic in the subsequent months in highly populated northern mid-latitudes; and the influenza epidemic season of 2017-2018 was a typical case. We further show that climate model projections reach a consensus that the rapid weather variability in autumn will continue to strengthen in some regions of northern mid-latitudes in a warming climate, implying that the risk of influenza epidemic may increase 20% to 50% in some highly populated regions in later 21st century.”

Carbon release through abrupt permafrost thaw: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0526-0 “Thaw lakes and wetlands are methane hot spots but their carbon release is partially offset by slowly regrowing vegetation. After considering abrupt thaw stabilization, lake drainage and soil carbon uptake by vegetation regrowth, we conclude that models considering only gradual permafrost thaw are substantially underestimating carbon emissions from thawing permafrost.”

Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/arctic-permafrost-is-thawing-it-could-speed-up-climate-change-feature/ “As the frozen ground warms much faster than expected, it’s reshaping the landscape—and releasing carbon gases that fuel global warming.”

Global warming is speeding up Earth‘s massive ocean currents: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/02/global-warming-speeding-earth-s-massive-ocean-currents ““Based on observations combined with models, the authors claim that from 1990 to 2013, the energy of the currents increased by some 15% per decade. “This is a really huge increase,” says Susan Wijffels, an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “It’s going to stimulate a lot of other work.” If the acceleration is real, it could affect jet streams, weather patterns, and the amount of heat stored in the ocean’s depths.”

Climate Models Are Running Red Hot, and Scientists Don’t Know Why: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-02-03/climate-models-are-running-red-hot-and-scientists-don-t-know-why “Then last year, unnoticed in plain view, some of the models started running very hot. The scientists who hone these systems used the same assumptions about greenhouse-gas emissions as before and came back with far worse outcomes. Some produced projections in excess of 5°C, a nightmare scenario. The scientists involved couldn’t agree on why—or if the results should be trusted. Climatologists began “talking to each other like, ‘What’d you get?’, ‘What’d you get?’” said Andrew Gettelman, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, which builds a high-profile climate model.”

Global heating a serious threat to the world's climate refuges, study finds: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/04/global-heating-a-serious-threat-to-the-worlds-climate-refuges-study-finds “Biodiversity hotspots that have given species a safe haven from changing climates for millions of years will come under threat from human-driven global heating, a new study has found. Species that have evolved in tropical regions such Australia’s wet tropics, the Guinean forests of Western Africa and the Andes Mountains will come under increasing stress as the planet warms, the study finds.”

Financing Solar for a Zero Carbon World: https://jeremyleggett.net/2020/02/05/financing-solar-for-a-zero-carbon-world-presentation-backing-panel-discussions-at-two-international-conferences-this-week/ “What follows are the 8 points I would most like to make. Time will not allow me to make them all, or in much detail ….hence this presentation.”

China’s Virus Clampdown Is Cutting Emissions, But Not for Long: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-05/china-s-virus-clampdown-is-cutting-emissions-but-not-for-long “Quarantines and extended holidays have idled cars and airplanes and shuttered coal mines and steel mills, some of the biggest contributors to the greenhouse gases that drive global warming. That’s going to drive a reduction in emissions early in the year, although whether it’s enough to deliver a year-on-year drop depends on how long economic activity remains depressed and what kind of stimulus measures the government enacts once the outbreak is contained.”

The Worst Climate Scenarios May No Longer Be the Most Likely: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-worst-climate-scenarios-may-no-longer-be-the-most-likely/ “These scenarios have been used in thousands of climate studies since they were first developed. Now there may be a problem with one of them. The most severe climate scenario of the bunch might be so extreme that it's no longer a likely outcome, experts say. In one sense, that's good news for the world. It means that the most extreme visions of the future, outlined in climate studies over the years, probably won't come to pass. But it also suggests that climate scientists may want to rethink the way they conduct modeling studies moving forward.”

Climate change: Clean tech 'won't solve warming in time': https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-51389404 “Breakthrough technologies such as carbon capture and hydrogen cannot be relied on to help the UK meet its climate change targets, a report says. The government had hoped that both technologies would contribute to emissions reductions required by 2050. But the report’s authors say ministers should assume that neither carbon capture and storage (CCS) nor hydrogen will be running "at scale" by 2050.”

Ryanair rapped over low emissions claims: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51372780 “Claims made by Ryanair about its carbon emissions have been banned by the UK's advertising watchdog. Europe's biggest airline by passenger numbers had billed itself as the region's "lowest emissions airline" and a "low C02 emissions airline". But the Advertising Standards Authority ruled Ryanair's claims in press, TV and radio adverts could not be backed up.”

There has been wide coverage of the planning for COP26 and the governments approach to the climate emergency.

Active travel & transport

New petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles to be banned from 2035: https://airqualitynews.com/2020/02/04/new-petrol-diesel-and-hybrid-vehicles-to-be-banned-from-2035/ “The UK will ban the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles from 2035, bringing forward the original date by five years. The announcement will come later today when Prime Minister Boris Johnson launches COP26, a major climate change summit which will be held in Glasgow in November. The 2035 date could even be moved forward further, subject to a consultation, to help the UK meet its 2050 net-zero climate target.”

Four things the UK government must do to phase out petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2035: https://theconversation.com/four-things-the-uk-government-must-do-to-phase-out-petrol-diesel-and-hybrid-cars-by-2035-131225 “You might have taken the noise and fumes for granted at roadsides, but the ban would mean that petrol and diesel fuel is eliminated from new passenger vehicles within 15 years. This would have obvious benefits for reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality, but there are significant obstacles for the UK’s car industry to overcome in the meantime.”

Interview: Professor Greg Marsden from the University of Leeds on decarbonising transport: https://airqualitynews.com/2020/01/28/interview-professor-greg-marsden-from-the-university-of-leeds-on-decarbonising-transport/ “Air Quality News recently met Professor Greg Marsden from the Institute of Transport Studies at the University of Leeds. He’s been integral in the formation of the DecarboN8 network of northern universities which aims to bring academia, government and business together to pioneer the transport solutions of the future.”

The environmental footprint of transport by car using renewable energy: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019EF001428 “Replacing fossil fuels in the transport sector by renewable energy will help combat climate change. However, lowering greenhouse gas emissions by switching to alternative fuels or electricity can come at the expense of land and water resources. To understand the scale of this possible tradeoff we compare and contrast carbon, land and water footprints per driven km in midsize cars utilizing conventional gasoline, biofuels, bioelectricity, solar electricity and solar‐based hydrogen. Results show that solar‐powered electric cars have the smallest environmental footprints per km, followed by solar‐based hydrogen cars, and that biofuel‐driven cars have the largest footprints.”

Factcheck: How electric vehicles help to tackle climate change: https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-electric-vehicles-help-to-tackle-climate-change “Here, in response to recent misleading media reports on the topic, Carbon Brief provides a detailed look at the climate impacts of EVs.”

Air quality & pollution

Exposure to diesel exhaust particles increases susceptibility to invasive pneumococcal disease: https://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(19)31635-5/fulltext “We demonstrate that inhaled exposure to DEPs disrupts asymptomatic nasopharyngeal carriage of S pneumoniae in mice, leading to dissemination to lungs and blood. Pneumococci are transported from the nasopharynx to the lungs following exposure to DEPs, leading to increased proinflammatory cytokine production, reduced phagocytic function of alveolar macrophages, and consequently, increased pneumococcal loads within the lungs and translocation into blood.”

Short-term exposure to ambient fine particulate matter and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: a nationwide case-crossover study in Japan: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(19)30262-1/fulltext “Short-term exposure to PM2·5 was associated with an increased risk of OHCA even at relatively low concentrations. Regulatory standards and targets need to incorporate the potential health gains from continual air quality improvement even in locations already meeting WHO standards.”

Adverse organogenesis and predisposed long-term metabolic syndrome from prenatal exposure to fine particulate matter: https://www.pnas.org/content/116/24/11590.short?rss%3D1 “Maternal exposure to fine PM increased stillbirths; reduced gestation length and birth weight; increased concentrations of glucose and free fatty acids in plasma; enhanced lipid accumulation in the liver; and decreased endothelium-dependent relaxation of aorta. This lead to altered organogenesis and predisposed progeny to long-term metabolic defects in an age-, organ-, and sex-specific manner. Our results highlight the necessity to develop therapeutic strategies to remedy adverse health effects of maternal PM exposure on conceptus/postnatal growth and development.”

Tackling air pollution may accidentally trigger serious health issues: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2232155-tackling-air-pollution-may-accidentally-trigger-serious-health-issues/#ixzz6DAovBMtm “Many urban areas around the world are in breach of World Health Organization guidelines on PM2.5, particulate matter with a maximum diameter of 2.5 micrometres. Vehicles are a common source of this kind of pollution. But simply reducing levels of PM2.5 pollution may not improve the safety of urban air. A Chinese-US team has found that PM2.5 plays a key role in suppressing the formation of another type of pollution in built-up areas – “ultrafine particles”. These have a diameter of under 50 nanometres, and an emerging body of work has linked them to health concerns including birth defects.”

Revealed: salmonella, toxic chemicals and plastic found in sewage spread on farmland: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2020/02/04/sewage-sludge-landspreading-environment-agency-report/ “A secret report obtained by Unearthed has revealed serious weaknesses in the Environment Agency’s controls on an industry that spreads millions of tonnes of sewage sludge on farmland each year. Investigators commissioned by the agency found sewage waste destined for English crops contaminated with dangerous “persistent organic pollutants” like dioxins, fuerans, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at “levels that may present a risk to human health”. They reported evidence that these sludges, which are routinely spread as fertiliser on hundreds of farms, were widely contaminated with microplastics that could ultimately leave soil “unsuitable for agriculture”.”

Food & food security

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019: http://www.fao.org/state-of-food-security-nutrition/en/ “For decades, the number of hungry people had been declining – this isn’t true anymore. More than 820 million people do not have enough to eat. At the same time no region is exempt from the epidemic of overweight and obesity.”

Climate change is already affecting global food production—unequally: https://phys.org/news/2019-05-climate-affecting-global-food-productionunequally.amp “The world's top 10 crops— barley, cassava, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane and wheat—supply a combined 83 percent of all calories produced on cropland. Yields have long been projected to decrease in future climate conditions. Now, new research shows climate change has already affected production of these key energy sources—and some regions and countries are faring far worse than others.”

Climate change food calculator: What's your diet's carbon footprint? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46459714 “But what is the difference between beef and chicken? Does a bowl of rice produce more climate warming greenhouse gases than a plate of chips? Is wine more environmentally friendly than beer? To find out the climate impact of what you eat and drink, choose from one of the 34 items in our calculator and pick how often you have it.”

The Angry Chef – Meat Matters: https://angry-chef.com/blog/meat-matters “In my New Year’s post, I mentioned that the world does not need more balanced books, but it does need more balanced debates. With this in mind, I have written the following to try and create some balance in the debate about diets and nutrition. I am sure that it will upset some people and many will disagree, but I hope that does not mean that we stop talking.”

You want to reduce the carbon footprint of your food? Focus on what you eat, not whether your food is local: https://ourworldindata.org/food-choice-vs-eating-local “Eating locally would only have a significant impact if transport was responsible for a large share of food’s final carbon footprint. For most foods, this is not the case. GHG emissions from transportation make up a very small amount of the emissions from food and what you eat is far more important than where your food traveled from.”

Almonds are out. Dairy is a disaster. So what milk should we drink? https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/28/what-plant-milk-should-i-drink-almond-killing-bees-aoe “A glass of dairy milk produces almost three times more greenhouse gas than any plant-based milk. But vegan options have drawbacks of their own”

Plant-based meat could create a radically different food chain: https://www.economist.com/international/2019/10/12/plant-based-meat-could-create-a-radically-different-food-chain “A niche business is becoming mainstream. Startups and established food conglomerates are hungry for a share of a rapidly growing market for plant-based meats—foods that mimic the taste, texture and nutritional qualities of meat, without a single animal in sight.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 31 January 2020

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

A decade on from Marmot, why are health inequalities widening? https://www.bmj.com/content/365/bmj.l4251 “Experts in public health have warned that inequalities in health have worsened since Michael Marmot’s landmark review was published in 2010, and they call for major policy reforms to tackle growing disparities in life expectancy in the UK. Figures published in March by the Office for National Statistics show that the gap between rich and poor people in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy is increasing in England. Against this troubling backdrop, a 10 year update to the Marmot review will report next February to provide an update on the existence and effectiveness of national and local policies to tackle the social determinants of ill health and to examine what societal trends have affected health inequalities.”

All Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth – Reconnecting Wealth Creation and Social Justice: https://www.inclusivegrowth.co.uk/ “The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth brings together reformers across politics, business, trade unions, finance, churches, faith groups and civil society, to forge a new consensus on inclusive growth and identify the practical next steps for reform.”

Problem debt and the social security system: https://www.stepchange.org/policy-and-research/social-security-report.aspx “National polling commissioned by StepChange shows that 54% per cent of those in problem debt receive support through the social security system. 46% of those in the system are never able to make ends meet. The link between poverty and problem debt means that it is crucial that the social security works well for those experiencing financial difficulty and problem debt. But we found that this is not the case and the system is falling short.”

Poorer areas to lose 'hundreds of millions' under proposed changes: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Poorer-areas-to-lose-hundreds-of-millions-under-proposed-changes/49882 “Former ‘red wall’ areas are to lose millions of pounds under the fair funding review, analysis by LGA Labour Group has found. The figures show that over 70% of new Tory MPs will represent communities hit hardest by the changes to the way council funding is allocated. The analysis shows that metropolitan councils will lose almost £300m in adult social care funding under the proposals, with £250m being diverted to Tory shire county councils.”

Community-centred public health: taking a whole system approach: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-centred-public-health-taking-a-whole-system-approach “Resources to enable local systems to implement and embed community-centred approaches to health and wellbeing at scale.”

Doomsday Clock is 100 seconds to midnight, the symbolic hour of the apocalypse: https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/01/23/doomsday-clock/ “It is the first time the clock has passed the two-minute mark in more than 70 years of existence, a testament to the need for urgent action, the Bulletin said Thursday, as the nonprofit’s leader warned of influential leaders who “denigrate and discard the most effective methods for addressing complex threats.””


I have collated a range of resources and links for up to date and authoritative information on the novel coronavirus. Many of these pages are updated regularly as the situation changes.

Healthy planning & environment

RTPI – Five Reasons for Climate Justice in Spatial Planning: https://www.rtpi.org.uk/media/3679629/Five%20reasons%20for%20climate%20justice%20in%20spatial%20planning.pdf “Climate change represents an ethical challenge, as much as a scientific or technical one, which means policy makers must consider not only how and why levels of vulnerability to climate change vary but how their policies benefit or disadvantage particular groups. This position paper outlines the RTPI's viewpoint.” This is part of wider work by the RTPI - Better Planning: Climate change: https://www.rtpi.org.uk/knowledge/better-planning/better-planning-climate-change/

Road proximity, air pollution, noise, green space and neurologic disease incidence: a population-based cohort study: https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-020-0565-4 “Road proximity was associated with incidence of non-Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. This association may be partially mediated by air pollution, whereas noise exposure did not affect associations. There was some evidence of protective effects of greenness.”

Child Friendly Planning in the UK: A Review: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58aaff9b17bffc6029da965f/t/5de7bdeb78ef74397918653a/1575468539397/National+Planning+Policy+Report.pdf “This report is a careful analysis of how children’s rights are presented within the national planning policies and supporting guidance of each UK nation. It looks specifically at three key human rights as stipulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). These are the right to participate in decision-making (Article 12); to gather in public space (Article 15); and to play, rest leisure, and access cultural life (Article 31).”

Making London Child-Friendly: designing places and streets for children and young people: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/ggbd_making_london_child-friendly.pdf “Several factors, from changing attitudes and the role of technology, to increased concerns over safety, can be referenced to explain the decline in levels of independent mobility. The PSI study also found that the most successful initiatives to improve children’s independent mobility focused on transforming the built environment. The independent mobility of children and young people is therefore a key consideration for London's built environment, and an important topic for planners, designers, architects and policymakers.”

Cover one-fifth of UK in trees to save climate and revive wildlife, government told: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tree-plant-net-zero-carbon-woodland-trust-climate-change-crisis-a9293586.html “Tree-planting must be ramped up on a huge scale to help the UK effectively cancel out its carbon emissions and tackle wildlife losses, conservationists have told the government. The Woodland Trust has published an emergency tree plan urging ministers to more than double rates of planting, protect what Britain already has and work to prevent plant diseases.”

Humans risk living in an empty world, warns UN biodiversity chief: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/20/humans-risk-living-in-an-empty-world-warns-un-biodiversity-chief-aoe “Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the acting executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, has implored governments to ensure 2020 is not just another “year of conferences” on the ongoing ecological destruction of the planet, urging countries to take definitive action on deforestation, pollution and the climate crisis.”


Number of social homes in England falls by over 17,000, figures show: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/social-housing-crisis-conservatives-sajid-javid-budget-shelter-latest-a9305786.html “Social housing stock in England dropped by over 17,000 in the last year as waiting lists for homes increased, according to the latest release of government figures. Homelessness charity Shelter described the fall as “absolutely outrageous” and demanded the chancellor, Sajid Javid, earmarked extra funds for social homes in his first Budget in March.”

Private Renting, Technology And Anticipatory Governance: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/private-renting-technology-and-anticipatory-governance/ “The arrival of platform capitalism is already having a discernible impact on the private rented sector. The rise of short-term letting via Airbnb and similar sites are disrupting neighbourhoods in tourist-friendly cities and triggering processes of neighbourhood change. The task of analysing these transformations is well underway – although there is plenty more to be done to understand their full ramifications. We are also seeing a range of regulatory responses from municipalities around the world trying to tame the destabilising influence of the churn induced by short-term letting.”

Exploring exclusion in contemporary housing systems: https://whq.org.uk/the-magazine/issue/117/exploring-exclusion-in-contemporary-housing-systems/ “Recent research commissioned by the National Housing Federation found that 8.4 million people in England are directly affected by the housing crisis, with one in seven of the population living in unaffordable, insecure, overcrowded or unsuitable homes. We explore these issues using the concept of ‘housing exclusion’, which includes social, spatial and financial dimensions.”

Households living in overcrowded private rentals ‘doubles’ in decade: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Households-living-in-overcrowded-private-rentals-doubles-in-decade/49872 “An analysis of the English Housing Survey for 2018/19 by Shelter has revealed that more than 283,000 households who rent privately are living in overcrowded conditions. This figure has doubled in the last 10 years and increased by 22,000 households in the last year alone.”

Seven out of 10 councils overspend on homelessness: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Seven-out-of-10-councils-overspend-on-homelessness/49896 “Seven out of 10 English councils overspent their homelessness budgets in 2018/19 by a combined total of nearly £115m, Local Government Association (LGA) analysis has found.”

Sector presses for further action on cladding: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Sector-presses-for-further-action-on-cladding/49860 “Building safety reforms billed as the ‘biggest change for a generation’ do not go far enough to clamp down on potentially dangerous cladding, councils argued this week.”

Climate change & sustainability

Complex evolving patterns of mass loss from Antarctica’s largest glacier: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0527-z “Pine Island Glacier has contributed more to sea level rise over the past four decades than any other glacier in Antarctica. Model projections indicate that this will continue in the future but at conflicting rates… We demonstrate how the pattern of thinning is evolving in complex ways both in space and time and how rates in the fast-flowing central trunk have decreased by about a factor five since 2007.”

Paris Climate Agreement passes the cost-benefit test: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-13961-1 “We thus provide an inter-temporally optimizing cost-benefit analysis of this century’s climate problem. We account for uncertainties regarding the damage curve, climate sensitivity, socioeconomic future, and mitigation costs. The resulting optimal temperature is robust as can be understood from the generic temperature-dependence of the mitigation costs and the level of damages inferred from the observed temperature-growth relationship. Our results show that the politically motivated Paris Climate Agreement also represents the economically favourable pathway, if carried out properly.”

Environmental degradation driving gender-based violence – IUCN study: https://www.iucn.org/news/gender/202001/environmental-degradation-driving-gender-based-violence-iucn-study “The degradation of nature can lead to gender-based violence including sexual assault, domestic violence and forced prostitution, according to a new IUCN study published today. Competition over increasingly scarce and degraded resources can exacerbate these forms of violence, the review study finds.”

Tropical forests losing ability to absorb CO2, study says: https://www.carbonbrief.org/tropical-forests-losing-ability-to-absorb-co2-study-says “The new analysis uses a combination of remote-sensing data and modelling to create a detailed picture of carbon loss and gain across all of Earth’s biomes from 1992 to 2015. It shows a diverging picture in the world’s two most important ecosystems for storing carbon on land: tropical rainforests and “boreal” forests, which are found in the cold climate of the high latitudes.”

Why we should be wary of blaming ‘overpopulation’ for the climate crisis: https://theconversation.com/why-we-should-be-wary-of-blaming-overpopulation-for-the-climate-crisis-130709 “Famed primatologist Dr Jane Goodall remarked at the event that human population growth is responsible, and that most environmental problems wouldn’t exist if our numbers were at the levels they were 500 years ago. This might seem fairly innocuous, but its an argument that has grim implications and is based on a misreading of the underlying causes of the current crises. As these escalate, people must be prepared to challenge and reject the overpopulation argument.”

“A Trillion Trees” is a great idea—that could become a dangerous climate distraction: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/615102/tree-planting-is-a-great-idea-that-could-become-a-dangerous-climate-distraction/ “Perhaps the biggest risk is that the appeal of natural-sounding solutions can delude us into thinking we’re taking more meaningful action than we really are. It “invites people to view tree planting as a substitute” for the sweeping changes required to prevent greenhouse-gas emissions from reaching the atmosphere in the first place, says Jane Flegal, a member of the adjunct faculty at Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society.”

Wood Construction could turn urban skylines into carbon sinks: http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2020/01/wood-construction-turn-urban-skylines-carbon-sinks/ “The researchers say that constructing new buildings out of wood and other bio-based materials like bamboo and hemp could actually turn the urban skyline into a carbon sink. In the most optimistic scenario, buildings could store a total of 20 gigatons of carbon over the next three decades.”

With the En-ROADS climate simulator, you can build your own solutions to global warming: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/01/en-roads-climate-solutions-simulator/ “Killer hurricanes, devastating wildfires, melting glaciers, and sunny-day flooding in more and more coastal areas around the world have birthed a fatalistic view cleverly dubbed by Mary Annaïse Heglar of the Natural Resources Defense Council as “de-nihilism“. One manifestation: An increasing number of people appear to have grown doubtful about the possibility of staving-off climate disaster. However, a new interactive tool from a climate think tank and MIT shows that humanity could still meet the goals of the Paris accord and limit global warming.”

US Climate Resilience Toolkit: https://toolkit.climate.gov/#expertise

For a greener NHS: https://www.england.nhs.uk/greenernhs/ “Climate change poses a major threat to our health as well as our planet. The environment is changing, that change is accelerating, and this has direct and immediate consequences for our patients, the public and the NHS. This is why the NHS has launched the ‘For a greener NHS’ programme, working with our staff, hospitals and our partners. We want to build on the great work being done by trusts across the country, sharing ideas on how to reduce the impact on public health and the environment, save money and – eventually – go net carbon zero.”

Study: Climate change threatens world's wine supply: https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/480190-study-climate-change-threatens-worlds-wine-supply “More than half of the areas around the world suitable for growing grapes used for wine could become unsuitable for the purpose in 80 years due to climate change, according to a new study. A study published Monday in the National Academy of Sciences' online journal said that 56 percent of wine-growing regions could be unsuitable by 2100 should the Earth's climate warm 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit in that time.”

Revealed: UK government financing millions of tonnes of emissions overseas: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2020/01/23/uk-boris-johnson-financing-coal-fossil-fuels-carbon-emissions/ “A little-known UK government agency is helping to finance projects overseas that will emit 69m tonnes of greenhouse gases per year, Unearthed can reveal… The projects are backed by UK Export Finance (UKEF), which offers loans and financial guarantees to UK companies involved in major projects around the world. It has long declined to rule out investments in fossil fuels.”

David Attenborough says fixed-term parliaments could mean short-sighted climate action: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/david-attenborough-climate-change-citizens-assembly-fixed-term-parliaments-a9302566.html “Sir David said: “If you have a parliament that is of a fixed length of five years, it’s very difficult to persuade politicians that they should give money and time and attention and worry about an issue which is not going to come to a climax – and people won’t know if it is successful or not successful – for 10 years hence, 15 years hence.””

Ministers doing little towards 2050 emissions target, say top scientists: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/24/ministers-doing-little-to-achieve-2050-emissions-target-say-top-scientists-heathrow-expansion “Expanding Heathrow airport is unlikely to be compatible with the UK’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, leading scientists have said, adding that government policies are lacking in many other key areas from home insulation and transport to carbon capturing.”

Portugal reaches 100% renewables, ends fossil fuel subsidies: https://reneweconomy.com.au/portugal-reaches-100-renewables-ends-fossil-fuel-subsidies-32820/ “Portugal’s renewable energy sources generated enough power to exceed total grid demand across the month of March, a new report has found, setting a standard that is expected to become the norm for the European nation. According to Portuguese grid operator, REN, renewable energy output over the month reached 4,812GWh, surpassing the nation’s total electricity needs for March, which only topped 4,647GWh.”

Sainsbury's pledges £1bn to cut emissions to zero by 2040: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51263991 “The supermarket chain, which is the second largest in the UK, has said it will spend £1bn to reach the target. It pledged to reduce emissions from areas like refrigeration and transport. Critics said the pledge did not extend to the supermarket's supply network, which accounts for most of its emissions. However, Sainsbury's said it would be contacting its suppliers.”

Active travel & transport

Manchester cycle network plan could be national blueprint, says Burnham: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/28/manchester-cycle-network-plan-could-be-national-blueprint-says-burnham “A joined-up cycling and walking network in Greater Manchester could provide a national blueprint for reducing congestion and air pollution and improving health, a report says. Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, and Chris Boardman, the region’s cycling and walking commissioner, are calling on the government to back plans for an 1,800-mile network of protected routes for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Safer Cycling Advocate Program – Best Practice Guide: https://safercycling.roadsafetyngos.org/best-practice-guide/?mc_cid=1eea78c683&mc_eid=f209095101 “The Safer Cycling Advocate Program (SCAP) seeks to empower civil society organizations by building their capacity to advocate for safer roads and to promote cycling as a transport mode. Road crashes are estimated to kill around 1.3 million people every year and are the leading cause of death among children and young people aged between 5 and 29 years. Although the burden is universal, low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are hit the hardest, with over 90% of all deaths occurring in these countries.”

Glasgow set for 20mph speed limit: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Glasgow-set-for-20mph-speed-limit/49866 “Glasgow City Council has approved plans to introduce a 20mph speed limit across most of its roads. The limit will apply to all residential streets, the city centre, main shopping areas and where there are high levels of walking or cycling.”

National Audit Office - High Speed Two: A progress update: https://www.nao.org.uk/report/high-speed-two-a-progress-update/ “High Speed Two is an ambitious national programme, the construction of which will take decades. The Department, HS2 Ltd and government more widely underestimated the task, leading to optimistic estimates being used to set budgets and delivery dates. In not fully and openly recognising the programme’s risks from the outset, the Department and HS2 Ltd have not adequately managed the risks to value for money. If these risks had been recognised and managed earlier, then the significant activity in a pressured environment over the past year trying to understand and contain cost increases may not have been necessary. There are lessons to be learned from the experience of High Speed Two for other major infrastructure programmes.”

Air quality & pollution

The Inside Story: Health effects of indoor air quality on children and young people: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gjCmryy1w6zlOSXLusI0mglkmdr4hXHz/view “The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Physicians wish to support clinicians by providing the tools to advocate for healthy air for their patients… The focus of this report is about the emerging evidence on indoor air pollution, and sets out recommendations aimed at preventing poor indoor air quality affecting the health and well-being of children.”

200 London schools sign up to clean air audits: https://airqualitynews.com/2020/01/23/200-london-schools-sign-up-to-clean-air-audits/ “The scheme involves clean air audits, carried out by engineering consultancy WSP, which assess the air quality before making recommendations to the school to improve air quality.”

Air-filtering bus to launch across six regions in the UK: https://www.theguardian.com/global/2020/jan/24/air-filtering-bus-to-launch-across-six-regions-in-the-uk “The bus, trialled since 2018 in Southampton, is fitted with fans on the roof that draw in air at a rate of one cubic metre per second and filter out ultra-fine particulate pollution. The single-decker buses are expected to start operating in Brighton, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Plymouth and Crawley from this summer. Another five buses will be introduced in Southampton.”

PFAS Contamination of Drinking Water Far More Prevalent Than Previously Reported: https://www.ewg.org/research/national-pfas-testing/ “New laboratory tests commissioned by EWG have for the first time found the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS in the drinking water of dozens of U.S. cities, including major metropolitan areas. The results confirm that the number of Americans exposed to PFAS from contaminated tap water has been dramatically underestimated by previous studies, both from the Environmental Protection Agency and EWG’s own research.”

Trump Removes Pollution Controls on Streams and Wetlands: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/climate/trump-environment-water.html#click=https://t.co/XndKmppJUj “The Trump administration on Thursday finalized a rule to strip away environmental protections for streams, wetlands and groundwater, handing a victory to farmers, fossil fuel producers and real estate developers who said Obama-era rules had shackled them with onerous and unnecessary burdens.”

Food & food security

You want to reduce the carbon footprint of your food? Focus on what you eat, not whether your food is local: https://ourworldindata.org/food-choice-vs-eating-local “‘Eating local’ is a recommendation you hear often – even from prominent sources, including the United Nations. While it might make sense intuitively – after all, transport does lead to emissions – it is one of the most misguided pieces of advice. Eating locally would only have a significant impact if transport was responsible for a large share of food’s final carbon footprint. For most foods, this is not the case. GHG emissions from transportation make up a very small amount of the emissions from food and what you eat is far more important than where your food traveled from.”

UK needs to embrace chlorinated chicken, says Trump spokesperson ahead of Brexit trade talks: https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/donald-trump-and-woody-johnson-on-chlorinated-chicken-1-6484830 “The government has repeatedly vowed not to weaken food standards as part of a trade deal with the US with environment secretary Theresa Villiers saying that the UK would "not be importing chlorinated chicken" just weeks ago. But the row has heated up with US ambassador Woody Johnson writing to The Sunday Times insisting that the modified meat and poultry should be accepted by Britain. "These products should absolutely be included in a US-UK free trade agreement that will create new markets for farmers from both countries and offer more choices to British and American consumers." he said, calling on the UK food standards agency to "recommend" the products.”

Trade wars are huge threats to food security: https://unctad.org/en/pages/newsdetails.aspx?OriginalVersionID=2276 “The international agricultural trading system needs to become less distorted, more inclusive and sustainable, as well as take the specific needs of developing countries into account. The high volume of agricultural subsidies given to producers in developed countries must be reduced. For instance, OECD countries provided US$315 billion worth of support and protection for their agricultural producers in 2017. Instead of improving fair and transparent market access, growing anti-globalization sentiments and moves towards protectionism threaten to undermine the substantial benefits of global trade, particularly for food systems and nutrition. At the same time, anti-globalization and protectionist approaches do nothing to address the problems they claim to respond to.”

Vast Locust Swarm Casts Shadow Over East African Food Security: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-25/vast-locust-swarm-casts-shadow-over-east-african-food-security “The worst desert-locust plague in Kenya in 70 years is threatening to spread further into East Africa, jeopardizing food security. Swarms of the insects are already devouring crops and pasture in Ethiopia and Somalia, and they’re breeding in Djibouti, Eritrea and Sudan -- all areas that are prone to drought and food shortages. There’s a high risk they may soon enter northeast Uganda and southeast South Sudan, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said Friday.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 24 January 2020

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.

UK Faculty of Public Health Strategy 2020-2025: https://www.fph.org.uk/media/2828/fph-strategy-2020-2025.pdf “...In the UK, however, health inequalities between rich and poor are widening, with poverty and homelessness increasing. Infant deaths are rising, early years health is worsening and life expectancy is stalling. Public health approaches to knife crime, gambling and drug misuse have been gaining recognition and should be embedded in all community strategies. There are unacceptably high levels of air pollution in many towns and cities and the serious adverse effects of this are now much better understood. We are seeing a fall in immunisation rates and screening uptake, which are vital for the prevention of disease and disability. And our health services do not take full advantage of preventing and controlling the premature onset of chronic and multiple diseases to the extent they should. We also need to protect the health of our environment and to live sustainably within the planet’s  resources. And we must act now to secure the best possible health for future generations.”

Sustainable development goals

John Middleton: Brexiting health—the UK will miss out on prosperity, public health and planetary health: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/01/16/john-middleton-brexiting-health-the-uk-will-miss-out-on-prosperity-public-health-and-planetary-health/ “The UK faces a clear danger of being left behind on many actions which will determine the future well being of Europeans. It is already clear that we are being sidelined on research. Our major trading partner, the European Union, will call the shots in future trade deals. Our trading partners outside Europe may well go to the bigger bloc first for the deals they need and there is no guarantee that we can just walk into “World Trade Organisation conditions”  We may miss out on revenue from fair digital taxes and corporation taxes which require international political consensus and muscle. Outside of the EU, our burden of migration may increase. If we are not working collaboratively as part of EU provisions, and if we default on our share of the costs of the deal with Turkey to hold Syrian refugees, there will be no incentive for EU countries to prevent migration to our shores.”

Households below a Minimum Income Standard: 2008/09–2017/18: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/households-below-minimum-income-standard-2017-18 “The Minimum Income Standard (MIS) reflects what members of the public think is needed for a minimum socially acceptable standard of living in the UK today. This report looks at the proportion of people who fall below this level, and those with incomes below 75% of MIS. It focuses on three groups: children, working-age adults and pensioners. Children continue to be the most likely of these three groups to be living in a household with an income below that needed for a minimum socially acceptable standard of living.”

The long and winding road: https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/the-long-and-winding-road/ “So now is a particularly opportune time to step back and assess where UC has got to so far, and its likely impacts in the longer term. That is the subject of this report – supported by the Liverpool City Region (LCR) Combined Authority – which reviews both the national picture and the experience in LCR in particular as a case study of UC’s impact on a particular place and its people. We draw on analysis of administrative data, microsimulation modelling, case-study modelling, and in-depth qualitative interviews with UC recipients across LCR. As well as providing insights for local government and other organisations in LCR, this focus on one area illustrates that UC’s impact is more nuanced than either its opponents or supporters often suggest.”

Bringing the commercial determinants of health out of the shadows: a review of how the commercial determinants are represented in conceptual frameworks: https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/advance-article/doi/10.1093/eurpub/ckz197/5709506 “Our current public health models may risk framing public health problems and solutions in ways that obscure the role that the private sector, in particular large transnational companies, play in shaping the broader environment and individual behaviours, and thus population health outcomes.”

Where are England’s charities? https://www.thinknpc.org/resource-hub/where-are-englands-charities/ “But England also suffers geographical inequality in social capital and infrastructure. This research suggests that deprived areas in general, and many of the ‘left behind’ places in particular, suffer from a lack of charities, compounding their economic hardship with a lack of social capital. We argue that this is not an accident and the distribution of charities could be influenced by the charity taxation regime, the way that the government funds and the way that independent funders and larger charities behave.”

Oxfam- Time to Care: https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/time-care “Economic inequality is out of control. In 2019, the world’s billionaires, only 2,153 people, had more wealth than 4.6 billion people. This great divide is based on a flawed and sexist economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of hours of the most essential work – the unpaid and underpaid care work done primarily by women and girls around the world.” – more here - Global economy 'just plain sexist' – Oxfam: https://theecologist.org/2020/jan/20/global-economy-just-plain-sexist-oxfam

Social mobility at the top: how elites in the UK are pulling away: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/social-mobility-at-the-top/ “The link between geographic mobility and the reproduction of social class advantage is having a powerful effect in British society, write Katharina Hecht, Daniel McArthur, Mike Savage, and Sam Friedman. Based on an original study of changing social and geographical mobility into elite occupations, they explain why the tensions between London and the English and Welsh ‘provinces’ have deep roots.”

Hull asks to be first UK city to trial universal basic income: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/19/hull-universal-basic-income-trial “The proposal would mean every adult would be paid a basic sum – potentially between £50 and £100 a week – regardless of income, and do away with the need for welfare. People receiving disability payments would instead get the equivalent sum in universal basic income (UBI) and there would be higher payments for pensioners and lower sums for children. The ambitious scheme has been trialled with varying success in Finland, the US and Kenya but the idea has been gaining traction in a number of UK cities, particularly in the north of England.”

Young people and the post-crisis precarity: the abnormality of the ‘new normal’: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/young-people-and-the-post-crisis-precarity/ “Craig Berry and Sean McDaniel draw upon research with focus groups and an online community exercise to examine the attitudes of young people in relation to the apparent ‘normalisation’ of precarity in the post-2008 economy. They find that although young people recognise the abnormality of labour market conditions, they nevertheless fail to see value in conventional forms of trade union organisation.”

Is there any *actual* evidence for social prescribing yet: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2020/01/20/is-there-any-actual-evidence-for-social-prescribing-yet/ “A cynical (or pragmatic?) view would be that a “roll out” has shades of many other schemes that get rolled out …. Seems “intuitively a good idea but rolled out without proper resourcing or evaluation”. The former is definitely true.”

Healthy planning & environment

A skills and knowledge framework for Health Impact Assessment: https://www.gov.uk/government/case-studies/a-skills-and-knowledge-framework-for-health-impact-assessment “How the Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit used the Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework to review their training strategy and shape practice.”

Health Impact Assessment Training and Capacity Building Framework: https://whiasu.publichealthnetwork.cymru/files/3415/6136/9729/WHIASU_Training_and_Capacity_Building_Framework_for_HIA_in_Wales_2019-_2024_FINAL_TECHNICAL_DOCUMENT.pdf “This technical document sets out an underpinning framework for the Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit’s (WHIASU) approach to the design, development, delivery and evaluation of training and capacity building for HIA in Wales, the UK, and across the World Health Organization’s European Region for the next five years.”

Activists warn of ‘fracking by stealth’ and call for acid fracking ban: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/17/activists-warn-of-fracking-by-stealth-and-call-for-acid-fracking-ban “Campaigners have warned that the fracking moratorium announced by the UK government does not apply to acid fracking, a process that involves injecting acid into the earth to dissolve and fracture rock. More than 500 academics, politicians and campaigners have signed an open letter initiated by Brockham Oil Watch calling on the government to ban the practice over fears companies may use it to get around the moratorium.”


A Housing Design Audit for England: http://placealliance.org.uk/research/national-housing-audit/ “Planning authorities are under pressure to deliver new homes and are therefore prioritising numbers in the short-term over the long-term negative impacts of bad design. At the same time, house builders have little incentive to improve when their designs continue to pass through the planning system. Some highways authorities, meanwhile, do not even recognise their role in creating a sense of place for communities. “Collectively, house builders, planning authorities and highways authorities need to significantly raise their game. This can’t come soon enough”.

Raising Local Housing Allowance alone won't stop poverty rising: https://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/raising-local-housing-allowance-alone-wont-stop-poverty-rising “The recent welcome, but limited, measures will not move the dial enough to ensure people have a decent, secure home, or ensure that work pays, says Iain Porter.”

Ethically-Speaking, What Is The Most Reasonable Way Of Evaluating Housing Outcomes? https://housingevidence.ac.uk/publications/ethically-speaking-what-is-the-most-reasonable-way-of-evaluating-housing-outcomes/ “This paper addresses one of the most fundamental, but least considered, questions in housing research: how should we ultimately evaluate housing outcomes? Rejecting the fact vs value dichotomy so dominant in the social sciences, this paper draws on the work of Amartya Sen and Hilary Putnam to critically assess the ethical assumptions behind three commonly adopted “informational spaces” for evaluating housing outcomes: economic, subjective and “objective” metrics.”

Climate change & sustainability

State of the climate: How the world warmed in 2019: https://www.carbonbrief.org/state-of-the-climate-how-the-world-warmed-in-2019 “All of the official climate data for 2019 is now in. In this article, Carbon Brief explains why last year proved to be so remarkable across the planet’s oceans, atmosphere, cryosphere and surface temperature.”

Carbon Clock: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/climate-change-data-green/carbon-clock.html “Scientists have measured the rising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the 1950s. The Bloomberg Carbon Clock is a real-time estimate of the monthly CO2 level.” -  the only real measure of whether we are tackling climate change.

Increase in global emissions of HFC-23 despite near-total expected reductions: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-13899-4 “Under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, new controls are being implemented to reduce emissions of HFC-23 (CHF3), a by-product during the manufacture of HCFC-22 (CHClF2). Starting in 2015, China and India, who dominate global HCFC-22 production (75% in 2017), set out ambitious programs to reduce HFC-23 emissions. Here, we estimate that these measures should have seen global emissions drop by 87% between 2014 and 2017. Instead, atmospheric observations show that emissions have increased and in 2018 were higher than at any point in history (15.9 ± 0.9 Gg yr−1).” – media coverage here: Study finds shock rise in levels of potent greenhouse gas: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/21/study-finds-shock-rise-in-levels-of-potent-greenhouse-gas-hfc-23

Analysis: The climate papers most featured in the media in 2019: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-the-climate-papers-most-featured-in-the-media-in-2019 “Using Altmetric data for 2019, Carbon Brief has compiled its annual list of the 25 most talked-about climate change-related papers that were published the previous year. The infographic above shows which ones made it into the Top 10.”

Wide coverage of the World Economic Forum in Davos;

CCC (Committee on Climate Change) : One fifth of UK farmland must be used to tackle climate change: https://www.carbonbrief.org/ccc-one-fifth-of-uk-farmland-must-be-used-to-tackle-climate-change “An “urgent” overhaul of the UK’s land and agricultural sector will be essential to meet the government’s legally binding net-zero target, says the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in a new report. The government advisors say that with adequate support, nearly two-thirds of emissions from the land sector can be cut by 2050 without hampering UK food production.”

Ashden – blogs, news and opinion: https://www.ashden.org/news-and-events/news-and-opinion A selection of blogs and articles – including the Climate Quiz of 2019 https://www.ashden.org/news/ashdens-climate-quiz-of-2019

Budget Setting In A Climate Emergency: https://neweconomics.org/2020/01/budget-setting-in-a-climate-emergency “Last month Wales became the first nation to put forward a government budget after declaring a climate emergency. Scotland will produce a budget on 6 February, and the UK government in March. We’ve been supporting Wales’ Future Generations Commissioner in their work, and have some insights into the Welsh government’s efforts, and what other administrations can learn from Wales.”

'It’s just not going to happen': Boris Johnson accused of making impossible pledge for climate crisis summit: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-climate-change-summit-glasgow-fossil-fuel-paris-agreement-a9289116.html “Boris Johnson has been accused of making absurd claims about the crucial climate change summit the UK will host this year, after apparently misunderstanding what it can achieve. Green campaigners have reacted with bemusement and alarm after the prime minister pledged to pile pressure on “the whole world” to agree “enforceable limits” on carbon emissions. They say there is no realistic prospect of setting legally-binding CO2 cuts in Glasgow in November, where leaders will instead be urged to beef-up existing voluntary reductions.”

Climate refugees can't be returned home, says landmark UN human rights ruling: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/20/climate-refugees-cant-be-returned-home-says-landmark-un-human-rights-ruling “The judgment – which is the first of its kind – represents a legal “tipping point” and a moment that “opens the doorway” to future protection claims for people whose lives and wellbeing have been threatened due to global heating, experts say. Tens of millions of people are expected to be displaced by global heating in the next decade.”

Weather shows evidence of climate change every single day since 2012: https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/environment-and-conservation/2020/01/weather-shows-evidence-climate-change-every-single-day-2012 “For years, scientists have cautioned that weather can’t tell us about how the climate is changing. That 70-degree day in January? There are a whole pile of reasons that could have happened. Climate change, they’ve said, could be part of the equation, but our statistical techniques haven’t previously been finely enough tuned to pick out the direct influence on weather of human-caused global warming. But those days are over. Climate change has dug in its claws so thoroughly into the planet that its marks can be seen in any single day of global weather since 2012. A 6-year-old child, therefore, has never lived a day without feeling climate change’s influence.”

'The Climate Trail': Survival game pits players against climate catastrophe: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/01/the-climate-trail-survival-game-pits-players-against-climate-catastrophe/ “You’re trapped in a survivor camp in the ruins of Atlanta along with thousands of other climate change refugees, and the only path to relative safety is due north into Canada. You set off with a small band of people, among them Katherine, a former climate scientist; Albert, a hardened Army veteran of the Resource Wars; and Bonnie, whose parents died from the plague when permafrost melted, releasing the disease back into the environment. You provision your group with water, food, and a portable and valued currency, sorghum seeds, and begin an uncertain journey. So begins “The Climate Trail“, a free (and ad-free) video game released this past fall that leaps from the pages of today’s climate change news and into a postapocalyptic future said to lie just a few decades ahead of us. It can be played on iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows.”

'Transformation through transparency': How Microsoft will collaborate to meet its carbon-negative goals: https://www.edie.net/news/6/-Transformation-through-transparency---How-Microsoft-will-collaborate-to-meet-its-carbon-negative-goals/ “As it strives to meet its boldest sustainability target to date - becoming "carbon-negative" by 2030 - Microsoft will need to forge innovative collaborations with businesses across and beyond its supply chain.”

Active travel & transport

This new IKEA store has zero parking spaces: https://www.fastcompany.com/90452815/this-new-ikea-store-has-zero-parking-spaces “A typical Ikea store comes with a sprawling parking lot—in Burbank, California, for example, the lot has room for 1,700 cars. But as the company works to shrink its carbon footprint, including the pollution from customers driving to suburban stores, it’s also rethinking parking. A new seven-store building that will house an Ikea store in central Vienna, now under construction, will have zero parking spaces. “The whole building is geared towards pedestrians, subway and streetcar riders, and cyclists—there is no space for cars,” the company writes in German on a store website.”

Walking to school is not enough to prevent obesity: https://theconversation.com/walking-to-school-is-not-enough-to-prevent-obesity-129857 “More children are overweight or obese nowadays because they don’t get enough exercise, it is often claimed. One of the UK government’s goals in the Childhood Obesity Plan is to increase the number of children who walk to school. Walking is certainly healthy, but is it enough to combat childhood obesity? Our latest study suggests it isn’t.”

Air quality & pollution

Prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons modifies the effects of early life stress on attention and Thought Problems in late childhood: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jcpp.13189 “Prenatal exposure to PAH, a common neurotoxicant in air pollution, may magnify or sustain the effects of early life psychosocial/socioeconomic stress on psychiatric outcomes later in child development. This work highlights the critical role of air pollution exposure on child mental health.”

Malaysia returns 42 containers of 'illegal' plastic waste to UK: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51176312 “Malaysia is returning 42 shipping containers of illegally imported plastic waste to the UK, its environment minister has announced. Yeo Bee Yin said Malaysia would take "steps to ensure" the country "does not become the garbage dump of the world".”

Food & food security

Neural response to fast food commercials in adolescents predicts intake: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/31940031/ “These findings suggest that FF commercials contribute to overeating in adolescents through reward mechanisms. The addition of healthier commercials from FF restaurants is unlikely to encourage healthier food intake, but interventions that reduce the ability of unhealthy FF commercials to capture attention could be beneficial. However, an overall reduction in the amount of FF commercials exposure for adolescents is likely to be the most effective approach.”

Agriculture Bill: here’s what it means for farming and the environment after Brexit: https://theconversation.com/agriculture-bill-heres-what-it-means-for-farming-and-the-environment-after-brexit-130091 “Over the next seven years, farmers will move from the CAP regulations to a new system of environmental land management contracts. These will detail the terms and conditions under which farmers and land managers will receive funding. Subsidies are expected to be paid out from taxpayer funds at the same rate as the EU – about £3 billion a year – to enable landowners to deliver the public goods set out in the UK government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and the Clean Growth Strategy.”

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