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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 4th December 2015

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.


Wrexham Council using software to calculate the environmental benefit of planting trees. The software is ‘i-tree’, which is public domain and free to use. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-east-wales-23841573

The future of strategic transport in the West Midlands. Institution of Civil Engineers conference in Birmingham, 9th December 2015: https://www.ice.org.uk/events/the-future-of-strategic-transport

Energy round-up: who’s responsible. From the New Economics Foundation – there are significant differences in emissions across different incomes, with the more affluent producing more CO2 : http://www.neweconomics.org/blog/entry/energy-round-up-whos-responsible

Assemble: the unfashionable art of making a difference: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/nov/29/assemble-architecture-collective-london-turner-prize . Further coverage here: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/comment/columns/article1638572.ece

These six cities are liberating their streets from the car cult: https://collectively.org/en/article/these-six-cities-are-liberating-their-streets-from-the-car-cult

New York is first U.S. city with salt warning on restaurant menus: http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/11/30/us-new-york-salt-idINKBN0TJ2GV20151130?feedType=RSS&feedName=health

HS2 Birmingham to Crewe link planned to open six years early: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34958154

Council plans to send satellites into space to look for potholes: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/council-plans-send-satellites-space-6928359  and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3339846/Houston-POTHOLE-Council-talks-U-S-space-technology-firm-fly-SATELLITE-roads-looking-damaged-roads-traffic-jams.html

Progress update from the Paris climate change conference: http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/reflections-on-two-days-at-the-paris-climate-talks

Manchester scopes £10m to become ‘smart city’. “Talking bus stops and sensors in parks to encourage people to do more exercise throughout Manchesterhttp://www.localgov.co.uk/Manchester-scopes-10m-to-become-smart-city/39948

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

Resources and research

The Global Observatory for Physical Activity has launched ‘country cards’ which analyse countries levels of physical activity. The four home countries are very good at studying this area but still have low levels of physical activity and low investment in environments that support physical activity. Cards are here: http://www.globalphysicalactivityobservatory.com/card/?country=EN and an interesting blog with other useful links is here: http://www.insallandcoe.co.uk/blog/

Engaging communities in changing the environment to promote transport-related walking: evaluation of route use in the ‘Fitter for Walking’ project. “Engaging communities in making small-scale environmental improvements to key routes in local neighbourhoods may be an effective, low-cost strategy for increasing walking for transport. Increasing the number of people walking on newly improved routes may take a long time and require additional promotional initiatives.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140515006829

A qualitative geographical information systems approach to explore how older people over 70 years interact with and define their neighbourhood environment: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829215001434

Essential evidence on a page no. 140 - How much can active travel contribute to reducing the disease burden?  http://travelwest.info/project/ee-140-how-much-can-active-travel-contribute-to-reducing-the-disease-burden


Urban household travel behavior in a time of economic crisis: Changes in trip making and transit importance: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0966692315001945

Association between the neighbourhood built environment and out of school physical activity and active travel: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829215001240

Healthy urban environments for children and young people: a systematic review of intervention studies: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829215001239there is some evidence of potential health benefits to children and young people from urban environment interventions relating to road safety and active travel, with evidence of promise for a multi-component obesity prevention initiative.”

Poverty, social inclusion and the ability to travel: http://www.poverty.org.uk/75/index.shtml


Trams return to Birmingham after 62 years: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-34979366

Sir David Attenborough: we need to focus on renewable resources: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/paris-climate-change-conference/12025213/Sir-David-Attenborough-we-need-to-focus-on-renewable-resources.html

Lancashire County Council refuses applications for fracking licences, Secretary of State Greg Clarke has announced he will make final decision: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/27/lancashire-fracking-shale-gas-drilling-cuadrilla-greg-clark

David Cameron comes under fire over green cuts. A number of large companies including Tesco and Vodafone have criticised plans to cut green subsidies: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b4dcdef8-9524-11e5-ac15-0f7f7945adba.html#axzz3sxa3jFfW

Paris conference: the old white men and their climate scepticism are finally in retreat: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/paris-climate-change-conference/12024579/Paris-conference-The-old-white-men-and-their-climate-scepticism-are-finally-in-retreat.html

Shell advert: ‘renewables are unreliable, like women’: http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2015/11/27/shell-video-gas-renewables-women/

WMHPG news, information and resources 27 November 2015

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.


These streets are made for walking: how Oklahoma City overturned car culture: http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2015/nov/19/oklahoma-walking-car-culture-pedestrians-cities?CMP=share_btn_tw

The things most likely to kill you: http://uk.businessinsider.com/the-things-most-likely-to-kill-you-in-one-infographic-2015-2?r=US&IR=T

The condition of England’s local roads and how they are funded. Report from RAC foundation, “Spending on local roads in England at lowest level for over a decade”. http://www.racfoundation.org/assets/rac_foundation/content/downloadables/condition_of_englands_local_roads_and_how_they_are_funded_David_Bayliss_November_2015_web_version.pdf . LocalGov coverage here: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Spending-on-local-roads-in-England-at-lowest-level-for-over-a-decade/39893

Plans to privatise the land registry: http://www.neweconomics.org/blog/entry/privatising-the-uk-land-registry-is-not-the-answer

Copenhagen’s bike lane in the sky. They are building a bike lane 65 meters (213 ft) up between two skyscrapers across a waterway. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/11/copenhagen-bike-lane/417141

Bristol ‘poo-bus’ expansion. Bristol’s largest bus operator is bidding for 110 double decker bio-buses for Bristol. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/25/plans-more-poo-powered-buses-bristol-bath

Autumn statement signals further planning reforms: https://portaldirector.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/autumn-statement-signals-further-planning-reforms-and-a-new-target-for-affordable-homes/

Sustrans – the network. “spending review drives UK back to 70s”: http://sustrans-info.org.uk/6EB-3UPLL-612GY4DP79/cr.aspx

Resources and research

Green spaces and cognitive development in children. Another useful evidence summary from the excellent TravelWest site via Adrian Davies: http://travelwest.info/essentialevidence/children

Transport: a roadblock to climate change mitigation?: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/350/6263/911.full

Indicators for Sustainable Cities: In depth report. From the European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/indicators_for_sustainable_cities_IR12_en.pdf

Mapping the effects of parking minimums: “What makes surface parking so destructive is that it consumes a finite resource with virtually no direct financial benefit.”http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2015/11/18/mapping-the-effects-of-parking-minimums

Home value and commute cost tradeoffs: commuting cost and housing cost ratio. From Canada but interesting modelling: http://censusmapper.ca/maps/111

University of Bristol’s Helen Manchester talks about age-friendly cities: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-28nSMQZ8w&feature=youtu.be&a


South Gloucestershire Council to grit commuter cycle routes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-34894385

London Mayor candidate would scrap all London bus lanes: http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2015/11/20/zac-goldsmith-would-scrap-all-london-s-bus-lanes

MPs call for diesel cars scrappage scheme: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/20/mps-call-for-diesel-cars-scrappage-scheme-to-tackle-air-pollution

Most of Britain’s major cities pledge to run on green energy by 2050: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/23/britain-cities-green-energy-pledge-2050-climate-change-paris-talks

Spending review: transport capital spending ‘up 50%’: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34920780

What’s many times more deadly than terrorism? Britain’s roads: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/25/deadly-terrorism-britain-roads-security-risk?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Year of Paris climate talks is likely to be the hottest on record: http://www.nature.com/news/year-of-paris-climate-talks-is-likely-to-be-the-hottest-on-record-1.18882?WT.mc_id=TWT_NatureNews

Renewable energy: many green power plants planned for UK ‘will not be built’: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/renewable-energy-many-green-power-plants-planned-for-uk-will-not-be-built-a6750586.html

WMHPG news, information and resources 20 November 2015

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.


Traffic calming measures – Britain’s death rate from transport accidents is now the lowest in the world: http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21678249-traffic-calming-measures?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/trafficcalmingmeasures&utm_content=buffer43655&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Direct Planning Bill 2015-16: A bill to make provision about direct planning pilot schemes: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2015-16/directplanningpilot.html

Autonomous cars and ethics. An interesting blog piece looking at the ethical issues raised by autonomous cars: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/autonomous-cars-and-ethics/

Latest ‘Food Thinkers’ talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9h5juKN_bqM

Sandwell School wins active travel award: http://www.centro.org.uk/about-us/news/2015/sandwell-school-stars-in-modeshift-scheme-%281%29/

Climate change and health – project in Bristol. A major project that will combine latest methods in economic valuation and systems modelling to estimate the potential risk from a changing climate and extreme weather to people’s health across the city, then explore the strategic level response to that evidence and opportunities for minimising those costs. http://www.db-associates.co.uk/news.html

MPs want more spent on cycling: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/news/mps-want-more-spent-cycling?utm

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

Resources and research

Greenhouse gas concentrations hit yet another record. From the World Meteorological Organization: https://www.wmo.int/media/content/greenhouse-gas-concentrations-hit-yet-another-record

Impact of new transport infrastructure on walking, cycling and physical activity: http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797%2815%2900622-4/abstract

Designing neighbourhoods for health, well-being and social inclusion: http://www.bristolhealthpartners.org.uk/latest-news/2015/11/11/designing-neighbourhoods-for-health-well-being-and-social-inclusion/458

2015 Parliamentary Constituency Road Safety Dashboard. “reveals how the casualty rate (by population) varies across the parliamentary constituencies in Great Britain.” http://www.pacts.org.uk/DASHBOARD/

Community resilience to climate change: an evidence review: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/community-resilience-climate-change

Happy City website. “The way we design buildings, neighbourhoods and cities has a profound effect on health and happiness. We draw on a decade of research to make sense of that relationship. We offer evidence and examples to inspire designers, decision-makers and city-dwellers to embrace happy design. And we empower them to take action.” http://thehappycity.com/what-we-do/

Provisional road traffic estimates October 2014 to September 2015: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/provisional-road-traffic-estimates-great-britain-october-2014-to-september-2015

‘A Bumpy Ride’ the funding and economics of highways maintenance on local roads in the English City Regions: http://www.pteg.net/system/files/general-docs/pteg%20Report%20Economics%20of%20Highways%20Maintenance%20_A%20Bumpy%20Ride_FINAL.pdf


CTC concern over coroner’s inquest into cyclist death: http://www.ctc.org.uk/news/20151113-lorry-driver-expected-cyclist-road-says-coroner

Helmets, excuses, irrelevant facts and blame deflection: http://www.ctc.org.uk/blog/duncandollimore/helmet#.VkYIksY8F7E.twitter

WMHPG news, information and resources 6 November 2015

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.


Oslo invests $0.5bn on bicycle infrastructure: http://www.spacescape.se/oslo-invests-05-bn-usd-on-bicycle-infrastructure/

Developer urges women-friendly city planning: http://ht.ly/U7bHWc

“Over-crowded, dirty and expensive” – but young people still prefer city-centre living: http://www.centreforcities.org/press/over-crowded-dirty-and-expensive-but-young-people-still-prefer-city-centre-living/

Sustrans update, including the results of the biggest ever survey on bike life in the UK: http://sustrans-info.org.uk/6EB-3R5U5-612GY4DP79/cr.aspx?v=0

Public Consultation on the Dudley Area Action Plan (Publication Stage) Development Plan Document (6th November to 18th December 2015): Dudley Council has prepared a final draft Area Action Plan (AAP) (Publication Stage) which sets out a vision, objectives and detailed spatial strategy for future development in Dudley Town Centre up to 2026, including development opportunity sites to stimulate regeneration. The document is informed by, and a culmination of, the previous 2014 'Issues and Options' stage and 2015 ‘Preferred Options’ consultation. The Dudley AAP (Publication Stage) document (November 2015) is Dudley Council’s final draft and once adopted it will be used as a basis from which to assess planning applications. There is a final opportunity for key stakeholders and the public to make representations on the documents ‘legal compliance’ and ‘soundness’ during the consultation period which runs from 6th November to 18th December 2015. The representation form is available to download on the Council’s website. To assist in making representations, a guidance note on how to make comments can also be downloaded.  www.dudley.gov.uk/resident/planning/planning-policy/local-development-framework/dudley-aap/

Resources and research

WHO report – Reducing global health risks through mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants. “Highlights the urgent need to reduce emissions of black carbon, ozone and methane - as well as carbon dioxide – which all contribute to climate change. Black carbon, ozone and methane – frequently described as short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) - not only produce a strong global warming effect, they contribute significantly to the more than 7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution”. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/reducing-climate-pollutants/en/

A brief guide to the benefits of urban green spaces.” In collaboration with the United Bank of Carbon, and the Sustainable Cities Group at the University of Leeds, LEAF researchers have produced a report summarising the latest research on the impact of green spaces in urban areas.” http://leaf.leeds.ac.uk/a-brief-guide-to-the-benefits-of-urban-green-spaces/

Walk Score and Australian adults’ home-based walking for transport: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829215001021

The role of bluespaces in experiencing place, ageing and wellbeing: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829214001464

The role of natural environments within women’s everyday health and wellbeing in Copenhagen, Denmark: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S135382921400166X

Exploring the forest instead of the trees: an innovative method for designing obesogenic and obesoprotective environments: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829215001112

Predicting urban design effects on physical activity and public health: a case study: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829215001070

District level heating could help achieve EU 2020 energy efficiency goals: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/district_level_heating_could_help_achieve_eu_2020_energy_efficiency_goals_434na1_en.pdf


Tens of thousands of new homes in greenfield areas to get automatic planning permission: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/greenpolitics/planning/11968830/Tens-of-thousands-of-new-homes-in-greenfield-areas-to-get-automatic-planning-permission.html

Cycling likely to suffer in government spending review: http://road.cc/content/news/170222-cycling-likely-suffer-government-spending-review

Schools shut under a cloud of diesel: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/cleanaircampaign/article1574556.ece

Council leaders call for freedom on planning fees: http://www.theguardian.com/local-government-network/2012/aug/10/local-council-planning-fees-freedom

WMHPG news, information & resources 26 June 2015

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.


Public attitudes towards electric vehicles: February 2015.https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/public-attitudes-towards-electric-vehicles-february-2015

From MADE, Building Birmingham Scholarship – an amazing opportunity for young people: http://www.made.org.uk/news/view/building_birmingham_scholarship_-_an_amazing_opportunity_for_young_people/

From the Equality Trust: Taken for a Ride- How Public Transport Subsidies Entrench Inequality: http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/taken-ride-how-uk-public-transport-subsidies-entrench-inequality

Food, environment and health – a blog about food decisions & sustainability from Harvard School of Public Health:http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2015/06/12/talking-sustainability-with-dr-gary-adamkiewicz-part-1

EU on track to meet 20% renewable energy target: https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/news/eu-track-meeting-20-renewable-energy-target

How animal agriculture is draining the world of biodiversity: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/how-animal-agriculture-is-draining-the-world-of-biodiversity/

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

Resources and research

Associations of road traffic noise with mortality and hospital admissions in London: “This is the largest study to date to investigate environmental noise and cardiovascular disease. It suggests that road traffic noise is associated with small increased risks of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease.” http://www.conforg.fr/euronoise2015/output_directory/data/articles/000569.pdf

Guardian coverage here: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/24/noisy-roads-linked-to-higher-stroke-risk

Dutch cycling: quantifying the health and related economic benefits: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2015.302724?journalCode=ajph&

LGA cycling and walking survey 2015: http://www.local.gov.uk/documents/10180/49932/Cycling+and+walking+survey_Final_Report/9128fde7-1c10-4337-9784-a2f23a4a4139

Environmental determinants of public health in Scotland (EDPHiS): http://www.publichealthbydesign.com/edphis

Correlates of Total Sedentary Time and Screen Time in 9–11 Year-Old Children around the World: The International Study of Childhood Obesity, Lifestyle and the Environment: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0129622

Bikeshare’s impact on active travel: evidence from the United States, Great Britain & Australia: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140515000195

Meeting global air quality guidelines could prevent 2.1 million deaths per year: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.5b01236  Science Daily article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150616071708.htm .

Individual and social costs of car travel more than six times those of cycling: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/transport_transitions_in_copenhagen_418na1_en.pdf . Original paper (£): http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800915000907

The role of conspicuity in preventing bicycle crashes involving a motor vehicle: http://eurpub.oxfordjournals.org/content/25/3/517

Mental health and houses of multiple occupation: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/JPMH-11-2013-0070


Step forward for walking and cycling as Government strategy gets the go ahead: www.sustrans.org.uk/news/step-forward-walking-and-cycling-government-strategy-gets-go-ahead?utm

People don’t just need social housing, they need green spaces close by: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/23/social-housing-green-spaces-health-benefits

Fracking – is it too late to stop a free for all? http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/23/osborne-fracking-climate-change-democracy-twisted

Ending onshore wind farm subsidies “will save hundreds of millions of pounds” – 250 proposed wind farms are now unlikely to be built. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/windpower/11692535/Ending-onshore-wind-farm-subsidies-will-save-hundreds-of-millions-of-pounds.html

Middle class problems: we all know that we should leave the car at home… but it’s so hard to stop: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/middle-class-problems-we-all-know-that-we-should-leave-the-car-at-home--but-its-so-hard-to-stop-driving-10316537.html

Conflicting speed limit signs on opposite sides of same street leave drivers scratching their heads: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/conflicting-speed-limit-signs-opposite-5930202

Watchdog slams government efforts to free up land for homes: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Watchdog-slams-Government-efforts-to-free-up-land-for-homes/38918 . National Audit Office report here: http://www.nao.org.uk/report/disposal-of-public-land-for-new-homes/

From India - a novel protest about a large pothole – put a crocodile in it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-33227127

WMHPG news, information and resources 7th November 2014

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.


Speed cameras saved 71 lives over past 3 years. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/speed-cameras-saved-71-lives-over-past-three-years-1.1919551 . Interesting point at the end that the fines received only covered half the running costs - safety cameras are not about income generation.

And now for something a little different….  How Bas Princen explains architecture in images. http://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/photography/articles/2014/october/30/how-bas-princen-explains-architecture-in-images/

Addressing transport poverty - another thought provoking article on The Conversation website. The author is from the sustainable places research institute at Cardiff University. http://theconversation.com/address-transport-poverty-before-the-uk-gets-stuck-in-a-two-lane-society-33872

A wider review of transport and health: http://theconversation.com/is-modern-transport-making-war-on-the-human-body-10335

Good cycling facility of the week: http://www.cycling-embassy.org.uk/photos/good-cycling-facility-of-the-week/good-cycling-facility-of-the-week-6th-november-2014


Resources and research

The Prosocial Place Programme brings together psychology and the built environment. A partnership based with Liverpool University - "PPP brings together  an interdisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners in a collaboration to develop an appropriate evidence base to inform policy and best practice in community health care provision and urban planning." https://www.liv.ac.uk/psychology-health-and-society/research/psychosis/projects/   and also at https://sites.google.com/site/prosocialplace/home/

The British Standards Institute has published Smart Cities: guide to the role of the planning and development process. You can download a free copy here; http://shop.bsigroup.com/forms/PASs/PD8101-2014/


Lords debate infrastructure bill amendment seeking funding for walking and cycling. http://road.cc/content/news/134527-lords-debate-infrastructure-bill-amendment-seeking-funding-cycling-and-walking

Worlds first solar cycle lane opening in the Netherlands: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/05/worlds-first-solar-cycle-lane-opening-in-the-netherlands

From LGiU

Fixed speed cameras return

Fixed speed cameras are being reintroduced in areas where they were dropped, according to the Telegraph. Officials in Bristol, Somerset and Gloucestershire are planning to bring back the cameras into use, and David Jamieson, the new police and crime commissioner in the West Midlands, has pledged to reintroduce them. Motoring groups said other councils that had depleted or closed their fixed camera networks could follow suit because cuts to transport police forces had left them with few other options for enforcing road laws.

Mixed messages on recycling

The Times’ Charles Clover comments on the confusion over recycling in different areas of England. He points out that recycling rates in England have dropped to 43.2% and are in danger of dropping further. He explains that householders are unsure about what can and cannot be recycled, while families are also cynical about whether recyclables are actually recycled. Mr Clover also notes that rates in Scotland and Wales have improved, because of a clear and standardised best practice for recycling schemes.  

Glow worms come first

Part of a new cycle path lighting scheme in Gloucestershire is to be switched off for five months – because it disrupts the nocturnal activities of glow worms. The LED bulbs are so bright they outshine females at mating time and male insects do not spot them. South Gloucestershire Council said that as a result it will turn off lights at Mangotsfield, between Bath and Bristol.

Britons unaware of flood risk

A report from the National Audit Office has claimed that thousands of households have not been told that they face a greater threat of flooding because of cuts in flood defence spending. The Environment Agency has failed to inform people of the heightened risk because of a cut in spending. Half of flood defences - 1,356 schemes - are being maintained to a "minimal level" increasing the flood risk, the report adds. "As maintenance in some areas is further deprioritised, there is likely to be a significant effect in future."

Threat to rural England is "unsustainable"

Sir Simon Jenkins, the outgoing head of the National Trust, has said that voters in rural England are turning to UKIP because it is the only party that has woken up to the threat to the countryside from developers. He pointed out that the National Trust was being "overwhelmed" with requests from communities to help fight divisive planning applications.

Conversion policy is "utterly crazy"

Boris Johnson has called the Government policy to turn offices into housing without planning permission "utterly crazy" and "totally wrong". The Mayor said: "London desperately needs more residential property, of course we know that... but what we cannot afford to do is void our economic centres of space where firms can start up. I think it's utterly crazy."

Safety ratings for roads

The roads minister Robert Goodwill has announced that Britain’s roads could be given official “star ratings” for safety to help drivers avoid the most dangerous routes and put the spotlight on local authorities with the worst records. Mr Goodwill said he was keen to pursue the plans and emphasised the positive impact star systems for vehicles and roads have had on the safety of drivers around the world.

Councils should get bus powers

Mary Creagh, the former Shadow Transport Secretary, has said that councils should be handed powers to control bus services, as figures show there have been 1,300 cuts to routes since 2010. Ms Creagh said that passenger numbers outside London have fallen and bus fares have risen faster than wages.

WMHPG News, Information and Resources 30 May 2014

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.


From LGiU

HS2 runs serious failure risk

The £50bn HS2 rail project has been given an 'amber-red' warning by the Government’s Major Projects Authority, meaning it runs a 'serious risk' of failing. Concerns focus: on spiralling costs; the environmental impact; compensation; and how much the North will benefit economically.

Boardman: Encourage cycling to boost high streets

Chris Boardman, the former Olympic cycling champion and policy adviser to British Cycling, is pushing for fewer parking spaces and more pedestrianised zones, cycle lanes and bike racks to improve the prospects of struggling high street retailers. British Cycling said: "Evaluations of pedestrian improvements in Coventry and Bristol show a 25% increase in footfall on Saturdays and predict £1.4m in benefits respectively."  

LLRG seeks more equitable system of land ownership

The Land Reform Review Group (LRRG), which offers advice to the Scottish Government, has suggested that a legal limit should be placed on the amount of land that can be held by individuals or companies, in an attempt to ensure a fairer and more equitable system of ownership. It also calls for local authorities to have the right to exercise a compulsory sale order over vacant or derelict land, and for community councils or other local groups to be able to ask the council to do this.

Recycling target drive

Defra has issued instructions for councils indicating that separate collections of paper, metal, plastic and glass will be required in order to meet recycling targets set by Brussels. A spokesman for Defra said: “We are working to ensure we meet an EU target to recycle 50% of household waste.”

Green belt not the solution

A series of letters in The Observer contradict recent claims from Helen Lewis that the solution to the housing shortage is to build on green belt land. Ian Hankinson, of Hankinson Associates Urban Renewal Consultancy, says that the answer to her dilemma is in the middle of towns through housebuilding by housing associations, co-operatives and self-building.

Dorset coastal wind farm opposed

Unesco has threatened to withdraw the Jurassic Coast’s World Heritage Status in response to Navitus Bay’s plans to build 200 offshore wind turbines. Unesco says the £3.5bn development will ‘dominate’ the area and change the seascape forever. Bournemouth Council's head of tourism Mark Smith said: “We're very concerned. If the figures that Navitus is using are right, it would devastate tourism and result in massive unemployment.”

Factories should be central

The pottery designer Emma Bridgewater has declared that factories should be built in the middle of towns and cities to make them a valuable part of the community once again. She said that young people would never be persuaded to go into manufacturing and the industry would never be revived if factories stay hidden on industrial estates.

Peer wins judicial review of development plan

Lord Hart of Chilton has won a judicial review of a decision to build warehouses nearby his 16th century home, because the proposed development would ruin his view. Business leaders have backed the plans to create new office space close to the Lord’s land, arguing it could create up to 500 jobs in the area. Proposals for two new warehouses, offices and service yard were passed last September by the local council. But Lord Hart, a former planning solicitor at Herbert Smith Freehills, moved to block the plans, claiming the new buildings will spoil the view from his walled garden. A spokesman for Babergh Council said: "We are aware that permission has been granted for a judicial review into the decision to approve the building of two industrial buildings on the site. Babergh considers that its decision to grant planning permission for the Prolog development has been lawful and we will defend our decision robustly."

Croydon rejects easyFoodstore plans

Croydon Council has rejected a proposal by easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou to open a budget supermarket in the area. The businessman had proposed an easyFoodstore for the suburb that would stock low-cost foods and household essentials. The council has approved plans to house an easyHotel and offices opposite East Croydon station, but will not make an exception to its rules to allow the supermarket to open.

Local.gov - developers will struggle to build enough houses. http://www.localgov.co.uk/Developers-will-struggle-to-plug-housing-hole-poll-finds/36374

Via the Centro round up (contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be added to the distribution list).

Birmingham's Sky Ride off this year http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-27606979

What is an 'obesogenic' environment? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-27601593


Car-sharing scheme car2go to withdraw from the UK - they were providing the service in Birmingham http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-27546644



The Government has published the Action for Roads command paper. This sets out proposals for roads policy to 2021. Health is mentioned twice in the 80 page document - once in a section on 'A Network for Walkers and Cyclists" and once to say that joining up land use planning and transport should ensure that local roads include sustainable transport measures to encourage walking and cycling. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/212590/action-for-roads.pdf

An innovative solution - or a solution looking for a problem to solve? - Solar Roadways - "The concept is to build roads out of hexagonal plates of transparent hard material (tempered glass) with built in solar panels. You can also incorporate heating elements and LED lights. Buried alongside such roads could be a new energy grid, for transporting all that solar generated electricity." http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/solar-freakin-roadways/

Information requests

Nothing this week.

Resources and research

Highly recommended - The Healthy Places website - a website and a network focused on wellbeing in local environments and the impact of the built environment on health. An excellent resource - many useful case studies and resources. Core themes are access to healthy food, alcohol control, active travel, healthy housing & promoting active communities. You can also register for free and join the Healthy Places network. http://www.healthyplaces.org.uk/

Via the Centro round up

Parking, mobility and retail: an uneasy relationship - an interesting presentation. http://www.polisnetwork.eu/uploads/Modules/PublicDocuments/parking-and-urban-mobility-an-uneasy-relationship.pdf

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Freeth Street
West Midlands
B69 3DE


Jo Dodd - 07815 490436

Rajdeep Atwal - 0121 569 5121