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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 29 March 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.

Following last weeks article about statistical significance – an alternative view: Retiring statistical significance would give bias a free pass: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00969-2 “Statistical significance sets a convenient obstacle to unfounded claims. In my view, removing the obstacle (V. Amrhein et al. Nature 567, 305–307; 2019) could promote bias. Irrefutable nonsense would rule.”

Lancet Public Health – OPEN ACCESS: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/issue/vol4no3/PIIS2468-2667(19)X0003-1# “Fundamentally linked to human development, gender justice requires ending inequality and redressing existing disparities between women and men, according to a high-level United Nations forum on the situation in Arab States.”

Sustainable development goals

Gender equality, justice in law and practice: Essential for sustainable development: https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/03/1035291

Time to interrogate corporate interests in public health? https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09581596.2019.1587886#.XJsdKw5ttkl.twitter “There is, broadly, a trust in public bodies to act in ways that protect the health of the public. However, this is potentially undermined by the increasingly ‘mixed economy’ of public health provision… Public health has increasingly become the business of big (and small) business.”

Determinants of Health: https://www.goinvo.com/vision/determinants-of-health/ “89% of health occurs outside of the clinical space through our genetics, behavior, environment and social circumstances. These factors are known as the social determinants of health. Despite their importance, attempts to integrate the determinants into a single visualization have been limited.”

Life expectancy drops among poorer women in England: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-47721167 “Between 2012-2014 and 2015-2017, female life expectancy in the richest areas increased by 84 days, widening the gap between rich and poor by half a year. In men, the gap also widened - but less markedly. Life expectancy in the UK as a whole has stopped improving at the rate expected, the ONS said.”

UK employment may be highest since 1971, but millions still live in poverty: https://www.bigissue.com/latest/uk-employment-highest-in-nearly-40-years-despite-shocking-poverty-numbers/ “More than 130,000 women got into work in the period between November 2018 and January this year, while older people also drove the labour market boom. However while real wage growth is improving, analysts like the Resolution Foundation have pointed out that levels of weekly pay are still £9 lower than they were a decade ago. And last year the Joseph Rowntree Foundation revealed that four million people are trapped by in-work poverty, meaning around an eighth of people can be classed as working poor.”

Nothing Personal: Replacing The Personal Tax Allowance With A Weekly National Allowance: https://neweconomics.org/2019/03/nothing-personal?mc_cid=c5a6dde7e7&mc_eid=a15a43d447 “The main contribution of this policy paper is the proposal that government should create a ​‘Weekly National Allowance’ by repurposing resources currently foregone every year through the personal allowance of income tax. We posit that this reform is both implementable on a relatively short-time frame, but nonetheless capable of meaningfully improving the progressivity of the UK’s tax and benefit system as a whole.”

Does New Economics Need Wellbeing? https://neweconomics.org/2019/03/does-new-economics-need-wellbeing?mc_cid=c5a6dde7e7&mc_eid=a15a43d447 “In 2019, ten years after the financial crash, much has changed. The mask of benign neoliberalism has slipped. The rich survived the biggest economic crisis in a generation with barely a dent to top incomes, while poverty rates, homelessness and personal debt have soared. The left has won significant ground on key issues such as inequality, privatisation and deregulation. At the same time, we are battling a new authoritarianism built on stoked fears of immigration and offering another, very ugly, alternative to the failings of the neoliberal project.”

Healthy planning & environment

Causal evaluation of urban greenway retrofit: A longitudinal study on physical activity and sedentary behaviour: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743519300192?dgcid=author “Retrofitting an urban residential neighborhood through greenway interventions can be successful in promoting physical activity while reducing sedentary behavior.”

Who has access to urban vegetation? A spatial analysis of distributional green equity in 10 US cities: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204618307710?mc_cid=4d63efa90e&mc_eid=41393baf2f “The study finds that education and income are most strongly associated with urban vegetation distribution but that various other factors contribute to patterns of urban vegetation distribution, with specific patterns of inequity varying by local context. These results highlight the importance of different urban vegetation measures and suggest potential solutions to the problem of urban green inequity.”

Inclusive Design – Improving access for all in the built environment: https://lichfields.uk/blog/2019/march/27/inclusive-design-improving-access-for-all-in-the-built-environment/ “The Social Model’s core message is a simple one. It asks us to focus less on individual impairment and more on the barriers presented by society.”

Urban planning can be elitist, but art empowers people to reimagine their city’s future – artist’s view: https://theconversation.com/urban-planning-can-be-elitist-but-art-empowers-people-to-reimagine-their-citys-future-artists-view-111893 “From crises in housing and public space, to social unrest due to austerity measures and environmental destruction – in this era of urban upheaval, city leaders often turn to art as a way of empowering local communities.”

What does the spring statement mean for planning in England? https://www.tcpa.org.uk/what-did-the-spring-statement-mean-for-planning-in-england “The chancellor’s spring statement on the 13th March sanctioned yet another round of planning reforms with a focus on housing delivery. As with previous budgets, it portrayed a striking lack of overall ambition and presented a package of reforms which promote incremental and fragmented approaches to housing delivery.”

Widespread losses of pollinating insects in Britain: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-08974-9 “Here we show substantial inter-specific variation in pollinator trends, based on occupancy models for 353 wild bee and hoverfly species in Great Britain between 1980 and 2013. Furthermore, we estimate a net loss of over 2.7 million occupied 1 km2 grid cells across all species.”

United Kingdom’s 6th National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity: http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-7731 “Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are required by Article 26 of the Convention to submit national reports to the Conference of the Parties on measures taken for the implementation of the Convention and their effectiveness in meeting the objectives of the Convention. The 6th National Report is focused on work by Parties to achieve the 20 Aichi Targets in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.”


Housing Insecurity And Mental Health: An Evidence Review: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/publications/housing-insecurity-and-mental-health-an-evidence-review/ “This report reviews the evidence into the relationship between housing insecurity and mental health. This project was carried out by the CaCHE team based at the University of Sheffield, in partnership with Mind Cymru. Whilst the evidence-base is international, the report considers this research literature in light of the Welsh context for housing and mental health services.”

A million homes could be built on brownfield land: https://www.localgov.co.uk/A-million-homes-could-be-built-on-brownfield-land/47110 “More than a million new homes could be built on brownfield land, according to new research by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).”

LGA: Councils warn of rise in temporary accommodation use since Homelessness Reduction Act: https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/lga-councils-warn-rise-temporary-accommodation-use-homelessness-reduction-act “More people are being placed in temporary and emergency accommodation as a result of the Homelessness Reduction Act as councils struggle to cope with rising numbers of people facing homelessness and with a lack of affordable housing for them, a survey by the Local Government Association reveals.”

Too poor to play: children in social housing blocked from communal playground: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/mar/25/too-poor-to-play-children-in-social-housing-blocked-from-communal-playground “In a move reminiscent of the ‘poor doors’ scandal, a London developer has segregated play areas for richer and poorer residents” – this story has been updated - Segregated playground developer now says all children are welcome: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/mar/27/segregated-playground-developer-now-says-all-children-are-welcome “Residents and lawyers remain sceptical of promises by Henley Homes, who built and own London development where poorer children were blocked from a shared playground”

Monitoring housing for better health: apply for funding: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/monitoring-housing-for-better-health-apply-for-funding “Organisations can apply for a share of £1.25 million to develop new ways to monitor domestic heat and energy.”

Climate change & sustainability

Learning about urban climate solutions from case studies: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0440-x “Our database of approximately 4,000 case studies provides a wealth of evidence to search, compare and review. We find that cities in world regions with the highest future mitigation relevance are systematically underrepresented. A map of the evidence allows case studies to be matched with urban typologies in new and more ambitious forms of synthesis, bringing together traditionally separate strands of qualitative and quantitative urban research.” – more here - Guest post: What do we know about climate change mitigation in cities? https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-what-do-we-know-about-climate-change-mitigation-in-cities

Water under fire - The role of water in conflicts around the world: https://www.unicef.org/stories/water-under-fire “When you think of conflict, water likely wouldn’t be the first thing that comes to mind. But in times of crisis, access to safe water is often compromised; infrastructure is damaged, pipelines are in disrepair, and water collection is dangerous. Without access to safe water, children fall ill, schools and hospitals do not function, disease and malnutrition spread.”

In nature, premature springs are creating new winners and losers: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/03/five-winners-and-losers-of-premature-springs/ “For some plants and animals, temperature is the most important sign that spring is beginning, and when spring-like temperatures start early, so do they. Other species depend on different cues or a combination of cues – like the length of light in a day or the number of chilly days – to know when to start their spring.”

Big Oil’s Real Agenda on Climate Change: https://influencemap.org/report/How-Big-Oil-Continues-to-Oppose-the-Paris-Agreement-38212275958aa21196dae3b76220bddc “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.”

Can the Great Barrier Reef survive climate change? https://interactive.carbonbrief.org/can-great-barrier-reef-survive-climate-change/ “Small-scale bleaching is a common sight on the reef, but 1998 marked the first year that saw widespread bleaching, Hughes says. That year, 42% of the reef turned white. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living structure – made up of 3,000 individual reefs spread over an area the size of Italy or Japan. The first mass bleaching affected around 4,200 sq km of coral, according to Hughes.”

Britain has its first new deep coal mine in decades – a result of pretending climate change isn’t political: https://theconversation.com/britain-has-its-first-new-deep-coal-mine-in-decades-a-result-of-pretending-climate-change-isnt-political-114028 “...local councillors have voted unanimously to approve a new deep coal mine, Britain’s first in three decades. The mine would extract nearly 3m tonnes of coal a year, primarily for the steel industry rather than power generation. According to Scientists for Global Responsibility, this would result in more than 9m tonnes of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere, every year for 50 years – that’s equal to the emissions from a million households.”

England could run short of water within 25 years: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/18/england-to-run-short-of-water-within-25-years-environment-agency “England is set to run short of water within 25 years, the chief executive of the Environment Agency has warned. The co Insurers have warned that climate change could make cover for ordinary people unaffordable after the world’s largest reinsurance firm blamed global warming for $24bn (£18bn) of losses in the Californian wildfires.untry is facing the ‘‘jaws of death”, Sir James Bevan said, at the point where water demand from the country’s rising population surpasses the falling supply resulting from climate change.”

Bank of England to set new rules on climate risk: Carney: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-boe-climatechange/bank-of-england-to-set-new-rules-on-climate-risk-carney-idUSKCN1R228Q “Companies will be “expected to embed fully the consideration of climate risks into governance frameworks, including at board level”, Carney said in a speech at a conference on sustainable finance hosted by the European Commission in Brussels.”

Climate change could make insurance too expensive for most people – report: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/21/climate-change-could-make-insurance-too-expensive-for-ordinary-people-report “Insurers have warned that climate change could make cover for ordinary people unaffordable after the world’s largest reinsurance firm blamed global warming for $24bn (£18bn) of losses in the Californian wildfires.”

In blow to climate, coal plants emitted more than ever in 2018: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/03/26/blow-climate-coal-plants-emitted-more-than-ever/ “Global energy experts released grim findings Monday, saying that not only are planet-warming carbon-dioxide emissions still increasing, but the world’s growing thirst for energy has led to higher emissions from coal-fired power plants than ever before.”

Active travel & transport

Essential Evidence on a page: No. 184 How methods and levels of policing affect road casualty rates: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-essential-evidence-on-a-page-no-184-how-methods-and-levels-of-policing-affect-road-casualty-rates “Top line: Increasing levels of traffic policing reduces the number of road accidents and traffic violations.”

Essential Evidence 4 Scotland No. 7: Transforming cities: Best practice towards clean air and active travel: https://blogs.napier.ac.uk/tri/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2019/03/Essential-Evidence-4-Scotland-No-7-Transforming-cities-best-practice-towards-clean-and-active-travel.pdf “Top line: The best practices of clean air and active travel have produced impressive results, which are improved when enacted simultaneously in integrated policy packages.”

Study: Good Bike and Ped Infrastructure Actually Makes Neighbors Healthier: https://usa.streetsblog.org/2019/03/26/study-good-bike-and-red-infrastructure-actually-makes-neighbors-healthier/ “Living near safe, high-quality biking and walking facilities actually improves people’s health, according to a new study that found a direct link between urban active transportation infrastructure and increased exercise.

Air quality & pollution

Association of Air Pollution Exposure With Psychotic Experiences During Adolescence: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2729441 “In this nationally representative cohort study of 2232 UK-born children, significant associations were found between outdoor exposure to nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter and reports of psychotic experiences during adolescence. Moreover, nitrogen dioxide and nitrogen oxides together explained 60% of the association between urban residency and adolescent psychotic experiences.”

Launch Of Clean Air Hospital Framework: http://www.ukhealthalliance.org/launch-clean-air-hospital-framework/ “Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH) and Global Action Plan have launched the first ever Clean Air Hospital Framework (CAHF), a strategy aimed at improving air quality in and around hospitals in order to create a healthier environment for patients and their families, staff, and the local community.”

London school-bag essentials: books, lunch and an air-pollution sensor: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=1486522a-eecd-4063-b0e1-2413316837bb “This week, 250 children at five London primary schools have carried backpacks that monitor air quality for a university-led study tracking pollution levels on their daily journeys.”

Calls to ban cars outside schools grow following survey of teachers: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/03/25/calls-to-ban-cars-outside-schools-grow-following-survey-of-teachers/ “63% of teachers would like to see cars and buses banned outside school gates during pick up and drop off times, a survey carried out by cycling charity Sustrans has found.”

Grenfell: toxic contamination found in nearby homes and soil: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/28/grenfell-toxic-contamination-found-in-nearby-homes-and-soil “Cancer-causing chemicals and other potentially harmful toxins have been found close to Grenfell Tower in fire debris and soil samples that could pose serious health risks to the surrounding community and survivors of the blaze, a study warns.”

Food & food security

Food banks risk being 'captured' by corporate PR drive, say activists: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/mar/24/food-banks-captured-by-corporate-pr-drive-say-campaigners “The UK food bank movement has been warned it is in danger of being “captured” by big corporations and supermarket chains that promote high-profile partnerships with charities as effective ways of solving hunger and food waste.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 22 March 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.

Not a ‘healthy environment’ item – but an important discussion for public health.

  • Scientists rise up against statistical significance: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00857-9 “...more than 800 signatories call for an end to hyped claims and the dismissal of possibly crucial effects. - How do statistics so often lead scientists to deny differences that those not educated in statistics can plainly see? For several generations, researchers have been warned that a statistically non-significant result does not ‘prove’ the null hypothesis (the hypothesis that there is no difference between groups or no effect of a treatment on some measured outcome)1. Nor do statistically significant results ‘prove’ some other hypothesis. Such misconceptions have famously warped the literature with overstated claims and, less famously, led to claims of conflicts between studies where none exists. We have some proposals to keep scientists from falling prey to these misconceptions.”

Sustainable development goals

CONSULTATION: Birmingham City Council: Public health green paper consultation: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/50120/public_health/1893/public_health_green_paper_consultation “We would like your views on the proposed Birmingham Public Health Green Paper. This Green Paper sets out the proposed Public Health priorities for the next four years. The priorities have been designed to support the shared ambition across the council and its partners in the NHS, Police, Fire Service, Voluntary and Community Sector to improve the health and wellbeing of local people and support them to achieve their potential in life.”

Hit The Brakes To Slow Down Polluting Fast Fashion Industry: https://meta.eeb.org/2019/03/18/hit-the-brakes-to-slow-down-polluting-fast-fashion-industry/ “The aim of a future ‘sustainable fashion partnership’ would be to drive “industry-wide action” to reduce fashion’s negative environmental, social, and economic impact and ensure the sector is at the forefront of global efforts to implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

Improving lives by accelerating progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals for adolescents living with HIV: a prospective cohort study: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/article/PIIS2352-4642(19)30033-1/fulltext “The findings suggest the UN's accelerator approach for this high-risk adolescent population has policy and potential financing usefulness. Services that simultaneously promote several SDG targets, or combine to support particular targets, might be important to meet not only health-related targets, but also to ensure that adolescents in LMICs thrive within a new development framework.”

Child health unravelling in UK: https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l963 “The Nuffield Trust report further shows that 11% of young people aged 15-19 years in the UK are living in severe material deprivation. This is the fourth highest rate in Europe, with a worsening trend over time.”

Framing toolkit: Talking about poverty: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/framing-toolkit-talking-about-poverty “To help with this challenge, we’re changing the story we tell about poverty, using framing recommendations from the FrameWorks Institute’s research into public attitudes to poverty in the UK, involving 20,000 people. This toolkit explains what framing is, why we’re using it, and how you can put it into action yourself.”

Replacing The Personal Tax Allowance With A Weekly National Allowance: https://neweconomics.org/2019/03/nothing-personal “The main contribution of this policy paper is the proposal that government should create a ​‘Weekly National Allowance’ by repurposing resources currently foregone every year through the personal allowance of income tax. We posit that this reform is both implementable on a relatively short-time frame, but nonetheless capable of meaningfully improving the progressivity of the UK’s tax and benefit system as a whole.”

Healthy planning & environment

Urban green space interventions and health: A review of impacts and effectiveness. Full report (2017): http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/urban-health/publications/2017/urban-green-space-interventions-and-health-a-review-of-impacts-and-effectiveness.-full-report-2017 “The findings show that interventions to increase or improve urban green space can deliver positive health, social and environmental outcomes for all population groups, particularly among lower socioeconomic status groups. Yet, there is a need for better inclusion of health and equity outcomes in studies on green space interventions, and an improved monitoring of local green space management and related health and equity impacts.”

Participation in environmental enhancement and conservation activities for health and well-being in adults: https://www.cochrane.org/CD010351/PUBHLTH_participation-environmental-enhancement-and-conservation-activities-health-and-well-being-adults “The majority of quantitative studies reported no effect on health and well-being. There was limited evidence that participation had positive effects on self-reported health, quality of life and physical activity levels. Some also reported increased mental fatigue and greater feelings of anxiety. The qualitative studies illustrate the experiences of people taking part, and their perceptions of the benefits. People reported feeling better. They liked the opportunity for increased social contact, especially if they had been socially isolated through, for example, mental ill-health. They also valued a sense of achievement, being in nature and provision of a daily structure.”

The health benefits of the great outdoors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of greenspace exposure and health outcomes.: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29982151 “Greenspace exposure is associated with numerous health benefits in intervention and observational studies. These results are indicative of a beneficial influence of greenspace on a wide range of health outcomes. However several meta-analyses results are limited by poor study quality and high levels of heterogeneity.”

Effect of Greening Vacant Land on Mental Health of Community-Dwelling Adults - A Cluster Randomized Trial: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2688343 “The remediation of vacant and dilapidated physical environments, particularly in resource-limited urban settings, can be an important tool for communities to address mental health problems, alongside other patient-level treatments.”

Healthy City Design 2019: http://healthycitydesign2019.salus.global/conference-show/healthy-city-design-2019 “The Call for Papers for the third Healthy City Design 2019 International Congress & Exhibition has been launched under the plenary theme of 'Designing for utopia or dystopia? People and planetary health at a crossroads.”


Changing The Housing Story – Shaping Futures Report Published: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/news/changing-the-housing-story-shaping-futures-report-published/ “The Shaping Futures report contains ten principles for housing policy and tax reform intended to provide a coherent framework for reforming housing policies.”

Young Woman With Mental Problems Told By Council She 'Could Cope With Sleeping Rough': https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/young-woman-with-mental-health-problems-told-by-council-she-could-cope-with-being-street-homeless_uk_5c890f6ee4b0fbd7661fc949 “The letter, which was written to explain the decision to not make the young person a priority for housing, meaning she would become homeless, acknowledges she has depression and personality disorders but said she would be “able to cope with homelessness as well as an ordinary person”.”

Climate change & sustainability

Wide coverage of the young people’s climate strikes. A selection of articles below;

New funding to research health impact of climate change: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-funding-to-research-health-impact-of-climate-change “Up to £56 million will fund research into the potential health effects of climate change, air pollution, antimicrobial resistance and global pandemics.”

Rain Is Triggering More Melting on the Greenland Ice Sheet — in Winter, Too: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/07032019/greenland-ice-sheet-melting-rain-increase-climate-change-sea-level-rise-feedback-loop “Pulses of melting linked to rainfall doubled in summer and tripled in winter, a new climate change study found. That's a problem for sea level rise”

How Britain cut carbon emissions more than nearly any other country: https://www.economist.com/britain/2019/03/09/how-britain-cut-carbon-emissions-more-than-nearly-any-other-country “Margaret thatcher was a chemist by training, which may be one reason why she was also one of the first world leaders to warn about the dangers of an overheating planet. In a speech to the un in 1989 she highlighted the risks posed by the “vast increase” in the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere. It made little difference. When Thatcher gave her speech, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere stood at about 350 parts per million (ppm). Today the number is 412ppm, and rising fast”

The writing on the wall: a trillion dollar fund built on oil & gas exploration has just pulled out of oil & gas exploration: https://jeremyleggett.net/2019/03/08/the-writing-on-the-wall-a-trillion-dollar-fund-built-on-oil-and-gas-exploration-has-just-pulled-out-oil-and-gas-exploration/ “The Norwegian government has just mandated its sovereign wealth fund, the biggest such wealth fund, to divest from pure oil and gas explorers. It will sell stakes in 134 companies, including UK-listed firms Tullow Oil, Premier Oil, Soco International, Ophir Energy and Nostrum Oil & Gas, all of which saw their share price fall after the announcement, reducing their combined stock market value by £130m”

Active travel & transport

The Propensity to Cycle Tool: An open source online system for sustainable transport planning: https://www.jtlu.org/index.php/jtlu/article/view/862 “The Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT) is an online, interactive planning support system that was initially developed to explore and map cycling potential across England (see www.pct.bike). Based on origin-destination data it models cycling levels at area, desire line, route and route network levels, for current levels of cycling, and for scenario-based ‘cycling futures.’ Four scenarios are presented, including ‘Go Dutch’ and ‘Ebikes,’ which explore what would happen if English people had the same propensity to cycle as Dutch people and the potential impact of electric cycles on cycling uptake.”

GOV.UK - Future of Mobility: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-of-mobility “This report looks out to 2040. It looks at the whole transport system – considering the users and goods. It considers new opportunities and the implications of current trends. It builds four plausible future worlds to help decision makers think about the future.”

Dehumanization of cyclists predicts self-reported aggressive behaviour toward them: A pilot study: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1369847818308593 “This paper presents a pilot study applying two validated dehumanization measures to a road user group for the first time. We found that the dehumanization measures were internally consistent, showed good discriminant validity (compared to general attitudes to cyclists) and were associated with self-reported aggression toward cyclists. The findings suggest that dehumanization is a concept that deserves further exploration in contexts where cyclists are a minority group.”

How Commuting Affects Subjective Wellbeing: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s11116-019-09983-9.pdf “Overall, the study indicates that shorter commute times and walkable commutes can contribute to improved SWB—particularly through the release of leisure time. But life satisfaction overall will only be maintained if the benefts of undertaking the commute (earnings and satisfactory housing/employment) are not compromised.”

Air quality & pollution

Cardiovascular disease burden from ambient air pollution in Europe reassessed using novel hazard ratio functions: https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/advance-article/doi/10.1093/eurheartj/ehz135/5372326 “We provide new data based on novel hazard ratio functions suggesting that the health impacts attributable to ambient air pollution in Europe are substantially higher than previously assumed, though subject to considerable uncertainty. Our results imply that replacing fossil fuels by clean, renewable energy sources could substantially reduce the loss of life expectancy from air pollution. -  The annual excess mortality rate from ambient air pollution in Europe is 790 000 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 645 000–934 000], and 659 000 (95% CI 537 000–775 000) in the EU-28. Between 40% and 80% are due to cardiovascular events, which dominate health outcomes.”

Trump EPA Science Advisers Push Doubt About Air Pollution Health Risks: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/15032019/air-pollution-trump-epa-science-advisers-health-risk-fossil-fuel-chemical-tobacco-industry “The new advisers include industry allies and consultants with ties to the fossil fuel, tobacco and chemical industries.”

WHO Europe Regions for Health Network – 7th RHN webinar on environment and health – noise pollution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdiA4XFcuHE&feature=youtu.be

Cuadrilla’s air monitoring equipment malfunctioned during fracking methane surge: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/03/06/cuadrilla-fracking-methane-monitoring/ “On the day it released a significant amount of the powerful greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere, UK fracking firm Cuadrilla’s air monitoring equipment suddenly stopped working.”

Food & food security

Brexit: Europe has changed UK food culture for the better – leaving could turn back the clock: https://theconversation.com/brexit-europe-has-changed-uk-food-culture-for-the-better-leaving-could-turn-back-the-clock-113210 “So if Britain’s food is embedded in European culture, what will the impact of Brexit have on the restaurant industry in the UK? In order to answer this it’s necessary to identify how Britain’s ties to the EU have directly impacted upon UK restaurants.”

Encouraging healthier ‘out of home’ food provision: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/encouraging-healthier-out-of-home-food-provision “This toolkit helps local authorities and businesses to provide and promote healthier options for food eaten away from home.”

Food security is ’empty slogan’, says government adviser: https://www.fwi.co.uk/news/farm-policy/food-security-is-empty-slogan-says-government-adviser “A top government adviser has claimed that food security should not be taken seriously – asserting there is no right answer to how much food British farmers should produce.”

Privatising the seas: how the UK turned fishing rights into a commodity: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/03/07/fishing-brexit-uk-fleetwood/ “The decline of British fishing drove coastal support for leaving the EU, but many of the industry’s problems have an origin closer to home”

Dirty US meat could flood into UK after a Brexit trade deal: https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2018-02-21/dirty-us-meat-could-come-over-here-after-brexit “Thousands of shocking hygiene violations in US meat production have been revealed in unpublished US documents, a joint investigation by the Bureau and the Guardian has found. The revelations will reignite fears that dirty US meat could flood into Britain if strict food safety standards aren’t maintained after Brexit, leading experts and MPs have warned.”

Spraying diseased citrus orchards with antibiotics could backfire: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00875-7 “This month, the US Environmental Protection Agency is in the final stages of approving a huge ramp-up in spraying of two human antibiotics, streptomycin and oxytetracycline, on citrus groves in Florida and California.”

The Brighton & Hove Food Partnership is all about food: https://bhfood.org.uk/ “We’re a non-profit organisation helping people learn to cook, eat a healthy diet, grow their own food and waste less food.”

And finally….

The beautiful ballet of a busy biking street: https://twitter.com/BrentToderian/status/1107759456698490880/video/1 “...especially when school lets out! Witness a main biking & pedestrian priority street #FietsStraat thru central #Leuven, Belgium, part of my bike tour with city leaders this afternoon. The brilliant thing is, it never felt chaotic.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 15 March 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

Triple Whammy: the impact of local government cuts on women: https://wbg.org.uk/analysis/reports/triple-whammy-the-impact-of-local-government-cuts-on-women/ “A report written by Heather Wakefield for Women’s Budget Group, Triple Whammy – the impact of local government cuts on Women explores the crisis that has been created by finding cuts to local government since 2010.”

Recent coverage of a 5-month reduction in life expectancy in England;

Three interesting articles exploring the evidence behind recent increases in knife crime;

Is Theresa May’s £1.6 billion fund for English towns enough to rebalance Britain’s skewed economy? https://theconversation.com/is-theresa-mays-1-6-billion-fund-for-english-towns-enough-to-rebalance-britains-skewed-economy-110554 “...But it’s a tiny amount to complete a “transformative” programme of work in many places over a number of years – especially when those places have already lost much more than that during the past decade of austerity, and stand to lose further billions in EU support if and when the UK exits the union.”

Deprived Towns Fund Is Insignificant Compared With Staggering Cuts: https://neweconomics.org/2019/03/deprived-towns-fund-is-insignificant-compared-with-staggering-cuts “£1.6 billion as a lump sum is not to be sniffed at, even though in government spending terms it’s relatively small beer. Share small beer out over seven years and it’s reduced to a thimble full; around £267 million total per year if spending starts in the financial year 2019/​20 and is distributed evenly until 2025/​26. Share it out further to all the places in the UK that most need government investment, training and jobs and it’s a droplet in the ocean.”

Healthy planning & environment

Today I’m at the PHE Healthy Spatial Planning conference at the Oval in London. This has been a useful & interesting day and has included evidence reviews & current examples across a range of areas including natural environment, transport, food environment. More in next week’s update.

Beyond Green Space: https://beyondgreenspace.net/ “University of Exeter research on relationships between natural environments, health and wellbeing”

Spring Statement: Chancellor unveils biodiversity plans and low-carbon homes requirements: https://www.edie.net/news/11/Spring-Statement--Chancellor-unveils-new-sustainability-measures/ “BREAKING: Chancellor Philip Hammond has today (13 March) pledged to implement legislation requiring developers to deliver biodiversity net-gain through all projects in his 2019 Spring Statement, which also includes a review into the economic benefits of environmental conservation.”

Event: Place Alliance is delighted to invite you to Big Meet 9: “Leadership in place-making: beyond beauty”: http://placealliance.org.uk/big-meet/ “Big Meet 9 will focus on the complex question of local leadership in place making. In particular, as we gear up to produce more housing as a nation, we need to be careful that we are creating real places and communities rather than isolated and unsustainable estates. This will require a clear vision within local authorities and backing from Central Government to prioritise quality in design rather than development for development sake.”

Five More Inspiring Stories About Great Public Spaces: https://www.pps.org/article/five-more-inspiring-stories-about-great-public-spaces “For nearly two decades, our user-generated Great Public Spaces database has served as an inspiration to these local placemakers and as a repository of their work, and this month, we added five stunning new entries that have a little something for everyone.”


BMA -Streets of shame: Homelessness and the NHS – a tome of tragedies: https://www.bma.org.uk/features/streetsofshame/ “New research from The Doctor paints a picture of a society in which homelessness is growing rapidly and the interaction between homeless people and the stretched NHS is soaring. Our figures – collected through a series of Freedom of Information requests – reveal that the number of recorded visits to England’s A&E departments by patients classed as having no fixed abode has nearly trebled since 2010/11.”

Healthcare for people experiencing homelessness: https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l1022 “A public health crisis caused by political choices”

International Women’s Day 2019: Women And The Housing Crisis: https://neweconomics.org/2019/03/international-womens-day-2019-women-and-the-housing-crisis “The impact the housing crisis has on groups who are already structurally marginalised in society is particularly severe. Our flawed housing system can function to exacerbate the existing layers of oppression which women navigate.”

Thousands of teenagers in care living without adults: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-47539071 “Thousands of teenagers in council care are living in B&Bs, flats and even tents and caravans - with no live-in adult supervision, a report reveals.”

Homing in on health: U.S. homeless prescribed stable, safe housing: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=c82ed6db-bbd2-4b8a-a4cb-39041e7649e7 “Being homeless puts more strain on health and other public services: the homeless tend to be readmitted to hospital more than the general population, and they stay longer, according to research published in Health Affairs, a journal focused on health policy issues.”

Climate change & sustainability

Co-benefits of climate change mitigation in the UK: What issues are the UK public concerned about and how can action on climate change help to address them? http://www.imperial.ac.uk/grantham/publications/briefing-papers/co-benefits-of-climate-change-mitigation-in-the-uk-what-issues-are-the-uk-public-concerned-about-and-how-can-action-on-climate-change-help-to-address-them.php “This briefing, and accompanying animation, shows how action on climate change can have multiple benefits across society, and is relevant to UK public concern, and associated government priorities. It highlights the role that cities and devolved regions can play in capitalising on these co-benefits, and suggests that incorporating them into the decision-making process may help to bring about faster, deeper cuts in carbon emissions.”

Emergence of robust precipitation changes across crop production areas in the 21st century: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/03/05/1811463116 “Using ensemble climate projections, we determine the TOE of regional precipitation changes globally and in particular for the growing areas of four major crops. We find relatively early (<2040) emergence of precipitation trends for all four crops.”

Mapped: How climate change affects extreme weather around the world: https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-how-climate-change-affects-extreme-weather-around-the-world “Attributing extreme weather to climate change - Use the filters below to explore the studies”

Factcheck: What Greenland ice cores say about past and present climate change: https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-what-greenland-ice-cores-say-about-past-and-present-climate-change “A misleading graph purporting to show that past changes in Greenland’s temperatures dwarf modern climate change has been circling the internet since at least 2010. Based on an early Greenland ice core record produced back in 1997, versions of the graph have, variously, mislabeled the x-axis, excluded the modern observational temperature record and conflated a single location in Greenland with the whole world.”

New poetry collections grapple with climate change: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/03/new-poetry-that-grapples-with-climate-change/ “Two outstanding poetry collections about climate change hit shelves this month. The first is Losing Miami, an artful third collection by Chicago-based poet Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué.”

Climate Change in the American Mind: December 2018: http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/climate-change-in-the-american-mind-december-2018/2/ “The proportion of Americans who are very worried about global warming has more than tripled since its lowest point in 2011. Increasing numbers of Americans say they have personally experienced global warming and that the issue is personally important to them.”

Halving global warming with solar geoengineering could ‘offset tropical storm risk’: https://www.carbonbrief.org/halving-global-warming-with-solar-geoengineering-could-offset-tropical-storm-risk “Engineering the climate to reflect away sunlight could halve global warming and offset the risk of increases in tropical storms, new research suggests.”

Active travel & transport

Walking cadence (steps/min) and intensity in 21–40 year olds: CADENCE-adults: https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12966-019-0769-6 “Cadence thresholds of 100 and 130 steps/min can serve as reasonable heuristic thresholds representative of absolutely-defined moderate and vigorous ambulatory intensity, respectively, in 21–40 year olds. These values represent useful proxy values for recommending and modulating the intensity of ambulatory behavior and/or as measurement thresholds for processing accelerometer data.”

Closing Central Madrid To Cars Resulted In 9.5% Boost To Retail Spending, Finds Bank Analysis: https://www.forbes.com/sites/carltonreid/2019/03/08/closing-central-madrid-to-cars-resulted-in-9-5-boost-to-retail-spending-finds-bank-analysis/amp/ “Cities which want to boost takings in shops and restaurants should restrict access for motorists, a new study suggests. Madrid closed its central business district to cars for the first time during the 2018 Christmas period and an analysis informed by Spain’s second largest bank has found that, year-on-year, till transactions were significantly boosted by the measure.”

Air quality & pollution

Public Health England publishes air pollution evidence review: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-health-england-publishes-air-pollution-evidence-review “The review aims to create a ‘clean air generation’ of children, and make sure new developments are clean by design.”

UN calls for ‘transformative’ action on air pollution: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/03/13/un-calls-for-transformative-action-on-air-pollution/ “UN Environment launched its sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) this morning (March 13), which paints a bleak picture of a deteriorating environment with a rapidly closing window for action.”

Air pollution kills 64,000 people in the UK every year: https://inews.co.uk/news/health/air-pollution-kills-64000-people-in-the-uk-every-year/ “Air pollution causes 64,000 early deaths in the UK every year – far more than previously feared, according to alarming new research… Scientists used new data and the latest computer simulations to calculate the health impact of air pollution from sources such as traffic, industry and electricity generation.”

Birmingham clean air charges approved: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-47546983 “Drivers of high-polluting vehicles will have to pay to drive around parts of Birmingham after the government approved plans for a Clean Air Zone.”

South Korea And China Are Using Artificial Rain to 'Wash Away' Air Pollution: https://www.sciencealert.com/south-korea-plans-to-bring-the-rain-to-solve-its-air-pollution-problem “Air pollution is a major problem no matter where you live, but it can get particularly bad in Seoul, the capital of South Korea – and so the government authorities are taking drastic action to try and deal with the smog that settles over the city.“

Study Finds Racial Gap Between Who Causes Air Pollution And Who Breathes It: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/03/11/702348935/study-finds-racial-gap-between-who-causes-air-pollution-and-who-breathes-it “A study published Monday in the journal PNAS adds a new twist to the pollution problem by looking at consumption. While we tend to think of factories or power plants as the source of pollution, those polluters wouldn't exist without consumer demand for their products.”

Every Child's Breath Is Under Threat Let's Change That: https://act.unicef.org.uk/page/29595/petition/1 “Every child has the right to health. Every child has the right to live, learn and play in a clean and safe environment. Join us and fight for funding to protect children from toxic air.”

Why Manchester’s Clean Air Zone will stall the city’s growth: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/03/11/why-manchesters-clean-air-zone-will-stall-the-citys-growth/ “Manchester must scale back its plans for a Clean Air Zone to mitigate the very worst economic damage, argues Malcolm Bingham, head of policy for North of England at Freight Transport Association.”

Fourth paper links ecigs to heart attacks and stroke: https://tobacco.ucsf.edu/fourth-paper-links-ecigs-heart-attacks-and-stroke “Beyond showing that e-cigarettes are a lot more dangerous than people used to think (and Public Health England still maintains), this growing literature raises serious issues about the claims that e-cigarettes are a good “alternative” to cigarettes, i.e., useful devices for smoking cessation.  Leaving aside the fact that for most smokers e-cigarettes make it harder, not easier, to quit smoking, it is important to consider the risk/benefit balance for e-cigs for those people who do manage to quit smoking with them.”

Vaping Is Big Tobacco’s Bait and Switch: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/08/opinion/editorials/vaping-ecigarettes-nicotine-safe.html#click=https://t.co/bc795mHek8 “Cigarettes hooked generations of teenagers. Now e-cigarettes might do the same.”

Food & food security

Lack of cooling means 40% of harvests in the developing world are lost, how can we deliver clean cold chains? https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/quest/sustainable-environments/clean-cold-chains.aspx ““The current growth in demand for cooling is not sustainable,” states Professor Peters. “Simply making the technology more efficient, and moving towards greener electricity, is not going to solve the problem. They are partial answers, but how do we truly deliver cooling for all within the climate change constraints? That is the real challenge.””

Opium, rat hair, beaver anal secretions – and other surprising things you might find in food: https://theconversation.com/opium-rat-hair-beaver-anal-secretions-and-other-surprising-things-you-might-find-in-food-112995 “Our basic foodstuffs are not grown in sterile conditions and so our diet is peppered with a variety of unintended side dishes, including soil, rodent hairs, faeces, mould, parasites and, of course, insects. The earthy nature of food production is acknowledged in the US through the publication of the Defect Levels Handbook that defines acceptable (non-hazardous) levels of these undisclosed morsels.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 08 March 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

Global Goalscast — How comedy helps heal the world: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/global-goalscast-how-comedy-helps-heal-the-world/ “While the Sustainable Development Goals tackle some of the world's gravest problems, some of the individual goals can be targeted by taking oneself a little less seriously. In this edition of the Global Goalscast, hosts Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman talk to comedians who challenge stereotypes and show how laughter is the best medicine, in life as in global development.”

‘Comprehensively include migrants’ or sustainable development won’t happen, warns General Assembly President: https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/02/1033672 “Migration and sustainable development are “deeply interconnected” and the 2030 Agenda, the UN’s blueprint for a sustainable future for all, will not be achieved if we do not “comprehensively include migrants,” the President of the General Assembly said on Wednesday.”

Educating for a sustainable economy: The role of business in delivering SDG 4: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/opinion/3072035/educating-for-sustainable-economy-the-role-of-business-in-delivering-sdg-4 “Of all the Sustainable Development Goals, education (SDG 4) is arguably the most powerful. An educated society is the foundation of a stable, productive society. Education is both a requisite at the start of life, but also throughout life. Especially in today's dynamic world.”

Weekly Economics Podcast: What’s The Deal With The Green New Deal? https://neweconomics.org/2019/02/weekly-economics-podcast-whats-the-deal-with-the-green-new-deal “The Green New Deal has rocketed to the top of the agenda in the US. It’s an ambitious plan, spearheaded by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to decarbonise the US economy and eliminate economic insecurity at the same time. But in fact the Green New Deal has some of its origins here at the New Economics Foundation. So what’s the story behind the development of the idea? And how would a Green New Deal actually work, both in the UK and across the pond?”

Over 1million public sector workers aren't earning the real Living Wage: https://www.livingwage.org.uk/news/low-pay-spotlight-public-sector “New research out today shines a spotlight on the number of people in the public sector who are struggling to keep their heads above water. Over 1 million public sector workers are struggling to keep their heads above water, earning less than the real Living Wage”

Higher taxes on the rich could reduce UK health inequality, says expert: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2019/feb/27/higher-taxes-on-the-rich-could-reduce-uk-health-inequality-says-expert “Higher taxation for the rich may need to be considered if the UK is to tackle the decline in life expectancy in parts of the UK and the widening gap in health inequalities, according to Sir Michael Marmot, the country’s leading authority on the issues.”

Healthy planning & environment

Case Studies – Great Public Spaces: https://www.pps.org/places?mc_cid=53e454f7f1&mc_eid=ba4d196c58 “These are the places we remember most vividly, the places where serendipitous things happen, the places we tell stories about.”

Lifting the curtain on PDR: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/blog/lifting-the-curtain-on-pdr “TCPA Projects and policy manager Henry Smith explains the hidden costs of permitted development rights (PDR).”

Revealed: The thousands of public spaces lost to the council funding crisis: https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2019-03-04/sold-from-under-you “The local government funding crisis has become so dire that councils are being forced to sell thousands of public spaces, such as libraries, community centres and playgrounds. In a double blow to communities, some local authorities are using the money raised from selling off buildings and land to pay for hundreds of redundancies, including in vital frontline services.”

Government fracking policy declared unlawful by High Court: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/fracking-policy-high-court-ruling-government-unlawful-housing-energy-a8810101.html “Key elements of the government’s policy on fracking have been declared unlawful by the High Court. Ministers had failed to consider the latest evidence concerning the technique’s “low carbon” credentials, campaign group Talk Fracking argued. The judge agreed the climate impact of shale gas extraction had been overlooked and described government policy as “flawed in its design and processes”.”

Countryside Stewardship opens for applications in 2019: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/countryside-stewardship-opens-for-applications-in-2019 “Farmers, foresters and land managers can now apply for a range of schemes that pay for environmental benefits”


Room to Breathe: The campaign for national housing standards: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/room-to-breathe-the-campaign-for-basic-national-housing-standards “The TCPA has launched a new campaign: Room to Breathe. The campaign marks the centenary of the Planning and Housing Act of 1919 and the step change it represented for space and quality of housing.”

Berlin’s grassroots plan to renationalise up to 200,000 ex-council homes from corporate landlords: https://theconversation.com/berlins-grassroots-plan-to-renationalise-up-to-200-000-ex-council-homes-from-corporate-landlords-112884 “If successful, the move could provide a legal precedent for other cities to call for nationalisaton as a modern and legitimate solution to their housing crises. It could also prompt changes to international law, empowering legislation initiatives that see housing as a human right, as a strategic resource or as global commons.”

Housing Minister unlocks private rented sector for most vulnerable: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/housing-minister-unlocks-private-rented-sector-for-most-vulnerable “£19.5 million is to be shared among 54 projects to help thousands of people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, to secure their own home.”

Government announces up to £26 million for vulnerable rough sleepers: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-up-to-26-million-for-vulnerable-rough-sleepers “Vulnerable people sleeping rough will receive specialist tailored support they need to recover from life on the streets and find accommodation.”

Climate change & sustainability

Hot and bothered? Associations between temperature and crime in Australia: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00484-019-01689-y “Results suggested that assault and theft counts were significantly higher in summer than winter (17.8 and 3.7%, respectively), while fraud counts were not significantly different.”

Is There a Role for Renewables? https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/is-there-a-role-for-renewables/ “Michael Shellenberger has a provocative editorial in which he makes the case against renewables and for nuclear energy. At first you might think you are reading global-warming denial propaganda, but that’s not what it is. Shellenberger is a self-described ecomodernist who simply thinks that, if you look at the numbers, there is a strong case to be made for nuclear energy as the most practical solution to global warming.”

Media reaction: The UK’s record-breaking winter heat in 2019: https://www.carbonbrief.org/media-reaction-uks-record-breaking-winter-heat-in-2019 “As with the heatwaves that hit the northern hemisphere last summer, the extreme temperatures have triggered news and comment across the media. Carbon Brief looks back at how the story has been covered over the past week.”

Teach About Climate Change With These 24 New York Times Graphs: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/learning/teach-about-climate-change-with-these-24-new-york-times-graphs.html “In this teaching resource, we have gathered 24 graphs previously published elsewhere in The New York Times that relate to climate change. In the first section, we discuss teaching strategies for using these graphs in the classroom. In the second section, we present a collection of graphs organized by topic: melting ice, rising seas, changing ocean temperature, changing air temperature, rising carbon emissions, impacts on humans, intensifying storms and contradicting attitudes.”

Obama warns climate change will make global politics more toxic: https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/432773-obama-warns-climate-change-will-make-global-politics-more-toxic “Imagine when you have not a few hundred thousand migrants who are escaping poverty or violence or disease, but you now have millions. Imagine if you start seeing monsoon patterns in the Indian subcontinent changing so that half a billion people can't grow food and are displaced,” he added. “Think about what that does to the politics of the world — not just the economics of it, not just the environment.”

How climate change is fueling extremism: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/03/06/world/climate-change-terrorism-extremism-africa-middle-east-intl/index.html “Parts of Africa and the Middle East are experiencing erratic harvests, heavy storms and the worst drought in the past 900 years. Experts say that people here who are struggling to provide for their families are vulnerable to the influence of extremist recruits who offer them work and food.”

Climate change and population growth are making the world’s water woes more urgent: https://www.economist.com/special-report/2019/02/28/climate-change-and-population-growth-are-making-the-worlds-water-woes-more-urgent “A scorching, arid future marked by a fierce, bloody struggle for a few drops of water is a standard theme of dystopian fiction and film-making. This report will examine how close such nightmares are to reality. It will look at the state of the world’s freshwater and at the increasing demands on it, and consider the ways they can be met.”

Analysis: UK’s CO2 emissions fell for record sixth consecutive year in 2018: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-uks-co2-emissions-fell-for-record-sixth-consecutive-year-in-2018 “The estimated 1.5% reduction was once again driven by falling coal use, down 16% compared to a year earlier, whereas oil and gas use were largely unchanged. However, there are signs the recent run of reductions could be coming to an end, with 2018 seeing the smallest fall in the six-year series.”

MPs debate climate after school strike – but only a handful turn up: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/28/mps-debate-climate-after-school-strike-but-only-a-handful-turn-up “Moran said climate change had not been debated in the main chamber of the House of Commons for two years. She spoke, however, to a chamber where the seats were predominantly empty. At points, as few as 10 MPs sat on government benches, although the opposition side was more occupied.”

Government throws its weight behind offshore wind power expansion: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/07/government-throws-its-weight-behind-offshore-wind-power-expansion “In a deal between the government and the offshore wind sector, industry players have agreed to invest £250m over the next 11 years in exchange for participation in £557m of state subsidies for renewable energy.”

Active travel & transport

Essential evidence on a page No. 183: Assessing the potential for carbon emissions savings from replacing short car trips with walking and cycling: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-183-assessing-the-potential-for-carbon-emissions-savings-from-replacing-short-car-trips-with-walking-and-cycling “Top line: In an urban area, 41% of short car trips (up to 69% when including escort, large-retail shopping and ‘as passenger’ car trips) could realistically be shifted to active travel.”

Bloor Street Bike Lane Economic Impact Studies | 2009-2017: https://www.tcat.ca/resources/economic-impact-study-of-bike-lanes-in-torontos-bloor-annex-and-korea-town-neighbourhoods/ “Toronto is Canada’s largest urban centre, and as in many other North American cities, removing on-street parking to install bike lanes can be contentious. On three occasions between 2009 and 2017, TCAT studied the impact of removing on-street parking and disproved the myth that parking is essential to downtown small business.”

NIHR Signal: Standing desks with a support package reduce time sitting at work: https://discover.dc.nihr.ac.uk/content/signal-000717/standing-desks-with-a-support-package-reduce-time-sitting-at-work “An office-based intervention involving a height-adjustable workstation and instruction package reduced the amount of time spent sitting. Workers sat for around 60 to 90 minutes less per day at six and 12 months compared with the control group.”

Air quality & pollution

New framework launched to reduce toxic air around hospitals: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/03/05/new-framework-launched-to-reduce-toxic-air-around-hospitals/ “The first-ever Clean Air Hospital Framework (CAHF) has been launched today (March 5) by the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH) and Global Action Plan.”

Glastonbury festival bans plastic bottles: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/feb/27/glastonbury-festival-bans-plastic-bottles ““Obviously we are all fighting the fight against plastic, which is an enormous task but well overdue and we need to make steps in the right direction,” said Emily Eavis, the co-organiser of the festival and youngest daughter of the founder, Michael Eavis.”

Why Nesta are searching for a standard way of measuring air pollution: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/03/04/the-search-for-a-standard-way-of-measuring-air-pollution/ “The international Nesta foundation recently entered the clean air debate by announcing its plans for the latest in a long line of ‘challenge’ competitions this summer to find a universal way to measure air purity, which will also show the effect of air quality on health.”

UK rivers heavily contaminated with microplastics, study finds: https://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/uk-rivers-microplastics/ “Researchers from The University of Manchester are calling for tighter regulations on waste flowing into urban waterways, after the first study of its kind found that microplastics from urban river channels are a major contributor to the pollution problem in the oceans.”

Food & food security

Tackling the Global Syndemic of obesity, under-nutrition and climate change: https://epha.org/tackling-the-global-syndemic-of-obesity-under-nutrition-and-climate-change/ “Taking a Global Syndemic perspective, with an emphasis on double and triple duty actions which can address two or three of the pandemics, presents us with a real opportunity for change. This means addressing the problems head on and not shying away from some of the fundamental issues that have driven the broken systems we see today.”

Transition to a planetary health diet: lessons from the Danish Whole Grain Partnership: https://epha.org/transition-to-a-planetary-health-diet-lessons-from-the-danish-whole-grain-partnership/ “…Bearing this in mind, many have questioned whether it is possible to change diets in this direction and at a reasonable pace.  The experience from the Danish Whole Grain Partnership gives a glimpse of hope on the feasibility of such dietary improvement. The gap between the recommended and the actual whole grain intake is huge. However, in Denmark, the Whole Grain Partnership succeeded with a near doubling of the whole grain intake in less than 10 years, due to the work of the Danish Whole Grain Partnership.”

Warming oceans are hurting seafood supply—and things are getting worse: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/02/warming-oceans-are-hurting-seafood-supply-and-things-are-getting-worse “Marine fish around the world are already feeling the effects of climate change—and some are reeling, according to the first large analysis of recent trends. Rising sea temperatures have reduced the productivity of some fisheries by 15% to 35% over 8 decades, although in other places fish are thriving because warming waters are becoming more suitable. The net effect is that the world’s oceans can’t yield as much sustainable seafood as before, a situation that is likely to worsen as global warming accelerates in the oceans.”

Chlorine-washed chicken Q&A: food safety expert explains why US poultry is banned in the EU: https://theconversation.com/chlorine-washed-chicken-qanda-food-safety-expert-explains-why-us-poultry-is-banned-in-the-eu-81921 “...A report by the EU Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures, for example, highlighted that the chemical cleaning treatment can be effective at removing foodborne pathogens depending on how it is used. The real fear is that heavily soiled birds may not be sufficiently disinfected, and that relying on chlorine washing could lead to poorer hygiene standards overall.”

7th Annual Weight Stigma Conference: https://stigmaconference.com/ “The Weight Stigma Conference is an inter-disciplinary event that brings together scholars and practitioners from a range of backgrounds (e.g., public health, government and public policy, psychology, medicine, sociology, anthropology, allied health professions, education, sports and exercise science, social sciences, media studies, business, law, activism, and the lay public) to consider research, policy, rhetoric, and practice around the issue of weight stigma.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 01 March 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.

Public Health Film Festival 2018 highlights the wealth of global talent in health films: https://betterhealthforall.org/2019/02/26/public-health-film-festival-2018-highlights-the-wealth-of-global-talent-in-health-films/ “The third edition of the Public Health Film Festival recently took place in Oxford and was host to award-winning films from the International Public Health Film Competition supported by the Faculty of Public Health, Public Health England, The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Ethics and Humanities.”

Sustainable development goals

World bank: Sustainable development costs just 4.5% of GDP: https://www.renewablesnow.com/news/world-bank-sustainable-development-costs-just-45-of-gdp-643900/ “The spending goal of 4.5% of GDP represents a preferred scenario whereby countries adopt policies that account for long-term climate goals to avoid expensive stranded assets later, invest in renewable energy, combine transport planning with land-use planning, develop railway systems attractive to freight, and deploy decentralized technologies in rural areas—such as mini-grids for electricity.”

The SDGs are on the agenda at the world's largest mobile industry event: https://www.devex.com/news/the-sdgs-are-on-the-agenda-at-the-world-s-largest-mobile-industry-event-94347 “The United Nations refugee agency and the trade body representing mobile network operators are working together to research the impact of connectivity on refugees and host communities.”

Some important reports and comment on poverty in the UK.

  • UK Poverty 2018: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/uk-poverty-2018 “This research reveals that, in our society: Child poverty has been rising since 2011/12; 4.1 million children are living in poverty, a rise of 500,000 in the last five years; Four million workers are living in poverty –a rise of more than half a million over five years; and In-work poverty has been rising even faster than employment, driven almost entirely by increasing poverty among working parents.”
  • The Living Standards Outlook 2019: https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/the-living-standards-outlook-2019/ “In our projection, the majority of children who either have a single parent; are in larger families; are in a household where no-one is in work; or live in private or social rented housing, will be in poverty by 2023-24. But poverty rates for other groups are also projected to rise. The child poverty rate for working households averaged 20 per cent between 1996-97 and 2013-14, but is projected to increase to 29 per cent by 2023-24, while the poverty rate for children living with two parents may have already hit a record high in 2017-18 or 2018-19.”
  • How do people exit in-work poverty and what prevents them from doing so? https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/progression-from-in-work-poverty/ “Rod Hick examines the ways in which people move in and out of working poverty, as well as the impact that the UK’s tax credit system has had on in-work poverty levels. He emphasises the need for researchers and policymakers to focus on the factors which prevent or enable people to exit working poverty, so that positive transitions can be supported.”
  • Happy now? Lessons for economic policy makers from a focus on subjective well-being: https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/happy-now-lessons-for-economic-policy-makers-from-a-focus-on-subjective-well-being/ “This paper, the first time the Resolution Foundation has published detailed analysis of subjective well-being, takes a wide-ranging look at what well-being data has to offer by way of lessons for economic policymakers concerned with raising the nation’s living standards.”
  • ONS - Despite record employment, nearly 10% of adults have never done paid work: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peoplenotinwork/economicinactivity/articles/despiterecordemploymentnearly10ofadultshaveneverdonepaidwork/2019-02-28 “While UK employment is at record levels, there are still millions of people across the country who have never had a paid job. What are their reasons for not working?”

The Marmot Review 10 Years On: https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-comment/blogs/the-marmot-review-10-years-on “'There can be no more important task for those concerned with the health of the population than to reduce health inequalities'”

Reframing the conversation on the social determinants of health: https://www.health.org.uk/publications/reports/reframing-the-conversation-on-the-social-determinants-of-health “Despite extensive evidence for the impact of social determinants on people’s health, public discourse and policy action is limited in acknowledging the role that societal factors such as housing, education, welfare and work play in shaping people’s long-term health.”

The NHS long term plan and public health: https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l218 “The NHS long term plan for England was published on 7 January.1 It is rightly ambitious and sets out a vision for the NHS that is largely technocratic and pragmatic, and ostensibly dogma-free.2 The plan comes in a time of deepening austerity, widening inequalities in health, and deep cuts in local government and public health budgets.3 Although it looks like a good plan for the NHS, is it a plan for health, wellbeing, equality, and care?”

Healthy planning & environment

ACTIVE DESIGN: https://www.sportengland.org/facilities-planning/active-design/ “Modern day living can make us inactive, and very few of us ever manage the recommended amount of weekly exercise. We know sport isn’t for everyone but more activity can improve health, increase wellbeing and build stronger communities.”

‘Lawless’ shisha bars flouting ineffective tobacco laws, councils warn: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/shisha-smoke-laws-uk-bars-councils-fines-local-government-crime-a8792991.html “Councils have called for a crackdown and new powers to tackle “lawless” shisha bars which are flouting smoking and fire safety regulations. The Local Government Association has called for a new licensing system for shisha bars after premises have allowed customers to smoke indoors and sold tobacco to under 18s.”

Is the Insect Apocalypse Really Upon Us? https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/02/insect-apocalypse-really-upon-us/583018/ “Claims that insects will disappear within a century are absurd, but the reality isn’t reassuring either.”

New film addresses water crisis: http://www.siwi.org/latest/new-film-addresses-water-crisis/ “The growing water crisis is humanity’s next big challenge. SIWI has launched a new film, distributed through Reuters, to describe how water is linked to critical issues like climate change, extreme weather and food security. There are solutions – but we must act now.”


Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales: 2013 to 2017 Local Authority level data: https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/deathsofhomelesspeopleinenglandandwales2013to2017localauthorityleveldata “The first Experimental Statistics of the number of deaths of homeless people in England and Wales at local authority level. Figures are given for deaths registered in the years 2013 to 2017.” – more here - Poor, urban areas see majority of homeless deaths: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Poor-urban-areas-see-majority-of-homeless-deaths/46950

House prices push old and young into separate neighbourhoods: https://esrc.ukri.org/news-events-and-publications/evidence-briefings/house-prices-push-old-and-young-into-separate-neighbourhoods/ “Age segregation in housing has increased in recent decades, with less likelihood of older and younger adults sharing the same residential area. New research shows that age segregation is higher in areas where housing is least affordable, potentially challenging social cohesion.” – more here - Britain faces ‘accessible housing crisis’, charity warns: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Britain-faces-accessible-housing-crisis-charity-warns/46941 “An elderly persons charity has warned that Britain is on the verge of an ‘accessible housing crisis’ due to planning policy failures.”

Report Launched: ‘The hidden costs of poor quality housing in the North’: https://www.northern-consortium.org.uk/hidden-cost-of-poor-quality-housing/ “This report: The Hidden costs of Poor Quality Housing in the North, was commissioned by the NHC and written by the Smith Institute, an independent public policy think tank. It highlights the scale of the problem and the increased health impacts of those living in homes that are not fit for purpose.”

Thirteen people 'packed' in three-bed semi in Newcastle: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-england-tyne-47310505 “Thirteen people were found "absolutely packed" into a three-bedroom house in Newcastle, the BBC has found. The bath had been ripped out and a bunk bed put in its place, officials found when they visited the property in Ponteland Road, Blakelaw, in January. None of the people, who were restaurant workers, knew each other, Paula Davis from Newcastle City Council said.”

English councils accused of hiding scale of homelessness crisis: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/feb/25/english-councils-accused-of-hiding-scale-of-homelessness-crisis “Official government statistics reported a 2% fall in rough sleeping in England in 2018 after seven consecutive years of rises when the figures were released last month. But critics have suggested the percentage decreased after several councils changed their counting method and does not reflect the reality on the streets.”

Review of Housing Health and Safety Rating System Needed for PRS, says PayProp: https://www.landlordnews.co.uk/review-housing-health-safety-rating/ “Over the last decade, the private rented sector (PRS) has grown rapidly. The UK is in desperate need of housing, but there is still the major issue of sub-standard property. The automated rental payment provider has pointed out that the review has, therefore, made it crucial for the sector to get its house in order now.”

Outrage as help-to-buy boosts Persimmon profits to £1bn: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/26/persimmon-profits-help-to-buy-scheme “Housebuilder Persimmon made a record-breaking £1bn profit last year – equal to more than £66,000 on every one of the homes it sold – with almost half of its house sales made through the taxpayer-funded help-to-buy scheme.”

Climate change & sustainability

The Guardian view on the hottest winter day: sunny side down: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/26/the-guardian-view-on-the-hottest-winter-day-sunny-side-down “Unseasonably balmy February days can be pleasant, but scientists are increasingly linking extremes of heat, storms and other meteorological events to global warming”

Some disagreement over a new study on the impact of climate change on clouds;

  • Clouds’ cooling effect could vanish in a warmer world: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00685-x “High concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide can result in the dispersal of cloud banks that reflect roughly 30% of the sunlight that hits them.”
  • Extreme CO2 levels could trigger clouds ‘tipping point’ and 8C of global warming: https://www.carbonbrief.org/extreme-co2-levels-could-trigger-clouds-tipping-point-and-8c-of-global-warming “If atmospheric CO2 levels exceed 1,200 parts per million (ppm), it could push the Earth’s climate over a “tipping point”, finds a new study. This would see clouds that shade large part of the oceans start to break up.”
  • A world without clouds? Hardly clear, climate scientists say: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/02/world-without-clouds-hardly-clear-climate-scientists-say “...But many climate scientists who research clouds are pushing back against the study, arguing that its analysis of one small patch of atmosphere does not apply to the entire globe. It’s a “simple model [that] essentially has a knob with two settings,” says Joel Norris, a cloud scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California. “But it is very likely that the Earth has more knobs than that.””

Scientists turn CO2 ‘back into coal’ in breakthrough carbon capture experiment: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/carbon-capture-coal-electrolysis-rmit-university-melbourne-dorna-esrafilzadeh-a8798031.html “Scientists have managed to turn CO2 from a gas back into solid “coal”, in a breakthrough which could potentially help remove the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere.”

Revealed: How the Tobacco and Fossil Fuel Industries Fund Disinformation Campaigns Around the World: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/02/19/how-tobacco-and-fossil-fuel-companies-fund-disinformation-campaigns-around-world “MIT Associate Professor David Hsu analyzed organisations in DeSmog’s disinformation database and the Guardian’s tobacco database and found 35 thinktanks based in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand that promote both the tobacco and fossil fuel industries’ interests. Of these organisations, DeSmog can reveal that 32 have taken direct donations from the tobacco industry, 29 have taken donations from the fossil fuel industry, and 28 have received money from both. Two key networks, based around the Koch brothers and Atlas Network, are involved in coordinating or funding many of the thinktanks.”

Guest post: Energy efficiency contributed 25% of UK economic growth since 1971: https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-energy-efficiency-contributed-25-percent-of-uk-economic-growth-since-1971 “In a new study in the journal Energies, we try to accurately model this chain of successive energy conversions to explore the energy-economy relationship in the UK. We find that gains in energy efficiency have contributed a quarter of all growth in UK GDP over the period 1971-2013.”

HoC Environmental Audit Committee - Fixing Fashion: clothing consumption and sustainability: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/1952/1952.pdf “The way we make, use and throwaway our clothes is unsustainable. Textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined, consumes lake-sized volumes of fresh water and creates chemical and plastic pollution. Synthetic fibres are being found in the deep sea, in Arctic sea ice, in fish and shellfish. Our biggest retailers have ‘chased the cheap needle around the planet’, commissioning production in countries with low pay, little trade union representation and weak environmental protection.” – more here = 7 ways to break the fast fashion habit - and save the planet: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/02/7-ways-to-break-the-fast-fashion-habit-and-save-the-planet/

Health expert warns of 12,000 heat deaths a year in Spain without climate change action: https://www.euroweeklynews.com/2019/02/23/health-expert-warns-of-12000-heat-deaths-a-year-in-spain-without-climate-change-action “Around 12,000 people could die every year from excessive heat by 2050, up from about 1,400 currently, unless action is taken on climate change according to a health expert.”

Active travel & transport

The Status of Traffic Safety and Mobility Education in Europe: https://etsc.eu/the-status-of-traffic-safety-and-mobility-education-in-europe/?mc_cid=94f1e20618&mc_eid=f209095101 “For both primary and secondary education, this report shows that traffic safety and mobility education is not a dedicated subject in the vast majority of states (respectively 72% and 83%). In addition, the amount of hours primary school children receive road safety education differs widely across Europe and even within states.”

The Future of Rail: opportunities for energy and the environment: https://www.iea.org/futureofrail “The rail sector can provide substantial benefits for the energy sector as well as for the environment. By diversifying energy sources and providing more efficient mobility, rail can lower transport energy use and reduce carbon dioxide and local pollutant emissions.”

MEPs back life-saving vehicle safety standards in key vote: https://etsc.eu/meps-back-life-saving-vehicle-safety-standards-in-key-vote/ “A key committee of MEPs has given the green light for a range of new mandatory vehicle safety standards that could apply to new vehicle models within three years. The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) welcomes the result of the vote but warns that time is running out for a final deal on the legislation before European Parliamentary elections in May.”

Air quality & pollution

London’s Low Emission Zone has not been shown to improve children’s respiratory health: https://discover.dc.nihr.ac.uk/content/signal-000733/londons-low-emission-zone-has-not-been-shown-to-improve-childrens-respiratory-health “The Low Emission Zone covering much of Greater London was introduced between 2008 and 2012 to improve air quality. Some measures of air pollution have slightly reduced over that time, but measures of children’s respiratory health and lung development have not significantly improved.”

The EU’s response to the “dieselgate” scandal – briefing paper: https://www.eca.europa.eu/lists/ecadocuments/brp_vehicle_emissions/brp_vehicle_emissions_en.pdf?mc_cid=94f1e20618&mc_eid=f209095101 “This briefing paper sets out the actions taken, at the level of the European Union and Member States, and describes changes made to the system for measuring vehicle emissions after September 2015. The paper does not seek to assess whether the actions taken and proposed have solved the problem.”

Clean Air Campaign - Our Clean Air Kit: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/clean-air/clean-air-campaign-our-clean-air-kit “This project was a ground-breaking citizen science experiment from which we created a map of the results and our Air Pollution: Unmasked report.”

Plastic and Health: The hidden costs of a plastic planet: https://www.ciel.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Plastic-and-Health-The-Hidden-Costs-of-a-Plastic-Planet-February-2019.pdf “The study, Plastic & Health: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet, is especially groundbreaking because it looks at the health impacts of every stage in the life cycle of plastics, from the extraction of the fossil fuels that make them to their permanence in the environment.”

Climate change: obsession with plastic pollution distracts attention from bigger environmental challenges: https://theconversation.com/climate-change-obsession-with-plastic-pollution-distracts-attention-from-bigger-environmental-challenges-111667 “Yes, we know plastic can entangle birds, fish and marine mammals – which can starve after filling their stomachs with plastics, and yet there are no conclusive studies on population level effects of plastic pollution. Studies on the toxicity effects, especially to humans are often overplayed.  Research shows for example, that plastic is not as great a threat to oceans as climate change or over-fishing.”

World's deepest waters becoming 'ultimate sink' for plastic waste: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/27/worlds-deepest-waters-ultimate-sink-plastic-waste “For the first time, scientists found microplastic ingestion by organisms in the Mariana trench and five other areas with a depth of more than 6,000 metres, prompting them to conclude “it is highly likely there are no marine ecosystems left that are not impacted by plastic pollution”.”

Food & food security

Creating ‘obesogenic realities’; do our methodological choices make a difference when measuring the food environment? https://ij-healthgeographics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-072X-12-33 “Density and proximity metrics were largely comparable, with some exceptions. Whilst results suggested a substantial degree of comparability across existing studies, future comparability could be ensured by moving towards a more standardised set of environmental metrics, where appropriate, lessening the potential pitfalls of methodological variation between studies. The researchers’ role in creating their own obesogenic ‘reality’ should be better understood and acknowledged.”

Tackling food insecurity at the urban level - turning global commitments into local realities: https://reliefweb.int/report/world/tackling-food-insecurity-urban-level-turning-global-commitments-local-realities “At high-level UN meeting with mayors and urban food policy representatives, FAO Director-General calls for transforming food systems to offer healthy and nutritious food for everyone”

UK hunger survey to measure food insecurity: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/feb/27/government-to-launch-uk-food-insecurity-index “The government is to introduce an official measure of how often low-income families across the UK skip meals or go hungry because they cannot afford to buy enough food, the Guardian can reveal.”

A ban on artificial trans fats in NYC restaurants appears to be working: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/ban-artificial-trans-fats-nyc-restaurants-appears-be-working “Researchers analyzed blood samples of adult city residents from before and after the ban, taken as part of a health and nutrition survey that queried participants on their dining habits. The samples, 212 from 2004 and 247 from 2013–2014, revealed a drop from 49.2 to 21.3 micromoles per liter, suggesting that trans fat levels plunged by about 57 percent overall among New Yorkers.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 22 February 2019

Sustainable development goals

Protecting people and places in poverty from the risks of a no-deal Brexit: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/protecting-people-and-places-poverty-risks-no-deal-Brexit? “ briefing and open letter to MPs highlight what the Government can do to protect struggling families if the UK leaves the EU with no agreement.”

These maps show how tricky it is to measure inequality in local areas across England: https://theconversation.com/these-maps-show-how-tricky-it-is-to-measure-inequality-in-local-areas-across-england-109143 “In the UK, people often think about inequality in geographical terms: for example, places such as Kensington in London are considered “rich”, while Blackpool in Lancashire is considered “poor”. In reality there are rich and poor areas almost everywhere, but they are not distributed evenly across England.”

Opinion: Sooner Or Later, We Have To Stop Economic Growth — And We’ll Be Better For It: https://ensia.com/voices/end-economic-growth-economy/ “…The trouble is, a bigger economy uses more stuff than a smaller one, and we happen to live on a finite planet. So, an end to growth is inevitable.”

Healthy planning & environment

Women in Urbanism talks ten ways we can design more inclusive cities: https://idealog.co.nz/urban/2019/02/women-urbanism-talks-ten-ways-we-can-design-more-inclusive-cities “Globally there is a conversation taking place on what cities would look like if equal weighting was given to all of its citizens in the design process.”

Geologists link Surrey earthquakes to oil site as new tremor felt in the area: https://drillordrop.com/2019/02/14/geologists-link-surrey-earthquakes-to-oil-site-as-new-tremor-felt-in-the-area/amp/ “…But a paper by three Edinburgh geologists, released today, concluded: “Our assessment supports the concern that Horse Hill oil exploration triggered the [2018] earthquakes. “We infer that future oil exploration and production close to critically-stressed faults in the Weald is likely to result in similar earthquake events.””

Cities Data Tool: https://www.centreforcities.org/data-tool/#graph=bar&city=show-all Rich source of data for UK cities with tools to map data across a wide range of topic areas

What happens to the natural world if all the insects disappear? https://theconversation.com/what-happens-to-the-natural-world-if-all-the-insects-disappear-111886 “...What is particularly worrying is that we don’t know exactly why populations are declining. Agricultural intensification and pesticides are likely a big part of the problem, but it’s certainly more complicated than that, and habitat loss and climate change could also play a part.”


National and regional estimates of housing need in Wales: https://lichfields.uk/blog/2019/february/18/national-and-regional-estimates-of-housing-need-in-wales/ “The national “central estimates” indicate a need for 8,300 additional dwellings per annum (dpa) for the first five years of the 20-year period (2018/19 to 2023/24), decreasing to an average of 3,600dpa during the last five years of the period (2033/34 to 2037/38).”

Affordable Housing Commission - The Commission would like to hear from you: https://www.affordablehousingcommission.org/have-your-say “The Commission would like hear your thoughts about the causes and effects of the affordability crisis and what should be done to tackle the issue.”

Hostile environment leaving UK-born children street homeless, finds report: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hostile-environment-children-street-homeless-home-office-immigration-status-project-17-a8785256.html “Government accused of prioritising immigration control over children’s rights as report shows families forced to sleep in churches, buses and A&E departments due to ‘gatekeeping’ practices”

Climate change & sustainability

Towards a more complete quantification of the global carbon cycle: https://www.biogeosciences.net/16/831/2019/ “The main components of global carbon budget calculations are the emissions from burning fossil fuels, cement production, and net land-use change, partly balanced by ocean CO2 uptake and CO2 increase in the atmosphere… However, a budget with only these terms omits some important additional fluxes that are needed to correctly infer ΔBphys.”

Implications of various effort-sharing approaches for national carbon budgets and emission pathways: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-019-02368-y

Wide coverage of the global climate action school strikes.

And.. some alternative views –

UK homes ‘shockingly unprepared’ for climate change, says CCC: https://www.carbonbrief.org/uk-homes-shockingly-unprepared-for-climate-change-says-ccc “The “shocking fact” is that most of the UK’s near-30m homes are “not in a condition to keep us comfortable and safe and productive in the changing climate”, Baroness Brown, chair of the CCC’s adaptation committee, tells Carbon Brief.” – more here - Ban gas boilers in new homes by 2025, says Committee on Climate Change: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/21/ban-new-gas-boilers-by-2025-says-committee-on-climate-change

White House prepares to scrutinize intelligence agencies’ finding that climate change threatens national security: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/white-house-readies-panel-to-assess-if-climate-change-poses-a-national-security-threat/2019/02/19/ccc8b29e-3396-11e9-af5b-b51b7ff322e9_story.html “The proposed Presidential Committee on Climate Security, which would be established by executive order, is being spearheaded by William Happer, a National Security Council senior director. Happer, an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton University, has said that carbon emissions linked to climate change should be viewed as an asset rather than a pollutant.”

From the US to the Netherlands, military leaders are speaking up on climate change: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/climate-change-military-security-us-netherlands-hague-global-warming-a8788531.html “Senior military officials said they were preparing for ever more dire security crises as climate change, rising sea levels, and worsening storms impacted their forces, bases and missions. “We see climate change as a security threat, and it’s an important threat,” said James Clayden, a Dutch defence ministry official.”

Climate change will fuel more wars and displacement in the Middle East, experts warn: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/middle-east-climate-change-war-food-water-refugees-jihadis-un-a8786911.html “Food scarcity and water shortages will add to the flood of displaced people, sparking wars and providing opportunities for extremist groups, they said. These developments will mean 7 to 10 million people in the Middle East and North Africa will be forced to leave their ancestral or temporary homes over the next decade, a UN development official predicted.”

Climate Impacts of Cultured Meat and Beef Cattle: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsufs.2019.00005/full “We conclude that cultured meat is not prima facie climatically superior to cattle; its relative impact instead depends on the availability of decarbonized energy generation and the specific production systems that are realized.”

The Green New Deal Is What Realistic Environmental Policy Looks Like: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/opinion/green-new-deal-ocasio-cortez-.html “Everyone is lining up to endorse the Green New Deal — or to mock it. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand have all endorsed the resolution sponsored by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts.”

Time to Panic: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/16/opinion/sunday/fear-panic-climate-change-warming.html#click=https://t.co/EpvzWhfWVa “The planet is getting warmer in catastrophic ways. And fear may be the only thing that saves us.”

Active travel & transport

If you build it, they will drive: Measuring induced demand for vehicle travel in urban areas: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0967070X18301720 “These findings cast doubt on the effectiveness of expanding highways to eliminate traffic congestion, as the speed-related benefits of new capacity tend to be short-lived.”

Essential evidence on a page No.182 - Sustainable Travel Towns: An evaluation of the longer term impacts: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-182-sustainable-travel-towns-an-evaluation-of-the-longer-term-impacts “Top line: City-wide sustainable travel interventions in three English towns led to increases in cycling and walking, sustained five year post project, while car use declined.”

Making cities more walkable by understanding how other people influence our journeys: https://theconversation.com/making-cities-more-walkable-by-understanding-how-other-people-influence-our-journeys-111767 “Cities around the world are changing to become more “walkable”. As more and more people move to cities, the benefits of encouraging people to walk are clear. Aside from making the urban environment more pleasant, safer and less polluted, improving a city’s walkability can also ease traffic congestion and improve public health.”

You Can’t Design Bike-Friendly Cities Without Considering Race and Class: https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/02/bike-friendly-cities-should-be-designed-everyone/582409/ “…But urban cycling investments tend to focus on the needs of wealthy riders and neglect lower-income residents and people of color.”

Insight: Is the workplace car levy a panacea for urban congestion or a poll tax on wheels? https://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/insight-is-the-workplace-car-levy-a-panacea-for-urban-congestion-or-a-poll-tax-on-wheels-1-4874369/ “Seven years after Nottingham first imposed its workplace car levy, Dani Garavelli assesses what the impact of such a policy might be on Scotland”

Air quality & pollution

UK's city leaders sign up to ambitious clean air plan: https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/fleet-industry-news/2019/02/15/uk-s-city-leaders-sign-up-to-ambitious-clean-air-plan “Local authority leaders from around the country have signed up to a wide-ranging plan aimed at significantly cutting air pollution. At the #LoveCleanAir Summit held in London yesterday, attendees discussed their concerns directly with environment secretary Michael Gove and health secretary Matthew Hancock.”

Air purification is catching on – but it may be doing more harm than good: https://theconversation.com/air-purification-is-catching-on-but-it-may-be-doing-more-harm-than-good-111309 “Yet the costs of filtration are possibly larger than they first appear. Most air purifiers use cellulose or polymer membranes that are replaced every month or so, often as part of a regular service contract. The air is pushed through the filters with fans and pumps which use energy, perhaps anywhere between 100 watts (equivalent to a bright lightbulb) and 1000 watts (a microwave), depending on the size of the air cleaner and home.”

Biggest Ever Eu Application To Use Banned Chemical That Kills Hundreds: https://meta.eeb.org/2019/02/13/biggest-ever-eu-application-to-use-banned-chemical-that-kills-hundreds/ “Thousands of firms want EU permission to use the banned cancer-causing chemical that made Erin Brockovich famous and inspired the Hollywood film starring Julia Roberts.”

Food & food security

Emergency Planners Warned Of No-Deal Food Shortage Risks – Just One Month Before Brexit: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/government-emergency-planning-no-deal-food-supply_uk_5c66e182e4b033a799422629 “The government has written to groups across the country asking them to prepare for "worst case scenario".”

USDA says filler once known as 'pink slime' can be labeled ground beef: https://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/blogs/usda-says-pink-slime-can-be-labeled-ground-beef “When fat is trimmed away from the bone, some meat is attached to the fat. Those trimmings are sent through a process that uses centrifugal force to separate the fat from the meat. The lean meat is turned into something that looks akin to pink soft serve ice cream — hence the name — and added to some brands of ground beef to add bulk inexpensively.” – USA based – but may be relevant for the UK Post Brexit.

WMHPG news, information and resources 8 February 2019

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

Sustainable development goals

The data challenges undermining the UN's Sustainable Development Goals: https://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/the-data-challenges-undermining-the-un-s-sustainable-development-goals-1.819622 “After three years of implementation, countries are slowly starting to put policies, plans, and even a few budgets in place to meet this ambition. Yet how can we track progress on the Sustainable Development Goals when about two-thirds of the indicators have no data?”

Can the Sustainable Development Goals Be Measured by Satellite? https://singularityhub.com/2019/01/31/can-progress-toward-the-sustainable-development-goals-be-measured-by-satellite/#sm.00001olcbgkpl6esry4knz5cg3qx9 “In a paper published earlier this month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team from Aarhus University in Denmark explored the viability of using satellite data to monitor and measure some SDGs.” – original paper here: Socioecologically informed use of remote sensing data to predict rural household poverty: https://www.pnas.org/content/116/4/1213

‘Wellbeing in every decision’: re-framing ‘health in all policies’: http://publichealthy.co.uk/reiframing-health-in-all-policies “‘Wellbeing in every decision’ still includes the big stuff — after all, we decide what a policy is going to be — but ‘policy’ doesn’t necessarily include small, everyday decisions. I think by selling the idea of wellbeing in every decision, whether that’s a grand 20-year vision or putting some pot plants in an office, we would focus minds and improve accountability of why and how every decision is made.”

An effective custodian of the public’s health: https://www.local.gov.uk/effective-custodian-publics-health “Innovative practice from individual councils shows just what potential there is for public health, if properly resourced, to make inroads into improving health and wellbeing, and to do it efficiently. We have, on a number of areas, delivered better outcomes at less cost than the NHS did when they controlled public health.”

Mind the Gap in SDG Financing: https://blogs.imf.org/2019/01/31/mind-the-gap-in-sdg-financing/ “A new IMF staff study shows that the required scale-up varies widely across countries. For emerging market economies, the average additional annual spending required in 2030 to reach key SDGs stands at 4 percentage points of GDP, compared to 15 percentage points of GDP for the average low-income developing country.”

Bankrupt: a council in crisis and the impact on health and social care: https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l172 “Northamptonshire county has a plan to stave off insolvency but health leaders are concerned that cuts will slash already rickety support for those in need, finds Richard Vize, as councils across England are increasingly driven towards offering the legal minimum of services”

£8 billion funding black hole by 2025 will swallow up popular council services: https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/funding-black-hole “Communities may suffer the loss of leisure and cultural facilities, fewer bus services, unkempt parks and green spaces and see fly-tippers go unpunished without government investment in under-pressure council services.”

Law enforcement and public health: recognition and enhancement of joined-up solutions: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)32839-3/fulltext#rel6579bef7-5b75-4233-bc6b-5a5dda60726a “This Series paper explores the intersect between law enforcement and public health at the global and local levels and argues that public health is an integral aspect of public safety and security. Recognition of this role of public health is the first step towards encouraging a joined-up approach to dealing with entrenched social, security, and health issues.”

Healthy planning & environment

Field analysis of psychological effects of urban design: a case study in Vancouver: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/23748834.2018.1548257?journalCode=rcah20& “Our findings demonstrate that simple urban design interventions can increase subjective well-being and sociability among city residents. Further, our experiment presents a novel environmental-psychological field methodology for collecting empirical affective and cognitive data on how individuals respond to urban design.”

TCPA - Planning reform: supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes consultation: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=634ceab9-98c1-4f0c-a6f7-9ea38059ea0b& “The TCPA is firmly opposed to the further extension of PDR (permitted development) as outlined in this consultation, specifically those proposals allowing for commercial properties to be demolition and rebuilt for residential use, and for additional storeys to be added to buildings to create new homes”

RTPI study highlights the rise of the "austerity planner": https://www.rtpi.org.uk/briefing-room/news-releases/2019/january/rtpi-study-highlights-the-rise-of-the-austerity-planner/ “Under-resourcing, coupled with reforms that have undermined planning’s strategic role, have relegated it to a largely reactive, regulatory function in many local authorities, creating a “box-ticking culture that has closed off the space many planners traditionally used for reflection, professional discretion and proactive planning”, according to the report.”

Event - Improving health in urban communities: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/events/improving-health-urban-communities “On 6 June, The King’s Fund joins forces with independent health foundation, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, in London for an event exploring the complex and dynamic reality of urban space and how it impacts on our health.”

Fracking firm Cuadrilla says earthquake rules hinder its work: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/06/fracking-firm-cuadrilla-complains-its-work-being-hampered-by-earthquake-rules “The shale gas firm Cuadrilla has said commercial fracking cannot go ahead in the UK unless rules on minor earthquakes are relaxed, after admitting it had only been able to frack a tiny section of its gas well near Blackpool because of seismicity regulations.”

Challenges for health in the Anthropocene epoch: https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l460 “Safeguarding human health means staying in the “safe operating space” within planetary boundaries. This realisation gave birth to a new interdisciplinary scientific field, planetary health, which conceptualises that human health and natural systems are interdependent. It underscores the urgency of protecting the Earth’s natural “life support” systems when developing strategies for population health.”

Five maps that reveal the world’s remaining wilderness: https://theconversation.com/five-maps-that-reveal-the-worlds-remaining-wilderness-110061 “Researchers from the US and Australia recently produced a global map to illustrate this decline, made by combining data on things such as population density, night-time lights and types of vegetation. The problem with such an approach is that the question of where wilderness begins and ends is not as simple as it may first seem.”

Space invaders: celestial billboards spark debate about who owns the sky: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=f6631d13-8403-4d97-b26b-a11c809c6ee8 “The firm plans to turn hundreds of tiny satellites into a massive display visible from earth - something its CEO, Vlad Sitnikov, said would make him the first man to draw in space since the ancient Greeks grouped stars into constellations.”


Gov.UK - Homelessness statistics: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/homelessness-statistics “This collection brings together all documents relating to homelessness and rough sleeping statistics.”

ONS - Taking stock of housing statistics: https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2019/01/29/taking-stock-of-housing-statistics/ “Statisticians across the UK have been working together to help make housing and planning statistics more coherent and comparable. The work is now starting to yield results – including collaboration between statisticians in the devolved administrations and publication of experimental stats on homeless deaths in England and Wales. Debra Prestwood updates on the progress so far.”

Rough-sleeping up 165% over the last decade, figures reveal: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Rough-sleeping-up-165-over-the-last-decade-figures-reveal/46799 “High rents, a ‘faulty’ benefits system, and a lack of social housing has driven the dramatic rise in rough-sleeping since 2010, a homelessness charity has said.”

Home ownership is rising, but the crisis is far from over: https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/media/blog/home-ownership-is-rising-but-the-crisis-is-far-from-over/ “…But the latest data brings news of Christmas cheer: it confirms that young families’ home ownership rates are continuing their first sustained rise in 30 years. Since 2016 they’ve risen from 25 per cent to 28 per cent.”

Overcrowding in social housing in England soars to 24-year high: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jan/31/overcrowding-social-housing-england “Overcrowding in social housing has increased to the highest level since government records began 24 years ago with more than 300,000 households in England squeezed into too few rooms, official figures have revealed.”

Single mother takes government to court after being forced into homelessness due to housing benefit shortfall: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/single-mother-housing-benefit-government-supreme-court-poverty-cpag-shelter-a8754951.html “The woman, known only as Ms Samuels, was treated as intentionally homeless because she refused to use her non-housing benefits, intended to cover other living costs, to cover the £35 weekly gap between her housing benefit and her rent.”

A conceptual analysis of social housing as infrastructure: https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/309 “This study into the role of social housing as essential infrastructure assessed evaluation tools and techniques needed to enable investment by government. Cost-benefit analyses and business case preparation provide a means to quantify productivity, while the broader range of societal outcomes also needs to be considered.”

Climate change & sustainability

WHO - Health, environment and climate change: http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/EB144/B144_15-en.pdf “Draft WHO global strategy on health, environment and climate change: the transformation needed to improve lives and well-being sustainably through healthy environments.”

2018 was the fourth-hottest year on record, NASA and NOAA report: https://www.vox.com/2019/2/6/18214188/2018-hottest-year-record-temperature-nasa-noaa “NASA and NOAA released their analysis of the global climate in 2018 on Wednesday, revealing that 2018 was the fourth-hottest year on record. The other four in the top five all happened in the past five years, a reminder that we’ve seen a lot of rapid warming lately. And the planet will warm further, especially since greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise.“

Met Office: World has 10% chance of ‘overshooting’ 1.5C within five years: https://www.carbonbrief.org/met-office-world-has-10-per-cent-chance-overshooting-1-point-5-c-within-five-years “There is a one-in-10 chance that global average temperatures could “temporarily exceed” 1.5C above pre-industrial levels in at least one year over the next five years, according to new Met Office analysis.”

Cavity in Antarctica Glacier Is Two-Thirds the Size of Manhattan, Scientists Say: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/01/climate/thwaites-glacier-antarctica-cavity.html#click=https://t.co/2t7Wd2Uuys “The cavity is about two-thirds the area of Manhattan and nearly 1,000 feet tall, according to a study released Wednesday by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The hulking chamber is large enough to have contained about 14 billion tons of ice — most of which the researchers say melted in three years.” Original paper here - http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/advances/5/1/eaau3433.full.pdf

Q&A: How is Arctic warming linked to the ‘polar vortex’ and other extreme weather? https://www.carbonbrief.org/qa-how-is-arctic-warming-linked-to-polar-vortext-other-extreme-weather “In this detailed Q&A, Carbon Brief speaks to scientists about the potential connections between Arctic warming and extreme weather across the mid-latitudes, what those theories look like, and how the evidence measures up.”

VIDEO Polar melting: 'Methane time bomb' isn't actually a 'bomb': https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/01/methane-time-bomb-isnt-actually-a-bomb/ “It’s not news that climate science can be alarming. But in this video, climate scientists explain that one of the scariest ideas in the literature — the methane “time bomb” — turns out to be less worrisome than some have feared. “This is a call to action, not a declaration of defeat,” says scientist Ben Abbott of Brigham Young University.”

Is the World Ready for Climate Change Refugees? https://www.globalhealthnow.org/2019-01/world-ready-climate-change-refugees “...In fact, many island populations fear not only the loss of their homeland forever, but also the loss of their culture and identity, livelihoods and potentially their rights. They are not protected under the Refugee Convention, and will receive none of the legal protections afforded to refugees. According to the UN, refugee status is conferred following persecution or violence; it does not extend to those displaced by climate stress or crises.”

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 “...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.”

With $32 Trillion In Assets, Investors Demand Immediate Action On Climate Change: https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2018/12/11/with-32-trillion-in-assets-investors-demand-immediate-action-on-climate-change/amp/ “A global group of 415 investors managing $32 trillion in assets just released a combined statement urging governments to accelerate their actions to mitigate climate change. The 2018 Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change reiterated their support of the ongoing Paris Agreement discussions taking place during COP24 in Katowice, Poland.”

Teenagers Emerge as a Force in Climate Protests Across Europe: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/31/world/europe/climate-change-protests-students.html “The climate movement has no obvious leaders or structure, but a 16-year-old Swede, Greta Thunberg, has drawn worldwide attention and inspired many of the protesters. She has called for school strikes to raise awareness of global warming, scolded world political and economic leaders at this month’s gathering in Davos, Switzerland, and even has her own TED Talk.” – see photo under ‘and finally’

Active travel & transport

“Birmingham isn’t a big city at peak times”: How poor public transport explains the UK’s productivity puzzle: https://www.citymetric.com/transport/birmingham-isn-t-big-city-peak-times-how-poor-public-transport-explains-uk-s-productivity “One notable difference between the UK’s large cities and those in similar countries is how little public transport infrastructure they have. While France’s second, third, and fourth cities have eight Metro lines between them (four in Lyon, two each in Marseille and Lille), the UK’s equivalents have none.”

Systems approaches to global and national physical activity plans: https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/97/2/18-220533.pdf “Physical activity promotion in recent years has increasingly adopted socioecological approaches that place the drivers of physical activity in their social

and environmental context. A systems approach builds on this contextualization by adding the dynamic connections between the factors that collectively form the system, and considering the ways in which actors interact with them.”

Birmingham Bus Survey: https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/economy/bus-survey/ “Buses are an important part of our transport network. They can help to reduce congestion and improve air quality. Across the West Midlands, people using buses are generally satisfied with services, but overall people are making fewer bus journeys every year. We want to find out what could be done to encourage people to make more journeys by bus.”

Preston Driver Held 100% to Blame for Hitting Child Pedestrian who Ran Into Road: https://www.beckettandco.co.uk/driver-blamed-child-pedestrian/ A 20mph speed limit in place on the road was a consideration in the decision

Air quality & pollution

Unexpected link between air pollutants from plants and humanmade emissions: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190130161701.htm “Scientists are a step closer to understanding what controls fine particulate matter in the Earth's atmosphere after identifying new linkages between natural contaminants and with humanmade pollutants.”

‘Shocking’ failure to cut emissions from biggest-polluting sector in UK as others improve: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/transport-pollution-greenhouse-gas-emissions-cars-climate-change-global-warming-a8763961.html “Zero progress has been made in reducing climate-harming emissions from the UK’s most polluting sector, according to new government figures. In 2017 levels of greenhouse gases from cars and other forms of transport did not fall at all.”

Living Streets interview: is the drive towards low emissions coming at the expense of pedestrians? https://airqualitynews.com/2019/01/30/living-streets-interview-is-the-drive-towards-low-emissions-coming-at-the-expense-of-pedestrians/ “The charity Living Streets has launched a campaign called ‘Pavements for People‘ which aims to stop clutter including EV charging infrastructure being installed on pavements. They believe the mobility needs of pedestrians have been forgotten in the drive towards electric vehicles, and would like to see guidance on where they can be put.”

Why charging zones will damage businesses while delivering limited air quality improvements: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/01/30/why-charging-zones-will-damage-businesses-while-delivering-limited-air-quality-improvements/ “As the logistics sector moves towards a cleaner future, Rebecca Kite, environment policy manager at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), says the sector needs more support from Government to maximise environmental gains while minimising economic loss as towns and cities introduce new air quality schemes.”

Plastic pollution affecting wildlife at an all-time high, finds RSPCA: http://www.climateaction.org/news/plastic-pollution-affecting-wildlife-at-an-all-time-high-finds-rspca “A new study, facilitated by the RSPCA, has found that plastic pollution is having a detrimental effect on wildlife. Based on RSPCA figures released today, the number of animals affected by plastic pollution is at an all-time high. In the West Midlands, incidents have increased by 28 per cent in four years.”

Eu Moves To Ban Microplastics In Most Products: https://meta.eeb.org/2019/01/30/eu-moves-to-ban-microplastics-in-most-products/ “The EU will use its powerful chemical laws to stop most microplastics and microbeads being added to cosmetics, paints, detergents, some farm, medical and other products, according to a draft law due to be tabled today.”

Watchdog Group Uses GPS Trackers to Discover Illegal Electronic Waste Exports from Europe to Africa and Asia: http://www.ban.org/news/2019/2/6/gps-trackers-discover-illegal-e-waste-exports-to-africa-and-asia “The global environmental watchdog organization Basel Action Network (BAN) today released the findings of a two-year study in 10 EU countries that followed 314 old computers, printers, and monitors in which GPS Trackers had been secretly installed. This equipment was then delivered to places where consumers are expected to take their waste -- most often government-approved takeback stations. They found that 19 (6%) of the tracked scrap equipment was exported, including 11 very likely illegal shipments to the countries of Ghana, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania, Thailand, and Ukraine, outside of the EU.”

Food & food security

Four steps to food security for swelling cities: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00407-3 “Combine pockets of rural land, reduce food waste, improve farming and encourage urbanites to eat less meat, urge Baojing Gu and colleagues.”

No-deal Brexit 'to leave shelves empty' warn retailers: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47028748 “A no-deal Brexit threatens the UK's food security and will lead to higher prices and empty shelves in the short-term, retailers are warning.”

Fast food giants under fire on climate and water usage: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47029485 “A coalition of investors is calling on McDonald's, KFC, and other fast food suppliers to take swift action on climate change. The group, with around $6.5 trillion under management, want the chains to cut carbon and water risks in their dairy and meat suppliers.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 1 February 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

A Healthier Humanity: The WHO investment Case for 2019-2023: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/274710/WHO-DGO-CRM-18.2-eng.pdf “This investment case charts a path to the SDG health targets by focusing everything we do around our “triple billion”  targets: one billion more people benefiting from universal health coverage; one billion more people better protected from health emergencies; and one billion more people enjoying better health and well-being.”

Deprived northern regions worst hit by UK austerity, study finds: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jan/28/deprived-northern-regions-worst-hit-by-uk-austerity-study-finds “The Centre for Cities thinktank study shows that the poorest areas have borne the brunt of council spending cuts. Local authority spending has fallen nationally by half since 2010, with areas such as Liverpool, Blackburn and Barnsley facing average cuts twice that of their counterparts in the more affluent south, according to the thinktank.” – Original report here: https://www.centreforcities.org/

Healthy planning & environment

TCPA – Re-Uniting Health and Planning 5 years on – The State of the Union: reuniting health with planning in promoting healthy communities: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=cb4a5270-475e-42d3-bc72-d912563d4084 “This publication provides a picture of the effectiveness

of the collaboration between the planning, public health and healthcare sectors as we enter 2019. It is based on the TCPA’s extensive experience of working across most parts of the UK, notably in England and Wales. It includes insights gathered from events held in 2018 in five English council areas, and in Wales with the Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit and Public Health Wales.”

Event - People, Place and Policy 2019: Social and Spatial Inequalities: https://extra.shu.ac.uk/ppp-online/event/people-place-and-policy-2019-social-and-spatial-inequalities/# “For the fifth PPP Social and Spatial Inequalities Conference we therefore invite contributions that interrogate our understanding of autonomy and its interaction with social and spatial inequalities.”

LAND VALUE TAXATION IN SCOTLAND: PANACEA OR POLICY PROBLEM? http://housingevidence.ac.uk/land-value-taxation-in-scotland-panacea-or-policy-problem/ “A land value tax is commonly promoted as a way of addressing the UK’s housing challenges. In this blog, guest author, Dr Edward Shepherd draws on a recent report by the University of Reading, which identifies the issues with implementing a land value tax in Scotland.”

We’re conservation scientists – here’s why we haven’t lost hope for the future: https://theconversation.com/were-conservation-scientists-heres-why-we-havent-lost-hope-for-the-future-110155 “...But we are optimistic that things can improve. Though biodiversity in Europe is still declining, three major trends give us hope for our home continent.”

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

Climate change pushing eels in Europe towards extinction, study shows: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/eels-climate-change-extinction-endangered-species-fish-global-warming-a8753166.html “Climate change is likely to push Europe’s critically endangered eels even closer to extinction, a new study have revealed. Populations have been in freefall for decades due to a combination of overfishing, pollution and dams being constructed along rivers, blocking their traditional migration routes.”

Endangered British birds to be killed under permits – here’s how that could fuel an illegal pan-European trade: https://theconversation.com/endangered-british-birds-to-be-killed-under-permits-heres-how-that-could-fuel-an-illegal-pan-european-trade-110310 “The birds at risk throughout England and Wales include species whose numbers are threatened in the UK, according to the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds). Bullfinches, meadow pipits and oystercatchers are all included in the permits and are amber-listed for intermediate conservation priority. Another species, the skylark, will be subject to licensed killing despite the RSPB red-listing it as a critical conservation priority for the UK.”

Cod stocks on course to crash if ocean warming continues: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/25/cod-stocks-on-course-to-crash-if-ocean-warming-continues “The North Atlantic cod stock in the Barents Sea is likely to first rise and then crash, possibly to almost zero before the end of the century if climate change isn’t addressed, says the scientific paper, published by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme.”

Japan to resume commercial whaling one day after leaving the IWC: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/25/japan-to-resume-commercial-whaling-one-day-after-leaving-the-iwc “Japan will resume commercial whaling for the first time in three decades immediately after it leaves the body responsible for protecting global whale populations.”


Morbidity and mortality in homeless individuals, prisoners, sex workers, and individuals with substance use disorders in high-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis:  https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)31869-X/fulltext#%20 “Our study shows that homeless populations, individuals with substance use disorders, sex workers, and imprisoned individuals experience extreme health inequities across a wide range of health conditions, with the relative effect of exclusion being greater in female individuals than male individuals.”

How renting could affect your health: https://theconversation.com/how-renting-could-affect-your-health-110334 “Our homes play a number of vital roles in our lives. They are where we rest, spend time with friends and family, and can be most ourselves. Given this central role it is not surprising that researchers have found a number of important relationships between the homes we live in and our health.”

Climate change & sustainability

Differences in the impact of heat waves according to urban and peri-urban factors in Madrid: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00484-019-01670-9 “Demographic structure and the percentage of old housing play a key role in modulating the impact of heat waves. This study concludes that the areas in which heat acts earliest are those having a higher degree of population ageing.”

Westminster Energy Forum – Next steps for the renewable energy industry in the UK: The case of solar: https://jeremyleggett.net/2019/01/21/westminster-energy-forum-next-steps-for-the-renewable-energy-industry-in-the-uk-the-case-of-solar/ “The global solar market today is a success story redolent with potential to inspire progress on wider fronts in the battle for a livable future. The UK story is incongruent with this global picture. Why? What needs to be done to set things right? At the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum this morning I offer my top three suggestions for what needs to change.”

Statement In Response To Launch Of NHS England’s Long Term Plan: http://www.ukhealthalliance.org/statement-response-launch-nhs-englands-long-term-plan/ “The UK Health Alliance on Climate change welcomes the plans outlined in today’s long term plan for NHS England, placing emphases on preventative and community healthcare to reduce the burden on our hospitals. “With climate change and air pollution presenting enormous challenges to healthcare, both here and globally, we are also particularly pleased to see a renewed commitment by NHS England to acting on air pollution.””

Rebooting The UK’s Green New Deal: https://neweconomics.org/2019/01/a-green-new-deal-for-the-uk “With the UK not just staring down the political sinkhole of Brexit but reeling from a decade of austerity, it feels like high time for a rejuvenation of our very own Green New Deal.”

Why we’re looking for chemicals in the seabed to help predict climate change: https://theconversation.com/why-were-looking-for-chemicals-in-the-seabed-to-help-predict-climate-change-110452 “...But now scientists have proposed that they may also be able to learn how these systems were affected by climate change long ago by digging deep into the seabed to find the sedimentary record of past trace elements. And understanding the past could be key to working out what will happen in the future.”

Climate Change High on Agenda at Davos Summit Despite Privileged Access For Fossil Fuel Industry: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/01/17/climate-change-high-agenda-davos-summit-despite-privileged-access-fossil-fuel-industry “...But the fossil fuel industry continues to be a guest of honour at the meeting, with some of the world’s largest oil, gas and mining companies having a say in shaping the forum’s agenda and sitting on the conference’s front bench as “strategic partners”.”

GONE IN A GENERATION: Across America, climate change is already disrupting lives: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/gone-in-a-generation/?utm_term=.ecf5ccb724f3 “The continental United States is 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it was a century ago. Seas at the coasts are nine inches higher. The damage is mounting from these fundamental changes, and Americans are living it. These are their stories.”

Military buildup in Arctic as melting ice reopens northern borders: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/24/military-buildup-in-arctic-as-melting-ice-reopens-northern-borders “As ice melts and shipping lanes open up, geopolitical tensions are growing and old cold war bases are being reopened”

Fundamental flaw in Press watchdog’s complaints process helps newspapers to promote climate change denial: http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/news/fundamental-flaw-in-press-watchdogs-complaints-process-helps-newspapers-to-promote-climate-change-denial/ “The Independent Press Standards Organisation has today published details of a decision that exposes a fundamental flaw in its process for dealing with complaints about fake news articles about climate change.”

Active travel & transport

Neighbourhood walkability and the incidence of diabetes: an inverse probability of treatment weighting analysis: https://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2019/01/28/jech-2018-210510 “Younger adults living in high-walkability neighbourhoods had a lower 10-year incidence of diabetes than similarly aged adults living in low-walkability neighbourhoods. Urban designs that support walking may have important benefits for diabetes prevention.”

Global status report on road safety 2018: https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/road_safety_status/2018/en/?mc_cid=00a14af008&mc_eid=f209095101 “The Global status report on road safety 2018, launched by WHO in December 2018, highlights that the number of annual road traffic deaths has reached 1.35 million. Road traffic injuries are now the leading killer of people aged 5-29 years. The burden is disproportionately borne by pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, in particular those living in developing countries.”

£3.50 an hour EV car-sharing scheme goes live in Solihull: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/01/28/3-50-an-hour-ev-car-sharing-scheme-goes-live-in-solihull/ “A €3.8m pan-European project which aims to improve access to electric vehicles (EVs) through an affordable car-sharing scheme, successfully launched its first demonstration site in Solihull in December 2018.”

Uber has introduced a levy to fund electric vehicles in London. But who exactly is benefiting? https://www.citymetric.com/transport/uber-has-introduced-levy-fund-electric-vehicles-london-who-exactly-benefiting-4430?mc_cid=8db0ec033f&mc_eid=330863fa78 “Uber is introducing a levy of 15p per mile on London users to help fund a transition to electric vehicles and help tackle air pollution. Its goal is to encourage half its drivers to go electric by 2021 and to go fully electric by 2025.”

A couple of articles from Australia on the economics of walking.

  • Podcast - One step ahead: the economics of walking:  https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/themoney/walking/10521494 “...more walkable a city is, the more knowledge-based business locate there.  The more walkable a country is, the more it saves on healthcare costs. We’re talking billions.  But there is this thing called the car.”
  • The economic case for walking: http://www.victoriawalks.org.au/Economics-of-Walking “Victoria Walks asked global consultancy firm Arup to look at the economic case for investment in walking, to help us understand why walking seems to fall through the cracks of government decision making and investment.”

Air quality & pollution

Exploration of NO2 and PM2.5 air pollution and mental health problems using high-resolution data in London-based children from a UK longitudinal cohort study: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016517811830800X “This study demonstrates the potential utility of incorporating high-resolution pollution estimates into large epidemiological cohorts to robustly investigate associations between air pollution and youth mental health.”

Air pollution may be affecting how happy you are: https://theconversation.com/air-pollution-may-be-affecting-how-happy-you-are-110470 “...But while many people will die and many more will acquire a chronic health condition, focusing on objective indicators such as these may still understate the true welfare cost. This is because there is now good evidence of a direct link between air quality and overall mental health and happiness.”

Report: Air Pollution Puts Cruise Passengers at Risk: https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/report-air-pollution-puts-cruise-passengers-at-risk “An investigative report by Dr. Ryan Kennedy of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health claims that air quality on four Carnival Corporation ships can be worse than some of the world’s most polluted cities including Beijing and Santiago.” – original report here: https://www.stand.earth/sites/default/files/2019-an-investigation-of-air-pollution-on-the-decks-of-4-cruise-ships.pdf

Attorney General Gives Permission For New Inquest Into Death Of Ella Kissi-Debrah: http://www.ukhealthalliance.org/attorney-general-gives-permission-new-inquest-death-ella-roberta-kissi-debra/ “The family of nine-year-old Ella Roberta Kissi-Debrah, whose death has been linked to unlawful levels of air pollution, has been given permission by the Attorney General to apply for a fresh inquest.”

Bali plans tourist tax to tackle plastic pollution: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/jan/25/bali-plans-tourist-tax-to-tackle-plastic-pollution “The Indonesian island has already banned plastic bags and straws, and now plans a $10 tourist tax to help clean up its beaches”

Worse than plastic waste: the burning tyres choking India: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/30/worse-than-plastic-burning-tyres-india-george-monbiot “The British government is already flouting its own rules, allowing scrap tyres to be sent abroad for burning – what will happen post-Brexit?”

Food & food security

Food production shocks across land and sea: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-018-0210-1 “We illustrate how social and ecological drivers, influenced by the dynamics of the food system, can spill over multiple food sectors and create synchronous challenges or trade-offs among terrestrial and aquatic systems. In a more shock-prone and interconnected world, bold food policy and social protection mechanisms that help people anticipate, cope with and recover from losses will be central to sustainability.”

Any ‘planetary diet’ must also work for the poorest and most vulnerable: https://theconversation.com/any-planetary-diet-must-also-work-for-the-poorest-and-most-vulnerable-110410 “While there is little doubt that eating less red meat is good for your health, it is also important to recognise that for the poorest in society, meat and dairy products represent affordable sources of both calories and a range of micronutrients.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 25 January 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

We’re phoning it in on sustainability. It’s time for a worldwide wake-up call: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/we-re-phoning-it-in-on-sustainability-it-s-time-for-a-wake-up-call/ “We’re already seeing the results of our actions (and inaction): catastrophic storms, forest fires and other outbreaks of extreme weather; oxygen-free dead zones in our oceans; an atmosphere in which 9 out of 10 people worldwide are breathing unsafe air; and unprecedented levels of plastic pollution.”

Hatch to make games supporting the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals: https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2019-01-22-hatch-to-make-games-supporting-the-united-nations-sustainable-development-goals “Hatch has agreed with the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) to publish games developed or approved by the Institute that support the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

New National Report examines how Brexit may affect health and well-being of people across Wales: https://whiasu.publichealthnetwork.cymru/en/news/new-national-report-examines-how-brexit-may-affect-health-and-well-being-people-across-wales/ “Published today by Public Health Wales, the Health Impact Assessment of Brexit examines the potential effects of Brexit on the short, medium and long-term health of people living in Wales. It highlights how the physical and mental health of the poorest, those with lower educational qualifications, those employed in agricultural and manufacturing sectors exposed to Brexit and those requiring health and social care must be key considerations as preparations for Brexit develop and also continue to be addressed following any final agreements.”

Employment may be at an all time high in the UK, but austerity, low pay and zero hours contracts inflict misery on millions: https://theconversation.com/employment-may-be-at-an-all-time-high-in-the-uk-but-austerity-low-pay-and-zero-hours-contracts-inflict-misery-on-millions-110252 “...This government narrative betrays the reality behind its statements about record employment. For many towns across the UK, high levels of unemployment are directly linked to Conservative austerity policies. Places such as Dundee, Middlesbrough, Preston and Swansea are not experiencing the benefits that might be expected under record high employment.”

Why is Matt Hancock actively ruling out minimum unit pricing for alcohol? https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2019/01/11/why-is-matt-hancock-actively-ruling-out-minimum-unit-pricing-for-alcohol/ “Research shows that MUP does not “punish” moderate drinkers and is an effective measure to discourage excessive drinking”

Healthy planning & environment

Urban rooms: where people get to design their city’s future: https://theconversation.com/urban-rooms-where-people-get-to-design-their-citys-future-109077 “An urban room can act as an exhibition hall, a community centre and a learning space, while giving people opportunities to help redesign and reimagine their city’s future. Urban rooms are already commonplace in countries such as China and Singapore, in the form of urban planning museums, city galleries or exhibition centres.”

Planned up and be counted: https://lichfields.uk/media/4862/planned-up-and-be-counted_local-plan-making-under-the-nppf-2012.pdf “Our sixth annual review of Local Plan production under the original National Planning Policy Framework 2012 (NPPF 2012) shows that only half of Local Planning authorities have put in place a Local Plan under its auspices.”

Evaluation of a municipality’s free play preschool and space: https://citieshealth.world/evaluation-municipalitys-free-play-preschool-space/ “We share lessons from each of the four parts of the project, which involved different data collection methods and multiple participants. We reflect on the successes and challenges associated with the community-engaged approach and the possibilities the findings might hold for creating more child friendly communities and cities.”


Ministers urged to halt right-to-buy scheme: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jan/19/ministers-urged-halt-right-buy-council-homes-rented “Ministers are facing calls to shelve Margaret Thatcher’s totemic right-to-buy scheme after a devastating analysis revealed that more than 40% of council houses sold under its terms in London are now privately rented.”

Study finds elevated levels of stress hormone linked to housing type and tenure: http://bristol.ac.uk/news/2019/january/housing-and-health.html “A new study examining UK housing data and health outcomes has indicated a link between people living in the private rental sector having higher levels of a stress hormone.”

Climate change & sustainability

There have been a number of articles discussing ‘tipping points’ in climate change;

  • Climate change’s impact on soil moisture could push land past ‘tipping point’: https://www.carbonbrief.org/climate-changes-impact-on-soil-moisture-could-push-land-past-tipping-point “The impact of climate change on soil moisture could push the land past a “tipping point” – turning it from a net carbon “sink” to a source of CO2, a study finds.”
  • 'Tipping point' risk for Arctic hotspot: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46976040 “The Barents Sea is said to be at a tipping point, changing from an Arctic climate to an Atlantic climate as the water gets warmer. A conference in Norway heard that the Kara Sea and the Laptev Sea – both further to the east - are likely to become the new Arctic frontier.”
  • Glaciers in the Americas Are Melting Faster: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/glaciers-in-the-americas-are-melting-faster “New research suggests that ice loss in the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia is happening at nearly five times the rate it was in the early 2000s. Overall, glaciers in western North America—not including Alaska—have lost about 117 billion tons of ice since 2000; they are currently losing about 12 billion tons a year.”
  • As Climate Warms, Plants Will Absorb Less CO₂, Study Finds: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/23/climate/plants-co2-climate-change.html “But in a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, researchers found that under a warming climate, rather than absorbing more greenhouse gas emissions, plants and soil may start absorbing less, accelerating the rate of change.”

Four decades of Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance from 1979–2017: https://www.pnas.org/content/116/4/1095.short “We evaluate the state of the mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet over the last four decades using a comprehensive, precise satellite record and output products from a regional atmospheric climate model to document its impact on sea-level rise. The mass loss is dominated by enhanced glacier flow in areas closest to warm, salty, subsurface circumpolar deep water, including East Antarctica, which has been a major contributor over the entire period.”

UK has biggest fossil fuel subsidies in the EU, finds commission: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/23/uk-has-biggest-fossil-fuel-subsidies-in-the-eu-finds-commission “The UK leads the European Union in giving subsidies to fossil fuels, according to a report from the European commission. It found €12bn (£10.5bn) a year in support for fossil fuels in the UK, significantly more than the €8.3bn spent on renewable energy.”

Active travel & transport

Essential evidence on a page No 180: Insights on disruption as opportunities for transport policy change: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-180-insights-on-disruption-as-opportunities-for-transport-policy-change “Top line: The population may be far more adaptable to major change than the policy process currently assumes. People adapt to transport and non-transport policy measures in ways which go beyond retiming and rerouting options that transport planners work with.”

Government will miss its cycling target by a mile. It's time to invest: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2019/jan/23/government-miss-cycling-targets-by-mile-time-invest “Three walking and cycling charities told the committee that, of three targets set as part of the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) in 2015, only the goal that people will walk 300 times each a year is certain to be met. The third target, for 55% of children aged three to 10 to walk to school, also looks increasingly out of reach; last year the number doing so dropped two percentage points to 51%.”

Self-driving cars: why we can’t expect them to be ‘moral’: https://theconversation.com/self-driving-cars-why-we-cant-expect-them-to-be-moral-108299 “Ever since companies began developing self-driving cars, people have asked how designers will address the moral question of who a self-driving car should kill if a fatal crash is unavoidable. Recent research suggests this question may be even more difficult for car makers to answer than previously thought because the moral preferences people have vary so much between countries.

Are school‐based physical activity interventions effective and equitable? A meta‐analysis of cluster randomized controlled trials with accelerometer‐assessed activity: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/obr.12823 “This review provides the strongest evidence to date that current school‐based efforts do not positively impact young people's physical activity across the full day, with no difference in effect across gender and SEP. Further assessment and maximization of implementation fidelity is required before it can be concluded that these interventions have no contribution to make.” – summary here - Physical activity programmes in schools aren’t working – here’s why: https://theconversation.com/physical-activity-programmes-in-schools-arent-working-heres-why-109684

Lack of exercise costs £37 million a year: https://www.dudleynews.co.uk/news/17374182.lack-of-exercise-costs-37-million-a-year/ “OBESITY and lack of exercise costs the Black Country £37 million a year, Dudley councillors will hear this week. The price of overeating and lack of physical activity is highlighted in a report which shows the borough has above average rates for both adults and children nationally, and one of the highest for youngsters in the West Midlands.”

Air quality & pollution

NHS pledges to cut particulate pollution from fleet under new 10-year plan: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3068907/nhs-pledges-to-cut-particulate-pollution-under-new-10-year-plan “The NHS has committed to cut levels of air pollution produced by its fleet of ambulances and other vehicles by 20 per cent by 2024, as part of an effort to reduce the impact poor air quality…”

Bacteria live in China’s thick smogs and may be making it even worse: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2190455-bacteria-live-in-chinas-thick-smogs-and-may-be-making-it-even-worse/ “Bacteria are feeding and multiplying in the severe smogs that regularly blanket Chinese cities. The microorganisms could pose a threat in themselves and may also change the composition of the haze.”

Shocking images reveal what London and other major cities would look like if pollution was visible: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/shocking-images-show-what-major-cities-would-look-like-if-all-pollution-was-visible-a4042846.html “Using data from 2018, the photos show what it would look like if humans could see hazardous chemicals produced by vehicle exhausts once the initial plume of smoke has disappeared.”

Pioneering scheme teaching Birmingham’s children about air pollution: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/01/16/pioneering-scheme-teaching-birminghams-children-learning-about-air-pollution/ “The programme involves the local authority supporting its primary schools across the city with ‘Clean Air Cops’ classroom resource packs and unique parental engagement books to help tackle air pollution.”

Food & food security

National Diet and Nutrition Survey: time trend and income analyses for Years 1 to 9: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/ndns-time-trend-and-income-analyses-for-years-1-to-9 “National Diet and Nutrition Survey results from 2008 to 2017 assessing time and income trends for diet, nutrient intake and nutritional status for the UK”

Comparison of individuals with low versus high consumption of home-prepared food in a group with universally high dietary quality: a cross-sectional analysis of the UK National Diet & Nutrition Survey (2008–2016): https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12966-019-0768-7 “Conclusion: Home food preparation should not be presented as a prerequisite to a high quality diet. The public health community should recognise the existence of a set of food practices which allows individuals to achieve a healthy diet with little contribution from home-prepared food, and make space for it in the design of their policies and interventions.”

The Eat-Lancet Commission report: my favourite eight take-aways: https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/rsa-blogs/2019/01/the-eat-lancet-commission-report-my-favourite-eight-take-aways “The Eat-Lancet Commission report published this week has drawn comments from all parts of the food and farming sector, one or two of which may have benefited from a quick read first, before committing to Twitter.”

“We’re Fed Up!” Thousands March For Fairer Food System: https://metamag.org/2019/01/24/thousands-march-for-fairer-food-system/ “35,000 people — and 171 tractors — marched in Berlin last weekend for a transformation of the food and farming system. Under the slogan “we’re fed up”, demonstrators called for an end to the industrialisation of agriculture and for better food, fair prices and more protection for nature.”

US agribusiness lobby calls on Trump to target UK food and environment rules in Brexit trade deal: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/01/18/us-agribusiness-lobby-calls-on-trump-to-target-uk-food-and-environment-rules-in-brexit-trade-deal/ “American agriculture interests have flooded the US government’s trade agency with demands to pressure the UK into slashing food standards after Brexit, official documents show.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 18 January 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

Top 10 SDG Knowledge Hub Stories in 2018: http://sdg.iisd.org/commentary/policy-briefs/top-10-sdg-knowledge-hub-stories-in-2018/ “This end-of-the-year review of the ten most read news posts and policy briefs offers a high-level overview of the issues that our readers are particularly interested in.”

Why the ocean holds the key to sustainable development: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/the-oceans-hold-the-key-to-sustainable-development/ “To reach the SDGs we will have to produce more from the oceans. We need the oceans to provide more food, more jobs and more energy. And we must maintain its capacity to regulate the climate and support biodiversity.”

Why have increases in life expectancy slowed down in England? https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2018/12/11/why-have-increases-in-life-expectancy-slowed-down-in-england/ “To understand what is happening, PHE were commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to undertake a review of trends in life expectancy and mortality in England, with a particular focus on the number of deaths in some recent winters and the slowdown in mortality improvement. This review has now been released.”

Health inequalities in England: A complex case of sticking plasters and category errors: https://ijsrm.org/2018/12/29/health-inequalities-in-england-a-complex-case-of-sticking-plasters-and-category-errors/amp “In this blog post I will briefly develop three interrelated strands of analysis – political economy, policy, and methodology – that I argue are central to understanding and reducing health inequalities.”

Why Universal Credit is like the Victorian workhouse: https://theconversation.com/why-universal-credit-is-like-the-victorian-workhouse-106720 “While the lessons of history are sometimes rather hard to discern, in this case there is a clear precedent that supports those calling for Universal Credit to be paused, or even scrapped: the Victorian workhouse.”

Healthy planning & environment

Green Brexit plans thrown into turmoil as government deal endures crushing defeat: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3069390/green-brexit-plans-thrown-into-turmoil-as-government-deal-endures-crushing-defeat “The government's Brexit plans, including its commitment to secure a Green Brexit, were thrown into chaos this evening after Theresa May's controversial deal faced an historic defeat in the House of Commons.”

Minister rejects fracking firm’s call to weaken earthquake rules: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/01/13/claire-perry-cuadrilla-fracking-earthquake-regulations/ “The UK’s energy minister has strongly reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the seismic activity standards that have frustrated attempts to frack for shale gas, according to a letter obtained by Unearthed via freedom of information.”

Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems’: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/15/insect-collapse-we-are-destroying-our-life-support-systems “The Puerto Rico work is one of just a handful of studies assessing this vital issue, but those that do exist are deeply worrying. Flying insect numbers in Germany’s natural reserves have plunged 75% in just 25 years. The virtual disappearance of birds in an Australian eucalyptus forest was blamed on a lack of insects caused by drought and heat. Lister and his colleague Andrés García also found that insect numbers in a dry forest in Mexico had fallen 80% since the 1980s.”

Palm oil is destroying rainforests. But try going a day without it.: https://relay.nationalgeographic.com/proxy/distribution/public/amp/environment/2018/12/palm-oil-destroying-rainforests-household-items “To see just how ubiquitous palm oil had become in our lives, I decided to track my every encounter with it throughout the day.”


Building for our future: A vision for social housing: https://england.shelter.org.uk/support_us/campaigns/a_vision_for_social_housing “Our commission recommends a historic renewal of social housing, with a 20-year programme to deliver 3.1 million more social homes. This will allow the benefits of social housing to be offered much more widely – providing both security for those in need and a step up for young families trying to get on and save for their future.”

  • JRF response to Shelter’s Social Housing Commission report: https://www.jrf.org.uk/press/jrf-response-shelters-social-housing-commission-report ““Today’s Social Housing Commission report serves to remind us of how much further we need to go if we are to right the wrong of high housing costs pushing families into poverty. The Prime Minister was right to make fixing the housing market her personal mission. This year, she must deliver on this promise.”
  • National Housing Federation - Response to Shelter’s social housing commission report: https://www.housing.org.uk/press/press-releases/shelter-social-housing-commission-report/ “This is a landmark report from Shelter, and we are encouraged by the overwhelming public support for social housing they have uncovered. The report adds to the growing consensus that social housing needs a long-term programme of investment. “The commission is right to recognise that social housing is a crucial national asset, and we need to properly invest in it. As the report points out, this is a wise investment that will more than pay for itself in the long-term.”
  • The Guardian view on social housing: we need a cultural shift: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/13/the-guardian-view-on-social-housing-we-need-a-cultural-shift “The failure to provide adequate public sector rented housing in England is acknowledged across party lines as a catastrophe. A commission has put forward practical proposals”

Climate change & sustainability

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews – Editor’s Selection: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/renewable-and-sustainable-energy-reviews/article-selections/editors-selection “Dr Aoife Foley, Editor-in-Chief of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews is pleased to present the following selection of articles highlighting some of the most interesting and relevant critical thinking in renewable and sustainable energy.”

2018’s Top 10 climate papers: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-climate-papers-most-featured-in-media-2018 “Using Altmetric data for 2018, Carbon Brief has compiled its annual list of the 25 most talked-about climate change-related papers of the year. The infographic above shows which ones made it into the Top 10.”

How fast are the oceans warming? http://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6423/128 “Climate change from human activities mainly results from the energy imbalance in Earth's climate system caused by rising concentrations of heat-trapping gases. About 93% of the energy imbalance accumulates in the ocean as increased ocean heat content (OHC).”

Britain has shifted 30% of its electricity away from fossil fuels in just nine years: https://theconversation.com/britain-has-shifted-30-of-its-electricity-away-from-fossil-fuels-in-just-nine-years-108969 “Our own analysis below looks at the past year, using similar data for Great Britain (as Northern Ireland has a separate power system), and we include net imports from France, the Netherlands and Ireland as an overall part of electrical generation.”

Hitachi 'more likely to put Wylfa Newydd on hold': https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46863802 “The company behind the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant is more likely to put it on hold rather than scrap it completely, an economic adviser claims. Hitachi is expected to announce this week that it will suspend all work on the £20bn plant on Anglesey.”

Putting a price on CO2 is a smokescreen that hides its human cost: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24032061-300-putting-a-price-on-co2-is-a-smokescreen-that-hides-its-human-cost/ “Few people would agree that a price could be put on our planet, but that is the idea behind this “social cost of carbon”. Such hubris is the preserve of a select group in industrialised countries, who put a dollar value on the devastation that a strengthened hurricane wreaks …”

How the fossil fuel industry got the media to think climate change was debatable: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/01/10/how-fossil-fuel-industry-got-media-think-climate-change-was-debatable/?utm_term=.18e4299887d5 “Late last year, the Trump administration released the latest national climate assessment on Black Friday in what many assumed was an attempt to bury the document. If that was the plan, it backfired, and the assessment wound up earning more coverage than it probably would have otherwise. But much of that coverage perpetuated a decades-old practice, one that has been weaponized by the fossil fuel industry: false equivalence.”

The environmental impact of music: digital, records, CDs analysed: https://theconversation.com/the-environmental-impact-of-music-digital-records-cds-analysed-108942 “...Since the popularity of vinyl shows no signs of stopping soon, this means that more non-recyclable discs will be manufactured – which could have a negative impact on the environment.”

Active travel & transport

Urban Transport Group - The place to be: How transit oriented development can support good growth in the city regions: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/resources/types/reports/place-be-how-transit-oriented-development-can-support-good-growth-city “This report examines ‘transit oriented development’ - the principle of putting public transport front and centre in new residential and commercial developments, with the aim of maximising access by public transport, encouraging walking and cycling, and minimising the need to own and use private cars.”

The social ideology of the motorcar: http://unevenearth.org/2018/08/the-social-ideology-of-the-motorcar/ “This 1973 essay on how cars have taken over our cities remains as relevant as ever”

Air quality & pollution

There has been wide coverage of the new Clean Air Strategy. TL:DR – great aspirations and says the right things, but short on detail and vague with no concrete delivery plan.

Clean Air Strategy 2019: Executive Summary: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/clean-air-strategy-2019/clean-air-strategy-2019-executive-summary

New air pollution plans improve on EU rules, government claims: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/14/new-air-pollution-plans-improve-on-eu-rules-government-claims

Nice intentions, let’s see the detail. A take on the Government’s Clean Air Strategy: https://jimmcmanus.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/nice-intentions-lets-see-the-detail-a-take-on-the-governments-clean-air-strategy/

Clean Air Strategy: leading figures react to ‘missed opportunity’: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/01/14/clean-air-strategy-leading-figures-react-to-missed-opportunity/

Clean Air Strategy: progress for wildlife and people on ammonia – the ‘poor cousin’ of air pollution: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/01/14/clean-air-strategy-progress-for-wildlife-and-people-on-ammonia-the-poor-cousin-of-air-pollution/

Wood burners and open fires face restrictions in new clean air plan: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46823440

The government’s new Clean Air Strategy – what’s wrong with it? https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/governments-new-clean-air-strategy-whats-wrong/

Government’s ‘world leading’ air pollution strategy is ‘missed opportunity’, say campaigners: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/air-pollution-strategy-michael-gove-environment-road-emissions-cars-wood-burning-stoves-a8725821.html

Ella Kissi-Debrah: Family of 9-year-old girl who died ‘from air pollution’ win bid to seek second inquest: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/ella-kissidebrah-inquest-death-air-pollution-london-south-circular-attorney-general-a8723366.html “The original inquest into the nine-year-old’s death concluded she died from acute respiratory failure, but an expert who has examined the case believes the illegally high levels of air pollution she was forced to breathe caused her fatal asthma attacks.”

Air pollution link to miscarriage risk: https://www.rcm.org.uk/news-views-and-analysis/news/air-pollution-link-to-miscarriage-risk “Short-term exposures to air pollution can raise miscarriage risks by 16%, study finds. The retrospective study by the University of Utah consisted of more than 1300 women with an average age of 28 years. The women in the study sought help at the emergency department following a miscarriage (up to 20 weeks’ gestation) between 2007 to 2015.”

ULEZ set to benefit poorest Londoners most, according to research: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/01/10/khans-new-ulez-set-to-benefit-poorest-londoners-the-most/ “The report, commissioned by City Hall and carried out by air quality and climate change emissions consultants Aether, shows that Khan’s measures, including the introduction of an Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) this April, will improve air quality and reduce inequality associated with it between the city’s boroughs.”

Business giants commit $1bn to launch Alliance to End Plastic Waste: https://www.edie.net/news/5/Business-giants-unite-to-launch-Alliance-to-End-Plastic-Waste/ “Major companies from across the plastics value chain, including Procter & Gamble (P&G), Veolia and ExxonMobil, have today (16 January) committed more than $1bn (£777m) as part of a new alliance aimed at eliminating plastic waste in the environment.”

UK's first contact lens recycling scheme launches: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/15/uks-first-contact-lens-recycling-scheme-launches “The UK’s first free national recycling scheme for plastic contact lenses – worn by an estimated 3.7 million people – is being rolled out this week. Wearers of any brand of soft lens will have the option of either having their discarded items and packaging collected or dropping them off at a network of recycling bins at Boots Opticians and selected independent stores.”

Food & food security

Food insecurity in UK is among worst in Europe, especially for children, says committee: https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l126 “Nearly one in five UK children under 15 lives in a home where the parents cannot afford to put food on the table, the environmental audit committee has said. The committee’s report, Hunger, Malnutrition and Food Insecurity in the UK,1 says that about 19% of under 15s live with an adult who is moderately or severely food insecure”

Sustainable Development Goals in the UK follow up: Hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in the UK: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/1491/149105.htm “UKSSD assessed the UK’s domestic performance against the targets which underlie Goal 2. It judged that all relevant targets were either amber (where “there are some gaps in policy coverage, the UK is not performing well enough or performance is deteriorating”) or red (where “there is little or no policy in place that adequately addresses the target, performance is poor.”)”

MPs are calling for a food insecurity minister to fight child malnourishment: https://www.bigissue.com/latest/mps-are-calling-for-a-food-insecurity-minister-to-fight-child-malnourishment/ “The Environment Audit Committee warned that the issue has “fallen between the cracks” with almost two million people undernourished in the UK”

Vegan diet can benefit both health and the environment: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/vegan-diet-health-environment/ “There is strong evidence that a plant-based diet is the optimal diet for living a long and healthy life, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health nutrition expert Walter Willett.”

'Brexit Box': Hundreds stock up over food supply fears: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-46814527 “So-called Brexit survival kits costing almost £300 are being sold ahead of the UK leaving the EU. The packs include enough freeze-dried food to last 30 days, a water filter and fire starting gel.”

Police advise stores to hire extra security in case of Brexit panic-buying: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/11/uk/no-deal-brexit-shops-additional-security-gbr-scli-intl/index.html “British police have advised retailers to consider hiring additional security to cope with fears of food shortages and other goods in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”

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Freeth Street
West Midlands
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Jo Dodd - 07815 490436

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