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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 26 July 2019

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

The Government has published a public health green paper for consultation – green paper below with some of the early analysis.

The UK Public Health Register is recruiting three lay members for their Registration Approvals Committee. A lay member is someone who is not registered with the UKHPR as a practitioner or specialist.

The Registration Approvals Committee has the duty of granting or refusing admission to the UK Public Health Register for those who have completed the registration process and re-registering/revalidating registrants (both practitioner and specialist). As a new member of UKPHR’s Registration Approvals Committee you will receive induction and you will receive appropriate training. Service on the Registration Approvals Committee is unpaid but reasonable expenses will be reimbursed.Committee members are appointed by the Board on the recommendation of a selection panel, initially for a period of three years, with an option for a further term or terms by mutual consent. Eligibility criteria:

  • Sound judgement and a good understanding of, or a willingness to acquire a good understanding of, the competencies required of public health specialists and of public health practitioners and the assessment of those competencies;
  • An ability to exercise critical, analytical thinking when making judgements involving facts and situations;
  • Personal commitment to equality and diversity;
  • Knowledge and/or experience of regulatory processes;
  • Knowledge and application of data protection legislation and rules relating to confidentiality.

Meetings are monthly and are via teleconference / skype. If you are interested or would like more information please contact David Kidney (Chief Executive) – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sustainable development goals

Wellbeing As Economic Steer — New Zealand Leading The Pack (Again)? https://neweconomics.org/2019/07/wellbeing-as-economic-steer-new-zealand-leading-the-pack-again “...While this is welcome progress from our national statisticians, economic policymakers in the UK remain preoccupied with the ​‘traditional’ measures of GDP growth and stable inflation. Therefore it is not surprising that New Zealand’s recent well-being budget, aiming to shift focus away from GDP onto five priority areas of social and economic development, has attracted considerable attention. Could it signal the start of a paradigm shift that could eventually reach our shores?”

New alliance formed to tackle Health Inequalities in the North of England: http://www.thenhsa.co.uk/2019/07/new-alliance-formed-to-tackle-health-inequalities-in-the-north-of-england/ “LEADING health experts across the North have today joined together as a response to worsening health inequalities between the North and the rest of England showing over half of the North has a lower life expectancy than the worst area in the South.”

Healthy planning & environment

Event – Healthy City Design Congress, 14-15 October, London: https://healthycitydesign2019.salus.global/conference-show/healthy-city-design-2019 “We are excited to announce the launch of the Preliminary Programme for the 3rd Healthy City Design (HCD) 2019 International Congress, to be held on 14-15 October in London.” The Health in Planning Network is holding it’s inaugural meeting in a lunchtime workshop on the 15th – “Taking action towards trans-disciplinary partnership working for planning inclusive and healthy places”

Green spaces in residential gardens: https://datasciencecampus.ons.gov.uk/projects/green-spaces-in-residential-gardens/ “The initial results obtained using this approach estimate that 62% of garden space in Great Britain is vegetation. Data sampled from Cardiff and Bristol suggest that residential gardens in these areas contain approximately 54% and 45% vegetation respectively.”

Lifting the curtain on PDR: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/blog/lifting-the-curtain-on-pdr (permitted development rights) “By deregulating the planning system up to 100,000 homes have been created across England. But this has come at a cost. Our work shows that permitted development, which allows developers to bypass planning permission to convert offices into housing, is having negative consequences on people's health, the delivery of affordable homes and the economy.”

Nature - Top 50: Earth and Planetary Sciences: https://www.nature.com/collections/ebbeeieefe “We are pleased to share with you the 50 most read Nature Communications Earth and planetary sciences articles* published in 2018. Featuring authors from around the world, these papers highlight valuable research from an international community.“

WHIASU Training and Capacity Building Framework for Health Impact Assessment published: https://whiasu.publichealthnetwork.cymru/en/news/whiasu-training-and-capacity-building-framework-health-impact-assessment-published/ “The Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit have published a framework for training and capacity building in HIA this week. The technical report sets out an underpinning framework for the WHIASU’s approach to the design, development, delivery and evaluation of training and capacity building for HIA over the next five years.”

Designing Sustainable Cities: What About the People? https://www.wri.org/events/2019/02/designing-sustainable-cities-what-about-people “Can urban planning and design make cities more resilient? WRI’s Robin King and University of Oxford’s Cathy Baldwin as they answer this question, which they addressed in their new book, Social Sustainability, Climate Resilience and Community-Based Urban Development: What About the People?”

Charitable Giving To Parks And Green Spaces: Summary Findings: http://cdn.roxhillmedia.com/production/email/attachment/750001_760000/Charitable%20Giving%20to%20Parks%20and%20Green%20Spaces%20-%20Summary%20Findings.pdf “Public parks are vital features of our cities that provide numerous benefits for people, communities and the environment. Given the scale of fiscal constraint on local council budgets and at a time when the future of public parks in the

UK is at a critical juncture, what role can and should charitable giving play in sustaining and revitalising parks? This research explored public and business attitudes to charitable giving to parks and green spaces in Leeds, UK.”

What is known about the mysterious disappearance of insects: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/07/what-is-known-about-the-mysterious-disappearance-of-insects/ “Are there really fewer insects than there used to be? Yes, in fact – a lot fewer. Is this drop-off an effect of a warming globe? Partly. We might call it one of the ways in which climate change is a threat multiplier – shifts in temperatures, rainfall, and drought increase the damage caused, for instance, by habitat loss and pesticides.”

Weeding, writing and arithmetic… why green fingers are good for our children: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/21/britain-failing-to-teach-new-generation-of-gardeners-skills-crisis “Almost a third of all visits to the UK include a trip to a garden or park, and the horticulture industry, which supports approximately 570,000 jobs, is worth £24bn a year to the British economy. But Biggs says that teachers and parents in the UK do not value gardening as they should and young people don’t see it as “cool”.”

Bears and wolves to coexist in UK woods for first time in 1,000 years: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/16/bears-and-wolves-to-coexist-in-uk-woods-in-conservation-project “European brown bears, thought to have become extinct in the British wilds in medieval times, and grey wolves – which roamed free until the 17th century – are to coexist in a project called Bear Wood near Bristol. The idea of the scheme – which is part of Bristol Zoological Society’s Wild Place Project – is to give visitors a glimpse into life in the woods and forests that used to cover much of the UK. It is also intended to initiate a debate about rewilding schemes, which could reintroduce animals such as lynxes – and perhaps wolves and bears.”


Housing health and safety standards in the PRS being modernised: https://www.propertywire.com/news/uk/housing-health-and-safety-standards-in-the-prs-being-modernised/ “The Housing Health Safety Rating System (HHSRS) used to assess health and safety in residential properties it to be reformed to make it more accessible for landlords and tenants. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said the system will be simpler, making it easier for the sector to understand the hazards that could put tenants’ health at risk. Action can be taken against landlords if they do not meet the standards and the changes are a result of a consultation that looked at three options. The result is that the HHSRS will be improved, clarified, and modernised and correct what has been perceived as a disconnect between the HHSRS and other legislative standards. The standards will be enforced by local authorities.”

Getting Rents Under Control: How To Make London Rents Affordable: https://neweconomics.org/2019/07/rent-control?mc_cid=cffdc0e1e1&mc_eid=a15a43d447 “Since 2010, average private rents in London have risen more than three times as fast as average earnings, and in 2015/​16 around a quarter of privately renting households in the capital spent over half of their income on rent. Affordability is far worse in London than the rest of the country, with the average private rent for a one-bedroom home in the capital now more than the average for a three-bedroom home in every other English region.”

Ross Kemp wants to change how we count rough sleepers in the UK: https://www.bigissue.com/latest/ross-kemp-wants-to-change-how-we-count-rough-sleepers-in-the-uk “Ross Kemp has been to warzones and infiltrated gangs but now he has turned his attention to homelessness as he seeks to uncover the UK issues that have been “stuffed under the carpet”. Homelessness is just one of the four subjects that Kemp will be tackling with his new documentary series and he told The Big Issue in this week’s magazine that it is time to revolutionise how we count rough sleepers.”

A Living Countryside: Responding to the challenges of providing affordable rural housing: https://www.cpre.org.uk/resources/housing-and-planning/housing/item/4009-a-living-countryside “The fifth paper in CPRE Housing Foresight series identifies a range of solutions to increase and sustain affordable housing in rural areas. These include better funding and guidance, incentives to identify suitable sites, and rural exemptions from national policies which restrict rural affordable housing.”

Climate change & sustainability

The aberrant global synchrony of present-day warming: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02179-2 “Were extended warm or cold periods in the past worldwide, or only regional? Efforts to reconstruct Earth’s climate history suggest that the near-global extent of ongoing warming is unparalleled over the past 2,000 years.”

Detection of a climate change signal in extreme heat, heat stress and cold in Europe from observations: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019GL082062 “In the last two decades Europe experienced a series of high‐impact heat extremes. We here assess observed trends in temperature extremes at ECA&D stations in Europe. We demonstrate that on average across Europe the number of days with extreme heat and heat stress has more than tripled and hot extremes have warmed by 2.3°C from 1950‐2018. Over Central Europe, the warming exceeds the corresponding summer mean warming by 50%. Days with extreme cold temperatures have decreased by a factor of 2‐3 and warmed by more than 3°C, regionally substantially more than winter mean temperatures.”

Carbon stocks in central African forests enhanced by elephant disturbance: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0395-6 “We find that the reduction of forest stem density due to the presence of elephants leads to changes in the competition for light, water and space among trees. These changes favour the emergence of fewer and larger trees with higher wood density. Such a shift in African’s rainforest structure and species composition increases the long-term equilibrium of aboveground biomass.”

Guest post: A new approach for understanding the remaining carbon budget: https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-a-new-approach-for-understanding-the-remaining-carbon-budget “In our new study, published in Nature, we now show how the estimates from early carbon budget studies can be reconciled – and how carbon budget nuances can be understood to inform the climate action required by the Paris Agreement.”

Information is Beautiful – How Do We Get to Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions: https://informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/how-to-reduce-the-worlds-carbon-footprint-by-2050/ Excellent and comprehensive infographic showing what is needed to achieve zero emissions – covering energy, industry, buildings, transport, land & other sectors.

Direct CO2 capture machines could use ‘a quarter of global energy’ in 2100: https://www.carbonbrief.org/direct-co2-capture-machines-could-use-quarter-global-energy-in-2100/ “Machines that suck CO2 directly from the air could cut the cost of meeting global climate goals, a new study finds, but they would need as much as a quarter of global energy supplies in 2100.”

UK energy-saving efforts collapse after government subsidy cuts: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/18/uk-energy-saving-efforts-collapse-after-government-slashes-subsidies “Efforts to end fuel poverty and energy waste by making the UK’s draughty homes more efficient have collapsed by almost 85%, according to new government data. The report, published on Thursday, shows that the number of energy efficiency upgrades undertaken each month has fallen to 10,000 on average for the six months to the end of May. This compares with an average of 65,000 a month in 2014.”

Could we use sand or concrete as batteries? https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/07/could-we-use-sand-or-concrete-as-batteries/ “Building on its existing technologies, Echogen is developing a new system to convert electrical energy into heat, and then transfer that heat into large silos of sand or blocks of concrete.”

How melting plastic waste could heat homes: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/20/how-plastic-waste-could-heat-homes “Researchers at the University of Chester have found a way to use dirty plastic waste to produce hydrogen, which can heat homes and fuel cars without producing greenhouse gas emissions. The process uses a glass kiln, heated to 1,000C, to instantly break down unrecyclable plastic to release a mix of gases including hydrogen. The technology will be used commercially for the first time at a plant near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire later this year after a pair of “waste-energy” companies agreed to invest.”

MPs launch inquiry into sustainable tourism: https://transform.iema.net/article/mps-launch-inquiry-sustainable-tourism “The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) will investigate how the UK can take more responsibility for waste management and habitat, species, community and cultural impacts abroad. It will also research how offering sustainable travel choices might help the country meet its net zero emission targets, and whether there is a role for offsets in sustainable tourism.”

UK police say they will prevent repeat of climate-change protest chaos: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-climatechange/uk-police-say-they-will-prevent-repeat-of-climate-change-protest-chaos-idUSKCN1UD1LB “Climate activists Extinction Rebellion will not be allowed to repeat the kind of disruption they caused in London earlier this year when they hold fresh demonstrations in October, police said on Thursday.”

Revealed: UK Companies Opening Overseas Carbon Credit Accounts in Preparation for No-Deal Brexit: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/07/15/revealed-uk-companies-opening-overseas-carbon-credit-accounts-preparation-no-deal-brexit “At least 35 companies have filed for EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) accounts in the Netherlands in recent months. Without these accounts, companies potentially face having millions of pounds’ worth of tradable carbon credits locked in the UK in the case of a no-deal Brexit, preventing companies from selling the permits. The new accounts brings the number of offshore carbon credit accounts traced by DeSmog up to 69.”

Funds managing $2 trillion urge cement makers to act on climate impact: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-cement-idUKKCN1UG0RU “European funds managing $2 trillion in assets called on cement companies to slash their greenhouse gas emissions on Monday, warning that a failure to do so could put their business models at risk.”

Active travel & transport

Walking and Cycling portrayed negatively in over 60% of media articles: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/news/2019/june/walking-and-cycling-portrayed-negatively-in-over-60-of-media-articles/ “New research by Sustrans Scotland has revealed that despite well-documented health and environmental benefits, active travel continues to be portrayed in the media as risky and unsafe.”

National Cycle Network paths launched on OS Maps: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/news/2019/july/national-cycle-network-paths-launched-on-os-maps “Our new partnership with the mapping experts Ordnance Survey (OS) will help more people to discover and access the Network. We have joined forces to provide detailed, user-friendly and accurate information on the Network’s 16,575-miles of traffic-free and quiet on-road cycling and walking routes spanning the whole of the UK. This information will be available as a free layer on the OS Maps website and will help more people to discover routes in their local area and plan weekend trips away.”

Brake – Vision for Safe and Healthy Mobility: http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/images/campaigns/Brakes-Vision-for-Safe-and-Healthy-Mobility.pdf “There is a preventable epidemic on our roads, killing our next generation and causing life-long disabilities such as paralysis, serious head injury and amputation. Road crashes are the biggest global killer of people aged 5 to 29; 1.35 million deaths a year.”

Air quality & pollution

NICE guideline for consultation – Indoor Air Quality at Home: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/indevelopment/gid-ng10022 - draft guidelines here: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/GID-NG10022/documents/draft-guideline “This guideline covers indoor air quality in residential buildings. It explains how to reduce indoor air pollution. Strategies include controlling indoor pollution sources, ensuring good ventilation and achieving effective property maintenance. It also includes raising awareness of the importance of good air quality in people's homes and how to achieve this.”

Air pollution linked to increase in newborn intensive care admissions: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190719135534.htm “Infants born to women exposed to high levels of air pollution in the week before delivery are more likely to be admitted to a newborn intensive care unit (NICU), suggests a new analysis.”

E.P.A. Won’t Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children’s Health Problems: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/18/climate/epa-chlorpyrifos-pesticide-ban.html “The Trump administration took a major step to weaken the regulation of toxic chemicals on Thursday when the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would not ban a widely used pesticide that its own experts have linked to serious health problems in children.”

Cigarette butts are the forgotten plastic pollution – and they could be killing our plants: https://theconversation.com/cigarette-butts-are-the-forgotten-plastic-pollution-and-they-could-be-killing-our-plants-119958 “Cigarette butts or filters are the most littered item on the planet. An estimated 5.6 trillion cigarettes are smoked each year, out of which two thirds are improperly disposed of. That’s [4.5 trillion butts] each year. Since the 1980s, cigarette butts have accounted for 30% to 40% of all litter found in coastal and urban litter clean-ups.”

A whopping 91% of plastic isn't recycled: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/ “Of the 8.3 billion metric tons that has been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of that, only nine percent has been recycled. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter. Meaning: at some point, much of it ends up in the oceans, the final sink.”

Are Bioplastics Better For The Environment Than Conventional Plastics? https://ensia.com/features/bioplastics-bio-based-biodegradable-environment/ “Confusion among terms like bioplastics, bio-based and biodegradable plastics makes it hard to discern — and make — the environmentally responsible choice.”

Five ways to reduce plastic in the bathroom: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jul/14/five-ways-to-reduce-plastic-in-the-bathroom “From bamboo toothbrushes to using refill options or your own containers, it’s not hard to change your ways”

Food & food security

PHE - Whole systems approach to obesity: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/whole-systems-approach-to-obesity “A guide and set of resources to support local authorities with implementing a whole systems approach to address obesity and promote a healthy weight.”

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition – Draft report – Saturated Fats and Health: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/704522/Draft_report_-_SACN_Saturated_Fats_and_Health.pdf “In October 2015, SACN convened a working group to review the evidence in this area and to ensure that the dietary reference value reflects the current evidence base. The terms of reference were to:  Review the evidence for the relationship between saturated fats and health and make recommendations. Review evidence on the association between saturated fats and key risk factors and health outcomes at different life stages for the general UK population.” – media coverage - More than £1bn of food wasted before reaching supermarkets – study: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/25/food-waste-farms-before-reaching-supermarkets-wrap-study

Food waste in primary production in the UK: http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/food-waste-primary-production-uk “The central estimate for the total amount of food surplus and waste is 3.6 million tonnes per annum, or 7.2% of all food harvested. If this wasted and surplus food had been sold at market values, it would have had a value of £1.2 billion. Some small part of this value is recovered through sales for animal feed.”

Coalition's voluntary salt limits have been 'public health disaster': https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/19/coalitions-voluntary-salt-limits-have-been-public-health-disaster “Nearly 10,000 cases of heart disease and stroke and 1,500 cases of cancer could have been avoided in England if the coalition government had not switched to a voluntary deal with the food industry to cut salt in food, say researchers.”

Syntax and the “sin tax”: the power of narratives for health: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2019/07/17/syntax-and-the-sin-tax-the-power-of-narratives-for-health/ “As we reach the final weeks of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt’s campaigns for Number 10, we are starting to see some of the policies that they may adopt if they become prime minister.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 19 July 2019

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

Sustainable development goals

Taking Stock of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals: https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/28032/taking-stock-of-the-u-n-s-sustainable-development-goals “A preview comes this week, when the United Nations hosts its annual High Level Political Forum on the 2030 Agenda—as the SDGs are also known, in typical U.N parlance. For the third consecutive year, senior ministers from U.N. member states will voluntarily detail their progress, or lack thereof, in meeting a select subset of the 17 goals.”

Estimating Financing to the Sustainable Development Goals, Version 2.0: https://reliefweb.int/report/world/estimating-financing-sustainable-development-goals-version-20 “In 2017, AidData debuted a methodology to measure development finance to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With a financing gap estimated at up to $2.5 trillion USD per year, the international community needs to mobilize significant additional funding in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Measuring and analyzing this funding in a consistent manner is central to measuring progress, crowding in resources to priority areas, and helping decision-makers make more informed choices. Unfortunately, current data available on SDG financing are not sufficient to quantify the distribution of financing for the SDGs.”

Centre for Health Economics - Is an Ounce of Prevention Worth a Pound of Cure? Estimates of the Impact of English Public Health Grant on Mortality and Morbidity: https://www.york.ac.uk/media/che/documents/papers/researchpapers/CHERP166_Impact_Public_Health_Mortality_Morbidity.pdf  “Our findings suggest that, at the margin, public health expenditure is very productive of health and more productive than NHS expenditure. This suggests that the reallocation of resources from NHS to public health is likely to improve health outcomes overall, and that the squeeze on the public health grant, while protecting NHS expenditure, over recent years is likely to have reduced health outcomes”

Healthy planning & environment

Online calculator shows how trees can improve air quality and cut health costs: https://phys.org/news/2019-07-online-trees-air-quality-health.html “A new interactive online tool is set to encourage tree planting initiatives across the UK. It calculates how much pollution would be removed by planting trees in local areas, as well as the corresponding public health cost savings.”

Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms Of Fracking (Unconventional Gas And Oil Extraction) - 2019 update: https://concernedhealthny.org/ “Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility are pleased to release the sixth edition of the Compendium, a fully referenced compilation of the evidence outlining the risks and harms of fracking and its associated infrastructure.”

Cuadrilla to restart fracking at site in Lancashire: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/11/cuadrilla-restart-fracking-site-lancashire-preston-new-road “The first company to drill for shale gas in the UK plans to restart fracking at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire in a last-ditch effort to convince policymakers to relax safety rules. Cuadrilla will drill a second well near Blackpool after it was forced to abandon the first, which caused multiple earth tremors.”


Housing for a fairer society: The role of councils in ensuring stronger societies: https://www.apse.org.uk/apse/index.cfm/research/current-research-programme/housing-for-a-fairer-society-the-role-of-councils-in-ensuring-stronger-societies/# “APSE’s latest report with the TCPA exposes the impact of permitted development rights as a potential threat to the health and wellbeing of residents. The report finds that half of councils in England think permitted development housing could threaten people’s health and wellbeing and in England vulnerable people are disproportionately negatively affected by permitted development. The report also finds that 59% of UK councils report ‘severe’ shortages of affordable housing.

Our Homes Are Key To Our Health: https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/annual-reports/2019-annual-message.html?rid=0034400001xAIqZAAW&et_cid=1771680 “Our homes should be safe and affordable places that foster good health. But that’s not always the case. This year our Annual Message focuses on an important health equity issue: Housing. We’re highlighting this connection because the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation believes everyone should have a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. And that means working to eliminate barriers that stand in some people’s way.”

Permitted development office-to-residential: developer wins right to build windowless studios in Watford warehouse under relaxed planning rules: https://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/permitted-development-officetoresidential-developer-wins-right-to-build-windowless-studios-in-a132061.html “A developer has won the right to build and market windowless studio flats barely larger than parking spaces — and deemed a “serious” health risk by council planning inspectors. The approved refurbishment of a light industrial building on an estate near Watford town centre will see seven of 15 “bedsit/studio accommodations” built with no natural light. The flats will be as small as 16.5sq m, less than half the 39sq m minimum studio size laid out in the Government’s Nationally Described Space Standard. The largest new flat will be 22sq m, and have only high-level windows.”

Rental Housing for an Ageing Population: https://www.housingnet.co.uk/pdf/Rental_Housing_LR.pdf “Our Inquiry has concluded that there will be very significant demand for affordable rented homes for older people over the next 30 years: we estimate a need of an average of 38,000 homes a year for rent, of which at least 12,000 should be Extra Care or sheltered. This totals over 1.1 million homes by the late 2040s.”

Poor tenants pay for landlords to live like kings. It doesn’t have to be this way: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/17/housing-britain-landlord-tenants “The UK has become a paradise for landlords and hell for tenants. Buy-to-let mortgages, easy evictions, uncapped rents, generous tax breaks and the replacement of social housing with housing benefit (a bill that now amounts to £22bn a year, much of which is paid to private landlords) have turned the rental sector into a licence to print money, at the expense of both tenants and taxpayers. In the 13 years between 2002 and 2015, average wages for people who rent rose by 2%, but their rents rose by 16%.”

UK's renting millennials face homelessness crisis when they retire: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/17/renting-millennials-homelessness-crisis-retire “People’s incomes typically halve after retirement. Those in the private rented sector who pay 40% of their earnings in rent could be forced to spend up to 80% of their income on rent in retirement. If rents rise at the same rate as earnings, the inquiry found that 52% of pensioners in the private rental sector will be paying more than 40% of their income on rent by 2038. This will mean that at least 630,000 millennials are unable to afford their rent.”

Climate change & sustainability

Four more 2019 Ashden Award winners from around the world.

A changing climate for development – A toolkit for assessing climate risks for built environment and infrastructure projects: http://climatereadyclyde.org.uk/a-changing-climate-for-development-a-toolkit-for-assessing-climate-risks-for-built-environment-and-infrastructure-projects/ “Funded by Scottish Government, and launched in partnership with Adaptation Scotland as part of their broader Adaptation Capability Framework, the toolkit removes a significant number of practical barriers for organisations in Glasgow City Region and beyond to adopt systematic screening processes”

Scientists Zero in on Trees as a Surprisingly Large Source of Methane: https://e360.yale.edu/features/scientists-probe-the-surprising-role-of-trees-in-methane-emissions “Recent research is showing that trees, especially in tropical wetlands, are a major source of the second most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, methane. The knowledge that certain woodlands are high methane emitters should help guide reforestation projects in many parts of the world.”

Exaggerating how much CO₂ can be absorbed by tree planting risks deterring crucial climate action: https://theconversation.com/exaggerating-how-much-co-can-be-absorbed-by-tree-planting-risks-deterring-crucial-climate-action-120170 “Our research suggests that the promises implied in such studies could actually set back meaningful action on climate change. This is because of what we call “mitigation deterrence” – promises of cheap and easy CO₂ removal in future make it less likely that time and money will be invested in reducing emissions now.”

Climate activists disrupt five British cities with 'summer uprising': https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-britain/climate-activists-disrupt-five-british-cities-with-summer-uprising-idUKKCN1UA0V6 “Civil disobedience group Extinction Rebellion staged protests in five British cities on Monday, aiming to renew pressure on the government to take bolder action to tackle climate change and slow the worldwide loss of plant and animal species.”

Arctic wildfires in June equivalent to Sweden's annual emissions - U.N.: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-weather-wildfires/arctic-wildfires-in-june-equivalent-to-swedens-annual-emissions-u-n-idUKKCN1U71IH “Arctic wildfires, some the size of 100,000 soccer pitches, emitted as much carbon dioxide (CO2) last month as the country of Sweden does in a whole year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Friday. “Since the start of June we’ve seen unprecedented wildfires in the Arctic region,” WMO spokeswoman Clare Nullis told a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva. “In June alone these wildfires emitted 50 megatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, this is the equivalent of Sweden’s annual total CO2 emissions. This is more than was released by Arctic fires in the same month between 2010 and 2018 combined.””

EV charge points to be built on every new UK home: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/07/15/ev-charge-points-to-be-built-on-every-new-uk-home/ “Electric vehicle (EV) charge points will be built on every new UK home or office with a car parking space, under new plans unveiled by the government today (July 15). The UK would be the first government in the world to introduce the legislation, which it says will make charging easier, cheaper and more convenient for drivers.”

UK carbon emissions target 'doing more harm than good', teen climate activist Greta Thunberg tells Sky News: https://news.sky.com/story/uk-carbon-emissions-target-doing-more-harm-than-good-teen-climate-activist-greta-thunberg-tells-sky-news-11764916 “Asked if the UK's commitment to produce net zero carbon emissions by 2050 was a sign of progress, Thunberg replied: "That depends on what you define as progress." She added: "They are being very proud of what they've accomplished but that's not nearly enough if they are to do their part.”

Attenborough warns of climate social unrest: https://theecologist.org/2019/jul/10/attenborough-warns-climate-social-unrest “A failure to tackle climate change will bring great "social unrest" and increased pressure from immigration, Sir David Attenborough has warned. The TV naturalist told MPs that dealing with environmental problems will cost money and will require changes to people's lifestyles, such as in their diet and with regards to air travel, where the cost of flights will have to go up. But there are "huge opportunities" for making profits and benefiting from new innovations, he said.”

Wind farms are hardly the bird slayers they’re made out to be. Here’s why: https://theconversation.com/wind-farms-are-hardly-the-bird-slayers-theyre-made-out-to-be-heres-why-79567 “People who oppose wind farms often claim wind turbine blades kill large numbers of birds, often referring to them as “bird choppers”. And claims of dangers to iconic or rare birds, especially raptors, have attracted a lot of attention. Wind turbine blades do indeed kill birds and bats, but their contribution to total bird deaths is extremely low, as these three studies show.”

US philanthropists vow to raise millions for climate activists: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/12/us-philanthropists-vow-to-raise-millions-for-climate-activists “A group of wealthy US philanthropists and investors have donated almost half a million pounds to support the grassroots movement Extinction Rebellion and school strike groups – with the promise of tens of millions more in the months ahead.”

Europe Targets Climate Transformation Under Historic German Boss: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-17/europe-targets-climate-transformation-under-historic-german-boss “Ursula von der Leyen clinched her position as the European Union’s most important policy maker Tuesday with a vision of how to save the Earth from a climate emergency without killing the economy. Von der Leyen fixed climate protection as her no. 1 priority as she set out her plans to lawmakers in the EU Parliament ahead of a confirmation vote and signaled she’s prepared to get tough with trading partners like the U.S. and China if they don’t match up to Europe’s ambition.”

Blue Hydrogen as Accelerator and Pioneer for Energy Transition in the Industry: https://www.deltalinqs.nl/cms/streambin.aspx?documentid=2954 “Sixteen companies have been committed to the H-vision project since July 2018, with the overall objective to make a considerable contribution to realising the Dutch national climate goals through large-scale use of hydrogen in the port of Rotterdam industrial area. The involved parties aim to accelerate the development of solutions that enable the decarbonisation of the industry in the short term.”

Active travel & transport

Car Free School Streets are coming to Birmingham: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/news/article/445/car_free_school_streets_are_coming_to_birmingham “A pioneering scheme that closes roads around schools to motorised traffic for up to an hour at the start and end of the school day is being piloted in Birmingham from this September.”

Detours, roadblocks, jams: the rough road to US car regulation: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02145-y “Jack Stilgoe applauds an alarming history of how safety rules have developed with — and in spite of — the automotive industry.”

Air quality & pollution

Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/12/billions-of-air-pollution-particles-found-in-hearts-of-city-dwellers “The hearts of young city dwellers contain billions of toxic air pollution particles, research has revealed. Even in the study’s youngest subject, who was three, damage could be seen in the cells of the organ’s critical pumping muscles that contained the tiny particles. The study suggests these iron-rich particles, produced by vehicles and industry, could be the underlying cause of the long-established statistical link between dirty air and heart disease.” – original research paper here - Combustion- and friction-derived magnetic air pollution nanoparticles in human hearts: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935119303640 “Identification of strongly magnetic CFDNPs in the hearts of children and young adults provides an important novel layer of information for understanding CVD pathogenesis emphasizing the urgent need for prioritization of particulate air pollution control.”

Environmental Audit Select Committee - Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/1805/180502.htm “It will not be possible to implement the ambitions of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and the Resources and Waste Strategy without a rapid transition to a more circular economy for chemicals. We call on the Government to set ambitious targets for the reduction of chemicals in the environment. The forthcoming Chemicals Strategy should form the basis for the UK to develop a non-toxic environment by setting out a clear, ambitious vision for the type of chemical environment we hope to live in. It should lay out a plan for remediation of regulated substances in the environment with binding targets.” – more here: Britons being exposed to toxic chemicals from birth, MPs say: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/16/britons-being-exposed-to-toxic-chemicals-from-birth-mps-say

Interactive toolkit - Pollution Removal by Vegetation: https://shiny-apps.ceh.ac.uk/pollutionremoval/ “Trees remove air pollution, and this has health benefits to society that can be valued. Values vary due to levels of pollution, population density, and other factors. This tool allows users to explore the change in value resulting from new woodland planting, or removal of existing woodland, and its ability to remove PM2.5 pollution. The tool is based on new modelling by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) and Economics for the environment consultancy (eftec). A more detailed explanation of the tool and assumptions behind the work in the button below.”

'A sort of eco-dictatorship': Shanghai grapples with strict new recycling laws: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/12/a-sort-of-eco-dictatorship-shanghai-grapples-with-strict-new-recycling-laws “For the last two weeks, Shanghai residents have grappled with a singular question: “What kind of trash are you?” The question is aimed at the city’s daily 22,000 tonnes of household waste that, according to new rules implemented on 1 July, must be sorted into one of four colour-coded bins: dry, wet, recyclable and hazardous. While the categories may be clear, the rules are not. Chicken bones should go into the wet waste bin, but pork bones are considered dry waste. Cell phone batteries are harmful waste but older batteries go into the dry garbage. Rubbish is to be delivered to designated points at certain hours in the morning or in the evening under the supervision of volunteers.”

China feels the heat over rogue CFC emissions: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02109-2 “When atmospheric models traced a mysterious spike of an ozone-destroying gas to two provinces in China earlier this year, scientists waited to see how the Chinese government — and other nations — would respond to this possible violation of international law.”

Food & food security

UK food banks fear busiest summer ever is ahead: https://www.trusselltrust.org/2019/07/16/uk-food-banks-fear-busiest-summer-ever-ahead/ “New figures released by the Trussell Trust reveal 20% increase in emergency food parcels for children in the UK last summer. The Trussell Trust is urging the public to donate food to their local food bank, as new figures show 87,496 food parcels went to children in the UK during the summer holidays in 2018, a 20% increase on the same period in 2017.”

The Awful Truth About School Holidays Is Thousands Of Families Will Struggle Without Free Lunches: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/food-bank-trussell-trust-school-holidays_uk_5d2d72e8e4b085eda5a0dfda “As children up and down the country excitedly break up from school this week, we must face an awful truth. In reality, the prospect of the summer holidays is something thousands of families dread, because many will struggle without free school lunches. For people already living on an extremely tight budget, this long stretch adds other costs too, such as childcare.”

2019 The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World: Safeguarding against economic slowdowns and downturns: http://www.fao.org/3/ca5162en/ca5162en.pdf “Recent editions of the report showed that the decline in hunger the world had enjoyed for over a decade was at an end, and that hunger was again on the rise. This year, the report shows that the global level of the prevalence of undernourishment has stabilized; however, the absolute number of undernourished people continues to increase, albeit slowly.”

Food waste: using sustainable innovation to cut down what we throw away: https://theconversation.com/food-waste-using-sustainable-innovation-to-cut-down-what-we-throw-away-119895 “Now more than ever the survival of our food production is hinged on sustainable innovation. Here are some current ideas which attempt to effectively (or not so effectively) deal with food waste in the supply chain. We have given each type a “sustainability score” out of 20, based on five separate factors, including economic and environmental efficiency.”

Save delicious food and fight food waste – Too Good to Go app: https://toogoodtogo.co.uk/en-gb “Too Good To Go offers what we like to call 'Magic Bags'. What's so magic about them? Well, the 'food waste' that we deal with here at Too Good To Go is all the delicious, perfectly edible food that stores and restaurants have to throw out at the end of the day. Some great examples of this unsold food is from bakeries that have to bake fresh everyday or restaurants that didn’t sell all the food they had prepared. However, you won’t know exactly what you’re getting until you pick it up. Exciting stuff hey...”

WMHPG news, information and resources 12 July 2019

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

Sustainable development goals

FPH welcomes call for urgent investment in public health services: https://www.fph.org.uk/news-events/fph-news/fph-welcomes-call-for-urgent-investment-in-public-health-services/ “FPH welcome the call from the King’s Fund and the Health Foundation for the government to act urgently to counter further cuts to the public health grant and place public health funding on a more sustainable footing for the future. Further cuts are now expected due to the likely postponement of this year’s Spending Review.”

A Minimum Income Standard for the United Kingdom in 2019: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/minimum-income-standard-uk-2019 “Our annual Minimum Income Standard (MIS) for the UK shows that after a decade of austerity, many households with low incomes both in and out of work are being held back from reaching MIS.”

Impact of Universal Credit in North East England: a qualitative study of claimants and support staff: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/7/e029611 “The findings add considerable detail to emerging evidence of the deleterious effects of UC on vulnerable claimants’ health and wellbeing. Our evidence suggests that UC is undermining vulnerable claimants’ mental health, increasing the risk of poverty, hardship, destitution and suicidality. Major, evidence-informed revisions are required to improve the design and implementation of UC to prevent further adverse effects before large numbers of people move on to UC, as planned by the UK government.”

Childhood circumstances and young adult outcomes: the role of parental financial problems: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/childhood-circumstances-and-adult-outcomes/ “Is there a relationship between childhood circumstances and outcomes later on in life? Andrew E. Clark, Conchita D’Ambrosio, and Marta Barazzetta consider the cognitive and non-cognitive consequences on young adults who experienced major financial problems as children.”

Choose Childhood: building a brighter future for our children: https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/media/12029/cc-report-final-0507.pdf “In this report, published on Action for Children’s 150th birthday, we explore how childhoods have changed since the charity was set up in 1869. While much has improved in this time, many children and families believe that childhoods have got worse in recent decades.”

There is an alternative: Ending austerity in the UK: https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/there-is-an-alternative-ending-austerity-in-the-uk “...However, there is a growing consensus that austerity has failed economically, fiscally and socially. Instead, as a society, we must use this moment to create a more fundamental shift away from the ‘consolidation state’ towards an ‘investment state’. To do this, the state must have a bigger role – and must invest more – in four ‘social deficits’. Care, focused on the young and the old. Skills, addressing low pay and productivity. Health, in particular inequalities and rising mental ill-health. Security, to end poverty, growing levels of debt and economic insecurity.”

Healthy planning & environment

A greener way to go: what’s the most eco-friendly way to dispose of a body? https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jul/09/greener-way-to-go-eco-friendly-way-dispose-of-body-burial-cremation “Burial uses too much land; cremation releases too much CO2. So what about composting our loved ones – or even dissolving them?”

Roadside wildflower meadows are springing up across the UK – and they’re helping wildlife in a big way: https://theconversation.com/roadside-wildflower-meadows-are-springing-up-across-the-uk-and-theyre-helping-wildlife-in-a-big-way-120014 “One way to protect our pollinators is to change the way that our roadsides are managed. Some country lanes are bursting with blooms, but the majority of road verges in the UK are cut to within an inch of their lives. Regular mowing is needed to ensure drivers can see clearly on sharp bends and junctions, but neat and tidy roadsides leave nothing for pollinators to eat.”

Toilet paper is getting less sustainable, researchers warn: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/05/toilet-paper-less-sustainable-researchers-warn “Analysis from Ethical Consumer magazine found that major brands were using less recycled paper than in 2011, while only five of the nine major supermarkets (the Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose) offered an own-brand recycled toilet paper. The large-scale use of virgin paper contributes to unnecessary deforestation.”

Who Has The Power To Restore Nature? https://neweconomics.org/2019/06/who-has-the-power-to-restore-nature “The recent UN report confirms what Extinction Rebellion and the climate strikers have been telling the world: biodiversity and natural habitats are being lost at a rate never seen before in human history. This has been clear for decades and is now unequivocal. Today the Climate Coalition leads a mass lobby for climate and the environment, the key message being ​‘The Time is Now’ for bold action. Does the ​‘natural capital approach’ really meet these urgent calls from the public to act now? Is there time to focus on accounting first, rather than strong legislation or regulatory changes to end nature’s decline?”

Holland covers hundreds of bus stops with plants as gift to honeybees: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/bus-stop-plants-green-roof-bees-holland-utrecht-a8997581.html “The roofs of hundreds of bus stops have been covered in plants as a gift to honeybee, by a city in the Netherlands. Mainly made up of sedum plants, a total of 316 have been covered in greenery in Utrecht. The shelters not only support the city’s biodiversity, such as honey bees and bumblebees, but they also help capture fine dust and store rainwater. The roofs are looked after by workers who drive around in electric vehicles, and the bus stops have all been fitted with energy-efficient LED lights and bamboo benches.”

UK government warned deep sea mining could cause ‘potential extinction of unique species’, documents reveal: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/07/03/deep-sea-mining-impacts-uk-industry-report/ “Deep sea mining could lead to “the potential extinction of unique species which form the first rung of the food chain,” according to a report commissioned by an arm of the British government. ‘The Subsea Mining Capability Statement’ – obtained by Unearthed using freedom of information rules – was produced by the National Subsea Research Initiative in 2017 and circulated amongst the UK government’s deep sea mining working group at key stakeholder meetings.”

The great Atlantic Sargassum belt: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6448/83 “Floating mats of Sargassum seaweed in the center of the North Atlantic were first reported by Christopher Columbus in the 15th century. These mats, although abundant, have until recently been limited and discontinuous. However, Wang et al. report that, since 2011, the mats have increased in density and aerial extent to generate a 8850-kilometer-long belt that extends from West Africa to the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico (see the Perspective by Gower and King). This represents the world's largest macroalgal bloom. Such recurrent blooms may become the new normal.”


Blog: The housing and climate crises can be tackled together: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/blog/blog-the-need-for-better-environmental-standards-in-homes-old-and-new “Britain faces a housing crisis – that is no longer news to anyone.  It’s widely accepted that we need to build about 3 million new homes over the next 20 years. We also face a climate emergency and are already seeing the impacts of the climate breakdown here in Britain with intense flooding and unseasonal temperatures.

They are both huge challenges but addressing one doesn’t mean we have to ignore or neglect the other. The housing crisis is an opportunity to take much-needed climate action to reduce our carbon emissions.”

Housing And System Thinking: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/publications/housing-and-system-thinking/ “…As part of this process, Professor Ken Gibb and Professor Alex Marsh have written this working paper which focuses on systems thinking, system archetypes, mental models and complexity as key components to understanding how systems work. These ideas are then applied to housing, both in terms of existing housing research using systems thinking, but also applying some of the classic systems ideas to housing anew.”

Benefit freeze ‘fuelling’ homelessness: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Benefit-freeze-fuelling-homelessness/47755 “The freeze on housing benefits is driving up homelessness in London, the capital’s boroughs have warned. London Councils has calculated that only between 0 and 15% of private sector rents across the capital are covered by local housing allowance (LHA) rates.”

Climate change & sustainability

Coverage of the Committee on Climate Change progress reports;

Committed emissions from existing energy infrastructure jeopardize 1.5 °C climate target: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1364-3 “Net anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must approach zero by mid-century (2050) to stabilize global mean temperature at the levels targeted by international efforts1–5. Yet continued expansion of fossil-fuel energy infrastructure implies already ‘committed’ future CO2 emissions. Here we use detailed datasets of current fossil-fuel-burning energy infrastructure in 2018 to estimate regional and sectoral patterns of ‘committed’ CO2 emissions, the sensitivity of such emissions to assumed operating lifetimes and schedules, and the economic value of associated infrastructure.”

The future of European onshore wind energy potential: Detailed distribution and simulation of advanced turbine designs: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0360544219311818?dgcid=rss_sd_all – summary here:  Europe ‘could get 10 times’ its electricity needs from onshore wind, study says: https://www.carbonbrief.org/europe-could-get-10-times-its-electricity-needs-from-onshore-wind-study-says

Accounting for taste? Analysing diverging public support for energy sources in Great Britain: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629619300532?via%3Dihub “We find differing profiles in terms of who supports which types of energy, with a key division between support for renewable technologies on the one hand, and nuclear and fracking on the other. We also identify a growing gap between public and policymakers’ attitudes to energy technologies which we argue must be bridged to ensure a smooth rapid transition that is acceptable to all.”

The global tree restoration potential: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6448/76 “The restoration of forested land at a global scale could help capture atmospheric carbon and mitigate climate change. Bastin et al. used direct measurements of forest cover to generate a model of forest restoration potential across the globe (see the Perspective by Chazdon and Brancalion). Their spatially explicit maps show how much additional tree cover could exist outside of existing forests and agricultural and urban land. Ecosystems could support an additional 0.9 billion hectares of continuous forest. This would represent a greater than 25% increase in forested area, including more than 500 billion trees and more than 200 gigatonnes of additional carbon at maturity. Such a change has the potential to cut the atmospheric carbon pool by about 25%.”

'Our biggest compliment yet': Greta Thunberg thanks OPEC for criticism: https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/07/05/greta-thunberg-thanks-oil-cartel-opec-for-climate-change-criticism.html “Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg has welcomed criticism from OPEC's secretary general, describing it as the "biggest compliment yet" to a growing movement of young protesters demanding action over climate change. "Thank you!" Thunberg said Thursday in response to thinly-veiled criticism from a prominent fossil fuel leader. "Our biggest compliment yet!"”

Cities of the future: visualizing climate change to inspire action: https://crowtherlab.pageflow.io/cities-of-the-future-visualizing-climate-change-to-inspire-action “Rather than describing quantitative change variables, we paired the predicted climate conditions of 520 major cities in 2050 with analogue conditions of cities around the world today. We thereby demonstrated concrete scenarios for the future of the life in those cities. By making data relatable, we hope to motivate citizens and policy makers to adapt their decision make accordingly.”

Weekly Economics Podcast: What Should The Climate Movement Do Next? https://neweconomics.org/2019/06/weekly-economics-podcast-climate-movement “Last month Parliament passed a motion to declare an ​‘environment and climate change emergency’. Meanwhile, Theresa May is trying to use the last weeks of her premiership to build some sort of legacy, including a new target for net zero climate emissions by 2050. So, against that backdrop, what should the climate movement do next? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined this week by Hannah Martin from Greenpeace and Green New Deal UK.”

Europe ‘could get 10 times’ its electricity needs from onshore wind, study says: https://www.carbonbrief.org/europe-could-get-10-times-its-electricity-needs-from-onshore-wind-study-says “An increased rollout of onshore wind turbines across Europe could technically provide the continent with more than 10 times its existing electricity needs, according to a new paper.”

David Attenborough: We 'cannot be too radical' in tackling climate change: https://news.sky.com/story/david-attenborough-we-cannot-be-too-radical-in-tackling-climate-change-11759484 “Sir David Attenborough has said the world "cannot be too radical" in tackling climate change as he launched a veiled attack on Donald Trump. The natural historian warned MPs there was "extraordinary" opposition to dealing with the crisis that would bring "major problems" in just 20 years. He cautioned that "criticism and the voice of disbelief should not be stamped on", but expressed regret at the US president's stance on climate change.”

Which inhalers are kindest to the environment? https://www.blf.org.uk/your-stories/which-inhalers-are-kindest-to-the-environment “New advice from the National Institute for Clinical and Healthcare Excellence (NICE) encourages health care professional and patients to think about the environment when choosing and using inhalers.”

EY blog warns grid operators ‘the clock is ticking’: https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/07/05/ey-blog-warns-grid-operators-the-clock-is-ticking/ “The energy transition is accelerating, Ernst & Young global energy leader Benoit Laclau has warned grid operators, thanks to the confluence of digitization, decentralization and decarbonization. Traditional utilities must get with the program or be swept aside.”

Active travel & transport

Sustrans – Active Travel Toolbox: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/active-travel-toolbox “The Sustrans Active Travel Toolbox provides guides, resources, tools and case studies to help local authorities and their partners make the case for and improve walking and cycling schemes. The toolbox is also designed to help you plan and deliver walking and cycling schemes in your local area.”

Kent County Council – Health, Planning and Sustainability Toolkit: http://healthsustainabilityplanning.co.uk/joint-working/active-travel/ “Promoting and enabling more ‘active’ travel modes such as walking and cycling enables people to integrate increased physical activity into their everyday lives.”

Air quality & pollution

Air pollution - Birmingham City Health and Economic Impact Assessment study: https://www.uk100.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/KCL-UK100-Birmingham-City-Health-and-Economic-Impact-2019.pdf “Taking into account the UK Government’s projected future changes in air pollution concentrations from 2011 to 2030, the population would still be losing between 0.3 to 0.8 million life years after these air pollution changes in Birmingham (a life year is one person living for one year). Put another way, children born in 2011 are still estimated to die 2-7 months early6 on average, if exposed over their lifetimes to the projected future air pollution concentrations in Birmingham. Males are more affected than females. This is due to the fact that men have higher death rates and die earlier than women.”

Brake and tyre emissions must be ‘immediate priority’, warn academics: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/07/11/brake-and-tyre-emissions-must-be-immediate-priority-warn-academics/ “Urgent action must be taken to cut emissions from tyres and brakes, the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) has warned. Non-exhaust emissions (NEE) are expected to rise from 7.4% today to 10% of all UK PM2.5 emissions by 2030, and the group of academics, who provides independent scientific advice on air quality to Defra, says the government should legislate to reduce NEE and not focus solely on lowering exhaust emissions. The AQEG recommends as an ‘immediate priority’ that NEE are recognised as a source of ambient concentrations of particulate matter, especially as the demand rises for electric vehicles (EVs).”

Direct human health risks of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-019-0323-1 “Continuous exposure to increased atmospheric CO2 could be an overlooked stressor of the modern and/or future environment. Further research is needed to quantify the major sources of CO2 exposure, to identify mitigation strategies to avoid adverse health effects and protect vulnerable populations, and to fully understand the potential health effects of chronic or intermittent exposure to indoor air with higher CO2 concentrations.” – more here: Indoor carbon dioxide levels could be a health hazard, scientists warn: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/08/indoor-carbon-dioxide-levels-could-be-a-health-hazard-scientists-warn

Enclosed rail stations exceeding annual limits for NO2 in two weeks: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/07/09/enclosed-rail-stations-exceeding-annual-limits-for-no2-in-two-weeks/ “Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels in Edinburgh Waverley and London King’s Cross train stations exceeded annual limits in just two weeks, the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has reported. Researchers from Edinburgh University and King’s College London also found that average levels of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) were higher inside the stations than outside them, although they didn’t breach EU limits.”

Avoid black plastic food packaging – and the 16 other essential rules of effective recycling: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/02/use-compostable-plastic-and-the-16-other-essential-rules-of-effective-recycling “Do you have to wash your tins before recycling them? Are glass milk bottles better than plastic? Do you need to use a bag for life, for life? All your questions about staying eco without it becoming a burden. Do you wrap your sandwiches in clingfilm or tinfoil? Perhaps you’re considering getting your milk delivered in glass bottles, but can’t decide if the environmental benefit justifies the financial cost. As Scottish retailers prepare for the introduction of a deposit return scheme, which will see a 20p deposit levied on all drinks packaged in single-use bottles or cans, and the UK parliament weighs up other options for increasing recycling rates, we pick our way through the intricacies of recycling.”

Indonesia sends back waste containers to Western nations: https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/environment/indonesia-sends-back-waste-containers-to-western-nations/10/07/ “Indonesia is sending dozens of containers of waste back to Western nations after finding it was contaminated with used nappies, plastic and other materials, adding to a growing backlash in Southeast Asia against being a dumping ground for the developed world’s rubbish.”

Food & food security

University of Liverpool – Fruit and vegetable growing, health, nature and diet survey: https://livpsych.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eypxiLLw0pu7W5L “What is the purpose of the study? To use questionnaires to investigate how awareness and experience of growing fruit and vegetables may be related to diet, and if differences in people’s wellbeing, experience and environment affects this.”

Evaluation of the health impacts of the UK Treasury Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL): http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN18042742 “This study will look at the most important of these, tracking how things change over time. Studying a wide range of effects of the tax will help to be more certain that the results are true. For example, if purchases of sugary drinks, tooth decay and childhood obesity all go down, and purchases of other drinks go up, this will increase our confidence that the tax has had a positive impact on health. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of this new tax on health as well as other factors.”

Public health leaders slam Boris Johnson over “sin tax” review plan: https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l4557 “Experts in public health have condemned comments by the Tory leadership candidate Boris Johnson that he may halt the government’s sugar levy if he becomes the next prime minister.”

Foods and drinks aimed at infants and young children: https://rotherhampublichealth.wordpress.com/2019/07/04/foods-and-drinks-aimed-at-infants-and-young-children/ “This report sets out PHE’s advice to government on the opportunities for action to improve foods and drinks aimed at infants and young children.”

Eight ways to halt a global food crisis: https://theconversation.com/eight-ways-to-halt-a-global-food-crisis-118436 “...The future of food then, may sound rather bleak. But this does not have to be the case. The food system could become part of the solution for environmental challenges, if we make some changes to it. It could also be an instrument of human health, well-being, dignity, and livelihood – rather than the opposite.”

FRCN - Knowledge for better food systems: https://fcrn.org.uk/projects/plating-up-progress “Plating Up Progress is a collaborative project of FCRN and the Food Foundation.  We aim to bridge the gaps between investors, businesses and policy-makers so that food businesses are incentivised to be pro-active and transparent in their roles to advance the transition to sustainable and healthy food systems and diets.  In our first phase of work we are focusing on retailers, caterers and restaurants because they are the gatekeepers to the food we eat and the channel through which most commercially produced food is funnelled.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 05 July 2019

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

Sustainable development goals

Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene 2000-2017: Special focus on inequalities: https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/jmp-report-2019/en/ “The World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund (WHO/UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP) produces internationally comparable estimates of progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and is responsible for global monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets related to WASH. This report presents updated national, regional and global estimates for WASH in households for the period 2000-2017.”

Mortality rates are still rising in the UK – and everyone is ignoring how many more people are dying: https://theconversation.com/mortality-rates-are-still-rising-in-the-uk-and-everyone-is-ignoring-how-many-more-people-are-dying-119618 “...But what reporting on this data missed were the 623,000 deaths in the year to mid-2018. This was 20,000 more than the previous year – a 3% increase. That is startling because it continues a rise in mortality that began with the first significant fall in UK life expectancy in 2014 and means that UK life expectancy will still be lower today than it was then, five long years ago.”

What do PHE’s latest inequality tools tell us about health inequalities in England? https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2019/06/18/what-do-phes-latest-inequality-tools-tell-us-about-health-inequalities-in-england/ “The dashboard shows that inequalities in life expectancy have widened for both sexes since 2011-13. The gap between most and least deprived is over 9 years for males and over 7 years for females.    Inequalities in healthy life expectancy are even wider and have not changed since 2011-13.”

Healthy planning & environment

NHS Lothian Greenspace and Health Strategic Framework: https://www.greenspacescotland.org.uk/nhs-lothian-green-health “Greenspace Scotland was commissioned by the Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation and NHS Lothian to prepare a Greenspace and Health Strategic Framework for Edinburgh and the Lothians.”

The winners of the 2019 Street Design Awards: https://www.localgov.co.uk/The-winners-of-the-2019-Street-Design-Awards/47684 “Divided into five categories - Children’s Play, Highways, Pedestrian Environment, Public Lighting and Urban Green Space - the awards celebrate innovation and best practice in street design across the UK. Our readers did not disappoint and myself and our judges were overwhelmed by the quality of submissions. We saw entries from nearly every corner of Britain, with councils up and down the country keen to promote best practice and highlight the good work they have done.”

Time is running out for sand: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02042-4 “Sand and gravel are being extracted faster than they can be replaced. Monitor and manage this resource globally, urge Mette Bendixen and colleagues.”


Housing for older and disabled people: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/housing-for-older-and-disabled-people “Guides councils in preparing planning policies on housing for older and disabled people.”

Policy Briefing: Homelessness Prevention In The UK: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/publications/homelessness-prevention-in-the-uk/ “This policy briefing assesses the effectiveness of homelessness prevention across the UK and identifies emerging lessons for policy.”

The fight for fair housing is finally shifting power from landlords to residents: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/03/housing-crisis-affordable-homes-activists-campaigns “In the UK and beyond, movements targeting housing injustice are gathering momentum. Politicians ignore it at their peril”

All aboard: The double-decker buses housing London's homeless: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=5225e5d8-e397-4579-bc4f-fdf28559e0ef “The buses will provide a three-month programme during which homeless people can learn to cook, receive basic business training or enjoy a yoga class”

Climate change & sustainability

I was at a fascinating conference earlier this week – Driving Better Health with Sustainable Energy – as part of London Climate Action Week. At this event there were presentations from Ashden Award Winners from around the world. The award winners are inspirational and show many different approaches to sustainability and improving the health of the public. The full list of award winners since 2005 is here: https://www.ashden.org/winners/awards-winners . Over the next few weeks I will be featuring some of the 2019 award winners in the update. For each of the projects there is also a film on YouTube.

This toolkit, developed by Ashden and the Grantham Institute (Imperial College), has been in the update previously, but is particularly relevant at the moment. Both for areas that have declared a climate emergency and areas that are working to demonstrate to local system leaders the co-benefits of sustainability with health, economic growth, resilience and equity and social cohesion.

  • Climate Action Co-Benefits: A toolkit for city regions and local authorities: https://www.ashden.org/programmes/co-benefits “Ashden has developed this toolkit, in collaboration with our City Region Sustainability Network, to support local authorities and others on their climate change ambitions.  It demonstrates how action on climate change can deliver many local benefits, including improved health, increased equity and social cohesion, economic opportunities and increased resilience. Watch a recording of the launch event at Grantham Institute here.

Climate change made Europe’s mega-heatwave five times more likely: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02071-z “After a series of unusually hot summers, France and other parts of Europe last week experienced another intense heatwave that broke temperature records across the continent. For one group of climate scientists, the event presented a rare opportunity to rapidly analyse whether the heatwave — which made headlines around the world — could be attributed to global warming. After a seven-day analysis, their results are in: climate change made the temperatures reached in France last week at least five times more likely than they would be in a world without global warming.”

Processes determining heat waves across different European climates: https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/qj.3599?af=R “Overall, the results of the present study provide a guideline as to which processes and diagnostics weather and climate studies should focus on to understand the severity of heat waves.”

Bonn climate talks: Key outcomes from the June 2019 UN climate conference: https://www.carbonbrief.org/bonn-climate-talks-key-outcomes-from-june-2019-un-climate-conference “This year, with a “rulebook” for the Paris Agreement largely settled at the December COP24 meeting in Katowice, Poland, the focus was primarily on hammering out a handful of contentious issues and laying the groundwork for the upcoming COP25 in the Chilean capital of Santiago.”

Floating Antarctic ice goes from record high to record lows: https://apnews.com/d449b411a3db4d8b8564b7f6d8968f2d “Floating ice off the southern continent steadily increased from 1979 and hit a record high in 2014. But three years later, the annual average extent of Antarctic sea ice hit its lowest mark, wiping out three-and-a-half decades of gains — and then some, a NASA study of satellite data shows.”

Under new rules for selling solar power, is it still worth it? https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/jun/30/solar-panels-smart-export-guarantee-is-it-still-worth-it “Householders keen to install solar panels are weighing up their options after the government unveiled new plans for the way people will be paid for supplying renewable energy. The scheme, which will be launched in January next year, works in a different way to its predecessor – and is likely be less lucrative. With solar photovoltaic (PV) panels – the most popular domestic option – costing between £5,000 to £8,000, and six months before the new scheme is up and running, should consumers buy now, wait or skip it?”

UK Government Agency's Annual Support for Overseas Fossil Fuel Projects Rises to £2bn: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/06/27/ukef-fossil-fuel-support-2bn-2018-2019 “UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) latest annual report, published two months after parliament declared a “climate emergency”, shows an 11-fold increase in support for fossil fuel projects compared with the previous year, when £175 million was provided.”

National Trust to divest £1bn portfolio from fossil fuels: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/04/national-trust-to-divest-portfolio-from-fossil-fuels “The organisation, which looks after 780 miles (1,250km) of coastline, 248,000 hectares (612,000 acres) of land and more than 500 historic houses, castles, monuments and parks, said it would withdraw the vast majority of its investments from fossil fuels within 12 months, and the entirety within three years.”

Brazil A-4 auction signs 211 MW of solar for record-low price of $0.0175 kWh: https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/07/01/brazil-a-4-auction-signs-211-mw-of-solar-for-record-low-price-of-0-0175-kwh/ “Cracking the two-cent-mark as a global standard for PV appears within sight as projects in the U.S. and Brazil have been signed below that threshold. Just two years ago the industry celebrated sub-three-cent bids in the MENA region. Prices have come down so quickly, however, the new records are another third cheaper.”

Liebreich: We Need To Talk About Nuclear Power: https://about.bnef.com/blog/liebreich-need-talk-nuclear-power/ “We need to talk about nuclear. And I mean really talk, in a truth-and-reconciliation, moving-forward kind of way, not a let’s-all-shout-slogans-at-each-other, my-tribe-versus-your-tribe kind of way. Serious people are finally talking about decarbonizing national economies by mid-century, but such talk must be accompanied by credible plans – and no plan can be considered credible if it does not deal explicitly with nuclear power.”

Active travel & transport

NIHR - Moving Matters - Interventions To Increase Physical Activity: https://www.dc.nihr.ac.uk/themed-reviews/research-into-physical-activity.htm “The NIHR physical activity evidence review will be an invaluable tool to anyone working in practice or policy. Evidence should be one of the key building blocks for any decisions. It helps decision makers determine what works and what doesn’t, what should be commissioned and prioritised, and (equally important) what should be stopped. The beauty of this review is that it brings together a range of evidence in a concise way, and comes with clear prompts to consider how to practically apply the findings.”

Urban Transport Group - Number crunch 2019: Urban transport trends in changing times: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/resources/types/reports/number-crunch-2019-urban-transport-trends-changing-times “Number crunch 2019 is the second in our Number crunch report series and provides an updated overview of the key trends over the last ten years, as well as taking a look at what the new and most recent data is telling us. The report also investigates some new issues – including housing need and social inclusion. In these changing times, the case for coordinated and integrated transport planning at the city region level is stronger than ever. So is the case for long term funding frameworks for local urban transport rather than stop-start funding as is currently the case.”

Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMPs) Guidelines: https://www.eltis.org/guidelines/second-edition-sump-guidelines “Whilst the Guidelines continue to be used extensively, major new trends in many areas of urban mobility have emerged and a wealth of practical SUMP experience has been acquired over the last few years. This meant it was time to rethink and update the original Guidelines. A comprehensive update process of European SUMP guidance was started in 2018, including a revision of the Guidelines itself, as well as the development of a range of complementary guides on specific aspects of SUMP.”

Ten common myths about bike lanes – and why they’re wrong: https://amp.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2019/jul/03/ten-common-myths-about-bike-lanes-and-why-theyre-wrong “For all the (slight) progress in some UK cities over mass cycling, we are still at a stage where a leaflet from a local branch of the party of government (see below) will state falsehoods about bike lanes as if they were the undoubted truth. So perhaps it’s time to demolish 10 of the most common myths about cycle infrastructure. Do by all means suggest more in the comments below.”

Air quality & pollution

Modelling public health improvements as a result of air pollution control policies in the UK over four decades—1970 to 2010: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab1542 “Over the 40 year period, UK attributable mortality due to exposure to PM2.5 and NO2 have declined by 56% and 44% respectively, while ozone attributable respiratory mortality increased by 17% over the same period (however, with a slight decrease by 14% between 2000 and 2010).”

Association between the living environment and the risk of arterial hypertension and other components of metabolic syndrome: https://academic.oup.com/jpubhealth/advance-article/doi/10.1093/pubmed/fdz046/5491841#__prclt=fnLIKPCX “In the participants who lived in MH, the residential distance to a major road closer than 200 m and the residential exposure to PM10 and PM2.5 levels above the median were associated with a higher risk of AH (the adjusted relative risks (RRs), respectively, were 1.41(1.10–1.81), 1.19(1.01–1.42) and 1.27(1.07–1.52)). In these participants, the residential exposure to a PM10 level above the median was associated with a higher risk of reduced high density lipoprotein (RHDL) (RR = 1.46(1.05–2.05)). A negative impact of the traffic air pollutants on the incidence of AH, RHDL cholesterol and high triglyceride levels was observed only in the participants who lived in MH.”

Air pollution: a tool to estimate healthcare costs: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/air-pollution-a-tool-to-estimate-healthcare-costs “A tool to help local authorities estimate the burden of air pollution on the health care system.”

The public sector, industry and universities must work together to tackle air pollution: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/06/28/the-public-sector-industry-and-universities-must-work-together-to-tackle-air-pollution/ “The West Midlands is harnessing innovations from its universities to help solve the national air pollution crisis, writes Cllr Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council and environment portfolio holder for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).”

People of color live with 66% more air pollution, US study finds: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/27/us-air-pollution-north-east-mid-atlantic-analysis-union-concerned-scientists “People of color in the American north-east and mid-Atlantic are living with 66% more air pollution from vehicles than white residents are, according to a new analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).”

Microplastic pollution and wet wipe ‘reefs’ are changing the River Thames ecosystem: https://theconversation.com/microplastic-pollution-and-wet-wipe-reefs-are-changing-the-river-thames-ecosystem-119400 “Around 80% of marine litter starts on land and rivers help transport it out to sea. In this way, plastic pollution is not just a problem for the distant open ocean – it’s an issue on our doorstep. For this reason, I chose to focus on the River Thames and the impact that plastics are having close to home.”

Unopened recycling bags picked from the line and sent for incineration as workers battle rats, cockroaches and targets – inside a London recycling centre: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/06/26/recycling-incineration-waste-undercover-working-conditions-london/ “An undercover reporter working as part of a joint investigation by Unearthed and The Telegraph found staff have a demanding job. Working at speed they are meant to take off both ‘non-target’ material – like plastic bags not accepted at this plant – and any material which may be contaminated. Unopened clear recycling bags, our reporter was told, should be opened and sorted as the line speeds by.”

For the sake of the climate we must stop believing magical stories about plastics and recycling: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/07/01/for-the-sake-of-the-climate-we-must-stop-believing-magical-stories-about-plastics-and-recycling “Our trust in recycling as a solution to the mass consumption of single-use products requires some magical thinking. As we put our bag or box outside somewhere in our mind do we wonder: why are so few things I buy are actually recycled? How will anyone sort out this medley of smashed glass and dessert pots? In the UK – for example – just two brands use 100% recycled content in their bottles.”

Food & food security

BBC Inside Science Podcast - Global Food Security, Reactive Use-By Labels, Origins of the Potato: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006717 “Dr Adam Rutherford and guests discuss Global Food Security, a fungal threat to wheat, a novel reactive use-by label and the origins and future of the potato.”

Much discussion this week about ‘sin taxes’;

Seven ways restaurants can nudge people to eat more healthily: https://theconversation.com/seven-ways-restaurants-can-nudge-people-to-eat-more-healthily-119315 “In our study of 96 field experiments, published in Marketing Science, we classified nudges into seven types and measured their effectiveness, after controlling for the characteristics of the respondents, setting and study. We then converted the expected daily decrease in energy intake into sugar cube equivalents. For example, if a nudge can reduce consumption by 100 calories a day, it’s the equivalent of ten sugar cubes.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 27 June 2019

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

Sustainable development goals

­Sustainable Development Report 2019: transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: https://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/fileadmin/files/user_upload/Sustainable_Development_Report_2019_Complete.pdf “Four years after the adoption of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement no country is on track to meeting all the goals. We are losing ground in many areas, as underscored by recent reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (MassonDelmotte et al. 2018) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES 2019). One million species are threatened with extinction, and IPBES notes that “we are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide”. Our report concurs: high-income countries obtain their worst ratings on SDG 14 (Life Below water) and SDG 15 (Life on Land).

Changing trends in mortality: an international comparison: 2000 to 2016: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/lifeexpectancies/articles/changingtrendsinmortalityaninternationalcomparison/2000to2016 “Until 2011, life expectancy in the UK had been increasing for a number of decades; however, in the second decade of the 21st century, the UK along with several other countries has seen a notable slowdown in these improvements in both male and female mortality. Between 2011 and 2016, the UK experienced one of the largest slowdowns in improvements in life expectancy at birth and at age 65 years for both males and females out of the countries analysed. The slowdown in improvements in mortality was observed most widely across the countries analysed for 65-to-79-year-olds, while females have been more affected overall by the slowdown than males. Japan has come through a period with low life expectancy gains and has recently experienced an acceleration of mortality improvements.”

Big increases in in-work relative poverty rate are about much more than just low pay: https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/14196 “Between 1994 and 2017 there was an increase from 13% to 18% in the proportion of people in working households living in relative poverty (that’s an increase of 40%). So by 2017 8 million people in the UK living in working households were in relative poverty. A key driver of the rise has been higher housing costs for low earning households, driven mainly by higher private and social rents. In addition, earnings growth has been significantly slower for lower earners relative to higher earners. But it also reflects the fact than many more people are in work. They are better off than they would have been had the stayed out of work, but they remain in poverty. In addition, pensioner incomes have risen faster than working-age incomes– pushing up the relative poverty line.”

Healthy planning & environment

Estimating the Impacts of Area Regeneration Programmes in Scotland on Health and Unemployment: a quasi-experimental approach: https://extra.shu.ac.uk/ppp-online/estimating-the-impacts-of-area-regeneration-programmes-in-scotland-on-health-and-unemployment-a-quasi-experimental-approach/ “No positive (or negative) programme impact was found on any of the outcomes assessed. Thus, residents in SARP areas over the study period did not see their health and employment prospects improve compared with residents in similarly disadvantaged non-regeneration comparator areas.”

How can placemakers help to reduce loneliness? https://lichfields.uk/blog/2019/june/21/how-can-placemakers-help-to-reduce-loneliness/ “As place makers we can help to create places that encourage social connection and to create spaces that people want to use and are able to use that are safe and secure and that are accessible to all.  These are just a selection of ways that creating spaces and places can help to increase both formal and informal social interaction which may in turn help to reduce loneliness”

Councillors Attitudes Towards Residential Design: http://placealliance.org.uk/research/councillors-attitudes/ “This report summarises views from a national survey of local councillors in England on their approach to the design of new residential development.  For too long we have been building too few homes and those that we build are often of a quality that unites local communities in opposition against them.  Understanding the role of local politicians as regards the design of new housing development: their aspirations, motivations, mode of operating and frustrations, was the purpose of this national survey.  This research asks, how are our local politicians playing their part in helping to deliver better design?”

Business as Usual Threatens Thousands of Amazon Tree Species: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/business-as-usual-threatens-thousands-of-amazon-tree-species/ “About one in eight of all the world’s trees grows in the Amazon, by far the largest remaining continuous rain forest on earth. The greatest threat to its existence has long been deforestation: by 2013 it had lost an estimated 11 percent of its original extent to land clearing. By 2050, the business-as-usual scenario used in a recent study suggests, that number might reach a devastating 40 percent.”


Welsh Government Housing Need Estimates by Tenure: https://lichfields.uk/blog/2019/june/26/welsh-government-housing-need-estimates-by-tenure/ “On 5 June 2019 the Welsh Government released a publication that splits its 2018-based national and regional estimates of housing need for the years 2018/19 to 2022/23 into two tenures: 1) Market housing (defined as owner occupier [1] and private rent); and, 2) Affordable housing (intermediate and social rent)”

£146bn building programme needed to end housing crisis, experts say: https://www.localgov.co.uk/146bn-building-programme-needed-to-end-housing-crisis-experts-say/47676 “A ten-year building programme costing £146bn is needed to end the housing crisis, experts have claimed. Research by a coalition of housing groups and charities says the investment would provide 1.45 million homes in England to rent or buy through shared ownership. The coalition includes the National Housing Federation, Shelter, Crisis, the Council for the Protection of Rural England and the Chartered Institute of Housing.”

Ikea gets green light to build affordable homes in UK: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jun/26/uk-council-ikea-affordable-housing-worthing-boklok “Worthing council has signed up with BoKlok, a company jointly owned by the Swedish retailer and construction firm Skanska which specialises in factory-built housing that can be constructed at a low cost. The firm sets property prices so that buyers have money left to live on after they have paid their housing costs, and its website says “a single parent can afford to buy and live in a newly built two-bedroom BoKlok apartment”.”

Areas with most homeless deaths disproportionately hit by cuts: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/24/homeless-deaths-disproportionately-affected-by-cuts “Nine of the 10 councils with the highest numbers of homeless deaths in England and Wales between 2013 and 2017 have had cuts of more than three times the national average of £254 for every household. They are Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Blackburn, Liverpool and the four London boroughs of Camden, Westminster, Lambeth and Tower Hamlets.”

Politicians, police and charities urge Government to scrap draconian Vagrancy Act: https://www.crisis.org.uk/about-us/latest-news/politicians-police-and-charities-urge-government-to-scrap-draconian-vagrancy-act/ “The centuries-old Vagrancy Act, which makes rough sleeping and begging illegal in England and Wales, should be scrapped because it is needlessly pushing vulnerable people further from help, according to a new report from homelessness charity Crisis. The calls come as the Government today announces its review of the Act as part of its rough sleeping strategy.”

Climate change & sustainability

Announcing the 2019 Ashden Award winners: https://www.ashden.org/news/announcing-the-2019-ashden-award-winners “Congratulations to our carbon cutting, health improving, air cleaning, poverty busting, silk weaving, tree planting, pig poo recycling winners! In the UK and around the world, this year’s Ashden Award winners are creating greener homes, cities and transport networks, as well as improving health, reducing poverty and inequality and transforming energy infrastructure. All ten have been chosen after rigorous judging by our energy experts.”

Climate Action Co-Benefits Toolkit: https://www.ashden.org/programmes/co-benefits “The first edition of the toolkit was launched by Ashden and the Grantham Institute at Imperial College on 20 June 2019. You can watch a video of the event, including a range of presentations. Ashden has developed this toolkit, in collaboration with our City Region Sustainability Network, to support local authorities and others on their climate change ambitions.  It demonstrates how action on climate change can deliver many local benefits, including improved health, increased equity and social cohesion, economic opportunities and increased resilience.”

Climate Change and Poverty: Report of the special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ohchr.org%2FEN%2FHRBodies%2FHRC%2FRegularSessions%2FSession41%2FDocuments%2FA_HRC_41_39.docx “Climate change will have devastating consequences for people in poverty. Even under the best-case scenario, hundreds of millions will face food insecurity, forced migration, disease, and death. Climate change threatens the future of human rights and risks undoing the last fifty years of progress in development, global health, and poverty reduction.”

This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook: https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/314/314671/this-is-not-a-drill/9780141991443.html “Extinction Rebellion is a global activist movement of ordinary people, demanding action from Governments. This is a book of truth and action. It has facts to arm you, stories to empower you, pages to fill in and pages to rip out, alongside instructions on how to rebel - from organising a roadblock to facing arrest.”

Setting and smashing extreme temperature records over the coming century: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0498-5 “Here we examine future events that will be so extreme that they will not have been experienced previously. Record setting in 22 climate models indicates that, by the end of the twenty-first century, under business-as-usual increases in GGHGEs (representative concentration pathway (RCP) 8.5 (ref. 12)), high monthly mean temperature records will be set in approximately 58% of the world every year, and in 67% of least developed countries and 68% of small island developing states.”

Greenland’s ‘unusual’ melting sea ice captured in stunning image: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48674797 “With their sled in tow, a pack of dogs trudge towards a distant mountain range in north-west Greenland. The stunning picture may seem typical enough of the Danish territory. What's beneath their feet - a shallow pool of crystal-blue water - is anything but. Last week, however, temperatures soared well above normal levels in Greenland, causing about half of its ice sheet surface to experience melting.”

Heatwave 'hell' claims first lives as temperatures soar above 40 degrees Celsius across Europe: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/26/three-die-france-heatwave-takes-toll-europe/ “The heatwave sweeping through Europe and likened to “hell” has claimed its first lives as temperatures surpassed 40 degrees Celsius on several parts of the continent.”

EU leaders fail to commit to climate neutrality by 2050: https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-leaders-fail-to-commit-to-climate-neutrality-by-2050/ “A mention of the 2050 aim, which appeared in earlier versions of the text, was struck out after Poland took the lead in blocking it. However, a footnote states that a "large majority" of EU countries back the 2050 target. The disagreement reflected divisions between Western European countries keen to push ahead with reducing emissions and some Central and Eastern European countries, which are more dependent on fossil fuels and perceive the goal as potentially damaging to their economies and difficult to sell back home without a broader package including financial assistance.”

British parliament to hold Citizens' Assembly on climate crisis: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-britain-assembly/british-parliament-to-hold-citizens-assembly-on-climate-crisis-idUSKCN1TL1MA “British lawmakers will hold a Citizens’ Assembly to gather views on how to meet the country’s newly strengthened emissions targets, parliament announced on Thursday, in response to growing public unease over the climate crisis.”

HMRC pushes steep VAT increase for new solar-battery systems: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/24/hmrc-pushes-massive-vat-increase-for-new-solar-battery-systems “Homes hoping to shrink their carbon footprints by installing a solar-battery system face a steep VAT increase from October under new laws proposed by HMRC. The Treasury put forward legislation on Monday to raise VAT for home solar-battery systems from 5% to 20%, on the same day that MPs are debating the government’s new net zero carbon target for 2050. Meanwhile, home coal supplies will continue to receive the lower VAT rate.”

Clean electricity overtaking fossil fuels in Britain: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48711649 “For the first time since the Industrial Revolution, Britain is obtaining more power from zero-carbon sources than fossil fuels. The milestone has been passed for the first five months of 2019. National Grid says clean energy has nudged ahead with 48% of generation, against 47% for coal and gas. The rest is biomass burning. The transformation reflects the precipitous decline of coal energy, and a boom from wind and solar.”

Commentary: Fossil fuel consumption subsidies bounced back strongly in 2018: https://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2019/june/fossil-fuel-consumption-subsidies-bounced-back-strongly-in-2018.html “The new data for 2018 show a one-third increase in the estimated value of these subsidies, to more than $400 billion. The estimates for oil, gas and fossil-fuelled electricity have all increased significantly, reflecting the higher price for fuels (which, in the presence of an artificially low end-user price, increases the estimated value of the subsidy). The continued prevalence of these subsidies – more than double the estimated subsidies to renewables – greatly complicates the task of achieving an early peak in global emissions.”

Exclusive: Investors with $34 trillion demand urgent climate change action: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-investment-letter-exclu/exclusive-investors-with-34-trillion-demand-urgent-climate-change-action-idUSKCN1TQ31X “Investors managing more than $34 trillion in assets, nearly half the world’s invested capital, are demanding urgent action from governments on climate change, piling pressure on leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies meeting this week.”

Why climate change is a 'threat multiplier': https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/06/why-climate-change-is-a-threat-multiplier/ “As seas rise and weather becomes more extreme, crops are failing in some areas. Water is growing scarce. And people are sometimes forced to migrate to new places. Security experts say these hardships can increase the risk of political instability and terrorism. That’s why the Department of Defense calls climate change a “threat multiplier.””

Mental stress on rise as coastal towns confront surging climate threats: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=c168f7d5-172f-4a0f-81aa-2e0698933a1a “Dealing with worsening land losses can take a massive toll on communities who are preparing to uproot themselves as their homes vanish under their feet, said Robin Bronen, who heads the Alaska Institute for Justice.”

Tata Chemicals plans first UK industrial carbon capture demo plant: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-tata-chemicals-carboncapture/tata-chemicals-plans-first-uk-industrial-carbon-capture-demo-plant-idUKKCN1TR3AU “Tata Chemicals Europe (TCE) plans to build Britain’s first industrial-scale carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) demonstration plant to trap emissions for use in sodium carbonate manufacturing, the firm said on Thursday. The 16.7 million pound project will be located at the company’s Northwich industrial site in Cheshire, England and should start operations in 2021.”

Active travel & transport

Chris Boardman at odds with DfT over zebra crossings in Manchester: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/23/chris-boardman-at-odds-with-dft-over-zebra-crossings-in-manchester “Chris Boardman, the walking and cycling commissioner of Greater Manchester, wants to paint zebra crossings on 20,000 side streets in the region at a cost of £300 each. He believes the crossings – widespread across much of Europe as well as at supermarkets, stations and airports in the UK – will help pedestrians make local journeys more safely. But the Department for Transport (DfT) says he cannot, because under UK law zebra crossings have to be wired to the electric mains and have belisha beacons and zigzag markings, which cost £30,000.”

Greater Manchester moves step closer to taking control of buses: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/06/24/greater-manchester-moves-step-closer-to-taking-control-of-buses/ “In what would be a major reform of how bus services are run in Greater Manchester, it has been recommended that buses operate under a franchised system meaning Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) would take over the day-to-day running of services.”

Air quality & pollution

Emissions vs exposure: Increasing injustice from road traffic-related air pollution in the United Kingdom: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1361920919300392# “In conclusion, the analysis indicates that, despite more than a decade of air quality policy, environmental injustice of air pollution exposure has worsened. New evidence regarding the responsibility for generation of road traffic emissions provides a clear focus for policy development and targeted implementation.”

Modelling public health improvements as a result of air pollution control policies in the UK over four decades—1970 to 2010: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab1542 “In this paper, we conduct a model assessment over a 40 year period of air pollution in the UK. In order to correct for the short and longer term variability of meteorological factors contributing to trends in ambient concentrations of priority air pollutants (nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, fine particulate matter and ozone), we use a fixed meteorological year for all model simulations. Hence, the modelled changes in air pollutant concentrations and related health effects are solely a function of the changes in emissions since 1970… Over the 40 year period, UK attributable mortality due to exposure to PM2.5 and NO2 have declined by 56% and 44% respectively, while ozone attributable respiratory mortality increased by 17% over the same period (however, with a slight decrease by 14% between 2000 and 2010).”

Impact of agricultural emission reductions on fine-particulate matter and public health: https://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/17/12813/2017/ “Our results document how reduction of agricultural emissions decreases aerosol pH due to the depletion of aerosol ammonium, which affects particle liquid phase and heterogeneous chemistry. Further, it is shown that a 50% reduction of agricultural emissions could prevent the mortality attributable to air pollution by   250 000 peopleyr−1 worldwide, amounting to reductions of 30, 19, 8 and 3% over North America, Europe, East and South Asia, respectively. A theoretical 100% reduction could even reduce the number of deaths globally by about 800000 per year.”

Air pollution found to affect marker of female fertility in real-life study: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190625181939.htm “While noting that this study again confirms that age is the most important determinant of AMH concentration in women, Professor La Marca emphasised that other factors such as smoking, body weight and long-term hormonal contraception are already recognised as having an impact on AMH. Similarly, he said, environmental pollutants may also have a significant effect in determining circulating levels of AMH. 'Living in an area associated with high levels of air pollutants in our study increased the risk of severely reduced ovarian reserve by a factor of 2 or 3,' he said.”

Elevated air pollution could diminish health benefits of living in walkable communities: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-06/smh-eap062019.php “Previous research has shown that individuals living in more walkable neighborhoods are more physically active, with downstream health benefits like lower rates of overweight and obesity, hypertension and diabetes," said study co-lead Dr. Gillian Booth, a scientist at St. Michael's Hospital's MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions and ICES. "But our findings confirm that walkability and air pollution are highly intertwined, potentially diminishing any health benefits derived from living in walkable, urban communities."

Leeds and Birmingham Clean Air Zones 'delayed by government': https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-48679008 “The introduction of Clean Air Zones in Birmingham and Leeds has been "significantly postponed" due to a government delay, councils say. Vehicle checking software required to make the zones operational and enforceable was expected to be delivered by the government by October. The cities' councils say the tool has been delayed until December, which will put back the January start date.”

Humans have made 8.3bn tons of plastic since 1950. This is the illustrated story of where it's gone: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/23/all-the-plastic-ever-made-study-comic “Until recently we didn’t know how much plastic was piling up around us. When we found out, the picture wasn’t pretty”

Seven things sustainability professionals can learn from Hugh and Anita's War on Plastic: https://www.edie.net/news/5/Seven-things-sustainability-professionals-can-learn-from-Hugh-and-Anita-s-War-on-Plastic/ “The show equips viewers will facts on plastic that are well-versed for those operating in the corporate sustainability sphere. However, the show offers not only an insight into how consumers view plastics, but also how sustainability professionals can use this ever-evolving zeitgeist to push the sustainability agenda to greater heights within their own operation. Here, edie rounds up seven key lessons that Hugh and Anita’s War on Plastics was willing to teach. Enjoy.”

Twitter storm: noise pollution creates havoc for birds, study shows: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/20/twitter-storm-noise-pollution-creates-havoc-for-birds-study-shows “Birds are even more disrupted by their noisy neighbours than had been thought previously, researchers have found. And human activities could be preventing birds from reproducing and even developing normal social behaviour and keeping the peace.” – original study here: Signal complexity communicates aggressive intent during contests, but the process is disrupted by noise: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/pdf/10.1098/rsbl.2018.0841

Food & food security

Rethinking Food Policy: A fresh approach to policy and practice – Brief 2: understanding the food system: why it matters for food policy: https://www.city.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/471599/7643_Brief-2_What-is-the-food-system-A-food-policy-perspective_WEB_SP.pdf “There is more evidence than ever before that the food system is intimately connected to major contemporary global challenges, from malnutrition to climate change. This Brief looks at what the food system is, how it is defined and the implications of that definition for a fresh approach to food policy.“

It’s time to radically re-think how the UN confronts food insecurity: https://www.newstatesman.com/america/2019/06/it-s-time-radically-re-think-how-un-confronts-food-insecurity “International organisations need to change their aim from merely reducing problems to actively seeking and supporting new solutions. That means finding new strategies.”

Food Security Declines in the Most Vulnerable Parts of the World: http://www.futuredirections.org.au/publication/food-security-declines-in-the-most-vulnerable-parts-of-the-world/ “South Sudan, Yemen and the Horn of Africa remain as the areas of greatest concern to food and water security monitoring agencies, due to their poor economic and food production conditions, which are often exacerbated by ongoing conflict. Across the world, 85 million people are expected to require emergency food assistance in 2019, an 80 per cent increase compared to 2015”

WMHPG news, information and resources 31 May 2019

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

A bumper edition this week - the next update will be on the 21st June.

Sustainable development goals

Walking The Walk On The Sustainable Development Goals: https://meta.eeb.org/2019/05/28/walking-the-walk-on-the-sustainable-development-goals/ “Do you want to learn more about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals? A new game tests your knowledge about the SDGs and takes you on a treasure hunt through downtown Brussels.”

UN Special Rapporteur’s report shows Government must act to loosen the grip of poverty: https://www.jrf.org.uk/press/un-special-rapporteurs-report-shows-government-must-act-loosen-grip-poverty “There can be no moral justification for failing to act on this report. The picture painted by the Rapporteur builds on our evidence of the 14 million people locked in poverty in the UK. We all want to live in a country where everyone is free to build a decent life. For too many people in the UK that is a distant dream.”

The impact of New Labour’s English health inequalities strategy on geographical inequalities in infant mortality: a time-trend analysis: https://jech.bmj.com/content/73/6/564 “The English health inequalities strategy period was associated with a decline in geographical inequalities in the IMR. This research adds to the evidence base suggesting that the English health inequalities strategy was at least partially effective in reducing health inequalities, and that current austerity policies may undermine these gains.”

What has economics got to do with it? The impact of socioeconomic factors on mental health and the case for collective action: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-018-0063-2 “This paper argues that advancing ‘upstream’ approaches to population mental health requires an interdisciplinary research vision that supports greater understanding of the role of socioeconomic factors. It also demands collective cross-sectoral action through changes in social and economic policy, as well as economic frameworks that move beyond an exclusive focus on economic growth to embrace collective and societal wellbeing.”

Five reasons ‘green growth’ won’t save the planet: https://theconversation.com/five-reasons-green-growth-wont-save-the-planet-116037 “Green growth has emerged as the dominant narrative for tackling contemporary environmental problems. Its supporters, including the likes of the UN, OECD, national governments, businesses and even NGOs, say that sustainability can be achieved through efficiency, technology and market-led environmental action. Green growth suggests we really can have our cake and eat it – both growing the economy and protecting the planet.”

Wellbeing should replace growth as 'main aim of UK spending': https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/24/wellbeing-should-replace-growth-as-main-aim-of-uk-spending “Personal wellbeing rather than economic growth should be the primary aim of government spending, according to a report by the former head of the civil service and politicians. Launching a report urging a sea change in thinking from ministers, Gus O’Donnell, who served as cabinet secretary to three prime ministers, said Britain could lead the world by making wellbeing the goal of government policy.”

Government policy makes people ill – and the NHS pays the price: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/29/government-policy-makes-people-ill-nhs-pays-price “Poverty and pollution are political choices. Ministers should be accountable for the burden they put on our health system”

Healthy planning & environment

BEYOND THE PLANNING BILL: PLANNING FOR HOUSING DELIVERY: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/beyond-the-planning-bill-planning-for-housing-delivery/ “Guest author, Tammy Swift-Adams, Director of Planning at Homes for Scotland, outlines why Scotland’s housing crisis should be a ‘call to arms’ to everyone who has a role to play in building more homes. This is the final post in our blog series reflecting on a recent roundtable discussion co-organised by CaCHE and members of the Scotland Knowledge Exchange Hub, and hosted by RTPI.”

Plymouth and South Devon Local Plan – a local plan with health as the first of three strategic themes: https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/sites/default/files/JLPAdoptedVersion.pdf

‘People aren’t disabled, their city is’: inside Europe’s most accessible city: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/may/28/people-arent-disabled-their-city-is-inside-europes-most-accessible-city “But in Breda, I found that the issue had been turned on its head. The city authorities have pulled up all the cobblestones in the centre that surround the Grote Markt and Grote Kerk marketplace and church, turned them upside-down and sliced them widthways. The result: a flat surface for those with mobility impairments, while keeping Breda’s streets just as photogenic as they were before.”

‘Permitted development’ undermines local planning, council chiefs say: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Permitted-development-undermines-local-planning-council-chiefs-say/47485 “Permitted development rules are taking away the ability of local communities to shape the area they live in, ensure homes are built to high standards with the necessary infrastructure in place and have resulted in the potential loss of thousands of desperately-needed affordable homes”

RSPH - Taking the P***: the decline of the great British public toilet: https://www.rsph.org.uk/about-us/news/taking-the-p-the-decline-of-the-great-british-public-toilet.html “The findings shed light on the health burden of declining public toilet provision, which falls disproportionately on people with ill health or disability, the elderly, women, outdoor workers, and the homeless. For many, fear of or knowledge of a lack of facilities nearby can tie people to within a small distance of their home, acting as a ‘loo leash’ for one in five (20%) of the British public, and two in five (43%) of those with medical conditions requiring more frequent toilet use (such as diabetes or bowel conditions).”

World's rivers 'awash with dangerous levels of antibiotics': https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/27/worlds-rivers-awash-with-dangerous-levels-of-antibiotics “Hundreds of rivers around the world from the Thames to the Tigris are awash with dangerously high levels of antibiotics, the largest global study on the subject has found.”

Philippines passes law requiring students to plant 10 trees if they want to graduate: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/philippines-tree-planting-students-graduation-law-environment-a8932576.html “ A new Filipino law requires all graduating high school and college students to plant at least 10 trees each before they can graduate. The law formalises a tradition of planting trees upon graduation, which is also hoped to simultaneously combat global climate change. The proponents of the law say the legislation could result in as many as 525 billion trees planted in a generation if it is properly adhered to.”


How could new metrics help to end homelessness? https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2019/05/29/how-could-new-metrics-help-to-end-homelessness/ “Homelessness remains one of the most pressing, some say growing, issues that policy makers face but a clear understanding of the causes is hampered by a lack of clear data. The ONS and Centre for Homelessness Impact have launched a consultation on a new set of homelessness indicators to better measure the factors that influence homelessness, such as housing, poverty, and relationships to try and find new ways to measure what areas are most at risk.”

Homeless Ashes Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuzoPUTMWL4 “A crowdfunded film giving the homeless and domestic violence victims a voice - Frankie, a young boy who stands up to his fear and runs from home ending up homeless with no choice but trying to survive life on the streets.”

Council tax ‘only regressive tax in the UK’: https://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2019/05/council-tax-only-regressive-tax-uk “Council tax, however, is markedly regressive as it is not linked to income, with the poorest tenth of the population paying 8% of their income on council tax, while the next 50% pay 4-5% and the richest 40% paying 2-3%.”

The Law Is Failing Renters – Time To Unionise: https://neweconomics.org/2019/05/the-law-is-failing-renters-time-to-unionise “The laws which underpin private renting are a disgrace. When one in five MPs are landlords and our current system was designed in the eighties to allow landlords to maximise their profits and minimise their obligations to those they rent to, we renters shouldn’t be surprised we’re being exploited.”

36 expert tips for a healthier home: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/36-expert-tips-for-a-healthier-home/ “Install smoke detectors. Choose furniture and carpets without harmful chemicals. Cook with the exhaust hood on. Limit the use of air fresheners in the bathroom. Dehumidify the basement. These are a few of the tips offered in a new report titled “Homes for Health: 36 Expert Tips to Make Your Home a Healthier Home,” one of several reports from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Healthy Buildings program.”

Climate change & sustainability

Global change drives modern plankton communities away from the pre-industrial state: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1230-3 “These observations not only confirm the existing evidence for changes in marine zooplankton communities in historical times, but also demonstrate that Anthropocene communities of a globally distributed zooplankton group systematically differ from their unperturbed pre-industrial state.”

Sea-level driven land conversion and the formation of ghost forests: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0488-7 “Ghost forests created by the submergence of low-lying land are one of the most striking indicators of climate change along the Atlantic coast of North America. Although dead trees at the margin of estuaries were described as early as 1910, recent research has led to new recognition that the submergence of terrestrial land is geographically widespread, ecologically and economically important, and globally relevant to the survival of coastal wetlands in the face of rapid sea level rise.”

Guest post: Why natural cycles only play small role in rate of global warming: https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-why-natural-cycles-only-play-small-role-in-rate-of-global-warming “In a paper published in the Journal of Climate, we find that the combination of human and natural climate forcings – increased atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases, volcanoes, solar activity and aerosols – can explain virtually all of the long-term change in the temperature record over the past 150 years.”

Greta Thunberg - Young people have led the climate strikes. Now we need adults to join us too: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/23/greta-thunberg-young-people-climate-strikes-20-september “We don’t feel like we have a choice: it’s been years of talking, countless negotiations, empty deals on climate change and fossil fuel companies being given free rides to drill beneath our soils and burn away our futures for their profit. Politicians have known about climate change for decades. They have willingly handed over their responsibility for our future to profiteers whose search for quick cash threatens our very existence.”

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg addresses leaders at world summit: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/teen-climate-activist-greta-thunberg-addresses-leaders-at-world-summit/2019/05/28/a34c7d04-7cb3-11e9-8ede-f4abf521ef17_story.html?utm_term=.233015d8c5e2 “Speaking at the R20 Austrian World Summit in Austria’s capital, Vienna, Greta suggested it was wrong to portray climate change as “primarily an opportunity to create new green jobs, new businesses, green economic growth,” as some political and business leaders have done. “This is above all an emergency and not just any emergency. This is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced,” she said. “This is not something you can like on Facebook.””

Latest global school climate strikes expected to beat turnout record: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/24/latest-global-school-climate-strikes-expected-to-beat-turnout-record “Hundreds of thousands of children and young people are walking out of lessons around the world on Friday as the school strike movement continues to snowball. Climate strikes were planned in more than 1,400 cities in more than 110 countries. Organisers say the number of young people taking part is set to top the 1.4 million people who participated in the global day of strikes in March.”

An (Even More) Inconvenient Truth: Why Carbon Credits For Forest Preservation May Be Worse Than Nothing: https://features.propublica.org/brazil-carbon-offsets/inconvenient-truth-carbon-credits-dont-work-deforestation-redd-acre-cambodia/ “In case after case, I found that carbon credits hadn’t offset the amount of pollution they were supposed to, or they had brought gains that were quickly reversed or that couldn’t be accurately measured to begin with. Ultimately, the polluters got a guilt-free pass to keep emitting CO₂, but the forest preservation that was supposed to balance the ledger either never came or didn’t last.”

Climate change: sea level rise could displace millions of people within two generations: https://theconversation.com/climate-change-sea-level-rise-could-displace-millions-of-people-within-two-generations-116753 “Models have to capture all the processes and uncertainties that we know about and those that we don’t – the “known unknowns” and the “unknown unknowns” as Donald Rumsfeld once put it. As a result, several recent studies suggest that previous Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports may have underestimated how much melting ice sheets will contribute to sea level in future.”

Record streak continues: Britain closes in on 12 days straight without coal: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3076458/record-streak-continues-britain-closes-in-on-12-days-straight-without-coal “The coal-free hours keep ticking by in Britain, where the grid has now operated for almost 12 days straight without any electricity from coal-fired power stations. At 11 days and 18 hours, it already marks the longest period that England, Scotland and Wales have gone without coal power since the industrial revolution, with no end in sight.”

Resilience Roundup: Public Spaces Fighting Climate Change: https://www.pps.org/article/resilience-roundup-public-spaces-fighting-climate-change “Public spaces are where physical and social resilience meet. Looking past levees and seawalls, and even beyond nature-based solutions to climate risks, public space designers and managers have to get people into the picture as we all come to terms with the urban impacts of climate change. That’s why public spaces must be considered a crucial tool in our arsenal to mitigate and adapt to rising temperatures and extreme weather.”

Storytelling is key to understanding climate change: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/04/help-wanted-more-climate-storytellers/ “Dramatic, funny, and original storytelling can astonish us, challenge us, and push us to think anew about addressing climate challenges.”

Role-playing game helps U.N. negotiators understand the consequences of their decisions: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/05/role-playing-game-helps-u-n-negotiators-understand-the-consequences-of-their-decisions/ “In the game, players learn about how climate change threatens the country they each represent. And they decide how much money to invest in different climate solutions. Then a computer model calculates how their choices will affect the global climate – and people’s lives – several decades later. Milkoreit: “Some participants respond rather emotionally. Then suddenly it’s like, wow, that is actually time where my children, my grandchildren will live!””

These huge new wind turbines are a marvel. They’re also the future.: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/3/8/17084158/wind-turbine-power-energy-blades “It is impressive as an engineering feat, but the significance of growing turbine size goes well beyond that. Bigger turbines harvest more energy, more steadily; the bigger they get, the less variable and more reliable they get, and the easier they are to integrate into the grid. Wind is already outcompeting other sources on wholesale energy markets. After a few more generations of growth, it won’t even be a contest anymore.”

I oversaw the U.S. nuclear power industry. Now I think it should be banned: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/i-oversaw-the-us-nuclear-power-industry-now-i-think-it-should-be-banned/2019/05/16/a3b8be52-71db-11e9-9eb4-0828f5389013_story.html?utm_term=.3e9aabd42255 “History shows that the expense involved in nuclear power will never change. Past construction in the United States exhibited similar cost increases throughout the design, engineering and construction process. The technology and the safety needs are just too complex and demanding to translate into a facility that is simple to design and build. No matter your views on nuclear power in principle, no one can afford to pay this much for two electricity plants. New nuclear is simply off the table in the United States.”

Trump energy officials label natural gas 'freedom gas': https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/446004-trump-energy-officials-label-natural-gas-freedom-gas “Energy officials within the Trump administration referred to natural gas exported by U.S. energy companies as "freedom gas" and "molecules of U.S. freedom" in official statements… “

Why decarbonising marine transportation might not be smooth sailing: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/05/20/why-decarbonising-marine-transportation-might-not-be-smooth-sailing/ “If the shipping industry is serious about cutting emissions, it needs to be bold and encourage a clean fuel revolution, writes Tony Robert Walker, assistant professor, Dalhousie University.”

Active travel & transport

Active Travel and Physical Activity – Evidence Review: https://www.sportengland.org/media/13944/active-travel-summary-evidence-review.pdf “We commissioned a review of evidence on the link between active travel and physical activity. It examines the current and potential contribution of active travel to physical activity levels, and reviews the effectiveness of active travel interventions at increasing walking, cycling and physical activity.”

Direct Line and Brake Report on Safe Driving: http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DL-Speed-report-2019-13.5.19.pdf?mc_cid=9bd6c944e9&mc_eid=f209095101 “If 40 people every week died in train crashes there would be an outcry, yet somehow motorised travel manages to exempt itself from normal rules of acceptability. The peculiarities of drivers’ attitudes have complex roots, but much of the explanation lies in drivers’ seeming inability to accurately assess their own behaviour”

A range of reports about electric vehicles and charging infrastructure;

City of London plans UK’s first 15mph speed limit: https://www.localgov.co.uk/City-of-London-plans-UKs-first-15mph-speed-limit/47487 “The City of London Corporation has outlined the plans for the new speed limit – which is subject to government approval – as part of its 25-year framework for its first long-term Transport Strategy.”

About towns: How transport can help towns thrive: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/resources/types/reports/about-towns-how-transport-can-help-towns-thrive “A key finding of the report is that isolated capital interventions in transport infrastructure are insufficient in themselves. Instead, more co-ordinated programmes of transport capital and revenue investment and support are needed if towns are to truly thrive.”

Parliament Transport Committee – Road Safety Inquiry: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/road-safety-17-19/?mc_cid=9bd6c944e9&mc_eid=f209095101 “The inquiry will investigate which changes would be most effective at reducing the number and severity of road traffic accidents.”

Built environment correlates of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in older adults: A comparative review between high and low-middle income countries: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1353829218307044 “Different built environment attributes are associated with physical activity in high- and low-middle income countries. •

•Research should focus on advancing the evidence base for built environment attributes and sedentary behaviour. •Built environment attributes need to be considered in future research, policy and practice within a complex system.”

Bike lanes need physical protection from car traffic, study shows: https://arstechnica.com/cars/2019/05/bike-lanes-need-physical-protection-from-car-traffic-study-shows/ “"We know that vehicles driving closely to cyclists increases how unsafe people feel when riding bikes and acts as a strong barrier to increasing cycling participation. Our results demonstrate that a single stripe of white paint does not provide a safe space for people who ride bikes," said Dr. Ben Beck, lead author of the study.”

Air quality & pollution

Air pollution is giving children anxiety, study finds: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/05/22/air-pollution-is-giving-children-anxiety-study-finds/ “…However, Kelly Brunst, lead researcher from the University of Cincinnati said that the increase in anxiety symptoms in this age group was ‘relatively small’ and not likely to result in a clinical diagnosis. ‘I think it can speak to a bigger impact on population health, that increased exposure to air pollution can trigger the brain’s inflammatory response, as evident by the increases we saw in myo-inositol,’ she added. ‘This may indicate that certain populations are at an increased risk for poorer anxiety outcomes.’”

World Environment Day 2019 – 20th June: https://www.iema.net/wed19/ “IEMA, for the 2nd year running, is working in partnership with a variety of organisations to use the Power of Partnership to promote World Environment Day and help educate and empower both our members and the general public on this year’s theme of Air Quality. On this page, you’ll find a collection of resources - from both IEMA and beyond - to help you take action in your organisation and local community.”

33m polluting cars still on EU roads after Dieselgate scandal: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/28/dieselgate-33m-polluting-cars-still-on-eu-roads “More than three quarters of the 43m cars tampered with in the Dieselgate emissions test cheating scandal are still on the road four years later. It will probably take another two years to recall the remaining 33m vehicles that were tampered with, according to analysis of unpublicised European commission figures which was released last week.”

UN lists plastic as hazardous waste, votes to control international trade: https://inhabitat.com/un-lists-plastic-as-hazardous-waste-votes-to-control-international-trade/ “On May 10, 187 countries voted to list plastic as hazardous waste and tighten control over its international trade. The governing agreement, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal dictates legally binding standards for importing and exporting toxic materials. For the first time ever, the agreement now includes plastic, with the exception of PE, PP and PET plastics.”

Plastic poisons ocean bacteria that produce 10% of the world’s oxygen and prop up the marine food chain: https://theconversation.com/plastic-poisons-ocean-bacteria-that-produce-10-of-the-worlds-oxygen-and-prop-up-the-marine-food-chain-117493 “The results indicate that the scale and potential impacts of plastic pollution may be far greater than most of us had imagined. They showed that the chemical-contaminated seawater severely reduced the bacteria’s rate of growth and oxygen production. In most cases, bacteria populations actually declined.”

Recycling: poorer countries can now refuse plastic waste imports – this could make the system fairer: https://theconversation.com/recycling-poorer-countries-can-now-refuse-plastic-waste-imports-this-could-make-the-system-fairer-117707 “When wealthy countries export their plastic waste to poorer countries with weaker recycling capacity, those plastics are often dumped, eventually polluting the land and sea. But a recent UN decision could help those countries most affected by plastic litter and with the least capacity to manage it. Due to a little-known treaty called the Basel Convention, poorer countries can now say no to the deluge of exported waste.”

Local Authority Plastics End Market Analysis: http://files.localgov.co.uk/Recoup.pdf “More than 50% of councils have reported that they were ‘experiencing issues’ with plastic markets, new research has revealed. The market for plastic packaging has changed dramatically in the wake of the Chinese government’s decision to stop importing post-consumer plastics.”

From no recycling to zero waste: how Ljubljana rethought its rubbish: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/may/23/zero-recycling-to-zero-waste-how-ljubljana-rethought-its-rubbish “Fifteen years ago, all the Slovenian capital’s waste went to landfill, but by 2025, at least 75% of its rubbish will be recycled. How did the city turn itself around?”

Food & food security

The Housing Situations of Food Bank Users in Great Britain: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/social-policy-and-society/article/housing-situations-of-food-bank-users-in-great-britain/E7F99E23A37ED593292584F324A34069 “Households in both private and social rented housing reported high rates of rent arrears and poor conditions; those in private housing were also more likely to live in homes with damp, to have moved in past year, and to be worried about a forced move in future. Overall, housing problems are widespread among food bank users; policy interventions are needed.” – more here - People who use food banks live in substandard and unaffordable homes – new study: https://theconversation.com/people-who-use-food-banks-live-in-substandard-and-unaffordable-homes-new-study-114879

Chef says ban on takeaways near schools is 'inherently racist': https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/23/angry-chef-brands-takeaway-ban-policy-racist “I actually think it is an inherently racist policy,” said Warner. It did not cover companies including McDonald’s, Burger King, Costa and Greggs, he said. “For me, that policy is really about clearing out slightly unsightly businesses that people don’t like, like independently-owned chicken shops and takeaways. It was to kind of gentrify environments and I think it is a very problematic policy.”

Ready Or Not, The Food Of The Future Is Coming: https://www.forbes.com/sites/startupnationcentral/2019/05/15/ready-or-not-the-food-of-the-future-is-coming/#24fa9f033e11 “The world’s top agricultural-technology industry players gathered in San Francisco recently for the World Agri-Tech Innovation and Future Food-Tech summits. The four-day conference drew global agribusinesses, start-up founders, VCs, industry analysts, bureaucrats, journalists, and even a couple of farmers. All of them were there to see where technology was taking agriculture and food production.”

eTalks – The Secrets of Food Marketing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKTORFmMycQ

WMHPG news, information and resources 24 May 2019

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


Driving Better Health with Sustainable Energy: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/driving-better-health-with-sustainable-energy-tickets-62197773214 “Low-carbon policies and investment don’t just safeguard the planet: they create better health today. Around the world, in our cities and beyond, sustainable energy brings immediate health benefits – from easing air pollution to tackling excess heat and cold in homes and workplaces, and giving hospitals reliable power. The links between energy and health are well established. Yet policymakers, investors and the health sector often overlook these co-benefits. This means they aren’t costed and quantified, innovators are denied funding, and health and climate policies work in isolation or even against each other. Please join us for our Driving Better Health with Sustainable Energy conference at Bloomberg London on 2 July. Through on-the-ground examples and expert insights, we will ask how to overcome investment barriers and leverage collaboration across sectors to reach urgent climate, energy and health targets in the UK and worldwide.

Professor John Middleton inaugural lecture:Colleagues are cordially invited to Prof John Middleton’s inaugural lecture on Thursday 6th June 2019, 4-6.30pm at the University of Wolverhampton. John Middleton is a very engaging speaker and an influential public health practitioner, he is an Honorary Professor of Public Health at the University of Wolverhampton and the President of the UK Faculty of Public Health. The event is free but booking is essential as tickets are limited and confirmed numbers are required for catering purposes; please follow the booking link for more detailshttps://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inaugural-lecture-series-professor-john-middleton-tickets-59816718415

International Conference on Global Health and Epidemiology, at the University of Wolverhampton.  22-25th July 2019: We cordially welcome you to join the upcoming ICGHE 2019. ICGHE 2019 will be an innovative and informative international conference reflecting the direction of global health whilst offering a wide range of diversions to participants of all backgrounds. For more details and to register to attend or submit abstracts for presentations please take a look at  http://bit.ly/ICGH19

Sustainable development goals

Big tobacco, the new politics, and the threat to public health: https://www.bmj.com/content/365/bmj.l2164 “...the Institute of Economic Affairs is closer to power than it has been for decades. In an exclusive investigation, Jonathan Gornall reveals how the organisation is funded by British American Tobacco and has links with senior conservative ministers. After orchestrating a series of attacks on public health initiatives, the IEA may now hold the key to No 10”

A number of national and international reports published this week covering poverty in the UK;

Britain risks heading to US levels of inequality, warns top economist: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2019/may/14/britain-risks-heading-to-us-levels-of-inequality-warns-top-economist “Speaking to the Guardian at the launch of the study, he said: “There’s a real question about whether democratic capitalism is working, when it’s only working for part of the population. “There are things where Britain is still doing a lot better [than the US]. What we have to do is to make sure the UK is inoculated from some of the horrors that have happened in the US.””

Sheffield researchers lead new SIPHER consortium to drive policy reform and tackle health inequalities: https://sheffield.bigstamp.uk/sheffield-researchers-lead-new-sipher-consortium-to-drive-policy-reform-and-tackle-health-inequalities/ “The innovative SIPHER consortium – a new centre for Systems science In Public Health Economic Research – will provide evidence to support cost-effective action across different policy sectors, including economic growth, education and housing at different scales of government.”

Healthy planning & environment

Health Impact Assessment – global survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HIA “As part of a review process to update best practice guidelines on health impact assessment (HIA), HIA practitioners are invited to participate in this questionnaire survey on HIA practice and HIA guidance documents. This process will support a wider understanding of current practices and experience in HIA and allow for consideration of such in updated guidelines on best practice principles. The objectives of the questionnaire are:

(1) to map and assess current global HIA practice in terms of activities, capacity building and development of the field;

(2) to understand the use of existing HIA practice guidance documents; and

(3) to investigate specific elements that may need to be considered in updates of HIA practice guidance documents.

Call for papers – Environmental Research and Public Health - Special Issue "Health in EIA/SEA": https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph/special_issues/Health_EIA_SEA “This Special Volume of the Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is seeking high-quality contributions on all areas of inclusion of health into EIA/SEA, on HIA and all the issues mentioned above. We welcome contributions from all around the world, including critical reviews of failed cases of inclusion of health into EIA/SEA. We invite contributors from academia, impact assessment practice, policy, and the education arena.”

Free online HIA training – Health Impact Assessment, step by step: http://www.ncchpp.ca/274/online-course.ccnpps “The NCCHPP is now offering a new free online course on health impact assessment (HIA)! Registration is now open!”

Advancing Health and Health Equity: https://web.cvent.com/event/c1ab725e-e7e1-4b1d-b677-275a59947df9/summary?RefId=OpReg&rt=AuW0mKuJX0WegJMJ-ku9EA “An Introduction to Health Impact Assessment Training Health Impact Assessment, or HIA, is an adaptable approach that can successfully bring new and valuable perspectives into existing decision-making structures, with the goal of identifying and addressing potential effects of policies on population health where they would otherwise not be considered. This training will include a broad introduction to the HIA process, interactive exploration of critical concepts through real-world examples, and an emphasis on selecting suitable policy decisions to examine through an HIA approach. Join experts from the field to learn the basics of this proven approach to integrating health and equity considerations into ongoing policy formation.”

Plymouth Local Plan – fast food takeaways: https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/sites/default/files/JLPAdoptedVersion.pdf (Page 254) “Michael Chang (PHE) comments - this example highlights the work undertaken by Plymouth City Council’s Planning and Public Health Teams. The City Council undertook an award winning approach to developing a local plan, with community engagement as a key component. In addition it embedded health as a key objective throughout. The policy supports healthy communities to promote good quality and clean environments and where healthy lifestyles can be positively encouraged through the developments and services that are provided.”

High lead levels found in rubber playground surfaces: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/high-lead-levels-found-in-rubber-playground-surfaces “Researchers examined lead levels in the soil, sand, mulch, or rubber surfaces in 28 Boston playgrounds. They found that rubber surfaces often had lead levels that averaged two or three times higher than levels in the other materials, according to a May 7, 2019 Reuters article. High lead levels were also found in many of the soil surfaces, although soil was typically located at the edges of playgrounds, outside main play areas, according to the study.”

Planetary health and '12 years' to act: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/05/planetary-health-and-12-years-to-act/ “Think of it like getting advice from your doctor.”

The case for building $1,500 parks: https://www.fastcompany.com/90206556/the-case-for-building-1500-parks “A groundbreaking new study shows that access to “greened” vacant lots reduced feelings of worthlessness and depression, especially in low-resource neighborhoods.”


The Law Is Failing Renters – Time To Unionise: https://neweconomics.org/2019/05/the-law-is-failing-renters-time-to-unionise “The laws which underpin private renting are a disgrace. When one in five MPs are landlords and our current system was designed in the eighties to allow landlords to maximise their profits and minimise their obligations to those they rent to, we renters shouldn’t be surprised we’re being exploited.”

The devastating biological consequences of homelessness: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01573-0 “Since 2013, a team led by Margot Kushel, director of the university’s Center for Vulnerable Populations, has followed a group of about 350 older homeless adults in Oakland, California, to determine why this group ages in hyper-speed. Although the participants’ average age is 57, they experience strokes, falls, visual impairment and urinary incontinence at rates typical of US residents in their late 70s and 80s.”

Assembling a ‘kind of’ home in the UK private renting sector: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016718519301277?via%3Dihub “We document that the struggle to continually assemble, de-assemble and re-assemble a sense of home drastically reduces private tenants’ wellbeing through stress, anxiety, depression and alienation. However, we also indicate potential lines of change towards alternative futures not least by the emergence of a tenants’ ‘collective body’ as well as by casting tenants’ housing ill-being as a matter of public concern.”

Climate change & sustainability

High‐resolution projections of extreme heat in New York City: https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/joc.6102?af=R “High‐resolution dynamical downscaling simulations reveal strong dependency of changes in event duration and intensity on geographical location and urban density. Event intensity changes are expected to be highest closer to the coast, where afternoon sea‐breezes have traditionally mitigated summer high temperatures. Meanwhile, event duration anomaly is largest over Manhattan, where the urban canopy is denser and taller.”

The impact of weather on economic growth and its production factors: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-019-02441-6 “Again it is the poor countries for which these impacts are the strongest. The findings provide empirical evidence for negative impacts of temperature on economic growth and its factors of production and furthermore point towards climate change as an important driver of international inequality.”

Put equity first in climate adaptation: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01497-9 “Focusing on the bottom few per cent, not averages, is the best way to tackle poverty, argue Mark Pelling and Matthias Garschagen.”

Antarctic instability 'is spreading': https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48249287 “Almost a quarter of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet can now be considered unstable, according to a new assessment of 25 years of satellite data. By unstable, scientists mean more ice is being lost from the region than is being replenished through snowfall.Some of the biggest glaciers have thinned by over 120m in places.”

‘Now I Am Speaking to the Whole World.’ How Teen Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Got Everyone to Listen: http://time.com/collection-post/5584902/greta-thunberg-next-generation-leaders/ “Castigating the powerful has become routine for the 16-year-old. In December, she addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poland; in January she berated billionaires at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Her London speech was the last stop of a tour that included meeting the Pope. (“Continue to work, continue,” he told her, ending with, “Go along, go ahead.” It was an exhortation, not a dismissal.)”

  • German far right targets Greta Thunberg in anti-climate push: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/05/14/germany-climate-denial-populist-eike-afd/
  • Climate Capitalists: https://winteroak.org.uk/climate-capitalists/ “The global movement calling for action on climate change has captured the imagination and enthusiasm of thousands of people who care about the future of our world. However, alarming evidence has emerged, suggesting that this movement is being manipulated by business interests who aim not to save the planet but to save capitalism, not to halt the environmental crisis but to profit from it, not to protect nature but to commodify it.”

IEA: Low-carbon spending must ‘more than double’ to meet climate goals: https://www.carbonbrief.org/iea-low-carbon-spending-must-more-than-double-to-meet-climate-goals “Investment in low-carbon energy sources, such as wind, solar and nuclear, must more than double by 2030 if the world is to meet its Paris Agreement climate goals, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).”

‘This is a wake-up call’: the villagers who could be Britain’s first climate refugees: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/18/this-is-a-wake-up-call-the-villagers-who-could-be-britains-first-climate-refugees “...But if Wilkins lasts nearly as long as her mother, who is 98 and also lives in the village, she could be among the first residents to be moved out: Gwynedd council has decided it can no longer defend her home from rising sea levels driven by increasing global temperatures.”

The World’s Last Coal Plant Will Soon Be Built: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-05-15/coal-s-end-foreshadowed-in-iea-s-plant-investment-report “Some 30GW of generators were retired last year, so more capacity was closed in 2018 than was approved – almost certainly the first time this has happened in a generation, and possibly the first time since the 19th century. When FIDs drop to zero, the 140-year era of coal plant construction will finally be over.”

Could you live a low carbon life? Meet the people who already are: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/may/04/carbon-cutting-zero-emissions-eco-warriors-damaged-world “There are things we can all do to lower our impact on the environment. We speak to three people who have taken the first steps”

Climate change: Bafta calls for more environment plot lines on TV: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48269930 “Television shows should have more plot lines and references to climate change to help tackle the issue, according to Bafta. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts says TV can help change people's attitudes towards the planet. It cites successes from previous initiatives based around health and social issues.”

Active travel & transport

Tram system related cycling injuries: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00402-018-2890-4 “TSRCI occur predominantly in young to middle-aged adults with low levels of socioeconomic deprivation, most commonly when bicycle wheels get caught in tram-tracks. They result in various injuries, frequently affecting the upper limb. Traffic pressures are commonly implicated. Most patients report negative effects on confidence and a sizeable minority do not resume cycling. TSRCI can result in significant loss of working and cycling days.”

Who caused that congestion? Narrating driving and cycling in a changing policy context: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214367X18302114 “Comparison of comments on poor driving and poor cycling highlighted the persistence of cycling stigma. Cycling stigma combines with the weakness of anti-car narratives to reinforce controversy obstructing active travel policies. Challenging these twin barriers may prove essential to accelerating mode shift in London and elsewhere.”

How much space do drivers provide when passing cyclists? Understanding the impact of motor vehicle and infrastructure characteristics on passing distance: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0001457518309990 “One in every 17 passing events was a close (<100 cm) passing event. We identified that on-road bicycle lanes and parked cars reduced passing distance. These data can be used to inform the selection and design of cycling-related infrastructure and road use with the aim of improving safety for cyclists.”

Factcheck: How electric vehicles help to tackle climate change: https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-electric-vehicles-help-to-tackle-climate-change “Electric vehicles (EVs) are an important part of meeting global goals on climate change. They feature prominently in mitigation pathways that limit warming to well-below 2C or 1.5C, which would be inline with the Paris Agreement’s targets.”

London to get ‘world’s first’ hydrogen double-decker buses: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/05/10/london-to-get-worlds-first-hydrogen-double-decker-buses/ “Transport for London (TfL) has ordered 20 of the buses, which produce no pollution from their exhausts and are powered with a hydrogen fuel cell and a battery pack. The vehicles will be introduced on routes 245, 7 and N7, with people traveling to Wembley Stadium, or from west London to the West End. TfL says they are investing £12m in the new buses and the fuelling infrastructure with Northern Ireland firm Wrightbus as the manufacturer, which uses a fuel cell from Ballard to power a Siemens drivetrain.”

Motorists could earn thousands by giving up cars for public transport under new scheme: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/motorists-cars-3000-trial-public-transport-pollution-uk-a8836671.html “The government-funded trial, set to be launched in Coventry this year, will give drivers cash to ditch their cars in exchange for public transport, electric vehicle car hire and bike-sharing schemes. While the amount of money drivers stand to earn has not been confirmed, The Times reported it could run up to £3,000 a year.”

Air quality & pollution

Air Pollution and Noncommunicable Diseases: https://journal.chestnet.org/article/S0012-3692(18)32723-5/fulltext “Air pollution may be associated with symptoms immediately upon exposure, such as coughing, tearing, difficulty breathing, and angina. It may also be associated with long-term harm that is more subtle. People are usually unaware of how long-term exposure affects their health or worsens their medical problems over time. Polluted air gains access to the body through the respiratory tract but has systemic effects that can damage many other organs.”

Impact of Air Pollution on the Health of Outdoor Workers: https://www.britsafe.org/media/6638/mpo187_time-to-breathe-white-paper-v5.pdf “Given that certain groups may be at an increased risk of health conditions associated with air pollution, it is essential that the government implement a cohesive strategy, designed to help the most vulnerable groups. As the Royal College of Physicians has shown, those ‘who work near busy roads’, are particularly at risk. Outdoor workers, especially those who work in cities, are routinely exposed to high, and potentially harmful, levels of toxicity.”

UK homes ‘toxic boxes’ due to indoor air pollution: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/05/15/uk-homes-toxic-boxes-due-to-indoor-air-pollution/ “Indoor air pollution is over three times worse than outdoor air pollution, with campaigners calling UK households ‘toxic boxes’ due to the number of air pollution particles trapped inside. These were the findings of a study commissioned by the Clean Air Day campaign who asked the National Air Quality Testing Services (NAQTS) to conduct four experiments with four families in different UK locations in April and May 2019.”

London’s ULEZ shows early success in deterring polluting vehicles: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/05/16/londons-ulez-shows-early-success-in-deterring-polluting-vehicles/ “The number of heavily polluting cars and vans driving into central London has fallen sharply since the city introduced its Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) on 8 April, a new report has found. Research into the impact of the ULEZ in its first month of operation found that 74% of vehicles driving into the zone were compliant with the new standards.”

E.P.A. Plans to Get Thousands of Pollution Deaths Off the Books by Changing Its Math: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/20/climate/epa-air-pollution-deaths.html “The Environmental Protection Agency plans to change the way it calculates the health risks of air pollution, a shift that would make it easier to roll back a key climate change rule because it would result in far fewer predicted deaths from pollution, according to five people with knowledge of the agency’s plans.”

Coventry ordered to implement clean air zone: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Coventry-ordered-to-implement-clean-air-zone-/47439 “Defra has, instead, insisted that Coventry CC introduce a charging clean air zone (CAZ), which will require drivers of high-polluting vehicles, such as buses, lorries and older cars, to pay a charge.”

414 million pieces of plastic found on remote island group in Indian Ocean: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/16/414-million-pieces-of-plastic-found-on-remote-island-group-in-indian-ocean “On the beaches of the tiny Cocos (Keeling) Islands, population 600, marine scientists found 977,000 shoes and 373,000 toothbrushes. A comprehensive survey of debris on the islands – among the most remote places on Earth, in the Indian Ocean – has found a staggering amount of rubbish washed ashore. This included 414m pieces of plastic, weighing 238 tonnes.”

Man makes deepest-ever dive in Mariana Trench and discovers ... litter: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/13/man-makes-deepest-ever-dive-in-mariana-trench-and-discovers-trash “On the deepest dive ever made by a human inside a submarine, a Texas investor found something he could have found in the gutter of nearly any street in the world: litter.”

Food & food security

Taking down junk food ads: How local areas are taking action on outdoor advertising: http://www.foodactive.org.uk/new-report-from-food-active-and-sustain-taking-down-junk-food-ads-how-local-authorities-are-taking-action-on-outdoor-advertising/ “Today, published in our joint report (available to download at the bottom of this article) with Sustain illustrates that local authorities have little powers to restrict advertising of food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt – despite the fact that many areas are struggling with high levels of childhood overweight and obesity.”

Must read blog about healthy eating, fad diets etc. from the Angry Chef: http://bit.ly/2wbLeg0 “In the early days of this blog, I fought to protect people. I attacked pseudoscientific rhetoric about convenience food because it was being used to as a tool of shame, particularly against women. I fought for those whose relationship with food had become so messed up that they could no longer navigate their own hunger. I called out anyone abusing people because of their weight, or selling false hope to the sick and vulnerable. Most of all, I tried to help people understand that the real determinants of health; things like wealth, privilege, inequality and unresolved mental trauma; are being ignored when we focus on food and lifestyle. So often, we are trying to solve deeply engrained social problems with recipes for homemade humous.”

First strict test shows why a junk-food diet packs on weight: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01523-w “Harried humans around the world are embracing cheap, ultra-processed foods such as white bread, bacon and hash browns. But the first randomized controlled trial on the health effects of these foods shows that people offered such a diet ingest more calories — and pack on more weight — than they do when presented with more wholesome meals.”

Don't talk about 'food poverty' – it's just poverty: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/may/16/dont-talk-about-food-poverty-jay-rayner “It is, I know, a statement of the bleeding obvious to say that we must get rid of food poverty. It’s perhaps a little less obvious to argue that one of the key ways of doing so will be to stop using the damn phrase “food poverty” itself. This seems nonsensical, doesn’t it, at a time when the Trussell Trust is reporting that it handed out a record 1.6m emergency food packages in 2018; that it saw a 19% increase in the number of people needing its help.”

And finally….

Tram Bowling: https://twitter.com/ArminPoursalout/status/1124677320151851008 “Brussels loves its trams so much it is putting on a five-day “tramversary””

WMHPG news, information and resources 16 May 2019

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

Sustainable development goals

Inequalities in the twenty-first century: introducing the IFS Deaton Review: https://www.ifs.org.uk/inequality/chapter/briefing-note/ “We need to step back and ask: how are different kinds of inequality related and which matter most? What are the underlying forces that come together to create them? And crucially, what is the right mix of policies to tackle inequalities? The IFS Deaton Review aims to rise to that challenge. In the most ambitious study of its kind, it will engage world-leading experts in sociology, demography, epidemiology, political science, philosophy and economics to build a comprehensive understanding of inequalities in the twenty-first century.”

Poverty In Your Area: http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/poverty-in-your-area-2019/ “End Child Poverty has published new figures (May 2019) on the level of child poverty in each constituency, local authority and ward in Britain – interactive map”

'You can’t really win': 4m Britons in poverty despite having jobs: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/may/14/you-cant-really-win-4m-britons-in-poverty-despite-having-jobs “Official data released on Tuesday showed that unemployment remains at its lowest level since the mid-1970s but that means little to the 4 million workers in the UK like Gemma, who are living in poverty.”

What is needed to prevent more families being pulled into destitution? https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-blog/what-is-needed-to-prevent-more-families-being-pulled-into-destitution “It's not right that families should be unable to afford to eat, stay warm, dry and clean. However, over 1.5 million people in the UK, including 365,000 children, were pulled into destitution during 2017, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s research.”

On Borrowed Time: Finance and the UK's current account deficit: https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/on-borrowed-time “This discussion paper sets out four key propositions on the drivers of our current account imbalance, the ways in which it makes our economy vulnerable and hampers overall economic performance, and the actions needed to reduce it.”

Time For Europe To Stop Growing And Grow Up: https://meta.eeb.org/2019/05/09/time-for-europe-to-stop-growing-and-grow-up/ “As the European Union’s economic prospects improve and leaders vow to accelerate growth, life on earth is dying out at an alarming rate. To deal with this unprecedented emergency, the EU must forge a new Sustainability and Wellbeing pact which focuses not on growth but on quality of life, tax reform and zero waste, over 200 academics and policy experts urge.”

Beyond neoliberalism: Insights from emerging markets: https://www.brookings.edu/multi-chapter-report/beyond-neoliberalism-insights-from-emerging-markets/ “Across Western economies, the future of capitalism is suddenly up for debate. Driven in part by the twin shocks of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, the prevailing neoliberal economic model—which prioritized a light touch regulatory regime, minimal barriers to trade and foreign investment, and overall a small role for the state in managing the economy—is under attack from both the left and the right. Will neoliberalism be displaced? And what will come next?”

ECJ backing of ‘investment courts’ places multinationals above citizens: https://eeb.org/ecj-backing-of-investment-courts-places-multinationals-above-citizens/ “The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has concluded that including a so-called Investment Court System in the EU-Canada free-trade agreement is “compatible with EU law” – a ruling that ignores the gross injustices corporate tribunals inflict on EU citizens and the environment.”

New Zealand's world-first ‘wellbeing’ budget to focus on poverty and mental health: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/14/new-zealands-world-first-wellbeing-budget-to-focus-on-poverty-and-mental-health “Child poverty, domestic violence and mental health will be the priorities in New Zealand’s “wellbeing budget”, the finance minister has announced, with the nation declaring itself the first in the world to measure success by its people’s wellbeing.”

Healthy planning & environment

European Public Health Associaton – Discussing the Determinants of Health with the Place Standard Tool: https://www.facebook.com/EUPHActs/videos/1176942859145728/ A recorded webinar on the use of the Place Standard Tool. Tool available here: https://placestandard.scot/

Planning for an ageing population: is co-housing the solution? https://lichfields.uk/blog/2019/may/12/planning-for-an-ageing-population-is-co-housing-the-solution/ “Older population growth leads to household growth, and inevitably the housing needs of the UK will change alongside this shifting demographic. Lichfields’ Insight Focus explores this issue within the context of South West England.”

Understanding urban health: Thinking large and small: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2019/05/understanding-urban-health “Improving population health in towns and cities requires both an overarching city-wide strategy and a granular understanding of the needs of local neighbourhoods, as Chris Naylor and Kieron Boyle explain.”

Performance of generation time approximations for extinction risk assessments: https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1365-2664.13368 “Our results demonstrate potential errors that occur when estimating generation time in the absence of key demographic information. We offer practical recommendations for extinction risk assessments including more rigorous mathematical formulations of generation time, such as the measure of generation time that includes population growth rates and the appropriate age‐specific vital rates.”

Seven-mile 'bee corridor' coming to London to boost declining population: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/sevenmile-bee-corridor-coming-to-london-to-boost-declining-population-a4132796.html “A seven-mile “bee corridor” of vibrant wildflowers is being planted to encourage the insect’s population in London. The pathway for bees will be formed of 22 meadows sown through parks and green spaces in the north west of the capital. These will be in place in time for summer according to Brent council, which says it hopes the move will halt the decline in biodiversity in the borough.”


The Homelessness Monitor: England 2019: https://www.crisis.org.uk/ending-homelessness/homelessness-knowledge-hub/homelessness-monitor/england/the-homelessness-monitor-england-2019/ “The Homelessness Monitor: England 2019 is the eighth annual report of an independent study, commissioned by Crisis and funded by Crisis, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and with support from players of People's Postcode Lottery, of the homelessness impacts of recent economic and policy developments in England.”

  • Exclusion of poor tenants highlights fatal flaw in housing policy: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/15/exclusion-poor-tenants-fatal-flaw-housing-policy “Anecdotally, the practice of excluding risky prospective tenants because they have failed to pass financial capability assessments has been known for some time: the monitor fleshes out the widespread concern that councils now have that the policy is actively undermining their attempts to house homeless people.”

The long history of social housing segregation in Britain: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/social-housing-segregation/ “A recent article in the Guardian revealed that segregation by social class is still a feature of housing in the UK… This is, however, not new. Council tenants have faced physical segregation for many decades. And it is only news because we feel uncomfortable when the reality of parallel lives – particularly for children – is played out in physical barriers.”

Housing Infrastructure Fund: The story so far…. https://lichfields.uk/blog/2019/may/15/hif-the-story-so-far/ “It is now almost two years since the UK Government launched the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) in July 2017. This blog provides an overview of the announcements made to date on what funding has been granted to lower and upper tier authorities across England to help unlock thousands of new homes. Lichfields has been involved in preparing a number of HIF bids across the country.”

Climate change & sustainability

14C evidence that millennial and fast-cycling soil carbon are equally sensitive to warming: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0468-y “These findings suggest that mechanisms other than chemical recalcitrance mediate the effect of warming on soil carbon mineralization.”

Graphic: The relentless rise of carbon dioxide: https://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/24/graphic-the-relentless-rise-of-carbon-dioxide/ “Ancient air bubbles trapped in ice enable us to step back in time and see what Earth's atmosphere, and climate, were like in the distant past. They tell us that levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere are higher than they have been at any time in the past 400,000 years. During ice ages, CO2 levels were around 200 parts per million (ppm), and during the warmer interglacial periods, they hovered around 280 ppm (see fluctuations in the graph). In 2013, CO2 levels surpassed 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history.”

Earth’s CO2 Home Page: https://www.co2.earth/ “CO2.Earth is here to track the atmospheric CO2 trend along with you.  Any time you want an update for earth's planetary vital signs, CO2.Earth points to the  latest numbers.”

Net zero by 2050 in the UK: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)31004-9/fulltext?dgcid=raven_jbs_etoc_email “What does a 2050 target of net zero mean for health? Using cost analysis, the specifics of health are bundled into broader social benefits with relatively scant evaluation. However, as established through Lancet Series, Commissions, and the annual Lancet Countdown on health and climate change, evidence of co-benefits for health can be categorised in three broad areas: increasing physical activity; improving air quality and reducing pollution; and healthier diets.”

Climate crisis: Huge VAT rise on solar panels makes installation ‘entirely uneconomic’, say experts: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-solar-panels-vat-government-fossil-fuels-sian-berry-a8906361.html “Raising VAT on solar panels from 5 per cent to 20 risks making their installation “entirely uneconomic”, experts have warned. Although parliament declared a climate emergency earlier this month, rates for fossil fuels including gas and coal will remain at 5 per cent, while materials for some renewables will see tax rises of 15 per cent.”

Children can foster climate change concern among their parents: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0463-3 “Here we present an experimental evaluation of an educational intervention designed to build climate change concern among parents indirectly through their middle school-aged children in North Carolina, USA. Parents of children in the treatment group expressed higher levels of climate change concern than parents in the control group…”

Guest post: Polls reveal surge in concern in UK about climate change: https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-rolls-reveal-surge-in-concern-in-uk-about-climate-change “Climate change has been unusually prominent in the UK media over recent weeks – and this is mirrored by a noticeable increase in climate “concern” in the polls.”

A critical step to reduce climate change: https://www.gatesnotes.com/Energy/A-critical-step-to-reduce-climate-change “Wind and solar power generation is expanding around the globe at record rates, allowing more people to get their electricity from clean, renewable sources than ever before. This is great news. And here’s better news: We can do even more. By investing in energy innovations, we can build on the progress we’ve made deploying current technology like renewables, which will help accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to a future of reliable and affordable carbon-free electricity.”

Wales’s past was in coal but its future is in carbon farming: https://theconversation.com/waless-past-was-in-coal-but-its-future-is-in-carbon-farming-116706#Echobox=1557499927 “A new report from the Committee on Climate Change has outlined how the UK should – and could – reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. While an ambitious target in itself, the commission predicts Scotland can meet it a littler earlier, by 2045, while England will hit the target on time. Wales, however, has only been set a goal of 95% reduction by 2050.”

In the spirit of showing all views - UK abandoning coal would be an act of virtue-seeking madness: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/05/10/uk-abandoning-coal-would-act-virtue-seeking-madness/ “Britain has almost turned its back on the fuel of the industrial revolution after going its first week since 1882 without needing coal for power generation. Some campaigners want more action and are now calling for the end to all fossil fuel use. However, abandoning hydrocarbons entirely without proven alternatives would be virtue-seeking folly.”

NZ introduces groundbreaking zero carbon bill, including targets for agricultural methane: https://theconversation.com/nz-introduces-groundbreaking-zero-carbon-bill-including-targets-for-agricultural-methane-116724 “New Zealand’s long-awaited zero carbon bill will create sweeping changes to the management of emissions, setting a global benchmark with ambitious reduction targets for all major greenhouse gases. The bill includes two separate targets – one for the long-lived greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, and another target specifically for biogenic methane, produced by livestock and landfill waste.”

New Japanese turbines harvest wave energy and protect coastlines from erosion: https://inhabitat.com/new-japanese-turbines-harvest-wave-energy-and-protect-coastlines-from-erosion/ “Researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) in Japan are working to create special turbines that harvest the renewable energy of waves while simultaneously protecting coastlines from erosion. The turbines are designed to be anchored to the sea floor with mooring cables near tetrapods (star-shaped concrete structures designed to reduce erosion) or natural barriers such as coral reefs. These structures have enormous potential to dampen the impact of powerful waves on shorelines and capture the seemingly endless oceanic energy.”

Hubbub - https://www.hubbub.org.uk/ “Inspiring healthier, greener lifestyles across fashion, food, homes and neighbourhoods.”

Active travel & transport

Cyclists in shared bus lanes: could there be unrecognised impacts on bus journey times? https://www.icevirtuallibrary.com/doi/full/10.1680/jtran.16.00072 “This paper contributes to debates around improving the modelling of cycles, through an exploratory case study of bus–cycle interactions in London. This case study examines undocumented delays to buses caused by high volumes of cyclists in bus lanes. It has generally been assumed that cyclists do not noticeably delay buses in shared lanes. However, in many contexts where cyclists routinely share bus lanes, cyclist numbers have historically been low.”

Health Outcomes of Travel Tool will be updated: https://www.sduhealth.org.uk/news/661/health-outcomes-of-travel-tool-will-be-updated- “The importance of HOTT has never been higher, and the SDU expects that all Trusts will use the tool. The NHS Long Term Plan sets out clear targets for the NHS; to reduce air pollutant emission from business mileage and Trust fleet by 20% by 2023/24. An additional, ten year target has been set, that at least 90% of the NHS fleet uses low-emissions engines (including 25% ultra-low emissions vehicles) by 2028.”

Urban Mobility Partnership – Mobility Credits: Consumers in the Driving Seat: https://www.docdroid.net/OovH3ly/mobilty-credits-summary-document-d4.pdf “...Not only will Mobility Credits get people out of older polluting vehicles (and off the driveway or the parking space) it will encourage locals to think differently about how they travel – and most importantly, the choice of how to make their journey will be in their hands.”

Scottish Government refuses to back nationwide 20mph speed limits in built-up areas: https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scottish-government-refuses-to-back-nationwide-20mph-speed-limits-in-built-up-areas-1-4926516 “Cycling campaigners have criticised the Scottish Government’s lack of support for a bill that would change the default speed limit in built-up areas to 20mph, with the transport secretary claiming drivers may not pay attention to such a law if it was passed.”

Plug-in hybrid market facing significant decline, figures suggest: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/05/07/plug-in-hybrid-market-facing-significant-decline-figures-suggest/ “The plug-in hybrid market is experiencing a significant decline, down -34.4% in April and -20.4% year-to-date, according to the latest Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures, with experts blaming the drop on the government ‘prematurely’ removing purchasing incentives.”

Murdoch media and the myth about Tesla EVs causing blackouts: https://reneweconomy.com.au/murdoch-media-and-the-myth-about-tesla-evs-causing-blackouts-84284/ “The claim is laughable because most Tesla EVs are powered at home by a 7kW charger, which is about the same as many electric ovens and air conditioning units. And nearly all houses have these, and in the summer heat turn them on at the same time. (Some Tesla’s, such as chief scientist Alan Finkel’s, trickle feed from a normal socket).”

Air quality & pollution

Idling cars and pollution - a couple of articles that come to different conclusions;

Matt Hancock launches study into 'deadly poison' of air pollution: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/11/matt-hancock-launches-study-into-deadly-poison-of-air-pollution “Matt Hancock has commissioned a review of the impact of dirty air on health, including updated estimates of the number of new cases of illness that could be caused by air pollution by 2035.” – it could be argued that another study is unnecessary and that we already know enough about the health impact and the urgency of the policy changes required?

We’ll soon know the exact air pollution from every power plant in the world. That’s huge: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/5/7/18530811/global-power-plants-real-time-pollution-data “In a nutshell: A nonprofit artificial intelligence firm called WattTime is going to use satellite imagery to precisely track the air pollution (including carbon emissions) coming out of every single power plant in the world, in real time. And it’s going to make the data public.”

Edinburgh traffic-free pilot begins in bid to cut air pollution: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/05/07/edinburgh-traffic-free-pilot-begins-in-bid-to-cut-air-pollution/ “The streets of central Edinburgh were vehicle-free on Sunday (May 5), as they became the first city in the UK to join the ‘Open Streets’ initiative to help cut air pollution.”

Strategies to reduce the global carbon footprint of plastics: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0459-z “Our study demonstrates the need for integrating energy, materials, recycling and demand-management strategies to curb growing life-cycle GHG emissions from plastics.”

Plastic warms the planet twice as much as aviation – here’s how to make it climate-friendly: https://theconversation.com/plastic-warms-the-planet-twice-as-much-as-aviation-heres-how-to-make-it-climate-friendly-116376 “Newly published research calculates that across their lifecycle, plastics account for 3.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s almost double the emissions of the aviation sector. If it were a country, the “Plastic Kingdom” would be the fifth-highest emitter in the world.”

Mariana Trench: Deepest-ever sub dive finds plastic bag: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48230157 “Victor Vescovo descended nearly 11km (seven miles) to the deepest place in the ocean - the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench.

He spent four hours exploring the bottom of the trench in his submersible, built to withstand the immense pressure of the deep. He found sea creatures, but also found a plastic bag and sweet wrappers.”

Nearly all countries agree to stem flow of plastic waste into poor nations: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/10/nearly-all-the-worlds-countries-sign-plastic-waste-deal-except-us “US reportedly opposed deal, which follows concerns that villages in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia had ‘turned into dumpsites’”

Industry calls on Philip Hammond to weaken his planned plastics tax: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/05/10/industry-calls-on-philip-hammond-to-weaken-his-planned-plastics-tax/ “The UK’s leading plastics trade group is planning to push chancellor Philip Hammond to water down his proposed plastics tax, lobbying documents leaked to Unearthed show. This is despite the group’s own analysis showing the proposed tax would significantly boost the use of recycled plastics in packaging, one of the tax’s core goals.”

'Lunch on the go' habit generates 11bn items of packaging waste a year: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/14/lunch-on-go-habit-generates-11bn-items-packaging-waste-year-uk “Workers are buying takeaway and fast food lunches more than they did five years ago, according to research from the environmental charity Hubbub, generating 10.7bn separate items of waste over a year, the charity estimates, from sandwich boxes to crisp packets and napkins.”

Food & food security

A multi-model assessment of food security implications of climate change mitigation: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-019-0286-2 “Here we show the potential negative trade-offs between food security and climate mitigation using a multi-model comparison exercise. We find that carelessly designed climate mitigation policies could increase the number of people at risk of hunger by 160 million in 2050.”

Food waste starts long before food gets to your plate: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/05/food-waste-has-crucial-climate-impacts/ “…There’s the waste of the food itself. The waste of the money associated with producing the now wasted food. The waste of labor associated with all of the above. And the social inequity between people who really need food, but can’t get it and those who have too much and just trash it. And for climate change?”

WMHPG news, information and resources 03 May 2019

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

SURVEY - Spatial Planning & Health Survey: What are the barriers, enablers & opportunities? What has been the uptake of PHE Spatial Planning & Health Evidence Resource? Please help complete this survey from PHE Healthy Places team. https://uwe.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9Er3QwphPnuodRX “You are invited to take part in a research study investigating the barriers and opportunities for getting research into practice in the field of planning and health.”

Sustainable development goals

State of the Nation Report 2018-19: social mobility in Great Britain: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/798404/SMC_State_of_the_Nation_Report_2018-19.pdf “In this our sixth State of the Nation report we lay bare the stark fact that social mobility has stagnated over the last four years at virtually all stages from birth to work. Being born privileged in Britain means that you are likely to remain privileged. Being born disadvantaged, however, means that you will have to overcome a series of barriers to ensure that you and your children are not stuck in the same trap.”

UK life expectancy drops while other western countries improve: https://www.nhs.uk/news/medical-practice/uk-life-expectancy-drops-while-other-western-countries-improve/# “Researchers in the US looked at changes in life expectancy across 17 high-income countries over recent years. They particularly focused on annual changes between 2014 and 2016, as previous work had suggested that life expectancy in the US stopped improving during that time. The researchers found a number of countries, including the US and the UK, experienced decreased life expectancy from 2014 to 2015. In the UK, life expectancy at birth declined by 0.19 years for women and 0.26 years for men.”

Healthy planning & environment

Cities’ Quality of Life, Health, and Sustainability Are Defined by Access to Nearby Parks: https://www.thenatureofcities.com/2019/03/29/cities-quality-life-health-sustainability-defined-access-nearby-parks “Parks are not simply pleasant amenities, but serve as a foundation to the social, economic, environmental, and mental health of communities. By ensuring every resident of every city lives within a 10-minute walk of a park, we can fundamentally and positively impact the quality of life for hundreds of millions.”

Fracking – a range of coverage of the resignation of the governments ‘fracking tsar’;

There has been a alternative take on the story from some commentators;

  • Loss of fracking tsar is another sign the Government is in thrall to the environmental lobby: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2019/04/29/loss-fracking-tsar-another-sign-government-thrall-environmental “The resignation of Natascha Engel as the Government’s so-called fracking “tsar” is the latest blow to a burgeoning industry that held out such promise just a few years ago. The former Labour MP had only been in the post for six months, tasked with pushing forward the stalled exploration of the country’s substantial shale gas reserves. Yet she has stepped down, frustrated and angry, blaming environmental campaigners who are opposed to any non-renewable energy and regulations that have made it almost impossible to carry out the necessary procedures.”
  • Fracking boss Jim Ratcliffe hits out at 'pathetic' government: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/business-48125581

Framing People and Planning: 50 Years of Debate: https://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/alex/benv/2019/00000045/00000001/art00002 (£) “The article concludes that as a result public participation in planning can be seen as a shifting terrain of underlying tensions and contradictions, which presents both openings and closures for citizens seeking to infl uence the use and development of land.”

The battle for the soul of biodiversity: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05984-3 “The world of biodiversity research is like an extended family that has split into feuding factions. Scientists from less-prosperous southern countries have squared off against colleagues from the wealthier north, and researchers from more empirical disciplines are arguing with those from humanities and the social sciences.”


Housing Allocations – Is It Time For A Rethink? https://housingevidence.ac.uk/housing-allocations-is-it-time-for-a-rethink/ “We also want to capture the views and experiences of people who are currently waiting for social rented housing or who have been refused access to it. To help us do this, we have developed a short online survey which will be open until Friday 10 May – it would be fantastic if you would be able to share this with your contacts to make sure that as many people as possible have the chance to complete it.” – SURVEY here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Rethinkingallocationsapplicantsurvey - open until 10 May

The Fight For A Fairer Housing System In England: https://neweconomics.org/2019/04/the-fight-for-a-fairer-housing-system-in-england?mc_cid=ea2f99c0ae&mc_eid=330863fa78 “But the English private rented sector is seriously broken and ending section 21 is just the first step towards repairing it. In terms of security, affordability and safety, private renting lags ways behind owner occupation and social renting – the other two primary forms of occupying a house in the UK.”

Mental health toll on people in flats with Grenfell-style cladding revealed: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/apr/26/mental-health-toll-on-people-in-flats-with-grenfell-style-cladding-revealed “Residents of tower blocks wrapped in combustible Grenfell-style cladding are turning to drink and drugs and suffering bouts of depression and suicidal feelings, as freeholders, developers and the government continue to refuse to fund repairs.”

Indian state vows to end homelessness with free flats: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=65b2e20b-9372-49b9-8db9-f9f4d970c3cd “The Indian state of Kerala is offering free flats to homeless people, an ambitious model that activists say other states must follow as a nationwide "Housing for All" plan falls short. The first 145 families moved into their newly constructed flats in a 270-unit complex in Adimali town in southern India this month, a state official said.”

Climate change & sustainability

A couple of major stories this week, the UK Parliament becomes the first legislature to declare a climate change emergency, and the launch of the Committee on Climate Change ‘Net Zero’ report. First, the climate change emergency declaration. This has received wide international coverage;

Next, the Net Zero report from the Committee on Climate Change – a selection of the coverage;

The NHS and climate change: a decade of distraction: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2019/04/nhs-climate-change “...Despite this, it is hard to argue that climate change has become the strategic priority for the NHS that it needs to be. It received a mention in the appendix of the NHS long-term plan (on page 120) but has not been integrated within core strategic thinking. We have argued previously that financial sustainability and environmental sustainability need to be thought about in tandem and that some of the steps needed to achieve a carbon neutral NHS are aligned with broader strategic objectives in health policy.”

Trees don’t grow on money – or why you don’t get to rebel against extinction: https://timhayward.wordpress.com/2019/04/29/trees-dont-grow-on-money-or-why-you-dont-get-to-rebel-against-extinction “A circumstantial puzzle is how an apparently spontaneous social movement of protest comes to have the energetic backing of big business interests and even to receive notable support from influential sections of the corporate media.”

Climate change has worsened global economic inequality, Stanford study shows: https://news.stanford.edu/2019/04/22/climate-change-worsened-global-economic-inequality/ “A new Stanford University study shows global warming has increased economic inequality since the 1960s. Temperature changes caused by growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere have enriched cool countries like Norway and Sweden, while dragging down economic growth in warm countries such as India and Nigeria.”

Permafrost collapse is accelerating carbon release: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01313-4 “As the temperature of the ground rises above freezing, microorganisms break down organic matter in the soil. Greenhouse gases — including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — are released into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming. Soils in the permafrost region hold twice as much carbon as the atmosphere does — almost 1,600 billion tonnes1”

Measured Canadian oil sands CO2 emissions are higher than estimates made using internationally recommended methods: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09714-9 “Here, we use aircraft measurements over the Canadian oil sands (OS) to derive the first top-down, measurement-based determination of the their annual CO2 emissions and intensities. The results indicate that CO2 emission intensities for OS facilities are 13–123% larger than those estimated using publically available data.”

Antarctica: Thousands of emperor penguin chicks wiped out: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48041487 “Thousands of emperor penguin chicks drowned when the sea-ice on which they were being raised was destroyed in severe weather. The catastrophe occurred in 2016 in Antarctica's Weddell Sea. Scientists say the colony at the edge of the Brunt Ice Shelf has collapsed with adult birds showing no sign of trying to re-establish the population.”

Animation: The countries with the largest cumulative CO2 emissions since 1750: https://twitter.com/CarbonBrief/status/1120715988532629506 A fascinating and informative animation – shows why the UK needs to be a leader in carbon reduction.

State of the climate: Heat across Earth’s surface and oceans mark early 2019: https://www.carbonbrief.org/state-of-the-climate-heat-across-earths-surface-and-oceans-mark-early-2019 “Global surface temperatures in 2019 are on track to be either the second or third warmest since records began in the mid-1800s, behind only 2016 and possibly 2017.”

The Extinction Rebellion scorecard: what did it achieve? https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/25/extinction-rebellion-assessing-the-impact “Organisers of the climate protests that have seen peaceful mass civil disobedience across London over the past two weeks have said the first stage of the “rebellion” is drawing to a close. How much of an impact has it had, and how realistic are its goals?”

Climate change: Electric car target 'needs to be sooner': https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/science-environment-48097150 “The UK government's plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 is too tame, advisers will say. Drivers will benefit if electric cars come to dominate the new car market a full decade earlier, they will claim.”

How to stop climate change: six ways to make the world a better place: https://theconversation.com/how-to-stop-climate-change-six-ways-to-make-the-world-a-better-place-115944 “System change can sound scary, but as the current system drives social injustice and environmental destruction, a new approach to address both is called for. These are some suggestions to help build that new system which also aim to improve people’s lives in the process.”

UK Green Building Council – Net Zero Carbon Buildings: A Framework Definition: https://www.ukgbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Net-Zero-Carbon-Buildings-A-framework-definition.pdf “The World Green Building Council is catalysing the construction and property industry to lead the transition to a net zero carbon built environment, through its Advancing Net Zero campaign, which the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has embraced and adopted for a UK context.” – more here - Framework launched to deliver net-zero built environment: https://www.edie.net/news/6/Framework-launched-to-deliver-net-zero-built-environment “The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has launched a new framework today (30 April) outlining how developers, designers, owners, occupiers and policymakers can define and deliver a net-zero built environment.”

Do 'mechanical trees' offer the cure for climate change? http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=6bb9e987-9854-4196-9a57-abd7044ea4e7 “A Dublin-based company plans to erect "mechanical trees" in the United States that will suck carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, it said on Monday, in what may prove to be biggest effort to remove the gas blamed for climate change from the atmosphere.”

People Are Flocking To See Melting Glaciers Before They’re Gone — Bringing Both Benefit And Harm: https://ensia.com/features/melting-glaciers-tourism-impacts/ “More tourists mean more business and more climate change awareness, but visiting thawing destinations can be a double-edged sword”

Active travel & transport

Active and safe travel: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/improving-publics-health/active-and-safe-travel “Local authorities are responsible for drawing up and implementing local transport plans. Poor planning and regulation leads to preventable deaths and injuries (particularly among vulnerable groups); it also leads to air pollution, and social and economic isolation, and acts as a disincentive to people making healthier choices like cycling and walking.”

If you build them, they will come: record year for cycle counters: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2019/apr/26/if-you-build-them-they-will-come-record-year-for-cycle-counters “2018 was a record year for cycle lane usage in the UK, thanks to the construction of new, high-quality cycle tracks, the growing popularity of existing routes and good networks that feed into those routes.”

Air quality & pollution

Centre for London - Green Light: Next generation road user charging for a healthier, move liveable, London: https://www.centreforlondon.org/reader/green-light/ “New technologies and changing public attitudes now present an opportunity to replace the current patchwork of road user charging schemes with a more sophisticated system that captures the true cost of journeys. The following design principles should form the basis of such a scheme, which the report calls City Move:”

Stop denying the risks of air pollution: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01234-2 “Research linking fine particulate pollution and premature deaths is under attack in the United States and other countries.”

Pollution contributing to ‘thousands of lung cancers deaths in non-smokers', experts warn: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/lung-cancer-non-smoker-air-pollution-cigarettes-public-health-england-a8886681.html “Lung cancer is on the rise among people who have never smoked because of increasing exposure to toxic air, but doctors – and politicians – are unaware of the problem’s scale, experts warn. In the UK 6,000 people a year die of lung cancer despite having never smoked, or having smoked a negligible number of cigarettes (fewer than 100 in their lifetime), a study has found.”

'Biosolar leaf' project targets air pollution on London campus: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/28/biosolar-leaf-project-targets-air-pollution-on-london-campus “…But scientists have been working on what they say is the world’s first “biosolar leaf”, which they claim can mop up carbon dioxide and discharge oxygen into the atmosphere more efficiently than a typical tree. According to the developers, the new technology can do the work of 100 trees using the surface area of one tree.”

Punishing the polluters: why large fines are an important step towards cleaner corporations: https://theconversation.com/punishing-the-polluters-why-large-fines-are-an-important-step-towards-cleaner-corporations-115727 “For a long time, courts have often been seen as soft on polluters, hesitating to penalise environmental criminals harshly. Yet recently, it seems that large fines against corporations have become increasingly common in the UK.”

‘Sea Of Plastic’ Discovered In The Caribbean Stretches Miles And Is Choking Wildlife: https://www.healthyfoodhouse.com/sea-of-plastic-discovered-in-the-caribbean-stretches-miles-and-is-choking-wildlife/ “Plastic is all around us, and we use it daily. However, the trust is that this cheap manmade material is slowly ruining our planet. Plastic wreaks havoc, and images captured off the Honduran island of Roatan by photographer Caroline Power remind us of this fact once more.”

Cruise Ship Pollution Is Causing Serious Health And Environmental Problems: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesellsmoor/2019/04/26/cruise-ship-pollution-is-causing-serious-health-and-environmental-problems “Whilst commercial shipping has always been at the center of environmental concerns, the issues surrounding cruise ships are being increasingly called out in the port cities in which they dock.”

Food & food security

Children’s Future Food Inquiry: https://foodfoundation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Childrens-Future-Food-Inquiry-report.pdf “In a society that believes in compassion and justice, it is unacceptable that children's development is being restricted by the effects of poverty. The number of children experiencing symptoms of food insecurity, or whose family income is evidently insufficient to afford a healthy diet amounts to between 2.5 and 4 million; between 20% and 30% of all children in the UK. We cannot allow this to continue.”

EU sets legal limit for trans fats to fight heart disease: https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2019/04/25/EU-sets-legal-limit-for-trans-fats-to-fight-heart-disease?utm_source=copyright&utm_medium=OnSite&utm_campaign=copyright “From 2021, manufacturers in Europe will be required to curb the amount of industrially-produced trans fats in processed food to 2 g per 100 g of fat.“

Food poverty: agony of hunger the norm for many children in the UK: https://theconversation.com/food-poverty-agony-of-hunger-the-norm-for-many-children-in-the-uk-116216 “One in three children – or 4.1m – are living in poverty in the UK. The charity UNICEF estimates that 2.5m British children, or 19%, now live in food insecure households.”

Three systems we can redesign to end food poverty: https://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/three-systems-we-can-redesign-end-food-poverty “To unlock children and families from poverty, we must redesign our housing and labour markets and our social security system, says Helen Barnard.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 26 April 2019

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

Sustainable development goals

Newborn baby deaths may be on rise among poorest in England: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/apr/19/newborn-baby-deaths-may-be-on-rise-among-poorest-in-england “Newborn baby deaths appear to be rising among the poorest groups in England, according to information given to the independent MP Frank Field, who is calling on the government to investigate.”

Tamara Hervey and John Middleton: Health in future UK trade deals: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2019/04/24/tamara-hervey-john-middleton-health-future-uk-trade-deals/ “The precise effects of trade agreements on public health are insufficiently understood. But meta-studies have found consistent evidence of trade agreements having correlations with higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and increased BMI following increased consumption of processed foods and sweetened drinks. Concerns have also been raised about increased nicotine and alcohol consumption. Much will depend on the specifics of a trade agreement and the extent to which it carves out public health protections in its text, as well as on the modalities of enforcement.”

Negotiating a ‘healthy’ trade policy for the UK: https://www.fph.org.uk/policy-campaigns/campaigns/brexit/healthy-trade-and-investment-agreements/ “Published in April 2019, this blueprint for a public health approach to post-Brexit trade agreements sets out a shared agenda between the business and health communities for the UK’s post-Brexit trade policy, rooted in a commitment to secure the highest levels of health and wellbeing for the UK’s workforce and wider population.”

Healthy planning & environment

NIHR call for proposals: 19/50 Understanding the potential of place to impact health and health inequalities: https://www.nihr.ac.uk/funding-and-support/funding-opportunities/1950-understanding-the-potential-of-place-to-impact-health-and-health-inequalities/10738 “Research Questions - • What place-based interventions are effective* for maximising health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities? • What are the positive outcomes of such interventions for health and wellbeing? • What are the negative health impacts of place-based interventions and how can they be mitigated? • What is the cost and cost-effectiveness of such interventions?”

‘Global deal for nature’ fleshed out with specific conservation goals: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01253-z “To maintain a liveable planet, governments need to protect 30% of Earth's land and sea and sustainably manage another 20%, say researchers.”

One million species risk extinction due to humans — draft UN report: https://mg.co.za/article/2019-04-23-one-million-species-risk-extinction-due-to-humans-draft-un-report “The accelerating loss of clean air, drinkable water, CO2-absorbing forests, pollinating insects, protein-rich fish and storm-blocking mangroves — to name but a few of the dwindling services rendered by Nature — poses no less of a threat than climate change, says the report, set to be unveiled May 6.”

Cities are louder than ever – and it's the poor who suffer most: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/apr/25/cities-are-louder-than-ever-and-its-the-poor-who-suffer-most “In crowded cities, poorer neighbourhoods often experience the most noise pollution. But advances in architecture and sound engineering could offer solutions”

Smart cities aim to make urban life more efficient – but for citizens’ sake they need to slow down: https://theconversation.com/smart-cities-aim-to-make-urban-life-more-efficient-but-for-citizens-sake-they-need-to-slow-down-114409 “...Unlike businesses or services, citizens don’t always need to be fast to be productive. Several research initiatives show that cities have to be “liveable” to foster well-being and productivity. So, quality of life in smart cities should not be associated with speed and efficiency alone.”

Dirt: https://angry-chef.com/blog/dirt “...As inorganic fertilisers started to bypass these action of these microbes, problems started to emerge. The nutrients that plants use are not the same as those that feed soil bacteria, and so in the years since the Green Revolution, microbial soil activity has started to fall. Soil microbes needs carbon, but not just any carbon. They require complex organic polymers, and in reality we don’t really know that much about their exact nutritional needs. But what we do know is that most arable land has lost over 70% of its soil carbon, making it a highly inhospitable place for our microbe friends.  “


Forms And Mechanisms Of Exclusion In Contemporary Housing Systems: An Evidence Review: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/publications/forms-and-mechanisms-of-exclusion-in-contemporary-housing-systems-an-evidence-review/ “This report details the emerging and contemporary mechanisms of exclusion in the UK housing system. It focuses on rental housing, both in the social and private rented sectors. The evidence review follows a typology of structural, individual and institutional mechanisms.”

‘It’s a feminist issue’: New plans to solve gender inequality in housing: https://www.bigissue.com/latest/its-a-feminist-issue-new-plans-to-solve-gender-inequality-in-housing/ “The Women's Housing Forum group was set up to tackle the root causes of structural gender inequality, like caring responsibilities and domestic abuse, which affect women's access to suitable housing”

Council spending on single homeless people falls by £1bn: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Council-spending-on-single-homeless-people-falls-by-1bn-/47287 “Councils have called on the Government to provide more help to tackle homelessness, following new figures showing a huge drop in the amount they spend dealing with it.”

Solutions to an age old problem in the South West: https://lichfields.uk/media/5115/lichfields-insight-focus_solutions-to-an-age-old-problem-in-the-south-west.pdf “The population of South West England is ageing rapidly. Consequently, there is an urgent need to provide more specialist accommodation for older people”

What’s the Connection Between Residential Segregation and Health? https://www.rwjf.org/en/blog/2016/03/what_s_the_connectio.html?cid=xtw_rwjf_unpd_dte:20190402_des:aprilactivation “Residential segregation is a fundamental cause of health disparities. We need to take steps that will reduce health risks caused by segregation and lead to more equitable, healthier communities.”

Climate change & sustainability

Wide coverage of extinction rebellion and Greta Thunberg;

Extinction Rebellion: https://rebellion.earth/

Forty-six years of Greenland Ice Sheet mass balance from 1972 to 2018: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/04/16/1904242116 “We reconstruct the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet for the past 46 years by comparing glacier ice discharge into the ocean with interior accumulation of snowfall from regional atmospheric climate models over 260 drainage basins. The mass balance started to deviate from its natural range of variability in the 1980s. The mass loss has increased sixfold since the 1980s. Greenland has raised sea level by 13.7 mm since 1972, half during the last 8 years.”

Earth’s methane levels continue alarming rise: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/04/17/earths-methane-levels-continue-alarming-rise/ “Levels of methane (CH4) gas in the Earth’s atmosphere are continuing to rise, in figures that will be of concern to climate change activists. The latest data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) found that the global average of atmospheric methane rose by 11 parts per billion (ppb) to 1867ppb last year from 1856.6ppb at the end of 2017.”

Alarming Rate of Forest Loss Threatens a Crucial Climate Solution: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/25042019/deforestation-annual-global-tree-loss-tropics-climate-solution-carbon-storage-wri “The global loss of tree cover has continued even as more corporations and countries make commitments to preserve tropical forests.”

Ponds can absorb more carbon than woodland – here’s how they can fight climate change in your garden: https://theconversation.com/ponds-can-absorb-more-carbon-than-woodland-heres-how-they-can-fight-climate-change-in-your-garden-110652 “Ponds benefit humans by slowing down water run-off that can cause flooding and mopping up excess nutrients – a great example of what are now recognised as “small water bodies” that enrich and enliven a landscape. But, globally, ponds may also be important in influencing atmospheric carbon by storing and releasing it, given the intensity of geochemical processes and the sheer number of ponds around the world.”

Guest post: How will climate change’s warming pattern look in the future? https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-how-will-climate-changes-warming-pattern-look-in-the-future “The world has not warmed evenly as the climate has changed over the past century. After about 1C of human-induced global warming, we observe that regions such as the Arctic and most land areas have warmed more quickly than the global average, while many ocean regions have only warmed a little.”

Should we turn the Sahara Desert into a huge solar farm? https://theconversation.com/should-we-turn-the-sahara-desert-into-a-huge-solar-farm-114450 “Over the past decade or so, scientists (including me and my colleagues) have looked at how desert solar could meet increasing local energy demand and eventually power Europe too – and how this might work in practice. And these academic insights have been translated in serious plans.”

Dutch engineers build world's biggest sun-seeking solar farm: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/21/dutch-engineers-build-worlds-biggest-sun-seeking-solar-farm “In a development that is to become the largest of its type in the world, construction will begin this year on 15 solar islands on the Andijk reservoir in north Holland. The islands, containing 73,500 panels, will have the sunflower-like ability to move to face the light.”

Big Oil’s Real Agenda on Climate Change: How the oil majors have spent $1Bn since Paris on narrative capture and lobbying on climate:  https://influencemap.org/report/How-Big-Oil-Continues-to-Oppose-the-Paris-Agreement-38212275958aa21196dae3b76220bdd “This research finds that the five largest publicly-traded oil and gas majors (ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, BP and Total) have invested over $1Bn of shareholder funds in the three years following the Paris Agreement on misleading climate-related branding and lobbying. These efforts are overwhelmingly in conflict with the goals of this landmark global climate accord and designed to maintain the social and legal license to operate and expand fossil fuel operations.”

Declaration calling for family doctors of the world to act on planetary health: https://www.wonca.net/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/Groups/Environment/2019%20Planetary%20health.pdf

Losing Arctic Ice and Permafrost Will Cost Trillions as Earth Warms, Study Says: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/23042019/arctic-permafrost-climate-change-costs-feedback-loop-ice-study “Thawing permafrost releases greenhouse gases in a climate change feedback loop that worsens over time, fueling more warming and costly damage around the world.”

We need a Green New Deal for Europe: https://www.climatechangenews.com/2019/04/23/need-green-new-deal-europe/ “A European sustainability pact, massive investments and the EU’s full regulatory power will be needed to address the climate crisis, writes Michel Barnier”

Active travel & transport

King’s Fund – Active and Safe Travel: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/improving-publics-health/active-and-safe-travel “Local authorities are responsible for drawing up and implementing local transport plans. Poor planning and regulation leads to preventable deaths and injuries (particularly among vulnerable groups); it also leads to air pollution, and social and economic isolation, and acts as a disincentive to people making healthier choices like cycling and walking. In this section, we focus on what local authorities can do to promote active forms of travel, and to make roads and journeys safer.”

European Healthy Stadia Network – Active travel guidance: https://healthystadia.eu/active-travel-guidance/ “Sports clubs have a lot to gain from promoting walking and cycling to their stadia on a matchday. Encouraging fans to include an active component in their journey will not only improve their health, through increasing their levels of physical activity, but can also significantly reduce congestion and subsequently air quality and ease pressure on parking when space is at a premium… Healthy Stadia’s Active Travel Guidance will help representatives from sports stadia involved in facilities management, operations and communications to work with local partners to develop and promote active travel  as a key part of an overall travel strategy.”

A Long-Term Vision For Active Travel In Scotland 2030: https://www.transport.gov.scot/media/33649/long-term-vison-for-active-travel-in-scotland-2030.pdf “Creating the infrastructure to encourage active travel is only one part of the puzzle. In order to maximise the investment in infrastructure, we need to ensure that active travel options are clearly signposted, well promoted and that people have the skills and confidence to use them.”

Air quality & pollution

Birmingham black cabs in 'go slow' clean air zone protest: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-48021881 “Black cab drivers in Birmingham have started a nine-day "go slow" protest against proposed clean air zone charges in the city centre. Drivers of high-polluting cars will have to pay £8 to travel in the city centre after the government approved the city's clean air zone (CAZ) plan. Birmingham's RMT union said it wanted more than the £5,000 the city council was offering drivers to upgrade cabs.”

University designs pioneering air pollution screen for schools: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/04/18/university-of-sheffield-design-pioneering-air-pollution-screen-for-schools/ “The 60m screen, made of a custom mix of plants, is designed to deflect and absorb air pollution from passing traffic and improve air quality around school playgrounds.”

Clean air for some: Unintended spillover effects of regional air pollution policies: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/4/eaav4707 “Our results show that the reduction in primary PM2.5 and secondary precursor emissions in the target regions comes at the cost of increasing emissions especially in neighboring provinces. Similarly, co-benefits of lower CO2 emissions and reduced water consumption in the target region are achieved at the expense of higher impacts elsewhere, through outsourcing production to less developed regions in China.”

DISCARDED: Communities on the Frontlines of the Global Plastic Crisis: https://wastetradestories.org/ “When China took action to protect its borders from foreign plastic pollution by effectively shutting its doors to plastic waste imports in the beginning of 2018, it threw the global plastic recycling industry into chaos.”

Microplastics have even been blown into a remote corner of the Pyrenees: https://theconversation.com/microplastics-have-even-been-blown-into-a-remote-corner-of-the-pyrenees-115503 “Microplastics have been discovered in a remote area of the French Pyrenees mountains. The particles travelled through the atmosphere and were blown into the once pristine region by the wind, according to a new study published in Nature Geoscience.”

Food & food security

Estimating the potential impact of the UK government’s sugar reduction programme on child and adult health: modelling study: https://www.bmj.com/content/365/bmj.l1417 “Conclusions: The UK government’s sugar reduction programme could reduce the burden of obesity and obesity related disease, provided that reductions in sugar levels and portion sizes do not prompt unanticipated changes in eating patterns or product formulation.”

Weak Controls: European E-Wastes Poisons Africa’s Food Chain: https://ipen.org/sites/default/files/documents/final_ghana-egg-report-v1_6-web_copy.pdf “Alarmingly high levels of some of the most hazardous chemicals on earth,

including dioxins, brominated dioxins, PCBs, PBDE, and SCCPs in the eggs of chickens that had foraged in areas where electronic waste was burned to recover metal.”

Taking down junk food ads – how local authorities are taking action on outdoor advertising: http://www.foodactive.org.uk/new-report-from-food-active-and-sustain-taking-down-junk-food-ads-how-local-authorities-are-taking-action-on-outdoor-advertising/ “Our new joint report with Sustain, ‘Taking down junk food ads: How local areas are taking action on outdoor advertising’, uncovers the limited powers that local authorities have to restrict advertising of products high in fat, sugar and salt.”

The Trussell Trust – end of year stats: https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/end-year-stats/ “Record 1.6m food bank parcels given to people in the past year as the Trussell Trust calls for an end to Universal Credit five week wait”

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Jo Dodd - 07815 490436

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