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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 24 March 2017

Healthy planning & environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Climate change & sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel & transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air quality & pollution

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

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

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

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

Food & food security

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

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

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

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

WMHPG News, Information and Resources 17 March 2017

Healthy planning & environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Climate change & sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel & transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air quality & pollution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food & food security

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally…

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

WMHPG news, information and resources 3 March 2017

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

News & information

Healthy planning & housing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air quality and pollution

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

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

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

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

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

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

Climate change and sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel and transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food & food security

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

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

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

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

Resources and research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WMHPG news, information and resources 24 February 2017

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

News & information

Healthy environments & healthy planning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Climate change and sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel and transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food and food security

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

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

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

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

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

Air quality and pollution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally….

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

Resources and research

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

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

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

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

-          Projects include

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WMHPG news, information and resources 17 February 2017

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

News & information

Healthy planning & housing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel & transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Climate change & sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food & food security

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

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

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

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

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

Air quality & pollution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources and research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WMHPG news, information and resources 9 February 2017

This information has been marked as: IL0: UNCLASSIFIED

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

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

News & information

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

Comments on Fixing our broken housing market;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Healthy planning & environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel & transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air quality and pollution

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

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

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

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

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

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

Climate change and sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food & food security

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally….

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

Resources and research

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

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

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

Between exposure, access and use: Reconsidering foodscape influences on dietary behaviours: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829216305664We further argue that food outlets continuously experienced within individuals’ daily-path help people re-evaluate food acquisition possibilities, push them to form intentions, and shape their preferences for the choices they will subsequently make.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WMHPG news, information and resources 20 January 2017

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

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

A request:

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

News & information


Healthy environment and planning

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Climate change & sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel & transport

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

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

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

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

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

Air quality & pollution

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

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

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

And finally…

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

Resources and research

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WMHPG news, information and resources 13 January 2017

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

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

News & information

 Healthy environments, housing and planning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel

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

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

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

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

Climate change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air quality and pollution

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally….

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

Resources and research

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

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

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

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

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

WMHPG news, information and resources 6 January 2017

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

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

News & Information

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media coverage of housing & affordable homes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources and research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jo Dodd - 07815 490436
Rajdeep Atwal - 0845 352 7672


Hosted by Sandwell MBC
Freeth Street
West Midlands
B69 3DE


Jo Dodd - 07815 490436

Rajdeep Atwal - 0121 569 5121