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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 20 April 2019

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

Sustainable development goals

Child health unravelling in UK: https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l963 “Mental health for children in the UK has been described as being “in crisis.”4 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. Material deprivation is judged on whether families can afford a decent meal every second day and to go on holiday, and whether they can cope with sudden unexpected financial expenses.”

Tackling violence as a public health issue: https://journals.sagepub.com/eprint/FPhy7Jw7NPqihUMsNQCC/full “In recent weeks, the issue of knife crime, street violence and accompanying sudden death, especially of young people, has gathered momentum and even displaced the vexed issue of Brexit from media headlines... After years of treating such events as moral failings demanding a policing and criminal justice response, the drumbeat has become the need for a public health approach and to respond accordingly. So what does this mean in reality and in practice?”

Healthy planning & environment

Places, Spaces, Social Connection And People’s Wellbeing: What Works? https://whatworkswellbeing.org/blog/places-spaces-social-connection-and-peoples-wellbeing-what-works/ “The evidence review published today looks at public places and ‘bumping’ places designed for people to meet.”

Social and natural capital is the wealth all around us and we should invest in it: http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/news/social-and-natural-capital-is-the-wealth-all-around-us-and-we-should-invest-in-it/ “Dimitri Zenghelis explores the fundamental concept of social capital, a key means of creating societal trust, and explains the necessity of investing in social capital for climate change and environmental policies to be successful”

NERC invests £1.3 million to engage the UK public on big issues in environmental science: https://nerc.ukri.org/press/releases/2019/14-engaging-environments/ “An innovative project that will see researchers collaborate with diverse communities on issues in environmental science has been awarded £1·3 million through NERC's Engaging Environments programme. The award is NERC's largest single investment in public engagement, with project partners pledging a further £235,000 of in-kind contributions.”

Cities are sucking our countryside dry, scientists say: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=caccdb76-b042-4bcd-a69b-504eeacf04ce& “Globally at least 16 billion cubic meters of water - almost the annual flow of the Colorado River in the United States - are pumped out of the countryside into cities every year”

Here Is A Major Soil Problem That Will Affect Health: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2019/04/14/here-is-a-major-soil-problem-that-will-affect-health/ “Poor soil management could also cost us the ability to produce enough food for the growing world population. As Michael Drake, MD, President of The Ohio State University, pointed out to emphasize the importance of Lal’s work, “70% of the Earth is ocean. If you then remove the parts where you already can’t grow crops such as mountains, desserts, and places that are built up, that doesn’t leave much.””

Global Environment Outlook 6: https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/global-environment-outlook-6 “Published in time for the Fourth United Nations   Environmental Assembly, UN Environment’s sixth Global Environment Outlook (2019) calls on decision makers to take immediate action to address pressing environmental issues to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals as well as other Internationally Agreed Environment Goals, such as the Paris Agreement.”

There's a lot of bad news in the UN Global Environment Outlook, but a sustainable future is still possible: https://theconversation.com/amp/theres-a-lot-of-bad-news-in-the-un-global-environment-outlook-but-a-sustainable-future-is-still-possible-115137 “The environment has continued to deteriorate since the first GEO-6 report in 1997, with potentially irreversible impacts if not effectively addressed. But pathways to significant change do exist, and a sustainable future is still possible.”

Why is Britain so bad at planning cities? https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/apr/11/why-are-we-so-bad-at-planning-cities “From cul-de-sacs to retail parks, Britain’s planning rules cause environments that are bewildering, illogical and ugly. We have forgotten that urban areas are grown”

DETHRONE KING GDP, CROWN QUEEN WELL-BEING: https://meta.eeb.org/2019/04/16/dethrone-king-gdp-crown-queen-well-being/ “…However, a major flaw in this action plan hides in SDG 8 on economic growth which seeks to measure progress towards sustainability in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). More and more voices agree that for a true economic transition towards a sustainable and fair economy, GDP must be ‘dethroned’.”

Not so starry night: light pollution spoils the view for stargazers: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/apr/17/not-so-starry-night-light-pollution-spoils-the-view-for-stargazers “Campaigners said the results of the star count, supported by the British Astronomical Association, demonstrated the problem of light pollution and how it affected “one of the countryside’s most magical sights – a dark, starry night sky”.”


Effects of Housing First approaches on health and well-being of adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials: https://jech.bmj.com/content/73/5/379 “HF approaches successfully improve housing stability and may improve some aspects of health. Implementation of HF would likely reduce homelessness and non-routine health service use without an increase in problematic substance use. Impacts on long-term health outcomes require further investigation.”

We need cash for social housing – but honesty and answers too: https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/media/blog/we-need-cash-for-social-housing-but-honesty-and-answers-too/ “But if there is to be a renewed – and sustainable – era of social house building it’s not just cash we need, it’s answers too. There are tough questions about the role, financing and long-game nature of social housing that aren’t always comfortable for advocates to engage with. But without tackling such thorny questions head on we’ll never broaden support for social housing, and we’ll fail to deliver for the people it is there for.”

Short-notice evictions face axe in tenant rights victory: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/apr/15/short-notice-evictions-face-axe-in-tenant-rights-victory “The government will consult on abolishing section 21 evictions in England, meaning private landlords would no longer be able to evict tenants from their homes at short notice and without good reason.”

The end of no fault evictions is a start – but the government still needs to tackle rental costs: https://www.citymetric.com/politics/end-no-fault-evictions-start-government-still-needs-tackle-rental-costs-4569 “It is also important that we acknowledge that insecurity in the private rented sector is not only a product of legal structures. The high cost of rent, which sweeps too many into poverty, is also of significant concern.”

The private renters trapped in Britain’s new slums: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/apr/13/trapped-britain-new-slums-poverty-austerity-social-housing “Years of austerity have driven the poorest into squalid, crumbling homes. Can this cycle be broken?”

Climate change & sustainability

Wide media coverage of the Extinction Rebellion protests in London;

Sensitive intervention points in the post-carbon transition: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6436/132.full (£walled)

New research suggests climate change could enable mosquitoes to evolve more rapidly: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/04/climate-change-could-foster-rapid-mosquito-evolution/ “Researchers from the University of Bath, University of York, and China Agricultural University recently published a study in Communications Biology explaining how climate change could bring mosquito-borne diseases to areas where these diseases had previously been eradicated and also to entirely new areas.”

Editorials: Where UK newspapers stand on climate change and energy: https://www.carbonbrief.org/editorials-where-uk-newspapers-stand-on-climate-change-and-energy “Last update 18/04/2019”

New CO₂ capture technology is not the magic bullet against climate change: https://theconversation.com/new-co-capture-technology-is-not-the-magic-bullet-against-climate-change-115413 “...Unfortunately, the big picture isn’t as simple. Truly tipping the balance from carbon source to carbon sink is a delicate business, and our view is that the energy costs involved and likely downstream uses of captured CO₂ mean that Carbon Engineering’s “bullet” is anything but magic.”

Satellite confirms key NASA temperature data: The planet is warming — and fast: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/04/17/satellite-confirms-key-nasa-temperature-data-planet-is-warming-fast “If anything, the researchers found, the pace of climate change could be somewhat more severe than previously acknowledged, at least in the fastest warming part of the world — its highest latitudes.”

What’s Really Warming the World? https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world/ “Skeptics of manmade climate change offer various natural causes to explain why the Earth has warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. But can these account for the planet’s rising temperature? Scroll down to see how much different factors, both natural and industrial, contribute to global warming.”

‘Climate Change – The Facts’: the BBC and David Attenborough should talk about solutions: https://theconversation.com/climate-change-the-facts-the-bbc-and-david-attenborough-should-talk-about-solutions-114544 “Although it’s crucial to raise awareness among the public about the impacts and threats of climate change, it’s equally important to explain how to fight it. That’s something the BBC has been more quiet about.”

Mark Carney tells global banks they cannot ignore climate change dangers: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/17/mark-carney-tells-global-banks-they-cannot-ignore-climate-change-dangers “In an article published in the Guardian on Wednesday aimed at the international financial community, Mark Carney, the Bank’s governor, and François Villeroy de Galhau, the governor of the Banque de France, said financial regulators, banks and insurers around the world had to “raise the bar” to avoid catastrophe.”

Active travel & transport

Essential Evidence on a Page – No. 185: The effectiveness of a 20mph speed limit intervention on vehicle speeds in Bristol: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-185-the-effectiveness-of-a-20mph-speed-limit-intervention-on-vehicle-speeds-in-bristol “Top line: The findings indicated that the sign-only 20mph intervention was successful in lowering vehicle speeds. Policy makers are encouraged to implement a careful monitoring of the effects of 20mph speed limit interventions on vehicle speeds in order to enable a meaningful evaluation of potential public health benefits.”

Technological, economic and environmental prospects of all-electric aircraft: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-018-0294-x “Although lifecycle CO2 emissions of all-electric aircraft depend on the power generation mix, all direct combustion emissions and thus direct air pollutants and direct non-CO2 warming impacts would be eliminated.”

Air quality & pollution

State of Global Air 2019: https://www.stateofglobalair.org/sites/default/files/soga_2019_report.pdf “A special report on global exposure to air pollution and its disease burden.”

Regulating air pollution post-Brexit: https://theecologist.org/2019/apr/04/regulating-air-pollution-post-brexit “Will the government's proposed Office for Environmental Protection go far enough in regulating

toxic air pollution in the years to come?”

Ban sale of diesel HGVs by 2040, urges report: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/04/17/ban-sale-of-diesel-hgvs-by-2040-urges-report/ “The government should ban the sale of new diesel HGV lorries before 2040 and encourage the freight industry to move towards clean alternatives such as hydrogen or electric, says a new report by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).”

New funding for councils to tackle air pollution ‘won’t touch the sides’, green groups say: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/air-pollution-funding-local-councils-lung-disease-health-a8851306.html “However, green campaigners said these authorities needed far more support. “This money is welcome, but much more is needed to address the air pollution crisis affecting the nation’s health,” said Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner Jenny Bates.”

Planet’s ocean-plastics problem detailed in 60-year data set: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01252-0 “Scientists have uncovered the first strong evidence that the amount of plastic polluting the oceans has risen vastly in recent decades — by analysing 60 years of log books for plankton-tracking vessels.”

Flanders stream so polluted 'water could be used as pesticide': https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/12/flanders-stream-so-polluted-water-could-be-used-as-pesticide “The small picturesque tributary on the outskirts of the village of Ledegem, some 15 miles east of Ypres, has been described by Belgian media this week as the most polluted stream in Europe following a report published in the Science of The Total Environment journal.”

Wealth from waste – three ways pollution can be turned into something useful: https://theconversation.com/wealth-from-waste-three-ways-pollution-can-be-turned-into-something-useful-114448 ““One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, as they say, and researchers have now demonstrated several ways that useful products can be obtained from waste in industry and agriculture while also remediating contaminated soil, water and air.”

Food & food security

How going hungry affects children for their whole lives: https://mosaicscience.com/story/food-poverty-nutrition-health-austerity-child-development-diet-benefits/ “Food poverty is on the rise in rich countries. And evidence suggests the impact can last for years afterwards.”

Race To The Bottom - How Trade Deals Are Undermining Standards That Protect Us: https://neweconomics.org/2019/04/race-to-the-bottom “NEF has been working with the European Environmental Bureau on a campaign to stop big business interests from undermining the standards that protect citizens and consumers, in areas from food and pharmaceuticals to chemicals and new technologies.”

Eating more offal could help cut meat emissions by ‘14%’: https://www.carbonbrief.org/eating-more-offal-could-help-cut-meat-emissions-by-14-per-cent “Choosing more meat by-products, such as liver, sweetbreads and tripe, could help to reduce livestock emissions by as much as 14%, according to a new analysis.”

And finally….

Council confirms piranha carcasses found in local lake: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Council-confirms-piranha-carcasses-found-in-local-lake/47270 “The Environment Agency has been called in to investigate the mysterious presence of two piranha carcasses that were discovered floating in a Doncaster lake.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 12 April 2019

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

Sustainable development goals

The Corporate Permeation Index – A tool to study the macrosocial determinants of Non-Communicable Disease: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352827318302350?via%3Dihub “Commercial interests have long been identified as a macrosocial determinant of health. We present a composite indicator of corporate permeation- the Corporate Permeation Index (CPI) -, a novel tool for explaining variations in the consumption of products such as alcohol or tobacco and in the comprehensiveness of health policy regarding these products.”

Children in low-income families suffer 'shame and social exclusion': https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/apr/02/children-in-low-income-families-suffer-shame-and-social-exclusion “Children in low-income families suffer social exclusion and a sense of shame because they do not have enough food to eat, according to research published by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).”

The Plague Years: How the rise of right-wing nationalism is jeopardizing the world's health: https://newrepublic.com/article/153264/rise-right-wing-nationalism-jeopardizing-world-health “...One hundred years after the influenza pandemic of 1918—the worst outbreak in recorded history, which killed as many as 100 million people by some estimates—the assumption that every nation owes an investment in health to every other nation no longer holds”

Healthy planning & environment

Event - Healthy City Design 2019 International Congress & Exhibition – call for papers: http://healthycitydesign2019.salus.global/conference-static-page/call-for-papers-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'.”

PHE and University of West England – Research into Practice: https://uwe.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9Er3QwphPnuodRXUWE is conducting a survey on PHE’s behalf to establish the barriers and facilitators to public health engaging with planning and transport colleagues (and vice versa!). We have plenty of tools and strong evidence, and are keen to find the best way to get this research into practice. Your thoughts would be very much appreciated to help us understand the most appropriate way to improve collaboration in this area. Please be as honest as you can and provide us with as much detail as possible in the ‘free text boxes’.”

Place Value Wiki - Place quality and its  health, social, economic and environmental value: https://sites.google.com/view/place-value-wiki “Place Value Wiki brings together in a ‘raw’ form the range of rigorous research evidence that links the ‘quality’ and design of ‘place’ with the value added in health, social, economic and environmental terms. As a wiki it is available to all researchers to add (or edit) their evidence in order to create a collective resource. Please contribute. The evidence held in the wiki is available to all to use to help make the case for investing in the quality of place. The evidence is overwhelming and irrefutable. Please use it.”

A framework for assessing the quality of green infrastructure in the built environment in the UK: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S161886671730780X?via%3Dihub “This paper is, therefore, concerned with establishing a framework for more effectively identifying high quality green infrastructrue. The purpose of the framework is to provide clarity for those seeking to deliver green infrastructure in the built environment. Ultimately, the aim is a higher, more consistent quality of green infrastructure in our towns and cities.”

Place Value & The Ladder Of Place Quality: http://placealliance.org.uk/research/place-value/ “The Ladder of Place Quality is a simple tool for decision-makers to use when considering: are we making a great place?”

Results From The Urban Nature Atlas: https://naturvation.eu/result/results-urban-nature-atlas “The Urban Nature Atlas, created as part of the NATURVATION project, is the most comprehensive database of Nature Based Solutions (NBS) for cities created to date. The Urban Nature Atlas has been produced as the result of a systematic survey of NBS interventions in 100 European cities and provides the basis for the analysis of socio-economic and innovation patterns associated with urban NBS in Europe.”

Towards a health promotion paradigm for airport development: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/23748834.2019.1585701?journalCode=rcah20#.XKerHdrcJdQ “In this paper, we conceptualise airports as settings for health and present 12 dimensions for healthier airport settings. These dimensions are proposed as an initial reference to commence discussion with airport stakeholders and produce further research engaging with airports broader impact on the determinants of health.”

Sand martins return from Africa to Norfolk to find council has covered their nests in 'cruel' netting: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/04/09/sand-martins-return-africa-norfolk-find-council-has-covered/ “Sand martins flew more than 5,000 miles from Africa to roost in the cliffs of Norfolk, only to find their nests covered in netting by the local council.” – update - Norfolk council removes bird netting after outcry: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Norfolk-council-removes-bird-netting-after-outcry-over-video--/47226 “A council in North Norfolk has instructed contractors to remove sections of bird netting after images of a distressed Sandmartin went viral.”

The Green Brexit Matrix: What do the different outcomes mean for environmental policy? https://www.edie.net/downloads/edie-s-Brexit-Matrix--What-will-it-mean-for-environmental-policy-/381 “Whether it is the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement, a no-deal exit on 13 April, or long-term policy decisions regardless of Brexit, this handy matrix provides an overview of how domestic environmental policy looks set to be affected.”


The fuel poverty index changing EU policy: https://esrc.ukri.org/news-events-and-publications/impact-case-studies/the-fuel-poverty-index-changing-eu-policy/ “Research has provided the EU with a new fuel poverty measurement tool and focused attention on the 54 million European households struggling to heat and power their homes.”

RTPI – Local Authority Direct Housing Provision March 2019: https://www.rtpi.org.uk/media/3291304/tableoflocalauthorityhousingprovision2019.pdf “This document reports on local authority activity around housing provision in early-2019, with weblinks to information on each authority’s activities. It is designed to provide an indication of the level and type of local authority direct housing delivery; and to provide local authorities and others with the opportunity to explore the kinds of projects which councils are currently engaged in.”

PROFESSOR FLORA SAMUEL DELIVERS A PUBLIC LECTURE ON ‘BRITAIN’S HOUSING CRISIS’: https://housingevidence.ac.uk/news/professor-flora-samuel-delivers-a-public-lecture-on-britains-housing-crisis/ “On 20 March Professor Flora Samuel delivered a public lecture at the University of Reading entitled,  ‘Britain’s housing crisis: designing future homes and cities’, which was supported by the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence. Watch the full lecture”

Climate change & sustainability

Institutions, climate change, and the foundations of long-term policymaking: http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/publication/institutions-climate-change-and-the-foundations-of-long-term-policymaking/ “The author finds that institutions play an important role in structuring the ‘distributional politics’ of climate change policy. They influence the ability of governments to shift the short-term costs of climate policy investments between voters and industry, which in turn affects how successful they are in adopting strong policies. The author argues that it is primarily these two institutions that drive the climate policy differences we see across countries – for example, between Sweden and the US.”

PHE heatwave mortality monitoring: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phe-heatwave-mortality-monitoring “Reports the surveillance of excess mortality during periods of heatwave.”

Analysis: Why children must emit eight times less CO2 than their grandparents: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-why-children-must-emit-eight-times-less-co2-than-their-grandparents “...If these goals are to be met, young people would have to live the greater part of their lives without contributing significantly to global emissions. Essentially, they would have fewer “allowable” CO2 emissions during their lifetime, compared with older generations.”

Earth’s recovery from mass extinction could take millions of years: https://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2019/april/mass-extinction.html “Palaebiologists from the University of Bristol and University of Texas studied the recovery rate of planktic foraminifera dating back to the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction. This period provides a unique analogue for our current times as it’s the only major event in Earth’s history that happened faster than modern climate change. Their study shows that global recovery from this extinction, which killed the dinosaurs and left a gaping hole in the biosphere, took around ten million years as new innovations had to first appear, then finer differences or specializations could be evolved.”

Opinion - Nuclear Power Can Save the World: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/06/opinion/sunday/climate-change-nuclear-power.html#click=https://t.co/6ZmCkXgcBh “Expanding the technology is the fastest way to slash greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize the economy.”

Should a Green New Deal include nuclear power? https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/04/should-a-green-new-deal-include-nuclear-power/ “Maybe yes, but maybe no, two university energy experts say. They point not only to high construction costs but also to long lead times before on-the-drawing-board “new nukes” could really go commercial.”

House of Lords to debate UK-wide Climate Emergency: https://greenworld.org.uk/article/house-lords-debate-uk-wide-climate-emergency “The grassroots Climate Emergency movement is growing – and Greens are bringing it into Parliament. Jenny Jones, the only Green peer in the House of Lords, has forced a debate on a UK-wide Climate Emergency, while Caroline Lucas has tabled an early day motion on the topic in the House of Commons.”

As sea levels rise, U.N. climbs aboard floating-cities push: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=fe3bb334-8da7-4434-b838-10d9ecaa0383 “The futuristic prospect of floating cities will look at how platforms at sea might help bail out coastal cities at risk of flooding due to climate change”

Climate Chaos Is Coming — and the Pinkertons Are Ready: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/10/magazine/climate-change-pinkertons.html “Even if the most conservative predictions about our climate future prove overstated, a 1.5-degree Celsius rise in temperature during the next century will almost certainly provoke chaos, in what experts call climate change’s “threat multiplier”:”

Music streaming has a far worse carbon footprint than the heyday of records and CDs – new findings: https://theconversation.com/music-streaming-has-a-far-worse-carbon-footprint-than-the-heyday-of-records-and-cds-new-findings-114944 “We conducted archival research on recorded music consumption and production in the US, comparing the economic and environmental costs of different formats at different times. We found that the price consumers have been willing to pay for the luxury of owning recorded music has changed dramatically.”

Active travel & transport

Role of flying cars in sustainable mobility: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09426-0 “Interest and investment in electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (VTOLs), commonly known as flying cars, have grown significantly. However, their sustainability implications are unclear. We report a physics-based analysis of primary energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of VTOLs vs. ground-based cars.”

Greater Manchester set to spend £137m on walking and cycling: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/03/27/greater-manchester-set-to-spend-137m-on-walking-and-cycling/ “Greater Manchester Combined Authority is set to spend £137m on its walking and cycling ‘Bee Network’ as the city region aims to become a world leader for active travel.”

The Etymology of Parking: http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/2015-73-2-the-etymology-of-parking.pdf “I’ve always wondered why we use the word parking to describe a place to leave a car. For me the word evokes images of my neighborhood park, playgrounds, or New York’s Central Park: lush green spaces, not places easily reconciled with a patch of asphalt. A few years ago while I was working at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, I finally got my answer.”

Westminster inaction prompts pavement parking inquiry: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Westminster-inaction-prompts-pavement-parking-inquiry/47199 “The committee said that parking on pavements creates real problems and that for those with visual difficulties, who use mobility aids, or need to navigate footpaths with children, ‘unpredictable hazards such as cars represent a potential danger’.”

Physical activity and mental health in children and adolescents: An updated review of reviews and an analysis of causality: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1469029218303315 “There are significant increases in research activity concerning physical activity and depression, self-esteem, and cognitive functioning in young people. The strongest evidence for a causal association appears to be for cognitive functioning, and there is partial evidence for depression.”

Air quality & pollution

Global, national, and urban burdens of paediatric asthma incidence attributable to ambient NO2 pollution: estimates from global datasets: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpla/article/PIIS2542-5196(19)30046-4/fulltext “Efforts to reduce NO2 exposure could help prevent a substantial portion of new paediatric asthma cases in both developed and developing countries, and especially in urban areas. Traffic emissions should be a target for exposure-mitigation strategies. The adequacy of the WHO guideline for ambient NO2 concentrations might need to be revisited.” – wide media coverage;

Traffic pollution results in 4 million child asthma cases every year, research suggests: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/asthma-traffic-air-pollution-child-uk-nitrogen-dioxide-a8864466.html - Vehicle pollution 'results in 4m child asthma cases a year': https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/10/vehicle-pollution-results-in-4m-child-asthma-cases-a-year

The London Ultra Low Emissions Zone was launched this week.

Why mobility as a service holds the key to better air quality in cities: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/04/02/why-mobility-as-a-service-holds-the-key-to-better-air-quality-in-cities/

Ocean plastic pollution costs the planet $2.5 trillion per year: https://www.treehugger.com/plastic/ocean-plastic-pollution-costs-planet-25-trillion-year.html “Global plastic pollution and the damage it causes to marine ecosystems now has a price tag attached to it. A team of researchers from the UK and Norway analyzed the many ways in which plastic pollution damages or destroys natural resources, and came up with a staggering figure – $2.5 billion – as the annual cost to society.”

Food & food security

Urban Agriculture in shared spaces: The difficulties with collaboration in an age of austerity: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0042098019832486?journalCode=usja&#articleShareContainer “Research conducted in Wythenshawe, Manchester (UK), highlights difficulties experienced by organisations attempting to function in an environment disfigured by depletion, illustrating conflicts that can arise between community groups and charitable organisations competing for space and resources.”

What principles should guide interactions between population health researchers and the food industry? Systematic scoping review of peer‐reviewed and grey literature: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/obr.12851 “There is agreement on some of the general principles for preventing and minimizing conflicts of interests for population health researchers when interacting with the food industry. However, for issues such as assessing the appropriateness of an industry partner, greater clarity and consensus are required.”

WHO pulls support from initiative promoting global move to plant based foods: https://www.bmj.com/content/365/bmj.l1700 “The built environment must be adapted to support last-mile delivery services and reduce the number of freight movements through our cities, writes Sarah Wixey, associate director, WYG.”

And Finally...

Via @cowanrob - The housebuilder says it's not a pavement, it's a service strip. There was never intended to be any pavement. https://twitter.com/cowanrob/status/1112705450288562177/photo/1


WMHPG news, information and resources 5 April 2019

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

Sustainable development goals

A Prevention Transformation Discussion Paper: https://www.fph.org.uk/media/1917/prevention-transformation-fund-discussion-paper-final.pdf “This is the second version of a discussion document outlining the UK Faculty of Public Health’s developing proposal for a ‘Prevention Transformation Fund’ for inclusion in the 2019 Spending Review.”

The dos and don’ts of influencing policy: a systematic review of advice to academics: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-019-0232-y “Many academics have strong incentives to influence policymaking, but may not know where to start. We searched systematically for, and synthesised, the ‘how to’ advice in the academic peer-reviewed and grey literatures.”

Prioritising prevention for population health: https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/policy-and-research/public-and-population-health/prioritising-prevention-for-population-health “The BMA has a well-established record of making the case for preventing physical and mental ill-health and investing in evidence-based population measures. We are now setting out our framework for a cross-government approach to prioritising population health.”

Findings of the Income Crisis Taskforce: Establishing common principles for responses to income crisis: https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/findings-of-the-income-crisis-taskforce “Income crisis is a worsening epidemic in the UK. Yet the government response has been at best inadequate, and in some cases counterproductive, for example the cuts to benefits and the roll out of universal credit.”

Managing Money on Universal Credit: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/policy/policy-research-topics/welfare-policy-research-surveys-and-consultation-responses/welfare-policy-research/managing-money-on-universal-credit/ “Managing Money on Universal Credit [ 0.56 mb] shows that while changes introduced by the Government since 2017 have started to help people they’ve only made a dent in the problem rather than fixed it.”

Healthy planning & environment

NIHR - 19/50 Understanding the potential of place to impact health and health inequalities: https://www.nihr.ac.uk/funding-and-support/funding-opportunities/1950-understanding-the-potential-of-place-to-impact-health-and-health-inequalities/10738 “Application dates: 03 April 2019 to 12 November 2019. The Public Health Research Programme are accepting stage 1 applications to their commissioned workstream for this topic.”

European Journal of Public Health: E-collection – Urban design and health: https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/pages/urban_design_and_health “This e-collection examines the relationship between built environment and health by presenting evidence from the papers that are recently published in the European Journal of Public Health. This evidence can support decision-makers in innovative policies, strategies and tangible actions in order to face contemporary public health challenges.”

Systematic review of how Play Streets impact opportunities for active play, physical activity, neighborhoods, and communities: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-6609-4 “Play Streets can create safe places for children to actively play, with promise of increasing physical activity and strengthening community. Given the popularity of Play Streets and the potential impact for active play, physical activity, and community level benefits, more rigorous evaluations and systematic reporting of Play Streets’ evaluations are needed.”

London Plan EiP: A change is gonna come: https://lichfields.uk/blog/2019/april/4/london-plan-eip-a-change-is-gonna-come/ “Lichfields is currently monitoring the draft London Plan Examination in Public (EiP), which is scheduled to last until May 2019, and will report on relevant updates as part of a blog series. The seventh blog of the series focuses on some key further suggested changes proposed by the Mayor.”

More segregated playgrounds revealed: 'We just play in the carpark': https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/mar/30/we-just-play-in-the-carpark-more-segregated-playgrounds-revealed “A Guardian Cities investigation into a development that barred poorer children from a communal play area has found similar examples around the UK capital”

‘Socially Aware Planning’ Key to Building and Sustaining Communities: https://thecityfix.com/blog/socially-aware-planning-key-building-sustaining-communities-hillary-smith/ “City policymakers, planners and designers tend to place heavy emphasis on strengthening physical infrastructure. But building up a community’s social cohesion and networks strengthens its social sustainability – its residents’ long-term capacity and motivation to cooperate with each other in caring for the community.”

Warning: a sixth mass species extinction is on the cards: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/warning-sixth-mass-species-extinction-cards “The unsustainable extraction of a resource, whether it’s donkeys, plants, trees or minerals, can have adverse effects on the environment and communities in distant lands. In the case of donkeys, a valuable mode of all-weather, carbon neutral transport is removed from those most in need of transport in remote rural settings.”


A new look at the housing antecedents of separation: https://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol40/26/ “These results suggest that growing difficulties obtaining secure and affordable housing could have negative consequences for partnership stability. We therefore call for researchers to engage more thoroughly with housing as a potential driver of demographic change.”

Understanding changing housing aspirations: a review of the evidence: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02673037.2019.1584665 “This article reviews the literature on changing housing aspirations and expectations in contemporary housing systems. It argues that there is a conceptual and definitional gap in relation to the term ‘housing aspirations’, as distinct from expectations, preferences, choices and needs.”

A couple of items from the Office of National Statistics

Strengthening Our Housing and Planning Statistics: https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2019/04/04/strengthening-our-housing-and-planning-statistics/ “Across government we’re working to highlight how statistics can best shine a light on society’s evolving questions about housing and planning in the UK. Debra Prestwood outlines the priorities for the coming year and explains how we’re putting users at the heart of our work.”

The cost of living alone: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/families/articles/thecostoflivingalone/2019-04-04 “As the number of one-person households continues to rise, analysis reveals the financial situation and personal well-being of those living alone.”

Half of all babies now born in rented accommodation: https://www.royallondon.com/media/press-releases/2019/march/half-of-all-babies-now-born-in-rented-accommodation/ “More babies are being born to parents living in insecure private sector rented accommodation, new research shows.”

How Should We Evaluate Housing Outcomes? https://housingevidence.ac.uk/publications/how-should-we-evaluate-housing-outcomes/ “This report raises important issues regarding the evaluation of housing outcomes and the setting of policy/practice objectives that are often overlooked in common approaches, notably the central role of values and who defines them.”

Climate change & sustainability

Global Climate Report - January 2019 - Temperature Anomalies Time Series: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/201901 “Temperature anomalies and percentiles are shown on the gridded maps below.”

Upper-ocean warming is changing the global wave climate, making waves stronger: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190114082847.htm “Sea level rise puts coastal areas at the forefront of the impacts of climate change, but new research shows they face other climate-related threats as well. Scientists found that the energy of ocean waves has been growing globally, and they found a direct association between ocean warming and the increase in wave energy.”

Bottlenose dolphin numbers declined by ‘12%’ following marine heatwave: https://www.carbonbrief.org/bottlenose-dolphin-numbers-declined-12-per-cent-following-marine-heatwave “An unprecedented spell of marine heat in Shark Bay, Australia, caused bottlenose dolphin numbers to decline for the following six years, a study finds.”

Climate change means more extreme weather – here’s what the UK can expect if emissions keep increasing: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/03/29/climate-change-means-more-extreme-weather-heres-what-the-uk-can-expect-if-emissions-keep-increasing/ “The UK was recently spooked by an unseasonably hot February – and we can expect more of the same unless we work to drive down emissions, write Kate Sambrook and Thomas Richardson, climate researchers at The University of Leeds.”

Climate change has already changed breeding seasons of Britain's birds, butterflies, moths and flies: https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/environment/climate-change-has-already-changed-breeding-seasons-of-britains-birds-butterflies-moths-and-flies/01/04/amp/ “The first study of its kind charted the habits of more than 250 species of birds and insects across the UK and Ireland over a period of 50 years. It found aphids, moths and butterflies are now on the wing and birds are laying their eggs much sooner than they were in the mid twentieth century.”

The UK can run on renewables in the future, Big 6 boss says: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/03/27/interview-scottishpower-ceo-offshore-wind-energy-uk/ “Could we deal with 100% right now today? I think we would probably struggle. Do I believe in the future that we'll have the capability of doing it? Yes”

What the Rise of Right-Wing Populism in Europe Means for Climate Science Denial: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/03/27/what-rise-right-wing-populism-europe-means-climate-science-denial “Across Europe, right-wing populist parties are picking up votes. In some countries, once-fringe parties have gained enough support to propel them into the halls of national power. But, for most, an easier target has been the European Parliament. And that could matter for climate change.”

Copenhagen Wants to Show How Cities Can Fight Climate Change: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/25/climate/copenhagen-climate-change.html “Can a city cancel out its greenhouse gas emissions? Copenhagen intends to, and fast. By 2025, this once-grimy industrial city aims to be net carbon neutral, meaning it plans to generate more renewable energy than the dirty energy it consumes.”

Mount Everest: Melting glaciers expose dead bodies: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47638436 “Nearly 300 mountaineers have died on the peak since the first ascent attempt and two-thirds of bodies are thought still to be buried in the snow and ice.”

Clean energy facts belie misconceptions and offer optimism: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/03/clean-energy-facts-belie-common-myths/ “With rise of clean energy success stories comes surge of myths, misconceptions. Here's how to counter them.”

Active travel & transport

Law Commission – Automated Vehicles: https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/automated-vehicles/ “We are reviewing the regulatory framework for the safe deployment of automated vehicles in the UK. We have published our preliminary consultation paper on automated vehicles. We are now analysing responses to the consultation.”

ETSC welcomes provisional deal on new vehicle safety standards: https://etsc.eu/etsc-welcomes-provisional-deal-on-new-vehicle-safety-standards/ “New cars, vans, lorries and buses sold in Europe will be fitted as standard with a range of new vehicle safety features, starting in 2022, according to a provisional EU deal on the legislation reached last night in Strasbourg.”

Five things to consider before speed limiters are added to cars: https://theconversation.com/five-things-to-consider-before-speed-limiters-are-added-to-cars-114457 “The recent announcement that EU rules for fitting speed limiters to new cars from 2022 will be adopted by the UK was welcomed by many, including the European Transport Safety Council, as a move that will save lives. However, not everyone is convinced by this “guardian angel” technology.”

All new UK cars to have speed limiters by 2022 under EU plans: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/27/all-new-uk-cars-to-have-speed-limiters-by-2022-under-eu-plans “All new cars sold in the UK and Europe are to be fitted with devices to automatically stop drivers exceeding the speed limit under sweeping changes to vehicle safety rules that the EU has provisionally agreed. Although Britain may no longer be part of the EU when the rules come into effect, the UK regulator, the Vehicle Certification Agency, has said it will mirror safety standards for vehicles in the UK.”

Plans revealed for network of 100+ ‘electric forecourts’: https://airqualitynews.com/2019/04/01/plans-revealed-for-network-of-100-electric-forecourts/ “Gridserve has announced plans to build a UK-wide network of more than 100 ‘electric forecourts’ designed to deliver convenient, ultra-fast, low-cost charging for all types of electric vehicles (EVs).”

Air quality & pollution

Toxic air will shorten children's lives by 20 months, study reveals: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/03/toxic-air-will-shorten-childrens-lives-by-20-months-study-reveals “Air pollution contributed to nearly one in every 10 deaths in 2017, making it a bigger killer than malaria and road accidents and comparable to smoking, according to the State of Global Air (SOGA) 2019 study published on Wednesday.”

Five Uk Airlines Sued Over Toxic Cabin Air Including British Airways And Easyjet: https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/uk-airlines-toxic-cabin-air-pollution-easyjet-british-airways-thomas-cook-airlines-jet2-virgin-a8845341.html “Five of the UK’s leading airlines face legal action over toxic air in aircraft cabins. EasyJet, British Airways, Thomas Cook Airlines, Jet2 and Virgin Atlantic have all been served lawsuits by the union Unite, with a total of 51 cases to be heard.”

European parliament votes to ban single-use plastics: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/27/the-last-straw-european-parliament-votes-to-ban-single-use-plastics “The European parliament has voted to ban single-use plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers as part of a sweeping law against plastic waste that despoils beaches and pollutes oceans.”

How clean is your city? Just ask the bees: https://theconversation.com/how-clean-is-your-city-just-ask-the-bees-113981 “It all began with a question. Julia Common, the chief beekeeper at Hives for Humanity, a Vancouver-based, non-profit organization of urban beekeepers, was asked repeatedly, “How clean is the honey from downtown Vancouver?””

Revealed: Half Of Checked Chemicals Unsafe In Current Commercial Use: https://meta.eeb.org/2019/04/03/revealed-half-of-checked-chemicals-unsafe-in-current-commercial-use/ “Millions of tonnes of dangerous chemicals are flowing into products years after officials discover that they are likely causing cancer and other illnesses, according to a major review of European chemical controls published this week.”

This was filmed off the Dominican Republic Coast. Our Oceans are dying: https://twitter.com/ZonePhysics/status/1111265799216467969

Food & food security

Sustainable Food Systems for a Healthier UK: A discussion paper: https://www.fph.org.uk/media/2409/sustainable-food-systems-for-a-healthier-uk-final.pdf “Ten recommendations are made for public health professionals to consider, that support a healthy and sustainable food system for a healthier UK.”

Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)30041-8/fulltext “This study provides a comprehensive picture of the potential impact of suboptimal diet on NCD mortality and morbidity, highlighting the need for improving diet across nations. Our findings will inform implementation of evidence-based dietary interventions and provide a platform for evaluation of their impact on human health annually.”

Food banks are becoming institutionalised in the UK: https://theconversation.com/food-banks-are-becoming-institutionalised-in-the-uk-114325 “...We believe the country is now reaching a point where “left behind people” and retailers’ “leftover food” share a symbiotic relationship. Food banks are becoming embedded within welfare provision, fuelled by corporate involvement and ultimately creating an industry of poverty.”

New plant breeding technologies for food security: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6434/1390 “Previously, conventional plant breeding through cross- and self-pollination strategies played a major role in improving agricultural productivity. Moreover, the adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops by smallholder farmers has led to higher yields, lower pesticide use, poverty reduction, and improved nutrition” – More here: Genome Editing and World Hunger: https://www.technologynetworks.com/genomics/news/genome-editing-and-world-hunger-317542

Climate, conflicts set to plunge millions into food crisis: http://news.trust.org//item/20190402074716-jq432/ “Food crises will affect tens of millions of people across the world this year, researchers warned on Tuesday, after war, extreme weather and economic woes in 2018 left more than 113 million in dire need of help.”

Four ways (other than reducing meat) to cut carbon pollution from your diet: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/03/4-ways-to-cut-carbon-from-your-diet/ “Food – its production, distribution, preparation, and waste disposal – follows housing as a major source of carbon emissions… Here are some ways to significantly reduce carbon emissions associated with food and drink”

This is how many animals we eat each year: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/02/chart-of-the-day-this-is-how-many-animals-we-eat-each-year “In the last 50 years the number of people on the planet has doubled. But the amount of meat we eat has tripled. Most of this growing demand has come from middle income countries, and particularly China, which became the world’s biggest consumer of meat as its economy boomed. In contrast, the appetite for meat in Europe and North America has stabilized, and even declined.”

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.”

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Freeth Street
West Midlands
B69 3DE


Jo Dodd - 07815 490436

Rajdeep Atwal - 0121 569 5121