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West Midlands Health and Planning group

Background
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 4 May 2018

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.

Resource – useful for checking new sources - Media bias/fact check: https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/ “We are the most comprehensive media bias resource on the internet. There are currently 2300+ media sources listed in our database and growing every day. Don’t be fooled by Fake News sources. Use the search feature above (Header) to check the bias of any source. Use name or url.”

Sustainable development goals

Our broken economy is taking its toll on our health: http://neweconomics.org/2018/04/broken-economy-taking-toll-health/ “We drastically need a new caring economy that has the capacity to provide effective and timely healthcare and services. And we know from the research we’ve done at New Economics Foundation has shown that care can be a major driver of local economic prosperity, with the potential to be the central plank of an economic policy that emerges from the actual needs, everyday lives and assets of communities within an area.”

Statement by the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) on the Sustainable Health Goals in the European region: https://eupha.org/repository/advocacy/EUPHA_statement_on_health-related_SDGs.pdf “In order to find out how  Europe and European countries are doing, some 2,5 years  after  the adoption of the SDGs, we examined data provided by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation of the University of Washington,  USA”

AICPA offers guidance on achieving UN sustainability goals: https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/aicpa-offers-guidance-on-achieving-un-sustainable-development-goals “The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants has released a guide to how management accountants can help their organizations fulfill the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.”

Achieving universal energy access by closing the gap between what we know and what we do: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2018/05/01/achieving-universal-energy-access-by-closing-the-gap-between-what-we-know-and-what-we-do/ “Professor Marc Jeuland and Jonathan Phillips will be summarizing the findings of this new study on energy access and the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the fourth Sustainable Energy for All forum.  “

The latest on OpenGlobalRights: using the SDGs to curb authoritarian power and framing gun violence as a human rights issue: https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/ogr-editorial-team/latest-on-openglobalrights-using-sdgs-to-curb-authoritarian-powe “Recently on OpenGlobalRights, how Sustainable Development Goals might break human rights gridlock, why the right to bear arms is not a human right, and when human rights law is central to global health governance.“

Healthy planning & environment

Planning for Environment and Resource eFficiency in European Cities and Towns: https://www.interregeurope.eu/perfect/ “PERFECT integrates the many benefits of green infrastructure into the planning and investment for the future of urban and rural areas. It seeks to influence the policy-making process by raising awareness of the social, environmental and economic potential of green infrastructure.”

How do we create places that deliver healthier lives? https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/news-opinion/how-do-we-create-places-deliver-healthier-lives “Design Council and Social Change UK today launched our Healthy Placemaking report which highlighted the outcomes from their survey of over 600 built environment practitioners across the UK including architects, town planners and urban designers. The aim being to gain insight and understanding of their experiences across multiple areas on healthy placemaking, and the possible barriers and challenges found.”

Access all areas? Using data to help the disabled navigate cities: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=46c44959-0854-48d8-a579-423130154e32 “The Barcelona-based app allows wheelchair users, as well as the blind, hearing-impaired and others, to find out how accessible a building is before they visit it.”

Dense urbanism is great for downtowns. But what about suburbs? https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/2017/6/23/15815510/toderian-suburbs “Urbanist Brent Toderian reflects on which suburbs can be saved and made more walkable.”

Named: The household brands that are contributing to 1 football pitch of rainforest being lost every 25 seconds: https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/named-the-household-brands-that-are-contributing-to-1-football-pitch-of-rainforest-being-lost-every-25-seconds/19/03/ “Eight major household brands including PZ Cussons (makers of Carex soap), Johnson & Johnson (baby lotion) and Kellogg’s (Pop Tarts) have been named and shamed by Greenpeace for refusing to take steps towards eliminating palm oil from Indonesian forest destruction from their supply chains.”

UN urban chief on mission to reform and make cities better for women: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=0c1ecb92-e787-436f-ace5-be7f444e2d71 “With cities facing their fastest growth ever, the head of the United Nations' agency for urban development is on a mission - to revitalise the organisation and ensure people, particularly women, are central to future planning.”

 

Housing

Independent housing and support for people with severe mental illness: https://www.nationalelfservice.net/populations-and-settings/housing/independent-housing-and-support/ “The authors concluded that IHS demonstrated better housing outcomes in homeless populations (according to randomised controlled trials). Most other conditions showed comparable results. IHS had no worse results than more institutionalised accommodation settings and did not achieve inferior results when compared to traditional residential settings. The reviewers concluded that clients’ preferences should determine their accommodation setting in the first instance, even when professional expertise suggests otherwise.”

Tens of thousands of ‘hidden homeless’ not included in Whitehall figures: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Tens-of-thousands-of-hidden-homeless-not-included-in-Whitehall-figures-/45183 “New research has revealed there could be over 50,000 people staying in unsupported temporary accommodation - nearly 10 times more than the official statistics show.”

The local impact of new housing in the North East: http://lichfields.uk/media/4050/the-local-impact-of-new-housing-in-the-north-east_april-2018.pdf “Residents are often concerned that a new housing development nearby will reduce the value of their homes. Does the evidence support this?”

Climate change & sustainability

Climate models predict increasing temperature variability in poor countries: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/5/eaar5809 “The countries that have contributed least to climate change, and are most vulnerable to extreme events, are projected to experience the strongest increase in variability. These changes would therefore amplify the inequality associated with the impacts of a changing climate.”

Dynamic response of airborne infections to climate change: predictions for varicella: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-018-2204-4 “Our results indicate that the predicted decrease in relative humidity in Mexico towards the end of the century will increase incidence of varicella, all else equal. These changes in incidence will be non-uniform across the year such that cases will shift from winter to summer months. Climate-driven changes to the timing of future incidence, for these types of infections, may have substantial public health implications.”

Global predictability of temperature extremes: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aab94a/meta “To reduce risk, heatwave plans and cold weather plans have been effectively implemented around the world. However, much of the world's population is not yet protected by such systems, …In this study, we assess at a global level where such systems have the potential to be effective at reducing risk from temperature extremes…”

How are cities planning to respond to climate change? Assessment of local climate plans from 885 cities in the EU-28: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652618308977?via%3Dihub – summary here: We examined 885 European cities’ plans to tackle climate change – here’s what we found: https://theconversation.com/we-examined-885-european-cities-plans-to-tackle-climate-change-heres-what-we-found-95733 “In the most comprehensive survey to date, we collaborated with 30 researchers across Europe to investigate the availability and content of local climate plans for 885 European cities, across all 28 EU member states. The inventory provides a big-picture overview of where EU cities stand, in terms of mitigating and adapting to climate change.”

The Carbon Brief Interview: Prof Stephen Belcher: https://www.carbonbrief.org/the-carbon-brief-interview-prof-stephen-belcher “Prof Stephen Belcher was appointed the chief scientist at the Met Office in December 2016. In 2012, he joined the Met Office as director of the Met Office Hadley Centre. Previously, he was the head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Reading.”

Climate change is not a key cause of conflict, finds new study: https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-not-a-key-cause-of-conflict-finds-new-study-94331 “In our recent paper, my student Erin Owain and I decided to test the climate-conflict hypothesis, using East Africa as our focus. The region is already very hot and very poor, making it especially vulnerable to climate change”

Great Barrier Reef at ‘unprecedented’ risk of collapse after major bleaching event: https://www.carbonbrief.org/great-barrier-reef-at-unprecedented-risk-of-collapse-after-major-bleaching-event “A new study published in Nature finds that the surge in sea temperatures during the 2016 bleaching event led to an immediate and long-lasting die-off of coral. This, in turn, led to vast swathes of the reef being transformed into “highly altered, degraded systems”, which are now vulnerable to total “ecological collapse”, the authors conclude.”

Europe’s kicking its coal habit: https://www.drax.com/energy-policy/europes-kicking-coal-habit/ “Ambitious goals and low-carbon alternatives are helping the continent make coal history.”

Explainer: How ‘Shared Socioeconomic Pathways’ explore future climate change: https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-how-shared-socioeconomic-pathways-explore-future-climate-change “Over the past few years, an international team of climate scientists, economists and energy systems modellers have built a range of new “pathways” that examine how global society, demographics and economics might change over the next century. They are collectively known as the “Shared Socioeconomic Pathways” (SSPs).”

This is the only country in the world that absorbs more carbon than it emits: https://www.indy100.com/article/only-negative-carbon-country-bhutan-sustainable-energy-global-warming-8327891 “Most countries in the world have a positive carbon footprint, meaning that they emit more CO2 than their forests absorb. But one country is different. Yes, only one. Nestled between China and India, the country of Bhutan is the only carbon negative country in the world.”

Why it really is time to make the polluter pay: http://neweconomics.org/2018/04/really-time-make-polluter-pay/ “Climate change has always been first and foremost a story of profound injustice. Vanuatu, for example, emits only 0.0016% of global carbon emissions. But it’s not hard to see who the winners are. In 2017, Exxon Mobil and Shell alone made $35 billion in profit.”

Active travel & transport

Consultation: Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) safety review: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/cycling-and-walking-investment-strategy-cwis-safety-review “Call for evidence on ways to make cycling and walking safer while supporting the government's ambition to increase cycling and walking.” Closing date 1 June 2018

Speed and Crash Risk: https://www.itf-oecd.org/speed-crash-risk   “Inappropriate speed is responsible for 20 to 30% of all fatal road crashes. After reviewing the current knowledge on the relationship between speed and crash risk, this report analyses eleven cases from ten countries that have recently changed speed limits or introduced a large-scale automatic speed control. The analysis confirms the very strong relationship between speed and crash risk and that higher speed is associated with increased occurrence and severity of road crashes.”

Association between active commuting and incident cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality: prospective cohort study: https://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1456 “Cycle commuting was associated with a lower risk of CVD, cancer, and all cause mortality. Walking commuting was associated with a lower risk of CVD independent of major measured confounding factors. Initiatives to encourage and support active commuting could reduce risk of death and the burden of important chronic conditions.” More here - Cycling to work: major new study suggests health benefits are staggering: https://theconversation.com/cycling-to-work-major-new-study-suggests-health-benefits-are-staggering-76292

Would free bus travel save young people £1,000 a year? https://fullfact.org/economy/would-free-bus-travel-save-young-people-1000-year/ “Conclusion: There were 134 million fewer miles driven by buses in the UK in 2016/17 than in 2006/7. This was driven by a reduction in local authority funded bus miles.”

Launch of United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund: https://www.unece.org/info/media/presscurrent-press-h/transport/2018/launch-of-united-nations-road-safety-trust-fund/doc.html?mc_cid=b5be5a0303&mc_eid=f209095101 “The United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund, launched today in New York City, aims to accelerate progress in improving global road safety by bridging the gaps in the mobilization of resources for effective action at all levels.”

20mph saves emissions, energy AND lives: https://bristolcycling.org.uk/20mph-saves-emissions-energy-and-lives/ “The 20mph debate rages on in Bristol, with murmurings of potential reversal, Bristol Cycle Campaign want to shed some facts on an important aspect – Energy and Emissions. We’ve even got a handy infographic.” Infographic at the bottom of the email

Green MSP Mark Ruskell bids to cut national speed limit in Scotland from 30mph to 20mph: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16192336.Bid_to_cut_national_speed_limit_in_Scotland_from_30mph_to_20mph/ “PROPOSALS to make Scotland the first country in the world with a default speed limit of 20mph will be considered by MSPs within weeks.”

New road markings branded 'idiotic' and 'confusing' by cyclists: https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/new-cycling-markings-mill-road-14596683 “Cyclists have been left perplexed at the positioning of new road markings on Mill Road. The markings, which have been placed on junctions of Mill Road, Sedgwick Street and Thoday Street, tell cyclists to go in the opposite direction to cars. One marking has been placed directly opposite markings signalling vehicles to turn right.”

Air quality & pollution

Consultation: A Clean Air Zone Framework for Wales: https://beta.gov.wales/clean-air-zone-framework-wales “We want your views on a Clean Air Zone Framework for Wales in order to improve air quality.” Closing date 19 June 2018

DEFRA – Air quality statistics in the UK 1987 to 2017: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/702712/Air_Quality_National_Statistic_-_FINALv3.pdf

Sentinel tracks ships' dirty emissions from orbit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43926232 “The new EU satellite tasked with tracking dirty air has demonstrated how it will become a powerful tool to monitor emissions from shipping.”

London Marathon: Figures show massive 89 per cent drop in air pollution: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/london-marathon-figures-show-massive-89-per-cent-drop-in-air-pollution-a3821566.html “A section of the London Marathon route saw an 89 per cent drop in air pollution on race day, according to new figures… Larissa Lockwood, Head of Health at Global Action Plan said, “Taking collective action to tackle air pollution every day can make a massive difference, as shown at the London Marathon.”

Air pollution inequality widens between rich and poor nations: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/01/air-pollution-inequality-widens-between-rich-and-poor-nations “Rich cities have improved, but pollution in poorer countries is still rising and kills 7 million people a year globally, WHO data reveals”

The hills are alive with the signs of plastic: even Swiss mountains are polluted: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/27/the-hills-are-alive-with-the-signs-of-plastic-even-swiss-mountains-are-polluted “Major study finds microplastics in soil across Switzerland and scientists warn urgent research is needed into impacts on food safety as other countries may be worse affected”

Wet wipe pollution 'changing the shape of British riverbeds': https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/02/wet-wipes-boom-is-changing-the-shape-of-british-riverbeds “Wet wipes are changing the shape of British riverbeds, campaigners said after finding more than 5,000 of them alongside the Thames in an area the size of half a tennis court.”

Food & food security

SDG Knowledge Weekly: Adaptation, Agriculture and Food: http://sdg.iisd.org/commentary/policy-briefs/sdg-knowledge-weekly-adaptation-agriculture-and-food/ “This week’s brief looks at the role of climate adaptation in agriculture and related impacts on food security and nutrition. Among other partnerships and stakeholder initiatives on this topic, we highlight efforts toward a zero hunger future, and the business case for reducing food waste.”

Fast food zoning Policies. A note on the evidence base: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/fast-food-zoning-policies-a-note-on-the-evidence-base/ “There’s a lack of causal evidence linking proximity to fast food establishments (or put another way – concentration) and obesity… As you’d expect I disagree with the Planning Inspectorate, the IEA, and those who play the “there’s no evidence we shouldn’t do it” card”

EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/27/eu-agrees-total-ban-on-bee-harming-pesticides “The world’s most widely used insecticides will be banned from all fields within six months, to protect both wild and honeybees that are vital to crop pollination”

WMHPG news, information & resources 27 April 2018

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.

Talking about the ‘return on investment of public health’: why it’s important to get it right: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2018/04/return-investment-public-health “The increasingly common misunderstanding and misuse of the term ‘return on investment’ and its conflation with ‘cost saving’ to public services – usually the NHS – are a cause for concern.”

Sustainable development goals

A new type of leadership from national governments is essential for success of the SDGs: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2018/04/24/a-new-type-of-leadership-from-national-governments-is-essential-for-success-of-the-sdgs/ “Three years after the global community committed to the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) put forth by the 2030 Agenda, the 30 countries that are members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) are still struggling to translate this framework domestically.”

Universal Basic Income - not the answer to poverty: https://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/universal-basic-income-not-answer-poverty “Universal Basic Income is mooted as a solution to many of the ills of modern economies and stigmatised benefit systems. It’s been in the news after Finland decided to end its short-lived UBI experiment. But is UBI a good idea and would it be good for solving poverty? JRF thinks, on balance, it is not.”

Earth Day: it is about equity as well as the environment: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2018/04/21/earth-day-it-is-about-equity-as-well-as-the-environment/ “Limited income mobility among poor and minority children is often linked to differences in social environment, be it family, peer, school, or neighborhood environment. But income and race are also closely associated to the quality of one’s natural environment.”

Goldman environmental prize: top awards dominated by women for first time: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/23/unprecedented-win-for-women-in-top-global-environment-awards-goldman-prize “The world’s foremost environmental prize has announced more female winners than ever before, recognising the increasingly prominent role that women are playing in defending the planet. The struggle for a healthy planet may sometimes feel like a series of defeats, but this year’s Goldman environmental prize celebrates six remarkable success stories, five of them driven by women.”

Bookmakers' shares plummet after reports Philip Hammond will slash FOBT stakes to £2: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/fixed-odds-betting-terminals-fobt-stake-max-philip-hammond-a8319406.html “Shares in the UK’s biggest bookmakers fell sharply on Tuesday after reports that Philip Hammond had accepted the need for a £2 maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).”

Healthy planning & environment

Research finds that healthy placemaking could save lives: https://specificationonline.co.uk/articles/2018-04-19/the-design-council/research-finds-that-healthy-placemaking-could-save-lives “This latest research from Design Council and Social Change UK notes that healthy placemaking sits on the periphery of UK housing, public health and placemaking policy. It continues to be seen as a cost to local development rather than an investment, and when considered alongside the plethora of local planning priorities and frameworks it often gets overlooked.”

Our favourite cities – by four urban planners: https://theconversation.com/our-favourite-cities-by-four-urban-planners-84872 “More and more people are moving into cities. As growing populations place pressure on urban housing, infrastructure and transport systems, residents, planners and politicians are having to come up with clever solutions to make their cities decent places to live. Yet the quality of a city is not simply defined by the grandeur of its buildings, or the efficiency of its transport system. Here, four urban planners name their favourite cities, and explain what makes them special.”

4 ways urban green spaces can benefit the environment: https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/4-ways-urban-green-spaces-can-benefit-the-environment/70004738 “Ziter’s research suggested that green spaces, such as parks and backyards, can provide many benefits to urban areas. Ziter explains that these “benefits” are often called “ecosystem services.””

Graphene 'a game-changer' in making building with concrete greener: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/23/graphene-a-game-changer-in-making-building-with-concrete-greener “The novel “supermaterial” graphene could hold the key to making one of the oldest building materials greener, new scientific research suggests. Graphene has been incorporated into traditional concrete production by scientists at the University of Exeter, developing a composite material which is more than twice as strong and four times more water-resistant than existing concretes.”

Housing

Home improvements: action to address the housing challenges faced by young people: https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/home-improvements-action-to-address-the-housing-challenges-faced-by-young-people/ “As the Resolution Foundation’s Intergenerational Commission enters its final stages, this report sets out our view on how we can tackle one of the biggest issues for young people in 21st century Britain: the housing crisis. Here, we move beyond a diagnosis of the problem and instead set out a series of policy options relating to three key areas of our housing challenge…”

Top 10 books about council housing: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/25/top-10-books-on-council-housing-public-john-boughton-zadie-smith-lynsey-hanley “Public housing in the UK improved the lives of millions, but has left little trace in literature. John Boughton unlocks the door to the unsung history of council homes”

Five changes that could make housing better for generation rent: https://theconversation.com/five-changes-that-could-make-make-housing-better-for-generation-rent-95386 “Research by the Resolution Foundation has confirmed what many young people already sensed; that for them, the private rented sector in Britain is less a stepping stone, and more of a trap. The research predicts that up to a third of millennials will live in private rented housing from the day they’re born, until the day they die.”

Councils sit on £375m earmarked for affordable housing: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/apr/22/councils-sit-on-375m-earmarked-for-affordable-housing “A total of £375m is available, £100m of which has not even been earmarked for a specific project. This is despite a survey last year for the Town and Country Planning Association showing that 98% of councils described their need for affordable homes as either “severe” or “moderate”.”

Climate change & sustainability

Historical deforestation locally increased the intensity of hot days in northern mid-latitudes: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0131-z “Based on observation-constrained state-of-the-art climate-model experiments, we estimate that moderate reductions in tree cover in these regions have contributed at least one-third of the local present-day warming of the hottest day of the year since pre-industrial time, and were responsible for most of this warming before 1980.” More analysis here: https://www.carbonbrief.org/deforestation-has-driven-up-hottest-day-temperatures

Clear signs of global warming will hit poorer countries first: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-04854-2 “A map of "equivalent impacts", revealed at the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) this month in Vienna, shows that global temperatures would have to rise by a whopping 3 °C before most people in wealthy nations would feel departures from familiar climate conditions equal to those that residents of poorer nations will suffer under moderate warming.”

Experimental effects of climate messages vary geographically: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0122-0 “These findings not only advance a geographical understanding of how the public engages with information about scientific agreement, but will also prove useful for policymakers, practitioners and scientists engaged in climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

BP chief urges Cambridge University to keep fossil fuel investments: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/24/bp-bob-dudley-urges-cambridge-university-keep-fossil-fuel-investments “BP’s chief executive has come under fire from campaigners after he urged Cambridge University not to drop its fossil fuel investments. Bob Dudley was greeted with laughter when he told an industry conference on Tuesday: “We donate and do lots of research at Cambridge so I hope they come to their senses on this.””

Divesting from oil companies is pointless posturing: https://capx.co/divesting-from-oil-companies-is-pointless-posturing/ “…But there are good reasons to be sceptical – both in terms of whether divestment helps reduce consumption of fossil fuels and encouraging development of renewables, and secondly, whether any eventual financial losses incurred are a good price to pay.”

These before and after images show the startling effects of climate change: https://twitter.com/i/moments/987436286691725313 “As the Trump administration and numerous U.S. lawmakers downplay the threat of climate change and take aim at policies to combat it, researchers are documenting undeniable transformations around the globe. Here are some stark examples.”

Watch - New process contributing to sea level rise and climate change discovered: https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/watch-new-process-contributing-to-sea-level-rise-and-climate-change-discovered/19/04/ “A study revealed a previously undocumented process where melting glacial ice sheets change the ocean in a way that further accelerates the rate of ice melt and sea level rise. The findings show that glacial meltwater makes the ocean’s surface layer less salty and more buoyant, preventing deep mixing in winter and allowing warm water at depth to retain its heat and further melt glaciers from below.”

Warming climate leaves birds hatching too late for caterpillar harvest: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/04/23/warming-climate-leaves-birds-hatching-late-caterpillar-harvest/ “Warmer springs are leaving birds hungry because they hatch after the caterpillar population has peaked, experts have warned.”

Explainer: How ‘Shared Socioeconomic Pathways’ explore future climate change: https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-how-shared-socioeconomic-pathways-explore-future-climate-change “Over the past few years, an international team of climate scientists, economists and energy systems modellers have built a range of new “pathways” that examine how global society, demographics and economics might change over the next century. They are collectively known as the “Shared Socioeconomic Pathways” (SSPs).”

The best idea in a long time: Covering parking lots with solar panels: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/01/28/the-best-idea-in-a-long-time-covering-parking-lots-with-solar-panels/ “America is a nation of pavement. According to research conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, most cities’ surfaces are 35 to 50 percent composed of the stuff. And 40 percent of that pavement is parking lots.”

Britain powers on without coal for three days: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43879564 “Britain has not generated electricity from coal for more than three days - the longest streak since the 1880s. The new record comes just days after the last record of 55 hours was set, National Grid said. The coal-free period began on Saturday at 1000 BST and has continued into Tuesday afternoon.”

Active travel & transport

Traffic noise linked to higher heart disease risk: https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/traffic-noise-linked-to-higher-heart-disease-risk “According to a review article in the Feb. 13, 2018, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, many studies have observed a connection between transportation-related noise and a slightly higher risk of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart failure. The association persists even after adjustment for possible confounding factors, such as air pollution and socioeconomic status.”

Amendment to protect free bus passes announced: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Amendment-to-protect-free-bus-passes-announced/45099 “The Government has announced a change in legislation that will ensure free bus passes for older and disabled people will be protected for the future.”

Air quality & pollution

Clean Air Strategy expected by summer 2018: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/04/20/clean-air-strategy-expected-by-summer-2018/ “Environment Secretary Michael Gove has told MPs that the government’s promised Clean Air Strategy will be published this summer, following the conclusion of local elections across the country in May.”

London Marathon: Figures show massive 89 per cent drop in air pollution: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/london-marathon-figures-show-massive-89-per-cent-drop-in-air-pollution-a3821566.html “Campaigners renew calls for a 'car-free day' in the capital in June”

MEPs approve ‘post-Dieselgate’ car-testing reforms: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/04/19/meps-approve-post-dieselgate-car-testing-reforms/ “The new rules will require every EU country to conduct a minimum of at least one check for every 40,000 new motor vehicles registered in that country in the preceding year to ensure that they meet the relevant safety standards as well as those around emissions of air pollutants.”

BBC Radio 4 – More or Less podcast – are we breathing unsafe air? https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06478pz “The World Health Organisation say that 95% of people who live in cities breathe unsafe air. But what do they mean by ‘unsafe’? And how do they calculate the levels or air pollution for every city in the world?”

Spikes in air pollution can heighten risk of chest infections, research suggests: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/13/air-pollution-spikes-can-heighten-risk-chest-infections-research-utah “Study of PM2.5 levels in Utah suggests increase in diagnoses of viral infections such as bronchitis follows even brief upticks in pollution… but said the study had a number of limitations, including that it did not show air pollution caused the infections, and did not take into account socioeconomic status.”

Artist's 'pollution pods' highlight global air quality problem: https://uk.reuters.com/article/britain-pollution-earthday/artists-pollution-pods-highlight-global-air-quality-problem-idUKL8N1RW6JL “The new art installation allows people to experience different pollution levels using five domes that replicate the environments of the Indian, Chinese and British capitals, Brazil’s Sao Paulo and Norway’s Tautra peninsula. British artist Michael Pinsky, whose work often focuses on environmental issues, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation he wanted to make people stop and think about how their everyday actions impact the atmosphere.” – more here: Earth Day: Technology designed to clean air in schools and hospitals trialled in London 'pollution pods': https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/pollution-pods-air-cleaning-technology-london-airlabs-beijing-new-delhi-smog-earth-day-a8314696.html

How will fracking, climate, pollution affect my constituency? https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/environment/will-fracking-energy-oil-pollution-affect-constituency/07/06/ “This interactive map below features the climate, fracking and environmental issues in your constituency with a breakdown below of where candidates stand on these issues.”

Environment prize goes to Flint water activist: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43840275 “The founder of a citizens' movement that helped expose the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is one of the recipients of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize.”

Plastic packaging is often pollution for profit: https://theconversation.com/plastic-packaging-is-often-pollution-for-profit-95015 “But plastic itself is inanimate and cannot be evil – what’s morally wrong is what humans do with it.”

Arctic sea ice is an important temporal sink and means of transport for microplastic: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-03825-5 “Thus even in remote regions such as the Arctic Ocean, certain MP (microplastics) indicate the presence of localized sources. Increasing exploitation of Arctic resources will likely lead to a higher MP load in the Arctic sea ice and will enhance the release of MP in the areas of strong seasonal sea ice melt and the outflow gateways.”

Giant plastic 'berg blocks Indonesian river: https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/science-environment-43823883 “A crisis of plastic waste in Indonesia has become so acute that the army has been called in to help. Rivers and canals are clogged with dense masses of bottles, bags and other plastic packaging. Officials say they are engaged in a "battle" against waste that accumulates as quickly as they clear it.”

Food & food security

Saving the Earth - a sustainable future for soils and water: https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/saving-earth-sustainable-future-soils-and-water “Soil is currently being destroyed ten times faster than it's being created. This is not only putting the farming sector at risk and costing England & Wales £1.2 billion a year, but is affecting the health of our rivers.” – media coverage here: £10m a year needed to ensure England's soil is fit for farming, report warns: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/24/10m-a-year-needed-to-ensure-englands-soil-is-fit-for-farming-report-warns

Well Fed: https://vimeo.com/188913344 “We follow Dutch filmmakers Hidde Boersma (also a scientist & science journalist) & Karsten de Vreugd who set on a quest to tell a story about GMOs that seldom reaches the general public.”

Food banks shouldn’t even exist. Don’t let them become the new normal: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/24/food-banks-new-normal-benefit-cuts-thousands-hungry “Benefit cuts and an unjust social order have left hundreds of thousands hungry in one of the richest countries in the world”

Food bank charity gives record level of supplies: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-43866980 “The biggest network of food banks in the UK says it provided record levels of "emergency food supplies" last year. The annual figures from the Trussell Trust charity show a 13% increase, providing 1.3 million three-day food packages for "people in crisis". It warns the increase has been driven by those on benefits not being able to afford basic essentials. The Department for Work and Pensions says: "The reasons why people use food banks are complex."”

Ministers urged to ban fast food outlets from opening near schools: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/apr/23/ministers-urged-to-ban-fast-food-outlets-from-opening-near-schools “Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health says councils need increased powers to help combat childhood obesity”

WMHPG news, information and resources 20 April 2018

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

New guidance published to help built environment meet sustainable development goals: https://www.fmj.co.uk/new-guidance-published-to-help-built-environment-meet-sustainable-development-goals/ “Eco charity and social enterprise Bioregional, has launched Build a better future with the SDGs, a new, free guide that provides practical tips on how the built environment sector can bring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their businesses.”

Healthy planning & environment

More on the consultation on the draft National Planning Policy Framework.

  • TCPA - Joint statement on Garden City principles in the NPPF: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/joint-statement-gcp-nppf “Over 50 organisations – including councils, professional bodies, trade associations, charities, developers and designers – are calling on the government to reinstate a reference to Garden City principles in the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), demonstrating its continued support for those delivering new Garden Villages, Towns and Cities.”
  • NPPF consultation – RTPI briefing: http://www.rtpi.org.uk/knowledge/consultations/nppf-consultation/

NEW RESOURCE - Place Value Wiki: 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. You can find out how to here. 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.”

Merseyside shop has licence suspended because it was selling booze too cheap: https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/merseyside-shop-licence-suspended-because-14542001.amp “A Speke newsagents has had its alcohol licence suspended for undercharging for some drinks. MP Food and Wine, known as Go Local, on Western Road, will be unable to sell alcohol for three months. The shop will also have its licence altered to exclude the sale of cans or bottles of beer, lager or cider with an alcohol level of more than 6.5%.”

Five ways to save Britain’s struggling high streets: https://theconversation.com/five-ways-to-save-britains-struggling-high-streets-90362 “... In fact, very few people go into town to visit one place; instead, the high street represents a whole bundle of benefits, including employment, education, healthcare, leisure, shopping, eating and drinking. So, for the location to be successful, the providers of these individual services need to work together effectively.”

The Next Great Smart City Challenge: Public Health: http://www.govtech.com/health/The-Next-Great-Smart-City-Challenge-Public-Health-Contributed.html “As we start to find more success with smart city technology, researchers are now studying how those same technologies can address systemic challenges in health systems and environments around the world.”

Housing

The homelessness monitor: England 2018: https://www.crisis.org.uk/media/238700/homelessness_monitor_england_2018.pdf “...this year’s monitor reveals how desperate the situation has become for homeless households trying to find somewhere to live. Councils across the country are struggling to house people because of a decline in social housing, spiralling private rents, and welfare cuts. Councils also reported a growing reluctance among landlords to rent to people on welfare, with many worried that formerly homeless tenants would struggle to pay rent and bills

How local political preferences influence public housing reform: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/local-political-ideology-and-public-housing-reform/ “José M. Alonso and Rhys Andrews explore the extent to which housing stock transfer in local authorities across England has been shaped by local political ideology. They explain that ideology plays an important role in making housing reform happen, but that local people can also be a source of resistance and of alternatives to such reform.”

Building Safety Update: Written statement - HCWS620: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-04-16/HCWS620 “In my update on building safety on 15th March 2018, I informed the House that a glazed fire door from Grenfell Tower manufactured by Manse Masterdor, around five years ago, and marketed to resist fire for at least 30 minutes failed testing after approximately 15 minutes….”

Calls for councils to have power to confiscate properties from criminal landlords: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Calls-for-councils-to-have-power-to-confiscate-properties-from-criminal-landlords/45154 “In a new report, the Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Committee said vulnerable tenants need greater protection from rent increases, harassment and retaliatory evictions. Although the Committee found recent legislation has strengthened protection for tenants, local authorities still have insufficient resources to undertake their enforcement duties.” HCLG committee report here: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmcomloc/440/44009.htm

Landlord offering 'sex for rent' arrangement with women says he is not breaking the law: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/landlord-sex-for-rent-this-morning-law-prostitution-a8309496.html “A landlord who offers free accommodation in return for sex has insisted he is not doing anything illegal. The man, whose identity was concealed, said he did not see anything wrong with a “friends with benefits” arrangement with his tenants as long as both parties are aware of what they are signing up to.”

Climate change & sustainability

Global warming transforms coral reef assemblages: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0041-2 “The increasing prevalence of post-bleaching mass mortality of corals represents a radical shift in the disturbance regimes of tropical reefs, both adding to and far exceeding the influence of recurrent cyclones and other local pulse events, presenting a fundamental challenge to the long-term future of these iconic ecosystems.” Media coverage here - Great Barrier Reef: 30% of coral died in 'catastrophic' 2016 heatwave: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/19/great-barrier-reef-30-of-coral-died-in-catastrophic-2016-heatwave

Guest post: The impact of climate change on mental health is impossible to ignore: https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-impact-climate-change-on-mental-health-impossible-to-ignore “...the body of evidence that climate change is increasing the frequency and ferocity of weather-related extremes is increasing year-on-year. More people are being exposed – or, worse still, the same people are exposed more frequently – to injury, loss of homes and businesses, environmental damage and even loss of lives. All of these have profound, often long-term effects on mental health. Yet there remains relatively little research on this topic, and even less commitment to doing anything about it.”

The shipping sector is finally on board in the fight against climate change: https://theconversation.com/the-shipping-sector-is-finally-on-board-in-the-fight-against-climate-change-95212 “For the first time, the massive global shipping sector has agreed to a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, in what’s been called a “historic” moment. Maritime shipping, which carries about 80% of global trade by volume, contributes around A$9 billion directly to Australia’s gross domestic product, and A$11.8 billion indirectly.” More here: Global shipping in 'historic' climate deal: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43759923

Explainer: These six metals are key to a low-carbon future: https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-these-six-metals-are-key-to-a-low-carbon-future “These low-carbon technologies currently rely on a handful of key metals, some of which have been little-used to date. This raises questions over whether enough of these materials can be mined to ensure a large-scale rollout. Others are concerned that bottlenecks could appear, as metal output rises to meet demand, or that the environmental impacts of mining could undermine carbon savings elsewhere.”

Sustainable development delivers £90m savings and cuts 330,000 tonnes across the NHS and wider health sector: https://www.sduhealth.org.uk/news/588/sustainable-development-delivers-90m-savings-and-cuts-330000-tonnes-across-the-nhs-and-wider-health-sector “The findings are summarised in an annual health check for the sector coordinated by Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) on behalf of the wider health and care system. The report looks at sustainable development across health organisations in England and reports on progress.”

The NHS is a ‘significant polluter’ producing 590,000 tonnes of waste a year – more than some European countries: https://inews.co.uk/news/health/dame-sally-davies-annual-report-nhs-waste/ ” The Government’s chief medical adviser has called the NHS a “significant polluter” after her annual report revealed the health service creates 590,000 tonnes of waste a year – more than the entire municipal waste from some European countries like Cyprus and Luxembourg.”

UK Environmental Policy Post-Brexit: A Risk Analysis: https://cdn.friendsoftheearth.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/Environment%20and%20Brexit%2C%20C%20Burns%20Et%20al%2C%20March%202018%20web.pdf “This report seeks to provide clarity about the potential environmental implications raised by a number of prominent post-Brexit trade models. We provide a transparent, evidence-based assessment of the risks to current policy and governance systems, focussing upon the Norwegian, Canadian (CETA), Turkish and no deal models.”

How to Refute 5 Common Arguments of Renewable Energy Opponents: https://blueandgreentomorrow.com/energy/refute-5-arguments-renewable-energy-opponents/ “When it comes to the environment and renewable energy, there are plenty of skeptics out there – people who deny that climate change exists or believe that coal power can never be replaced by environmentally friendly alternatives. Here are some of the most common arguments made by renewable energy opponents, and – more importantly – how you can refute them:”

How Shell Greenwashed its Image as Internal Documents Warned of Fossil Fuels' Contribution to Climate Change: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2018/04/11/how-shell-greenwashed-its-image-internal-documents-warned-fossil-fuels-contribution-climate-change ”A tranche of documents uncovered last week by Jelmer Mommers of De Correspondent published on Climate Files, a project of the Climate Investigations Center, revealed that Shell knew about the danger its products posed to the climate decades ago. The company has continued to double-down on fossil fuel investment since the turn of the century despite this knowledge.”

'Lightweight PR and greenwash' – BP's low-carbon plan dismissed: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/16/lightweight-pr-greenwash-bp-low-carbon-plan-dismissed-environmentalists “Environmentalists call strategy ‘20th century response to a 21st century problem’”

How Climate Science Deniers Prop Up the Tory-DUP Alliance Threatening the Good Friday Agreement: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2018/04/08/how-climate-science-deniers-prop-tory-dup-alliance-threatening-good-friday-agreement “The DUP’s new found power also amplifies the influence of a network of Brexiteer climate science deniers with ties to the party. Together, this network is pushing to roll back the UK’s climate commitments through a ‘hard’ Brexit, while also threatening Northern Ireland’s fragile governing arrangements.”

Active travel & transport

The cost-effectiveness of physical activity interventions: A systematic review of reviews: http://www.globalpanet.com/knowledge-base/economics/cost-effectiveness/862-the-cost-effectiveness-of-physical-activity-interventions-a-systematic-review-of-reviews “Overall, this systematic review of reviews identified some evidence for physical activity interventions being cost effective, particularly in school-based (non-active travel) interventions, pedometer and brief interventions in the healthcare setting, falls prevention, environmental interventions and mass media campaigns.”

Who doesn’t visit natural environments for recreation and why: A population representative analysis of spatial, individual and temporal factors among adults in England: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204618300914 “Contact with natural environments may be beneficial for various health and social outcomes but is often lower among groups who could benefit the most. Using data from >60,000 adults in England, we explored the spatial (e.g. amount of local greenspace), individual (e.g. socio-economic status) and temporal (e.g. seasonality) predictors of infrequent contact and the reasons given for it.”

The effect of an Italian nationwide mandatory visibility aids law for cyclists: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140518300045 “Highlights - A bicycling visibility aids law had no influence on bicycle crashes - A bicycling visibility aids law had no influence on proportion of bicycle crash - The law did not produce immediate effects, nor did it have any effects over time” Media coverage: Making hi-vis clothing compulsory for cyclists does not reduce number of crashes, study finds: http://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/latest-news/making-high-vis-compulsory-reduce-number-crashes-study-finds-374898

So why don’t more women cycle? https://bangingonaboutbikes.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/so-why-dont-more-women-cycle/amp/ “It actually all starts to get more nuanced when we try to explain the stark gender imbalance in countries where utilitarian (functional) cycling is prevalent. And it actually starts to give us clues about where campaigning efforts should be focused more broadly.”

Councils must have more say in transport planning, report says: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-must-have-more-say-in-transport-planning-report-says/45152 “Local authorities must be involved in transport planning in the north of England to ensure increased connectivity delivers sustainable growth, planners say. A consultation response from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has warned that new transport links will not necessarily lead to economic growth.” RTPI response here: http://www.rtpi.org.uk/media/2801476/RTPI%20response%20-%20TfN%20Strategic%20Transport%20Plan.pdf

Air quality & pollution

Is ambient air pollution associated with onset of sudden infant death syndrome: a case-crossover study in the UK: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/4/e018341 “The results indicated ambient air pollutants, particularly PM10 and NO2, may show an association with increased SIDS mortality. Thus, future studies are recommended to understand possible mechanistic explanations on the role of air pollution on SIDS incidence and the ways in which we might reduce pollution exposure among infants.”

State of Global Air / 2018: https://www.stateofglobalair.org/ “Your source for the latest global, regional, and country-specific data on air quality and health.” This report has received wide media coverage around the world across a range of media sources;

How cleaner air changes the climate: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6385/148.full “Aerosols have a strong influence on the present climate, but this influence will likely be reduced over the coming decades as air pollution measures are implemented around the world. At a global level, aerosols have helped to reduce the warming effect from greenhouse gas emissions, and necessary reductions in air pollution may thus make it harder to achieve ambitious global climate and environmental aims, such as the Paris Agreement's 2°C target.”

Getting to grips with air pollution: https://www.acast.com/ft-news/gettingtogripswithairpollution?autoplay “Air pollution is usually regarded solely as an environmental issue, but the toll it takes on public health has only recently begun to hit the headlines. Darren Dodd discusses the benefits of tackling the problem with the FT’s science editor Clive Cookson, the WHO's Maria Neira, and Laurie Laybourn-Langton, of the UK health alliance on climate change.”

Plastic straw and cotton bud ban proposed: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43817287 “Plastic straws and cotton buds could be banned in England as part of the government's bid to cut plastic waste. Announcing a consultation on a possible ban ministers said 8.5bn plastic straws were thrown away in the UK every year. The prime minister said plastic waste was "one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world". And Theresa May will urge leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which began earlier, to follow the UK's lead in tackling the problem.”

Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/16/scientists-accidentally-create-mutant-enzyme-that-eats-plastic-bottles “The breakthrough, spurred by the discovery of plastic-eating bugs at a Japanese dump, could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis”

Food & food security

Agriculture post-Brexit: a battleground for the UK’s constituent nations: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/agriculture-post-brexit-a-battleground-for-the-uks-constituent-nations/ “Agriculture is a devolved matter which is also subject to EU policy-making. Micheal Keating writes that while there is agreement on the need for UK-wide frameworks to govern certain areas of agriculture post-Brexit, there is currently no agreement among the UK’s nations on what form they should take. He argues that funding will likely be cut and that the UK government may not wish to allow devolved governments to continue supporting the sector.”

Brexit and food – standards could get even worse: https://theconversation.com/brexit-and-food-standards-could-get-even-worse-94866 “The FSA plans to change who conducts food safety inspections in the UK. It proposes to transfer responsibility for many food safety inspections and audits from the public sector to private commercial assurance providers. But those commercial firms will not primarily serve the public interest. They will focus on their food industry clients’ interests, creating conflicts of interests between commercial inspectors and the consuming public.”

Poverty Harms Patients With Diabetes, Fatty Liver: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/895296 “For patients with diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the risk for advanced hepatic fibrosis increases nearly three times when patients cannot consistently afford a healthy diet, results from a cross-sectional survey suggest. In fact, food insecurity — limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods — is a better predictor of advanced fibrosis than other socioeconomic variables, said investigator Russell Rosenblatt, MD, from the New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 13 April 2018

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.

#DoNoHarm– The health community is coming together to ask the House of Lords to protect the public’s health as we leave the #EU by voting for the #DoNoHarm amendment at Report Stage of the #EUWithdrawalBill #publichealth #brexit. Please show your support by re-tweeting: https://twitter.com/FPH/status/984041998880595969 Article by John Middleton here: https://www.lgcplus.com/services/health-and-care/john-middleton-better-public-health-investment-is-vital/7023888.article#.WsyJm8dUbA4.twitter

An excellent blog from Greg Fell - Use of evidence in public health, volume 2: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/use-of-evidence-in-public-health-volume-2/ This summarises the disconnect between the amount of available evidence and the potential for long term population health improvement.

Sustainable development goals

How poor is por? The many dimensions of poverty in the UK: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/how-poor-is-poor-the-many-dimensions-of-poverty-in-the-uk/ “It is estimated that over 14 million people live in poverty in the UK. But how do we define poverty and how do we go about measuring it? Deniz Sevinc argues that the current emphasis on income alone results in partial insights into who experiences poverty in Britain and in what ways. This partial understanding makes it almost impossible to draw policies that tackle poverty.”

The gender pay gap isn't the half of it: our economy runs on women's unpaid work: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/09/investing-jobs-women-gender-pay-gap “I call it our ‘grossly undervalued domestic product’: the caring, support and childcare women do without seeing a penny. It’s time we recognised it”

Registration Gaps in Low and-Middle Income Countries Leave Billions Behind: https://medium.com/vital-strategies/registration-gaps-in-low-and-middle-income-countries-leave-billions-behind-7a4d7cfd96f4 “Roughly 130 million babies are born every year. Nearly one-quarter of them will begin life without any official record of their existence. The registration of a birth establishes one’s legal existence, providing access to rights benefits, entitlements and protections. The registration of deaths, marriages, and divorces is also of fundamental importance — particularly for women and children, who may need to establish proof of relationship to inherit property or pensions.”

Healthy planning & environment

RTPI – Planning Risk And Development: How greater planning certainty would affect residential development: http://www.rtpi.org.uk/briefing-room/news-releases/2018/april/rtpi-new-study-zoning-not-a-silver-bullet-to-speeding-up-homes/ “Attaching automatic planning permission to housing land allocated in local plans in England would have limited impact on increasing the supply of homes, according to planners, surveyors, developers, financiers and built environment experts interviewed for a new study commissioned by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).”

This one chart shows the radical changes need to achieve sustainable cities: https://www.citymetric.com/horizons/one-chart-shows-radical-changes-needed-achieve-sustainable-cities-3826 “Cities are also becoming more sprawling: the amount of land being used for urban purposes is expected to triple between 2000 and 2050. This is leading to the loss of natural ecosystems and productive agricultural land. Sprawling cities are also less energy efficient, as residents have to spend more time travelling to reach jobs, services and amenities. These worrying trends are all obvious in one chart.”

Comment: Investing in cities’ verdant virtues: http://www.salus.global/article-show/investing-in-cities-verdant-virtues “With the recent launch of the UK Government’s 25-Year Environment Plan,1 which makes a specific commitment to “green our towns and cities by creating green infrastructure”, now is a good time to consider how we can get more green infrastructure into the urban landscape, write Flora Ogilvie and Carl Petrokofsky from Public Health England.”

Partners learn from innovative ways of delivering green infrastructure (GI): https://www.interregeurope.eu/perfect/news/news-article/2852/partners-learn-from-innovative-ways-of-delivering-gi/?platform=hootsuite “From 5 - 7th March 2018, PERFECT partners and their stakeholders travelled to Ferrara for the third Project Steering Committee meeting, hosted by the Municipality of Ferrara. The three-day meeting was a success and all partners learnt a great deal about how the project will be moving forward, as well as key transferable lessons about securing investment and implementing green infrastructure.“

Five ways to make parched cities cooler: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=71a3b7a8-8870-486f-b655-683a33f58d39 “Rather than relying on air-conditioning, cities should take innovative steps to cool down”

Recent coverage of plastic pollution:

Media Release: Worsening Worldwide Land Degradation Now ‘Critical’, Undermining Well-Being of 3.2 Billion People: https://www.ipbes.net/news/media-release-worsening-worldwide-land-degradation-now-%E2%80%98critical%E2%80%99-undermining-well-being-32 “Worsening land degradation caused by human activities is undermining the well-being of two fifths of humanity, driving species extinctions and intensifying climate change. It is also a major contributor to mass human migration and increased conflict, according to the world’s first comprehensive evidence-based assessment of land degradation and restoration.” – Media coverage here: Destruction of nature as dangerous as climate change, scientists warn: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/23/destruction-of-nature-as-dangerous-as-climate-change-scientists-warn “Unsustainable exploitation of the natural world threatens food and water security of billions of people, major UN-backed biodiversity study reveals”

Europe faces 'biodiversity oblivion' after collapse in French birds, experts warn: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/21/europe-faces-biodiversity-oblivion-after-collapse-in-french-bird-populations “Authors of report on bird declines say intensive farming and pesticides could turn Europe’s farmland into a desert that ultimately imperils all humans”

Housing

Housing and health: Opportunities for sustainability and transformation partnerships: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/housing-and-health “This short report, supported by the National Housing Federation, is intended to help those leading and contributing to sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) and emerging integrated care systems (ICSs) to make the most of the contribution that housing can make to health as they deliver and continue to develop.”

Health in Private-Rented Housing: https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/POST-PN-0573 “This POSTnote looks at the quality of housing in the private rented sector and explains the effects that housing conditions can have on health. It also looks at interventions to improve housing quality in the private rented sector and at the challenges to implementing them.”

Affordable housing: why current plans to invest don't go far enough: https://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/affordable-housing-why-current-plans-invest-dont-go-far-enough “JRF’s recent briefing on the social housing green paper shows that in England, we’re currently providing 30,000 fewer affordable homes than we need each year”

Government commitment to replace homes sold through Right to Buy ‘in tatters’: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Government-commitment-to-replace-homes-sold-through-Right-to-Buy-in-tatters/45059 “Whitehall has been blasted by the opposition as new figures reveal only one social home is being built for every three sold off under the Right to Buy scheme. The Government statistics have shown that 11,649 social homes were sold off last year while only 4,566 social homes are in the process of being built.”

Rogue landlord database goes live: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Rogue-landlord-database-goes-live/45080 “A new national database which will enable councils to share information about rogue landlords went live today as part of an effort to crackdown on illegal practices in the private rented sector.” (Non-statutory) guidance available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/banning-orders-for-landlords-and-property-agents-under-the-housing-and-planning-act-2016

Homeless actors put Britain's housing crisis in the spotlight: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=194044e7-1371-42c7-ad5d-c662b807c72b “The play, which has been touring the UK since 2016, revisits - 50 years on - veteran British director Ken Loach's television play "Cathy Come Home", famous for shocking viewers with its grim depiction of the slide into homelessness.”

The Guardian view on shoe-box Britain: space is good for us. Let’s have some: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/10/the-guardian-view-on-shoe-box-britain-space-is-good-for-us-lets-have-some “Homes are becoming ever smaller. It’s time to bring back and update the minimum space requirements that were done away with by Margaret Thatcher”

‘Proptech’ could exploit renters like Uber does workers: http://neweconomics.org/2018/04/proptech-exploit-renters-like-uber-workers “There is a potential place for new systems to help address discrimination and bad practice in the rental market just as drivers hoped that platforms like Uber would overcome the bias of the dispatcher and lead to better work. Features like the ratings system on Movebubble will help identify rogue landlords and agents and many of these technologies will no doubt save renters time by minimising in-person paperwork. But it seems unlikely that venture capital-backed startups or new software developed by real estate giants will deliver the change renters really need.”

Squatters in upmarket London property spark debate over homeless: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=48dd9790-0c74-4d56-b38c-4342ed74368c “Outside a multi-million pound property in central London a small black sign reading "The homeless are revolting, join them" is the only indication this building is involved in a dispute over how the homeless are treated in the British capital. When snow blasted London in early March, a group of about 160 homeless people moved into the disused 17.5 million pound ($24 million) eight-storey building in Great Portland Street, making it the biggest single shelter in the capital.”

Sex for rent: the rogue landlords who offer free rooms in return for ‘favours’: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/apr/02/sex-for-rent-accommodation-rogue-landlords-campaign “As the housing crisis deepens, words such as ‘intimacy’ and ‘benefits’ are starting to appear in the to-let columns”

Climate change & sustainability

Gulf Stream current at its weakest in 1,600 years, studies show: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/11/critical-gulf-stream-current-weakest-for-1600-years-research-finds “Warm current that has historically caused dramatic changes in climate is experiencing an unprecedented slowdown and may be less stable than thought - with potentially severe consequences” More here: https://www.carbonbrief.org/atlantic-conveyor-belt-has-slowed-15-per-cent-since-mid-twentieth-century And here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43713719

2018 Q1: An eclectic chronology in pictures and charts of developments in climate, energy, tech and the future of civilisation: https://www.slideshare.net/jeremyleggett/2018-q1-an-eclectic-chronology-in-pictures-and-charts-of-developments-in-climate-energy-tech-and-the-future-of-civilisation “From Jeremy Leggett - Friends, colleagues and esteemed contacts: Things are moving so fast. Most of us are so busy. This slide show offers one person’s precis-for-the-busy of the first three months of 2018 in the related dramas of climate change, energy transition, big tech and the future of civilisation. I hope it is useful.”

Analysis: How much ‘carbon budget’ is left to limit global warming to 1.5C? https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-how-much-carbon-budget-is-left-to-limit-global-warming-to-1-5c “In this article, Carbon Brief assesses nine new carbon budget estimates released by different groups over the past two years. Most show larger allowable emissions than were featured in the last IPCC report. A number of studies suggest that carbon budgets estimates based on ESMs may be on the low side as a result of limitations with how some models represent the carbon cycle.”

Vulnerabilities and resilience of European power generation to 1.5 °C, 2 °C and 3 °C warming: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aab211/meta “Generally, impacts are more severe in southern Europe than in northern Europe, inducing inequity between EU countries. We show that a higher share of renewables could reduce the vulnerability of power generation to climate change, although the variability of wind and solar PV production remains a significant challenge.”

Climate Champ or Climate Chump? Test Your Knowledge: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-champ-or-climate-chump-test-your-knowledge “Think you’re a climate champion? Take this quiz to test your knowledge of the science behind why our world is warming, the impact it’s having on our environment and our planet, and the clean energy solutions we have today. Then, find out how you can take action to help end the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced.”

Government cools energy efficiency ambition by 400 years: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/04/08/government-cools-energy-efficiency-ambition-400-years/ “The Government’s effort to bring down the cost of energy by upgrading Britain’s draughtiest homes is under attack after it emerged that cuts to the scheme mean it would take 400 years to complete.”

Further, faster, deeper: the UK needs a more ambitious Climate Change Act: https://theconversation.com/further-faster-deeper-the-uk-needs-a-more-ambitious-climate-change-act-93218 “The UK’s Climate Change Act is a pioneering and far-sighted piece of legislation, ushered in ten years ago by a remarkable cross-party consensus in parliament and clear support across the nation. As we celebrate its tenth anniversary, it is time to ask, though, whether the central ambition of the Act – reducing carbon emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050 – is still adequate in light of changing circumstances, or whether it needs strengthening.”

Wind and solar make more electricity than nuclear for first time in UK: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/mar/29/wind-and-solar-made-more-electricity-than-nuclear-for-first-time-in-uk “In 2017 Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions also fell 3% as coal use dropped and renewables climbed”

Scotland leads the way with near-50 per cent wind power increase: http://www.thenational.scot/news/16145443.Scotland_leads_the_way_with_near_50_per_cent_wind_power_increase/ “A NEAR two-fold increase in power produced by Scottish wind turbines highlights the country’s position at the “forefront” to environmental progress, according to a WWF chief. Analysis of WWF wind power data by WeatherEnergy found that in the first quarter of 2018 there was a 44 per cent increase in power provided to the National Grid, compared to the same period last year.”

International Energy Agency ‘Undermining Efforts on Climate Change’ through Scenarios Inconsistent with Paris Agreement: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2018/04/04/international-energy-agency-undermining-efforts-climate-change-through-scenarios-inconsistent-paris-agreement “The International Energy Agency (IEA) is “undermining efforts on climate change” by guiding governments towards energy decisions that are inconsistent with the Paris Agreement goals, new research suggests.” More here: https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/iea-scenarios-inconsistent-with-paris-climate-goals-study-warns/

Can a city ever be truly ‘carbon neutral’? https://theconversation.com/can-a-city-ever-be-truly-carbon-neutral-93589 “We argue that the concept of “carbon neutrality” is a lofty ambition, but it needs unpacking before anyone gets too excited about its potential. The idea that a zero carbon target is the best driver for creating a city-region and planet that’s inclusive and liveable for all raises important questions.”

Spring Into Action: 6 Tips for Climate-Smart Gardening: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/spring-action-6-tips-climate-smart-gardening One for all you (willing or unwilling) gardeners out there “Up your sustainability game with these six simple tips for climate-smart gardening – and do your part to fight for a healthier future for our fragile planet.”

BBC Radio 4 broke accuracy rules in Nigel Lawson climate change interview: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/09/bbc-radio-4-broke-impartiality-rules-in-nigel-lawson-climate-change-interview “Ofcom says controversial claims, including on the frequency of extreme weather events, went unchallenged”

Active travel & transport

Updated NICE Guidance - Physical activity and the environment: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng90 “This guideline covers how to improve the physical environment to encourage and support physical activity. The aim is to increase the general population’s physical activity levels. The recommendations in this guideline should be read alongside NICE's guideline on physical activity: walking and cycling.”

Physical activity data tool: April 2018 update: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/physical-activity-data-tool-april-2018-update “Update of data on physical activity and related risk factors and conditions at a local level for England.”

Letter: there is too much traffic for Alex to walk to school, so we drive. A call to action based on a 42-year trend: http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2018/03/23/bjsports-2018-099261 “We need to take action because children’s independent mobility has declined sharply across the UK since the 1970s, when it was first measured. We see this not least in terms of increasing car use for the school journey. This reflects the fact that across these four decades politicians and highway engineers have planned for increased car use. So that is what has resulted. Yet, across the same period we have accumulated much greater scientific evidence for the health impacts of this decline in physical activity.”

Number crunch: Transport trends in the city regions: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/resources/types/reports/number-crunch-transport-trends-city-regions “Our report, Number crunch: Transport trends in the city regions, identifies some of the most defining patterns of the past decade (and projected future trends) that are changing the face of the UK’s city regions, and the way that people travel within them. Ageing urban populations, rapid bus passenger decline and huge growth in private hire vehicles are just some of the dramatic shifts taking place in UK cities. The report draws on data from our unique, free and interactive online tool ‘Data Hub’, which allows users to generate bespoke analysis, graphics and charts of transport, economic and population data.”

Dramatic shifts in transport trends of UK cities, revealed in new report: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/media-centre/press-releases/dramatic-shifts-transport-trends-uk-cities-revealed-new-report “Private companies want to replace public transport. Should we let them? https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/mar/29/public-transport-transit-private-companies-citymapper-uber-whim-smart-buses “Companies like Uber and Citymapper are scrapping for a piece of the mass transit market – with or without the support of public bodies”

People must retain control of autonomous vehicles: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-04158-5 “Legislation on the testing of self-driving cars does not address liability and safety concerns, warn Ashley Nunes, Bryan Reimer and Joseph F. Coughlin.”

Giant car vending machine in China lets potential buyers go on three-day test drive: https://www.expressandstar.com/news/motors/2018/03/27/giant-car-vending-machine-in-china-lets-potential-buyers-go-on-three-day-test-drive/#MrbJstAGyg0PoUz8.99 “Prospective Ford owners in China can now book a three-day test drive using their mobile phone, and collect their car from a large vending machine-like structure”

Air quality & pollution

Royal College of Physicians - Reducing air pollution in the UK: Progress report 2018: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/news/reducing-air-pollution-uk-progress-report-2018 “Since the publication of Every breath we take the scale of the UK’s air pollution crisis has been recognised, and there is support for action at local and national level. However, the immediate and robust action needed from government has not materialised.

Oxford study links household air pollution to cardiovascular disease: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/04/06/oxford-study-links-household-air-pollution-to-cardiovascular-disease/ “Exposure to household air pollution from using wood or coal for cooking and heating is associated with higher risk of death from heart attack and stroke, according to a study from Oxford University and researchers in China.” – press release for the study here: http://www.ckbiobank.org/site/binaries/content/assets/resources/pdf/ckb-jama-hap-mortality-pressrelease-2april2018.pdf

Household smoke may be the world’s deadliest environmental hazard: https://www.economist.com/news/international/21739952-global-campaigns-have-failed-change-how-poor-people-heat-their-food-household-smoke-may?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/householdsmokemaybetheworldsdeadliestenvironmentalhazardhowtheotherhalfcooks “Wood and charcoal in Africa; coal in East Asia; wood and animal dung in South Asia—in much of the world, food is heated by burning primitive solid fuels. Each fire is tiny, but the International Energy Agency (IEA), a Paris-based research group, estimates that 5% of the world’s primary energy demand in 2016 was supplied by “traditional solid biomass”.”

VW’s dieselgate fix for US cars is ‘far more effective’ than its European one: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/03/29/volkswagen-fix-us-europe-effective-dieselgate/ “Volkswagen is applying an emissions-cutting change to its US cars after the dieselgate scandal that is “far more effective” than its cheaper solution for European models, experts have told Unearthed.”

Let’s clean up toxic air: Help a community crack down on air pollution: http://neweconomics.org/2018/04/lets-clean-toxic-air/ “Protecting our families from pollution can sometimes feel like an insurmountable task, with governments continually disregarding the environment and spending fortunes on legal battles against clean air campaigners. But people are harder to ignore, if their voices can be heard.”

WHO - The World Health Organisation ranks Delhi as the world's most polluted big city. Authorities have tried reducing the number of cars on the city's roads to improve air quality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEbNsn91XV0

WHO’s First Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, 30 October - 1 November 2018: http://www.who.int/airpollution/events/conference/en/ “Improving air quality, combatting climate change – saving lives”

Go East: is western Europe exporting its air pollution problem? https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/04/11/diesel-exports-eastern-europe-air-pollution/ “Western Europe may be exporting its air pollution problem eastwards, according to new analysis. Last year more than 35,000 heavily polluting diesel cars were exported to Bulgaria from other EU countries, according to a new report by think tank Transport & Environment. Experts believe the problem extends to other countries in eastern Europe and is likely to get worse, as governments in western Europe introduce stricter controls on diesel vehicles as part of attempts to crack down on air pollution in cities.”

Food & food security

National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS): https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/ndns-results-from-years-7-and-8-combined “Results of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) rolling programme for 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016.”

Government is ‘schizophrenic’ about food system post-Brexit: https://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Article/2018/04/04/British-food-polarised-after-exit-from-EU  “British diets could become far more polarised post-Brexit, with the rich enjoying more expensive local food produced to high production and welfare standards, and the poor relying on cheap, imported food made to much lower standards, a leading academic has warned.”

Global Report on Food Crises: http://vam.wfp.org/sites/data/GRFC_2018_Full_Report_EN.pdf “A new report out today sounds the alarm regarding surging levels of acute hunger. Some 124 million people in 51 countries were affected by acute food insecurity during 2017 — 11 million more people than the year before — according to the latest edition of the Global Report on Food Crises. The report defines acute food insecurity as hunger so severe that it poses an immediate threat to lives or livelihoods.” Press release here: Food crises continue to strike, and acute hunger intensifies: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1110352/icode/

Scientists examine threats to food security if we meet the Paris climate targets: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/apr/03/scientists-examine-threats-to-food-security-if-we-meet-the-paris-climate-targets “Even with aggressive climate policies to limit global warming, food security in some areas will be threatened”

Wheat in heat: the 'crazy idea' that could combat food insecurity: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/mar/23/heat-tolerant-durum-wheat-crazy-idea-food-insecurity “The strain of wheat can withstand constant 40C temperatures, and has been developed by the International Centre for Research in the Dry Areas (Icarda). The so-called drylands cover more than 40% of the world’s land surface and despite the challenges, remain huge centres of agriculture, supporting half the world’s livestock.”

Eating out increases levels of phthalates in the body, study finds: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/mar/29/eating-out-increases-levels-of-phthalates-in-the-body-study-finds “Eating at restaurants and fast food chains may increase exposure to potentially harmful hormone-disrupting chemicals used to increase the flexibility and durability of plastic, a study has found.”

And finally….

Cyclist in Russia who hit pothole gets fined for damaging it: http://road.cc/content/news/240013-cyclist-russia-who-hit-pothole-gets-fined-damaging-it “A cyclist in Russia who was left bruised after he hit a pothole was fined by police … for damaging it. Andrei Chikin, who was left bruised after his crash, successfully appealed the penalty”

Council denies street lights cause cancer: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Council-denies-street-lights-cause-cancer-/45096 “Gateshead Council has been forced to hit back at a conspiracy theory which claims it is carrying out secret Government trials using its street lights.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 23 March 2018

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.

An effectiveness hierarchy of preventive interventions: neglected paradigm or self-evident truth? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28525612 “Non-communicable disease prevention strategies usually target the four major risk factors of poor diet, tobacco, alcohol and physical inactivity. Yet, the most effective approaches remain disputed. However, increasing evidence supports the concept of an effectiveness hierarchy. Thus, 'downstream' preventive activities targeting individuals (such as 1:1 personal advice, health education, 'nudge' or primary prevention medications) consistently achieve a smaller population health impact than interventions aimed further 'upstream' (for instance, smoke-free legislation, alcohol minimum pricing or regulations eliminating dietary transfats). These comprehensive, policy-based interventions reach all parts of the population and do not depend on a sustained 'agentic' individual response. They thus tend to be more effective, more rapid, more equitable and also cost-saving. This effectiveness hierarchy is self-evident to many professionals working in public health. Previously neglected in the wider world, this effectiveness hierarchy now needs to be acknowledged by policy makers.”

Rise in mortality in England and Wales in first seven weeks of 2018: http://www.bmj.com/content/360/bmj.k1090 “Within the first seven weeks of 2018, some 93 990 people died in England and Wales. Over the same weeks in the previous five years, an average of 83 615 people died. This rise of 12.4%, or 10 375 additional deaths, was not due to the ageing of the population. Ageing is a slow process and leads to slow, not sudden, rises in mortality. An additional person died every seven minutes during the first 49 days of 2018 compared with what had been usual in the previous five years. Why?” – Further discussion in The Conversation here: https://theconversation.com/rapid-rise-in-mortality-in-england-and-wales-in-early-2018-an-investigation-is-needed-93311

Sustainable development goals

John Lewis and Sainsbury’s join retailers making new commitments to sustainable development: http://www.climateactionprogramme.org/news/major-uk-retailers-make-new-commitments-to-sustainable-development “25 of the UK’s largest retailers, including Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and IKEA, have joined a campaign to accelerate action towards meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The “Better Retail Better World” campaign, run by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), sets new targets for outlets to act on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste, deforestation and inequality by the 2020s.”

Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/19/upshot/race-class-white-and-black-men.html “Black boys raised in America, even in the wealthiest families and living in some of the most well-to-do neighborhoods, still earn less in adulthood than white boys with similar backgrounds, according to a sweeping new study that traced the lives of millions of children. White boys who grow up rich are likely to remain that way. Black boys raised at the top, however, are more likely to become poor than to stay wealthy in their own adult households.” – Impressive interactive infographic – as one commentator on Twitter says “Seeing the data points in motion gives new meaning to the phrase 'trickle down economics'. The wealth doesn't travel downward - people do.

Healthy planning & environment

More on the draft NPPF consultation;

Compendium of scientific, medical and media findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking (unconventional gas and oil extraction): http://concernedhealthny.org/compendium/ “The Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (the Compendium) is a fully referenced compilation of the evidence outlining the risks and harms of fracking. The Compendium is organized to be accessible to public officials, researchers, journalists, and the public at large. In addition, the Compendium is complemented by a fully searchable, near-exhaustive citation database of peer-reviewed journal articles pertaining to shale gas and oil extraction, the Repository for Oil and Gas Energy Research, that was developed by PSE Healthy Energy and which is housed on its website (https://www.psehealthyenergy.org/our-work/shale-gas-research-library/).”

Home Counties beauty spots are facing a new shale oil rush: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/03/15/home-counties-shale-oil-acid-drilling-balcombe/ “Nearly 177,000 acres of protected landscapes and habitats across the South East could be at risk from a new oil rush, according to an investigation by Unearthed. Vast swathes of the South Downs national park and the Surrey Hills and High Weald areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) – as well as dozens of sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) – could be affected by the new plans to drill for oil.  

Green infrastructure: Strategic green networks supporting life in cities and towns: http://www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/adelaidemtloftyranges/plants-and-animals/green-infrastructure “Take a look at the extensive evidence and research on green infrastructure, the introductory video, case studies demonstrating how various types of green infrastructure were planned, designed and delivered, and publications, programs, policies, guidelines and implementation tools. We hope you find it all useful and share it with others too.”

Housing

Improving health and care through the home: MoU: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-health-and-care-through-the-home-mou “Over 25 stakeholders give a renewed commitment to joint action across government, health, social care and housing sectors to improving health through the home. Our shared commitment to joint action across government, health, social care and housing sectors in England; ⌂ Principles for joint-working to deliver better health and wellbeing outcomes,  more effective healthcare and social care and to reduce health inequalities; ⌂ The context and framework for cross-sector partnerships, nationally and locally, to design and deliver: healthy homes, communities and neighbourhoods; integrated and effective services that meet the needs of individuals, their carer’s/carers and their families; ⌂ Shared success criteria to deliver and measure impact.

Housing and health: Opportunities for sustainability and transformation partnerships: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/housing-and-health “This short report, supported by the National Housing Federation, is intended to help those leading and contributing to sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) and emerging integrated care systems (ICSs) to make the most of the contribution that housing can make to health as they deliver and continue to develop.”

Housing First alone can't solve the UK's homelessness crisis: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/mar/14/housing-first-uk-homelessness-crisis “The scheme has ended homelessness in Finland and can help in the UK, too – but only as part of an integrated approach” – European guide to Housing First here: http://housingfirsteurope.eu/assets/files/2017/03/HFG_full_Digital.pdf

Homeless crisis: how the state pays the rich to exploit the poor: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/mar/17/homeless-crisis-housing-benefit-micro-flats-cost “Landlords carving up a home into micro-flats can net £50,000 a year. And it’s taxpayers who foot the bill”

Can 3D-printed houses provide cheap, safe homes for the world's poor? http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=15774c8e-4883-440b-8437-dd38ee9d2848 “Dozens of families living in El Salvador's slums hope to swap their makeshift wooden shacks for concrete 3D-printed houses next year, in what developers say is the first project of its kind in the world. ICON, a Texas-based construction technology company has unveiled a 350 square foot (33 square metre) house, which it printed and built in two days using a gigantic, portable 3D-printer.”

Climate change & sustainability

A range of articles looking at climate change, migration and conflict.

Web of Power: Cambridge Analytica and the Climate Science Denial Network Lobbying for Brexit and Trump: https://www.desmog.uk/2018/03/21/web-power-how-cambridge-analytica-sits-heart-brexit-trump-and-climate-science-denial “This map shows how Cambridge Analytica lies at the heart of a network of operatives pushing climate science denial in the name of Brexit and Trump”

UK sets new wind power record as turbines deliver 14 gigawatts for first time – 37 per cent of nation's electricity: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/wind-power-record-electricity-gigawatt-output-national-grid-a8260836.html “Wind power in the UK set a new record today by generating 14 gigawatts for the first time – nearly 37 per cent of the the country’s electricity. The National Grid control room confirmed that 13.9 gigawatts was the highest ever metered wind output.”

Human influence on climate change will fuel more extreme heat waves in US: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180319124302.htm “ Human-caused climate change will drive more extreme summer heat waves in the western US, including in California and the Southwest as early as 2020, new research shows.”

Impacts of half a degree additional warming on the Asian summer monsoon rainfall characteristics: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aab55d “Analysis of daily precipitation characteristics reveals that more-extreme precipitation will have larger increase in intensity and frequency responding to the half a degree additional warming, which is more clearly seen over the South Asian monsoon region, indicating non-linear scaling of precipitation extremes with temperature.”

Effects of sea ice on Arctic biota: an emerging crisis discipline: http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/14/3/20170702 “The rapid decline in Arctic sea ice (ASI) extent, area and volume during recent decades is occurring before we can understand many of the mechanisms through which ASI interacts with biological processes both at sea and on land. As a consequence, our ability to predict and manage the effects of this enormous environmental change is limited, making this a crisis discipline.”

From Not Enough to Too Much, the World’s Water Crisis Explained: https://relay.nationalgeographic.com/proxy/distribution/public/amp/2018/03/world-water-day-water-crisis-explained “Fourteen of the world’s 20 megacities are now experiencing water scarcity or drought conditions. As many as four billion people already live in regions that experience severe water stress for at least one month of the year, according to a 2016 study in the journal Science Advances. Nearly half of those people live in India and China. With populations rising, these stresses will only mount.”

Flooding and heavy rains rise 50% worldwide in a decade, figures show: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/21/flooding-and-heavy-rains-rise-50-worldwide-in-a-decade-figures-show “Such extreme weather events are now happening four times more than in 1980, according to a European science paper”

Carbon cuts could help 15 cities each avoid at least 1 million early deaths – scientists: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=09d14f4b-a5fa-4036-8db2-654aa63acf13 “15 cities in Asia and Africa could see at least a million fewer premature deaths this century if they cut toxic carbon dioxide emissions”

Great British Dishes Under Threat From Climate Change: https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/great-british-dishes-under-threat-climate-change “In a new report launched ahead of Earth Hour, we reveal the environmental impact of the nation’s favourite dishes, and how a changing climate is likely to alter some of the country’s most iconic meals.”

Britain intends to stay in Europe's carbon market until at least 2020: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-europe-carbontrading/britain-intends-to-stay-in-europes-carbon-market-until-at-least-2020-idUKKBN1GX1EL “Britain intends to remain in Europe’s emission trading system (ETS) until at least the end of its third trading phase running from 2013-2020, Britain’s energy minister said on Wednesday.”

Geoengineer polar glaciers to slow sea-level rise: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-03036-4 “Stalling the fastest flows of ice into the oceans would buy us a few centuries to deal with climate change and protect coasts, argue John C. Moore and colleagues.”

Global warming to date could ‘obliterate’ a third of glacier ice: https://www.carbonbrief.org/global-warming-to-date-could-obliterate-third-glacier-ice “The warming the world has already experienced could be enough to melt more than a third of the world’s glaciers outside Antarctica and Greenland – regardless of current efforts to reduce emissions.”

Carbon Capture And Storage: An Expensive Option For Reducing U.S. CO2 Emissions: https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2017/05/03/carbon-capture-and-storage-an-expensive-option-for-reducing-u-s-co2-emissions/#6550fd526482 “Our analysis shows coal plants equipped with CCS are nearly three times more expensive than onshore wind power and more than twice as expensive as solar photovoltaics (PV).  Although these costs will decline with research and development, the potential for cost improvement is limited. Coal with CCS will always need significant subsidies to complete economically with wind and solar.”

Extreme Weather and The Climate Crisis: The Facts: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/extremeweather “Is climate change really making weather more extreme? The simple answer is yes. In this free e-book, we explain in plain language how burning fossil fuels is driving climate change and making our weather more intense and dangerous”

Fisheries output to plunge unless global warming reeled in: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-fisheries/fisheries-output-to-plunge-unless-global-warming-reeled-in-idUSKCN1GK2QI “Global fisheries output will slump by 20 percent by 2300 and by 60 percent in the worst-hit North Atlantic region if governments fail to slow long-term global warming, a U.S. team of scientists said on Thursday.”

Red Cross Turns to Climate Attribution Science to Prepare for Disasters Ahead: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/12032018/red-cross-disaster-relief-climate-change-attribution-studies-extreme-weather-science-trends “Understanding how extreme weather and temperatures are changing helps relief organizations like the Red Cross determine where to stockpile emergency supplies.”

Shell CEO: Climate change is our biggest issue: https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/165624/shell-ceo-climate-change-biggest-issue/ “Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden has said that climate change is the biggest issue facing the energy sector, encouraging the European oil major to invest more in cleaner-burning gas and renewable energy.”

Oil market faces supply cliff edge despite US shale boom: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/03/05/oil-market-faces-supply-cliff-edge-despite-us-shale-boom/ “The global oil market faces a supply cliff edge in the next decade as demand for crude rises faster than US shale production. The International Energy Agency warned that unless more investment flows into new oil projects the market will face a supply crunch within five years. The IEA’s findings appear to confound forecasts for a major US shale boom in the coming years which many fear could threaten the oil market price recovery.”

Active travel & transport

Self-driving Uber kills Arizona woman in first fatal crash involving pedestrian: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/19/uber-self-driving-car-kills-woman-arizona-tempe “Tempe police said the self-driving car was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash and that the vehicle hit a woman, who was walking outside of the crosswalk and later died at a hospital. There was a vehicle operator inside the car at the time of the crash.”

Community-wide intervention and population-level physical activity: a 5-year cluster randomized trial.: http://www.globalpanet.com/knowledge-base/country/japan/community-wide-intervention-and-population-level-physical-activity-a-5-year-cluster-randomized-trial “This paper is unusual in that it combines community-wide health promotion as intervention elements with the rigorous epidemiological design. This design enhances the internal validity of the findings, and its community-wide setting contributes to external validity. The intervention comprised information provision, structured programs, and a supportive infrastructure targeting aerobic activities, flexibility and muscle strengthening or both.”

Electric vehicle charging points to quadruple in London next year: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Electric-vehicle-charging-points-to-quadruple-in-London-next-year/44951 “London boroughs are set to deliver another 2,630 charging points in the next financial year - an increase of over 300% - according to a new survey.”

Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey (ALARM survey): http://www.asphaltuk.org/wp-content/uploads/alarm-survey-2018-FINAL.pdf  - More than 24,400 miles of roads need essential repair in the next year, a new survey has revealed. The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey has found it would now take 14 years for councils to get local roads back into a reasonable state, at a cost of £9.31bn. Cyclists are particularly vulnerable to poor road conditions and potholes.

Air quality & pollution

Improving air quality: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/improving-air-quality-17-19/ “MP's from four select committees have combined forces to relaunch an unprecedented joint inquiry on air quality to scrutinise cross-government plans to tackle pollution hotspots. The Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental Audit Committee, Health, and Transport Committees call for evidence on how effective the Government’s plans are for tackling the health and environmental impacts of outdoor air pollution. – media coverage here;

World Health Organization – Air Pollution: http://www.who.int/airpollution/en/ A range of reports, resources and links related to the work of WHO on air pollution.

War on plastic may do more harm than good, warns think tank: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43383607 “A green think tank has warned of the risk of unintended consequences from the wave of concern about plastics. The Green Alliance said plastics played a valuable role and couldn't be simply abolished. It wants to transform the notion of a "War on Plastics" into a "War on Plastic Litter".”

London to pilot water bottle refill scheme to slash plastic waste: https://www.edie.net/news/5/London-to-pilot-water-bottle-refill-scheme-to-slash-plastic-waste/ “Major firms including Costa Coffee, Leon and Whole Foods will offer tap water refills across London stores as part of a pilot scheme to slash single-use plastic bottles in the capital.”

Trash-collecting river robot can be controlled by anyone via the web: https://newatlas.com/chicago-river-trash-robot/53864/ “A new Kickstarer project aims to remove trash from the Chicago River by creating a remote-controlled floating garbage collector. Named Trash Robot, the machine can be controlled a web browser, so potentially anyone can take a turn doing their bit to clean up the river from anywhere in the world.”

 

Food & food security

Childhood obesity inquiry launched: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/health-and-social-care-committee/news/childhood-obesity-launch-17-19/ “The Health and Social Care Committee will be following up its predecessor's work in the last Parliament (Childhood obesity: brave and bold action and Childhood obesity: follow-up) by holding further evidence sessions on childhood obesity. The Committee will be particularly interested to hear what effect the plan is having on health inequality; and what the most effective interventions might be to reduce inequality. Submissions of no more than 2500 words are invited by Monday 9 April.”

World Bank: An overview of links between obesity and food systems: http://www.gainhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Final-Overweight-Obesity-Report.pdf “...Given that energy/food supply and availability are a recognized contributory factor to overweight and obesity, this report is an initial attempt to better understand how agriculture and food systems can contribute to and mitigate against the rising incidence of overweight and obesity.”

Traffic light food scheme 'improving kids' health' in Western Australia: Report: https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2018/03/19/Traffic-light-food-scheme-improving-kids-health-in-Western-Australia-Report?utm_source=copyright&utm_medium=OnSite&utm_campaign=copyright “A traffic light labelling policy for food and drinks provided in some Australian schools has had a positive impact of children’s health, a new report claims.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 16 March 2018

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

Rise in mortality in England and Wales in first seven weeks of 2018: http://www.bmj.com/content/360/bmj.k1090 “Within the first seven weeks of 2018, some 93 990 people died in England and Wales. Over the same weeks in the previous five years, an average of 83 615 people died.1 This rise of 12.4%, or 10 375 additional deaths, was not due to the ageing of the population. Ageing is a slow process and leads to slow, not sudden, rises in mortality. An additional person died every seven minutes during the first 49 days of 2018 compared with what had been usual in the previous five years. Why?” – Media coverage here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/nhs-winter-crisis-deaths-patients-flu-cancelled-operations-bmj-oxford-a8256401.html “Experts have called on the Government to explain why there were more than 10,000 “additional deaths” in England and Wales in the first few weeks of 2018. An editorial published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) showed that during the first seven weeks of the year, there were 93,990 deaths. But in the same period over the previous five years an average of 83,615 people died.”

Baby Charities Express 'Extreme Concern' Over Increased Infant Death Rates In England And Wales: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/baby-charities-express-extreme-concern-over-increase-neonatal-and-infant-death-rates_uk_5aaa3e52e4b0f4aaa113dfb5 “Baby charities have spoken of their “extreme concern” that the number of babies who died within their first 28 days of life has increased year on year in England and Wales. The rate rose from 2.6 neonatal (newborn) deaths per 1,000 births in 2015 to 2.7 for every 1,000 births in 2016, the Office for National Statistics revealed.” – ONS report here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/childhoodinfantandperinatalmortalityinenglandandwales/2016

Mapping child growth failure in Africa between 2000 and 2015: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature25760 “...At these rates, much, if not all of the continent will fail to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target—to end malnutrition by 2030.”

New tools for reporting on world’s forest resources launched: https://reliefweb.int/report/world/new-tools-reporting-world-s-forest-resources-launched “FAO has launched today a new online platform for reporting on the status and trends of the world's forest resources. The platform enables countries to increase the efficiency of their reporting process and improve the consistency, reliability and transparency of forest data.”

'Better Retail Better World': Retail giants sign up to sweeping new environmental goals: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3028306/better-retail-better-world-retail-giants-sign-up-to-sweeping-new-environmental-goals “Supermarkets and leading High Street brands sign up to raft of joint targets based on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals” – non-paywalled article here: UK retailers sign up to UN sustainability goals: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/uk-retailers-sign-up-to-un-sustainability-goals-36700291.html

Healthy planning & environment

Draft National Planning Policy Framework consultation – comments and responses.

The Faculty of Public Health healthy spatial planning special interest group is coordinating the FPH response to the draft NPPF. If you would like more information on this please contact me on this email address.

Planning Policy Wales: http://gov.wales/topics/planning/policy/ppw/?lang=en “This is our land use planning policy for Wales and should be taken into account when preparing development plans. This guidance is supplemented by a series of Technical Advice Notes (TANs) and Minerals Technical Advice Notes (MTANs). We give procedural guidance in circulars. The Welsh Ministers and Planning Inspectors will consider these guidance documents when deciding on called-in planning applications and appeals. Planning Policy Wales (PPW) has been reworked into policy themes around the well-being goals, with policies updated to reflect new Welsh Government strategies.”

Viable villages: closing the planning loophole: http://www.cpre.org.uk/resources/housing-and-planning/item/4781-viable-villages-closing-the-planning-loophole-that-undercuts-affordable-housing-in-the-countryside “Developers can use viability assessments to argue that building affordable homes could reduce their profits below competitive levels, which they define as around 20%. This gives them a legal right to cut their affordable housing quota. The consequences for rural communities can be particularly devastating, as house prices are often higher – and wages lower. Losing even a small number of affordable homes can be the difference between post offices and schools staying open or not, and villages thriving or dying as families and young people are priced out.”

Wide coverage of micro plastics continues.

Media coverage this week of the discovery of microplastics in bottled water – a selection of articles – time to move to refillable bottles?

  • Bottled water: WHO launches plastic health review: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43389031 “The World Health Organization is to launch a review into the potential risks of plastic in drinking water. It will assess the latest research into the spread and impact of so-called microplastics - particles that are small enough to be ingested. It comes after journalism organisation Orb Media found plastic particles in many major brands of bottled water.”
  • Plastic found in most bottled water, triggering World Health Organisation review: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/14/plastic-now-pervasive-finding-way-bottled-water-investigation/ “Scientists who carried out the examination of more that 250 bottles from nine countries said their analysis found plastic “in bottle after bottle and brand after brand”. The tests, which were conducted at the State University of New York in Fredonia, found that there were typically 10 plastic particles per litre of bottled water. Each particle is larger than the width of a human hair.”
  • The water con: why are we drinking so much? https://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/mens-health/10772770/The-water-con-why-are-we-drinking-so-much.html “Hangovers and exercise can only account for a certain amount of the people you see constantly sipping from water bottles. The rest might just be drinking more than they need, writes Phil Hammond”
  • Bottled water is the marketing trick of the century: https://theconversation.com/bottled-water-is-the-marketing-trick-of-the-century-25842 “Given the fact that UK tap water is widely considered to better for you than the bottled variety and subject to more stringent safety checks, why do we insist on purchasing something which is up to 300 times more expensive than what comes out of our taps?”

Managing the global land resource: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/royprsb/285/1874/20172798.full.pdf “...In addition, we need to deliver progress towards meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, all without compromising the many ecosystem services provided by land and without exceeding planetary boundaries. Managing the land to tackle these pressing issues is a major global challenge. In this perspective paper, I provide a very broad overview of the main challenges, and explore co-benefits, trade-offs and possible solutions.”

Fishing for krill is an eco-disaster: we must protect the Antarctic: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/13/fishing-krill-eco-disaster-ocean-sanctuary-protect-antarctic “These crustaceans are tiny but play a crucial role in limiting climate change. An ocean sanctuary would safeguard them”

Housing

With more efficient homes, the UK would never fear running short of gas: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/mar/04/energy-efficient-homes-uk-would-never-fear-running-out-of-gas “Last week’s brief but unnerving shortfall was a reminder, if any were needed, of the central importance of energy efficiency”

‘Astonished’ MPs told £817m has gone unspent in housing budget: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/mar/10/housing-budget-817-million-unspent-astonished-mps “MPs are demanding an urgent explanation from ministers after being told that £817m allocated for desperately needed affordable housing and other projects in cash-strapped local authorities has been returned to the Treasury unspent.”

‘Great Places’ Commission launched by the National Housing Federation: https://www.pbctoday.co.uk/news/planning-construction-news/great-places-commission-launched-by-nhf/39150/ “The NHF has launched an investigation that will delve into what makes a ‘great place’ and how housing associations can play a key role in regenerating areas in economic decline”

Climate change & sustainability

Explainer: What climate models tell us about future rainfall: https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-what-climate-models-tell-us-about-future-rainfall “Much of the public discussion around climate change has focused on how much the Earth will warm over the coming century. But climate change is not limited just to temperature; how precipitation – both rain and snow – changes will also have an impact on the global population.”

Increased risk of a shutdown of ocean convection posed by warm North Atlantic summers: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0105-1.epdf “A shutdown of ocean convection in the subpolar North Atlantic, triggered by enhanced melting over Greenland, is regarded as a potential transition point into a fundamentally different climate regime” – More here: The fast-melting Arctic is already messing with the ocean’s circulation, scientists say: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/03/14/the-melting-arctic-is-already-messing-with-a-crucial-part-of-the-oceans-circulation-scientists-say/?utm_term=.7d31b70cfd36 “Scientists studying a remote and icy stretch of the North Atlantic have found new evidence that fresh water, likely melted from Greenland or Arctic sea ice, may already be altering a key process that helps drives the global circulation of the oceans.”

Analysis: How Scotland plans to meet its climate change targets: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-scotland-plans-climate-change-targets “The plan includes measures to significantly cut emissions from transport, buildings and industry to help the government meet its target of a 66% cut on greenhouse gas emissions by 2032, compared to 1990 levels. However, climate campaigners were disappointed about its roll back of previous targets for low-carbon heat, as well as a lowering of ambition on reducing emissions from Scotland’s agriculture sector.”

Fourth National Climate Assessment: https://www.globalchange.gov/nca4 “Development of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) is currently underway, with anticipated delivery in late 2018. Below you will find information related to Volumes I and II of NCA4, including background information, frequently asked questions, and opportunities to participate in the process.”

Can you power a business on 100% renewable energy? Ikea wants to try: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/apr/08/renewable-energy-ikea-walmart-google-mars-hp-wind-solar-power “An increasing number of big businesses including Google and Mars are opting to get their power from renewables – helping the planet and their profit margins”

World’s First Energy Storage Fund to List in London: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-12/world-s-first-energy-storage-fund-to-list-in-london “ The London-based private-equity firm is seeking to raise 100 million pounds ($139 million) from the initial public offering expected later this month on the London Stock Exchange. The fund will invest in large-scale batteries.”

UK’s largest battery project to move ahead in Swindon: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/03/14/uks-largest-battery-project-move-ahead-swindon/ “One of the UK’s largest power storage projects will move ahead on a former municipal depot site in Swindon as Britain’s battery boom gains pace. Swindon Borough Council’s battery will have capacity of 50MWh, the largest that a power project approved by local authorities can be.”

Global Carbon Budget 2017: https://www.earth-syst-sci-data.net/10/405/2018/ “Accurate assessment of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and their redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and terrestrial biosphere – the "global carbon budget" – is important to better understand the global carbon cycle, support the development of climate policies, and project future climate change. Here we describe data sets and methodology to quantify the five major components of the global carbon budget and their uncertainties.”

Greenwash Database: Tracking Big Oil in Small Communities: https://www.desmog.uk/2018/03/13/greenwash-database-big-oil-small-communities “DeSmog UK’s new database, launched today, tracks fossil fuel companies’ involvement in local communities through funding and sponsorship. It includes local level and educational sponsorship deals from five of the most prominent fossil fuel companies operating in the UK: BP, Shell, Exxon, Total, and Chevron.”

Rain or shine: new solar cell captures energy from raindrops: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/13/rain-or-shine-new-solar-cell-captures-energy-from-raindrops “New device is designed to prevent power output plummeting when the sun isn’t shining – but practical application is still some years off”

Liebreich: Beyond Three Thirds, The Road to Deep Decarbonization: https://about.bnef.com/blog/liebreich-beyond-three-thirds-road-deep-decarbonization/ “The bad news is that even though we are on track to achieve the Three-Third World by 2040, it will not be enough to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. Electricity currently meets only just over 20% of the world’s final energy needs; and even if you add in the proportion of oil going into passenger cars and light trucks and you are still only addressing about a third of final energy consumption.”

Schwarzenegger planning to sue oil companies for 'knowingly killing people all over the world’: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/377894-schwarzenegger-targeting-oil-companies-for-knowingly-killing “Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is planning to sue oil companies, alleging they are "knowingly killing people all over the world."”

Active travel & transport

New Zealand company offers employees $10 a day to cycle to work: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/07/new-zealand-cycle-cash-10-a-day-employees-work-company “Employees who cycle to and from work will receive $5 a day and if they keep it up for more than half a year that amount will double to $10 a day, paid out as a bonus at the end of year.”

Air quality & pollution

Air pollution linked to brain alterations and cognitive impairment in children: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180308105152.htm “A new study performed in the Netherlands has linked exposure to residential air pollution during fetal life with brain abnormalities that may contribute to impaired cognitive function in school-age children. The study reports that the air pollution levels related to brain alterations were below those considered to be safe.”

Environmental pollution affects heart and lung health, explain experts: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/185226/environmental-pollution-affects-heart-lung-health/ “Professor Paul Elliott, Chair in Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine at Imperial College London, and Professor Paul Cullinan, Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine at Royal Brompton Hospital, presented their research on the long-term health impacts of exposure to environmental pollution and occupational conditions at the recent Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) seminar series.”

London congestion charge: why it’s time to reconsider one of the city’s great successes: https://theconversation.com/london-congestion-charge-why-its-time-to-reconsider-one-of-the-citys-great-successes-92478 “Key measures show it has been a success: in 2006, Transport for London (TfL) reported that the charge reduced traffic by 15% and congestion – that is, the extra time a trip would take because of traffic – by 30%. ...But while car numbers are down, the number of private for hire vehicles – your minicabs and Ubers – is up. Trips by taxi and private for hire vehicle as the main mode of the journey increased by 9.8% between 2015 and 2016 alone – and 29.2% since 2000. Today, more than 18,000 different private hire vehicles enter the congestion charging zone each day, with peaks on Friday and Saturday nights.”

False emissions ratings cost UK more than £2bn a year – report: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/mar/10/false-emissions-ratings-cost-uk-more-than-2bn-a-year-report “False emissions ratings for cars based on lab tests have cost the UK more than £2bn a year in lost tax revenue, according to the Green party. With CO2 emissions exceeding official measures by an average of 42%, millions of vehicles have been placed in tax bands that do not reflect their true levels of pollution, according to new research published on Saturday.”

Ban on diesel and petrol cars from 2040 does not go far enough, MPs warn: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/15/ban-diesel-petrol-cars-2040-does-not-go-far-enough-mps-warn/ “The ban on the sale of new conventional diesel and petrol cars from 2040 "lacks sufficient ambition" and should be brought forward, MPs have said. A joint committee report urged the Government to determine the earliest date that manufacturers must only sell alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) in the UK.”

Diesel trains found to be impacting New Street air quality: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/02/27/diesel-trains-found-impacting-new-street-air-quality/ “Researchers from the University of Birmingham have completed a major air quality monitoring project at Birmingham New Street Station, one of the country’s busiest transport terminals.”

Car sales fall again as UK consumers shun diesels: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43286735 “New UK new car registrations were down 2.8% in February from a year earlier, hit by another fall in the sale of diesel vehicles. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the industry's trade body, said sales totalled 80,805 last month. Demand for diesels fell by 23.5%, while sales of petrol cars rose 14.4%.”

China tests giant air cleaner to combat smog: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02704-9 “A 60-metre-high chimney stands among a sea of high-rise buildings in one of China’s most polluted cities. But instead of adding to Xian’s smog, this chimney is helping to clear the air. The outdoor air-purifying system, powered by the Sun, filters out noxious particles and billows clean air into the skies. Chinese scientists who designed the prototype say that the system could significantly cut pollution in urban areas in China and elsewhere.”

Food & food security

A new global geospatial dataset for agriculture and food security: https://www.geospatialworld.net/blogs/new-global-geospatial-dataset-for-agriculture/ “SERVIR, a joint initiative of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has released a new global geospatial dataset for agriculture and food security around the world. The dataset, called the Evaporative Stress Index (ESI), is available for analysis and download, and produced weekly at 5-km resolution for the entire globe.”

Nutritional labelling for healthier food or non-alcoholic drink purchasing and consumption (Cochrane Review): http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009315.pub2/abstract “Findings from a small body of low-quality evidence suggest that nutritional labelling comprising energy information on menus may reduce energy purchased in restaurants. The evidence assessing the impact on consumption of energy information on menus or on a range of food options in laboratory settings suggests a similar effect to that observed for purchasing, although the evidence is less definite and also of low quality. Accordingly, and in the absence of observed harms, we tentatively suggest that nutritional labelling on menus in restaurants could be used as part of a wider set of measures to tackle obesity. Additional high-quality research in real-world settings is needed to enable more certain conclusions.” – Conversation coverage - Nutritional labelling on menus helps cut the calories we buy: https://theconversation.com/nutritional-labelling-on-menus-helps-cut-the-calories-we-buy-92294

Council leaders call for ‘traffic light’ food labelling to fight salt consumption: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Council-leaders-call-for-traffic-light-food-labelling-to-fight-salt-consumption-/44910 “Local authority chiefs have repeated their calls for the ‘traffic light’ food labelling system to become a legal requirement post-Brexit as health campaigners warn of the high salt content of ready meals.”

Forget Hard vs Soft Brexit, the new division in government is between trade liberals and protectionists - And nowhere is this more obvious than in farming: http://neweconomics.org/2018/03/liberals-vs-protectionists “After a full twenty months of tired heaving, it remains unclear whether the tug of war within government is being won by the Hard Brexit or Soft Brexit supporters. But that isn’t the only divide we’re seeing. As the government designs new domestic policy alongside the EU negotiations, a new split is emerging: between trade liberals and protectionists. And nowhere is that split clearer than on the issue of food and farming.”

Sugar tax is already producing results: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43372295 “It will be a major change in health and tax policy. On 6 April the UK will join the small number of countries which have introduced a tax on sugary drinks as part of an anti-obesity policy. Shoppers will pay 18p or 24p per litre extra depending on how much extra sugar has been added to the drink. So are retailers and manufacturers in revolt and is the Treasury looking forward to a tax windfall to help prop up the public finances? The answer, intriguingly, is no to both questions. Rather than waiting to see how customers react to the tax - known officially as the soft drinks industry levy - companies have already started altering their recipes.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 9 March 2018

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.

Naren Patel and John Middleton: Brexit must “do no harm” to the public’s health: http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2018/03/06/naren-patel-and-john-middleton-brexit-must-do-no-harm-to-the-publics-health/ “The amendment appears simple and straightforward, but it is of profound importance to the health of future generations. It would give the government a golden opportunity to demonstrate to Parliament and the public health community that Brexit will “Do No Harm” to the public’s health. In the referendum, voters across the country, whether remainers or leavers, viewed their health as being of paramount importance—and this is the government’s chance to continue to reassure them that they do too.” To support this amendment you can retweet this tweet

Vacancy – UK Health Alliance on Climate Change: Policy and Public Affairs Manager: http://www.ukhealthalliance.org/policy-and-public-affairs-manager-vacancy/

Sustainable development goals

Progress for every child in the sdg era: https://data.unicef.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Progress_for_Every_Child_in_the_SDG_Era.pdf “Most urgently, UNICEF’s comprehensive report on SDG progress for children reveals that more than 650 million children – approaching one-third of the world’s children – live in 52 countries that are off track on at least two-thirds of the child-related SDG indicators for which they have data. The concerns raised by this news are compounded by the fact that these are only the children we know about. Progress for Every Child in the SDG Era also reveals that over half a billion of the world’s children live in 64 countries that lack sufficient data for us even to assess if they are on or off track for at least two-thirds of all child-related SDG indicators.”

Common Responsibility for Common Future: The Sustainable Development Goals and Norway’s Development Policy: https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/217f38f99edf45c498befc04b7ef1f7e/en-gb/pdfs/stm201620170024000engpdfs.pdf How Norway plans to meet the sustainable development goals.

Healthy planning & environment

The Government has published a draft revised NPPF for consultation: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/draft-revised-national-planning-policy-framework Deadline for responses 10th May. The Faculty of Public Health special interest group (SIG) for healthy spatial planning will be preparing a response with other relevant SIGs from the FPH. There has been a range of media coverage so far – there is likely to be more next week.

Social factors, toxic exposures: Study to examine confluence of children's health risks: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/csu-sft030718.php “Lead poisoning, air pollution and exposure to violent crime are all things that can negatively affect the health and well-being of children.... At Colorado State University, a multidisciplinary research team is taking a deep dive on a multitude of environmental and social stressors, and how they affect health outcomes for young children.”

'Plastic, plastic, plastic': British diver films sea of rubbish off Bali: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/06/plastic-british-diver-films-sea-rubbish-bali-indonesia “A short video posted by diver Rich Horner on his social media account and on YouTube shows the water densely strewn with plastic waste and yellowing food wrappers, the occasional tropical fish darting through the deluge.”

The known unknowns of plastic pollution: https://www.economist.com/news/international/21737498-so-far-it-seems-less-bad-other-kinds-pollution-about-which-less-fuss-made “...But the truth is that little is known about the environmental consequences of plastic—and what is known doesn’t look hugely alarming.”

What makes a terrestrial ecosystem resilient? http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6379/988.full “With increasing incidence of extreme climatic events, disease outbreaks, and other environmental perturbations, conservation of terrestrial ecosystems that can retain their structure and function despite environmental shocks has moved rapidly up the international political agenda.”

Fears for shale industry even as the UK faces gas shortage: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/03/03/fears-shale-industry-even-uk-faces-gas-shortage/ “Fresh fears for the nascent shale gas industry have emerged as freezing weather pushed Britain to the brink of running out of gas. The Government has publicly backed the burgeoning industry as a new source of secure domestic gas supplies but last week, on the eve of Britain’s tightest gas supply squeeze in a decade, energy minister Claire Perry poured fresh doubts over its future.”

Fracking delayed at North Yorkshire site until autumn: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/mar/07/fracking-delayed-north-yorkshire-site-autumn-third-energy “Third Energy has postponed plans to frack for shale gas at a site in North Yorkshire until the autumn. Meet the Yorkshire villagers fighting the frackers The company had expected to complete test fracks at its KM8 well in the village of Kirby Misperton late last year, but the process was delayed as it waited for final approval from the government.”

EU expected to vote on pesticide ban after major scientific review: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02639-1 “In a long-awaited assessment, the European Union’s food-safety agency has concluded that three controversial neonicotinoid insecticides pose a high risk to wild bees and honeybees. The findings by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Parma, Italy, raise the chances that the EU will soon move to ban all uses of the insecticides on outdoor crops.”

Total ban on bee-harming pesticides likely after major new EU analysis: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/28/total-ban-on-bee-harming-pesticides-likely-after-major-new-eu-analysis “Analysis from EU’s scientific risk assessors finds neonicotinoids pose a serious danger to all bees, making total field ban highly likely”

Housing

Housing crisis: 15,000 new Manchester homes and not a single one 'affordable': https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/mar/05/british-cities-developers-affordable-housing-manchester-sheffield “In Sheffield just 1.4% of homes approved by planners met the government’s affordable definition, while in Nottingham the figure was 3.8%, a Guardian Cities investigation has shown”

England sees funding fall for energy-efficient homes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43226918 “As the cold bites, a report says public investment in warm homes in England has been cut by 58% since 2012. It says Scotland now spends four times as much per citizen as England on energy efficiency. The report from the energy think tank e3g urges government to make warm homes a national infrastructure priority. The government did not challenge the figures, but it said that spending on homes was now better targeted at poor households.”

Fuel poverty crisis: 3,000 Britons dying each year because they can't heat their homes, study shows: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/cold-weather-uk-winter-deaths-europe-polar-vortex-a8224276.html “Campaigners call for action to end 'entirely preventable' tragedy that kills as many people as prostate cancer or breast cancer”

Climate change & sustainability

We Can’t Fix Climate Change Without Fixing Gender Equality: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/we-cant-fix-climate-change-without-fixing-gender-equality_uk_5aa00de3e4b0d4f5b66c8dcf?mx “The impacts of climate change are not felt equally. Whilst poverty and geography are important dividing lines, so too is gender. Climate-change induced disasters disproportionately affect women. When disaster strikes, women, who still often play the primary role of looking after children and the elderly, are the last to evacuate; leading to higher female death tolls. Around 90% of the 150,000 people killed in the 1991 Bangladesh cyclone were women. They typically have less access to emergency response information and if they do survive, women, especially in poor or marginalised communities, are often less able to rebuild and recover.”

Analysis: UK carbon emissions in 2017 fell to levels last seen in 1890: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-uk-carbon-emissions-in-2017-fell-to-levels-last-seen-in-1890 “While these rapid declines are impressive, there is still a long way to go to meet the national target of 80% reductions below 1990 levels by 2050. CO2 emissions currently are around 38% below 1990 levels, leaving additional reductions of 250 Mt CO2 – around 68% of today’s emissions – to achieve over the next three decades.”

UN Environment: Emissions Gap Report: https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/emissions-gap-report “The UN Environment Emissions Gap Report 2017 presents an assessment of current national mitigation efforts and the ambitions countries have presented in their Nationally Determined Contributions, which form the foundation of the Paris Agreement… This year’s report explores removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as an additional way to mitigate climate change, over and above conventional abatement strategies.”

Explainer: 10 ways ‘negative emissions’ could slow climate change: https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-10-ways-negative-emissions-could-slow-climate-change “Kicking off a week-long series on negative emissions technologies (NETs), Carbon Brief takes a look at the many and varied options. Tomorrow, we will publish the views of a wide range of experts who have examined the feasibility of NETs.”

Poorest households hit hardest by UK climate change levy despite using least energy: https://theconversation.com/poorest-households-hit-hardest-by-uk-climate-change-levy-despite-using-least-energy-92707 “Our new research shows that the poorest households not only are hit hardest by the levy but also receive less money back in the form of home improvements than they contribute in the first place.”

Potential and costs of carbon dioxide removal by enhanced weathering of rocks: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aaa9c4/meta “Our results show that enhanced weathering is an option for carbon dioxide removal that could be competitive already at 60 US $ t−1 CO2 removed for dunite, but only at 200 US $ t−1 CO2 removed for basalt. The potential carbon removal on cropland areas could be as large as 95 Gt CO2 a−1 for dunite and 4.9 Gt CO2 a−1 for basalt.”

Abundant pre-industrial carbon detected in Canadian Arctic headwaters: implications for the permafrost carbon feedback: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aaa1fe “The emission of greenhouse gases derived from old carbon by aquatic systems may indicate that carbon sequestered prior to AD1950 is being destabilized, thus contributing to the 'permafrost carbon feedback' (PCF).”

The ’beast from the east’ and the role of climate change;

Climate change poses a major risk to people’s pensions, MPs warn: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/climate-change-mps-warn-pensions-at-risk-a8239506.html “Government admits there is "a lack of attention and outright misunderstanding remain widespread"

Britain is paying the cost of the war on coal: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2018/03/01/britain-paying-cost-war-coal/ “Yesterday the National Grid announced, for the first time in almost a decade, that the UK might not have enough gas to meet demand… This is what happens when the green agenda trumps common sense.” – it is always good practice to look at opposing viewpoints, even if they are not based on credible evidence.

Where the rivers meet the sea: http://www.cee.psu.edu/news/2017-salinity-gradients.aspx “UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State researchers have created a new hybrid technology that produces unprecedented amounts of electrical power where seawater and freshwater combine at the coast. “The goal of this technology is to generate electricity from where the rivers meet the ocean,” said Christopher Gorski, assistant professor of environmental engineering at Penn State. “It's based on the difference in the salt concentrations between the two water sources.”” – More here: Scientists Just Invented Groundbreaking New Source Of Renewable Energy: http://www.physics-astronomy.com/2017/06/scientists-just-invented-groundbreaking.html?m=1

After rising for 100 years, electricity demand is flat. Utilities are freaking out: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/2/27/17052488/electricity-demand-utilities “The US electricity sector is in a period of unprecedented change and turmoil. Renewable energy prices are falling like crazy. Natural gas production continues its extraordinary surge. Coal, the golden child of the current administration, is headed down the tubes. In all that bedlam, it’s easy to lose sight of an equally important (if less sexy) trend: Demand for electricity is stagnant.”

Active travel & transport

Why is car-crazy Germany so much safer than the USA for pedestrians and cyclists? https://www.treehugger.com/urban-design/why-car-crazy-germany-so-much-safer-usa-pedestrians-and-cyclists.html “Compared to Americans, Germans own fewer cars, drive them shorter distances and less frequently, and walk and cycle and ride transit more often. They have slimmer waistlines to show for their active transport habits and suffer fewer traffic deaths whether in a car or not. They spend less household income on getting around even as they pay much more in driving costs. They use less energy per person on ground transport, resulting in lower carbon emissions.”

Killer cyclists? Let’s not forget the real threat on our roads: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/08/killer-cyclists-roads-bikes-pedestrian-collision-deaths-britain “People on bikes do stupid things. But 99% of pedestrian collision deaths in Britain involve a motorised vehicle. A dangerous cycling law won’t solve our problems”

Crash driver Ian Lloyd-Owen had no licence for 40 years: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-43321882 “A man who drove for more than 40 years without a full licence before he caused a fatal crash on the M4 motorway has been given a suspended jail term.” Emphasis added….

The world of self-driving cars is set to change in April: https://qz.com/1217317/california-will-allow-truly-driverless-cars-in-april/ “The California DMV got approval Monday (Feb. 26) for its plan (pdf) to put self-driving cars on the road with no safety driver, a measure that ensured a human could take over if the car’s artificial intelligence made a mistake. That means starting April 2, Google, Ford, Nvidia, and other companies can own and operate cars driving around the Golden State without anybody inside.”

Lack of models, not charging points, 'holding back electric car market': https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/27/lack-of-models-not-charging-points-holding-back-electric-car-market “The rise of electric cars in Europe is being hampered by a lack of models for consumers to choose from rather than a lack of public recharging points, according to energy companies and carmakers.”

Air quality & pollution

Chief Medical Officer annual report 2017: health impacts of all pollution – what do we know? https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/chief-medical-officer-annual-report-2017-health-impacts-of-all-pollution-what-do-we-know “Professor Dame Sally Davies's ninth independent report as CMO discusses the threat to health posed by pollution to people living in England. The purpose of the report, Professor Dame Sally Davies says in her introductory summary, is: ‘To bring political, policy and health system attention to pollution as a threat to the public’s health […] to emphasise the role pollution plays in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and recommend means to better understand and tackle this threat [and] structure our research and public sector organisations to look at the whole spectrum of pollution holistically.’” – media coverage: Public at risk from 'daily cocktail of pollution': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43246263

Health co-benefits from air pollution and mitigation costs of the Paris Agreement: a modelling study: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(18)30029-9/fulltext “Substantial health gains can be achieved from taking action to prevent climate change, independent of any future reductions in damages due to climate change. Some countries, such as China and India, could justify stringent mitigation efforts just by including health co-benefits in the analysis. Our results also suggest that the statement in the Paris Agreement to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1·5°C could make economic sense in some scenarios and countries if health co-benefits are taken into account.”

Carmakers’ own tests show many of the newest diesels are still ‘dangerously’ polluting: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/03/02/diesel-cars-emissions-tests-rde-nox-eu-standards-companies/ “Major investigation shows new models from leading brands like VW, Vauxhall, and Fiat still emit well over latest pollution standards on the road”

Swept under the rug: toxics in European carpets threaten health, environment and circular economy: https://epha.org/swept-under-the-rug-toxics-in-european-carpets-threaten-health-environment-and-circular-economy/ “The study identifies over 59 hazardous substances found in carpets sold in the EU, including endocrine disruptors and carcinogens, linked to serious health conditions such as cancers, learning disabilities and fertility problems. Exposure to these toxics via inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact proves extremely harmful to pregnant women, babies and small children who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of exposure to chemicals, as well as workers in the carpet industry who are exposed to those chemicals because of inadequate safety measures. Many of these toxic chemicals are also persistent polluters that stay in the environment and can cause adverse impacts on ecosystems. In some cases, health and environmental impacts only show decades later.”

Food & food security

Shared Assets – Local Land Economies: http://www.sharedassets.org.uk/innovation/local-land-economies/ “Over the course of an 18 month action learning project we worked with three leading community food enterprises, Ecological Land Cooperative, Organiclea and Kindling Trust, to understand how food growing supports local economic development and the challenges they face creating sustainable businesses and livelihoods.”

Sustainable diets will remain a minefield until we change the way we approach food: https://theconversation.com/sustainable-diets-will-remain-a-minefield-until-we-change-the-way-we-approach-food-92386 “In the drive for change, it’s vital for consumers to use their purchasing power as discerningly as they can. But with profit-making still at the top of the food industry agenda – and the environmental costs of many food products hidden by complex supply chains – we need more than consumer power alone to achieve a truly sustainable food system.”

It’s poverty, not individual choice that is driving extraordinary obesity levels: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/poverty-individual-choice-driving-obesity-health-a8219831.html “The statistics point remorselessly towards obesity being a symptom with an underlying social cause. That should completely change the approach to dealing with it”

Food makers told to cut calories by 20% by 2024: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/mar/06/food-makers-told-to-cut-calories-by-20-by-2024 “Public Health England says the target would slash costs to the NHS by £4.5bn and prevent more than 35,000 premature deaths” 2024 feels a very long way away.

Brexit: UK faces unprecedented food crisis if no trade deal secured with EU, says Sainsbury's boss: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/brexit-food-crisis-uk-shortages-eu-trade-deal-sainsburys-mike-coupe-a8236296.html “‘Closing the borders for a few days to free movement of food would result in food crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen,’ Mike Coupe says”

Healthy Eating Plate & Healthy Eating Pyramid: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-plate/ “The Healthy Eating Plate, created by nutrition experts at Harvard School of Public Health and editors at Harvard Health Publications, was designed to address deficiencies in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s MyPlate. The Healthy Eating Plate provides detailed guidance, in a simple format, to help people make the best eating choices.”

Millions of Chinese farmers reap benefits of huge crop experiment: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02792-7 “A landmark project to make agriculture more sustainable in China has significantly cut fertilizer use while boosting crop yields on millions of small farms across the country, researchers report in Nature”

Farming Ideology Trumps Evidence: https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/farming-ideology-trumps-evidence/ “A recent article in the Independent is, in my opinion, a good example of how ideology can overwhelm evidence and logic.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 1 March 2018

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

New guide to help private sector deliver UN’s SDGs published: https://transform.iema.net/article/new-guide-help-private-sector-deliver-uns-sdgs-published “The private sector is not moving fast enough to implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a new report from the WWF providing a guide to help accelerate action.”

SDG Knowledge Weekly: Local Collaboration, Innovative Policies and Partnerships: http://sdg.iisd.org/commentary/policy-briefs/sdg-knowledge-weekly-local-collaboration-innovative-policies-and-partnerships/ “Recent SDG Knowledge Weekly briefs have covered private and public options for financing the SDGs, as well as efforts to localize the Goals. This week’s column turns towards other innovative ways of delivering the Goals, looking at literature and news announcements covering public-private partnerships (PPPs), policy options such as special economic zones (SEZs), and country support platforms.”

Beyond capitalism and socialism: could a new economic approach save the planet? https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/apr/21/regenerative-economy-holism-economy-climate-change-inequality “A holistic approach to the economy is necessary to avoid social, environmental and economic collapse, according to a new report by the Capital Institute”

Healthy planning & environment

TCPA - Securing constructive collaboration and consensus for planning healthy developments: A report from the Developers and Wellbeing project: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=b9a54964-9cf5-49d4-8ef4-095d2436719f “The project was based around ten workshops with local authority planning and public health teams, housing developers and a wide network of stakeholders. In addition, developers were interviewed to find out what they thought about their role in creating healthy places. The meetings and conversations yielded interesting perspectives and reflections from developers, including insight into their relationships with public bodies during the planning process. The activities were supported by an evidence review of publications and studies from industry and academic sources on the subject of healthy places and economic value.”

TCPA - The NPPF will fail again unless it can pass these eight tests: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/blog/the-nppf-will-fail-again-unless-it-can-pass-these-eight-tests “The government has a choice over the future direction of planning and place-making in England: it can continue on the path of planning deregulation and growth at all cost, or it can use the revision of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to clarify and strengthen its commitment to people and place.”

Planning for Environment and Resource eFficiency in European Cities and Towns Project summary: https://www.interregeurope.eu/perfect/ “PERFECT integrates the many benefits of green infrastructure into the planning and investment for the future of urban and rural areas. It seeks to influence the policy-making process by raising awareness of the social, environmental and economic potential of green infrastructure.”

Why do we visit green areas? Evidence from Amsterdam: https://www.interregeurope.eu/perfect/news/news-article/2556/why-do-we-visit-green-areas-evidence-from-amsterdam/ “There is accumulating evidence showing that health benefits linked with access to green space may be strongest among the lowest socioeconomic groups. However, in Amsterdam, residents with a low socioeconomic status use and appreciate the green infrastructure less than residents with a higher socioeconomic status. This is unfortunate since this is the group of residents who have poorest health and may benefit the most. The big question is why do these people use the green infrastructure to a lesser extent?”

National Planning Policy Framework review: what to expect?: http://lichfields.uk/blog/2018/february/26/national-planning-policy-framework-review-what-to-expect/ “Last year’s Housing White Paper provided some clarity over the extent of the revision that was then envisaged for the NPPF; in particular, it would be setting out a series of new, housing-focused policy. Since then, further consultation documents have been launched and policy announcements have been made, as housing has ever-increasingly become a political priority nationally, as highlighted by PM Theresa May’s clear message at last year’s Tory Conference.”

How walkable is your city? Tool aims to make pedestrians safer and happier: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=77404c48-bc83-4774-b1fc-a4b4ab9ea56f “Urban planners are looking into measures to cut road deaths and injuries but also at ways to ease traffic and encourage people to walk”

Urban Green Space Layouts and Urban Heat Island: Case Study on Apartment Complexes in South Korea: https://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/%28ASCE%29UP.1943-5444.0000414 “The study showed that in the presence of solar heat, there were significant temperature differences among the three layouts. The study showed that the sites with greenery in the middle of a complex generated the lowest urban heat island effect of the three layouts.”

Why fracking is in big trouble: http://neweconomics.org/2018/02/fracking-in-big-trouble/ “The finances of frackers are creaking. Local councils are simply refusing to roll over in the face of the industry’s bully-boy tactics. Shale is getting more and more toxic, as MPs and the public turn against it. The Government doesn’t talk about it any more, and behind the scenes has massively lowered its expectations of how much fracking it thinks we’re going to get. It’s only going to get harder and harder for national politicians to claim that it’s somehow in the national interest.”

Theresa May: Fracking across Yorkshire will be financially beneficial for communities: https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/theresa-may-fracking-across-yorkshire-will-be-financially-beneficial-for-communities-1-9033730/ “Prime Minister Theresa May today insisted the planned roll-out of fracking across vast swathes of Yorkshire will be both safe and financially beneficial to local communities.”

Plastic straws could be banned, suggests Michael Gove: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43169004 “Environment Secretary Michael Gove has suggested that plastic straws could be banned in Britain. When asked by the Daily Telegraph if he would prohibit plastic straws Mr Gove replied "watch this space". He added that a balanced approach would be needed but said: "If it is bad, then banning it is a good thing."”

Europe's Dirty Little Secret: Moroccan Slaves and a 'Sea of Plastic': https://www.ecowatch.com/europes-dirty-little-secret-moroccan-slaves-and-a-sea-of-plastic-1882131257.html “...As we drove along, the smell of plastic and chemicals permeated the car and offered the first scent of the larger environmental problem. The greenhouses are almost all hydroponic—growing vegetables in water, air and a chemical stew of fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide. Due to the hot and extremely difficult working conditions inside the greenhouses, almost all of the human labor is imported, much of it slave-like from Africa.”

Housing

English Housing Survey 2016 to 2017: headline report: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-housing-survey-2016-to-2017-headline-report#163961_20180125021929 “Initial findings from the English Housing Survey 2016 to 2017”

Cold homes and excess winter deaths a preventable public health epidemic that can no longer be tolerated: http://www.nea.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/E3G-NEA-Cold-homes-and-excess-winter-deaths.pdf “A large share of excess winter deaths is attributable to the entirely preventable experience of living in a cold home. This has got to stop, argue E3G’s Pedro Guertler and National Energy Action’s Peter Smith.”

Using the Social Housing Green Paper to boost the supply of low-cost rented homes: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/using-social-housing-green-paper-boost-supply-low-cost-rented-homes “In his speech announcing the Social Housing Green Paper, the Secretary of State promised a ‘wide-ranging, top-to-bottom review of the issues facing the sector’. This briefing outlines why the Green Paper must set out a plan to bridge the 30,000 homes per year gap between current supply and objectively-assessed need, with the aim of reducing the cost of housing for low-income families.”

Counties call for strategic planning reforms to tackle rising house prices: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Counties-call-for-strategic-planning-reforms-to-tackle-rising-house-prices/44754 “County councils have called for strategic planning reforms after figures showed house prices in England’s counties rose at triple the rate of London last year.”

Unsafe cladding removed from only 4% of affected social housing: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Unsafe-cladding-removed-from-only-4-of-affected-social-housing/44825 “The homelessness charity Shelter has warned 42% of social housing buildings that use similar cladding to that used at Grenfell have not started work on replacing it.”

Making an impact: measuring economic contribution in the property sector: http://lichfields.uk/blog/2018/february/23/making-an-impact-measuring-economic-contribution-in-the-property-sector/ “By providing the essential investment to support and drive economic growth, we all know that the development industry makes a hugely important contribution to the UK economy. But relatively few organisations can point to specific evidence or tangible examples of the wider benefits delivered by their day-to-day activities and operations.”

Couple fined £4,000 for disguising home as a garage: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Couple-fined-4000-for-disguising-home-as-a-garage/44725 “The development included the conversion of the couple’s garage to habitable accommodation and the erection of fencing, preventing off street parking at the property. They also undertook illegal works within the highway and created an unauthorised vehicular access onto the busy B4114 dual carriageway.”

Climate change & sustainability

Latest Report on Health Effects of Climate Change: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2666516?redirect=true “While progress is being made in addressing the health threats from climate change around the world, these efforts need to be accelerated to mitigate and prevent future harms, according to new research in The Lancet. The report points out that climate change, which disproportionately affects populations in low- and middle-income countries, is already impacting the health of hundreds of millions of people around the world in ways that may be irreversible.”

The southern African climate under 1.5° and 2°C of global warming as simulated by CORDEX models: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aab190 “The importance of achieving the Paris Agreement is imperative for southern Africa as the projected changes under both the 1.5°C, and more so, 2.0°C GWL imply significant potential risks to agricultural and economic productivity, human and ecological systems health and water resources with implied increase in regional water stresses.”

Why scientists have modelled climate change right up to the year 2300: https://theconversation.com/why-scientists-have-modelled-climate-change-right-up-to-the-year-2300-92236? “These scenarios are actually based on credible assumptions about a large set of long-term socio-economic and technological drivers that define contrasting futures for the world as a whole. And it turns out that things which will affect future emissions and climate, like the rates of technological progress, or population and wealth growth, are likely going to be constrained within a reasonably predictable range.”

Q&A: How viable are floating offshore windfarms? https://www.carbonbrief.org/qa-how-viable-are-floating-offshore-windfarms “Carbon Brief takes a look at the status of floating windfarms and their potential to provide renewable energy in the future.”

Coal groups urge Lloyds of London to do more to fight coal-fired power: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/02/25/coal-groups-urge-lloyds-london-do-fight-coal-fired-power/ “Lloyd’s of London is facing pressure from climate change groups to rewrite its rule book so that insurers no longer insure risky coal projects.”

World’s largest insurance firms continue to prop up Polish coal industry: https://transform.iema.net/article/worlds-largest-insurance-firms-continue-prop-polish-coal-industry “Major European insurance firms continue to undermine international efforts to combat climate change by underwriting new coal plants in Poland, supporting an industry linked to 10,520 premature deaths every year.”

European Union moves to strengthen renewable-energy goals: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-00879-9 “European lawmakers have backed measures that would substantially raise the European Union’s clean-energy ambitions. By 2030, more than one-third of energy consumed in the EU should be from renewable sources such as wind and solar power, the European Parliament says — up from the existing target of just over one-quarter. But the decision is not yet legally binding: the Parliament will now need to negotiate the plan with national governments, which could attempt to lower the targets.”

Tesla big battery results suggest local storage better than “monster” projects: http://reneweconomy.com.au/tesla-big-battery-results-suggest-local-storage-better-monster-projects-73385/ “New analysis of the performance of the Tesla big battery in South Australia suggests that distributed local battery and pumped hydro projects could offer better value to the grid than a single “monster” project like Snowy 2.0.”

Animals with white winter camouflage could struggle to adapt to climate change: https://www.carbonbrief.org/animals-with-white-winter-camouflage-could-struggle-to-adapt-to-climate-change “Animals that turn white in the winter to hide themselves in snowy landscapes could struggle to adapt to climate change, research suggests.”

Coral reefs at risk of dissolving as oceans get more acidic: study: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-environment-corals/coral-reefs-at-risk-of-dissolving-as-oceans-get-more-acidic-study-idUSKCN1G62LS “Acidification will threaten sediments that are building blocks for reefs. Corals already face risks from ocean temperatures, pollution and overfishing.”

“Coral reefs will transition to net dissolving before end of century,” the Australian-led team of scientists wrote in the U.S. journal Science. “Net dissolving” means reefs would lose more material than they gain from the growth of corals.”

Every five-year delay in meeting Paris goals could ‘add 20cm’ to global sea levels: https://www.carbonbrief.org/every-five-year-delay-in-meeting-paris-goals-could-add-20cm-to-global-sea-levels “Failure to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement within the next few decades could have long-lasting impacts on global sea level rise in the coming centuries, new research finds.”

EU, US business lobbies seek closer access to UN climate talks: http://www.climatechangenews.com/2018/02/15/eu-us-business-lobbies-seek-closer-access-un-climate-talks/  “We feel that there are many good business ideas to tackle climate change that might not always be reaching negotiators,” the group’s communications director, Peter Sennekamp, told Climate Home News.”

Saudi Arabia is building a mega-city that will run on 100% renewable energy: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/10/saudi-arabia-is-going-to-build-a-500-billion-mega-city/ “The Saudi Arabian government says it will build a $500 billion mega-city, with the goal of diversifying its economy to focus less on crude oil. The project, called NEOM, will measure 10,230 square miles and run on 100 percent renewable energy.”

After the 'sunrush': what comes next for solar power? https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/28/after-the-sunrush-what-comes-next-for-solar-power “The fall in costs that has driven solar’s rapid growth is slowing - but scientists are exploring the next generation of materials that can harness more energy from the sun”

Analysis: BP significantly upgrades its global outlook for wind and solar – again: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-bp-significantly-upgrades-global-outlook-wind-solar-again “Analysis: BP significantly upgrades its global outlook for wind and solar – again”

Arctic Temperatures: http://sites.uci.edu/zlabe/arctic-temperatures/

Polar Bears Really Are Starving Because of Global Warming, Study Shows: http://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/animals/polar-bears-really-are-starving-because-of-global-warming-study-shows.aspx “New science sheds more light on recent controversy over how much the large carnivores are being impacted by melting sea ice.”

Left to Louisiana’s Tides, a Village Fights for Time: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/02/24/us/jean-lafitte-floodwaters.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&mtrref=t.co&gwh=E444068AE2EB9F7C6D6049A30B8EC42D&gwt=pay “For the community of Jean Lafitte, the question is less whether it will succumb to the sea than when — and how much the public should invest in artificially extending its life.”

CO2 emissions from average UK new car rise for first time since 2000: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/27/co2-emissions-from-average-uk-new-car-rise-for-first-time-since-2000 “Climate change targets may be missed as consumers buy bigger cars and turn away from diesel”

Telegraph Columnist Christopher Booker’s Groupthink Report for Climate Science Denial Group GWPF Debunks Itself: https://www.desmog.uk/2018/02/23/telegraph-columnist-christopher-booker-groupthink-report-climate-science-denial-group-debunks-itself “There’s a new .pdf out from the UK’s GWPF that attacks the climate consensus as being a product of groupthink. Deniers are promoting this “paper” like it’s very important, cartoons and all. The report’s author and UK Times columnist Christopher Booker has in the past also expressed skepticism of asbestos dangers and second hand smoking risks, so it’s no surprise he’s also “skeptical” of climate change.”

Active travel & transport

Electric dreams: The future for EVs: https://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/electric-dreams-future-evs “The UK Government’s announcement of a ban on petrol and diesel car sales from 2040 has thrown the debate on electric vehicles into even sharper focus. Market Insights Manager Russell Fowler examines the road ahead.”

Errors in BP’s forecasts of the impact of electric vehicles: https://www.carboncommentary.com/blog/2018/2/22/errors-in-bps-forecasts-of-the-impact-of-electric-vehicles “BP’s respected Energy Outlook was published this week (February 2018). Many commentators have written about the forecasts for electricity generation. I want to concentrate on the impact of electric cars and other efficiency gains on the demand for oil. Specifically, I’m going to focus on what I see as modelling errors and implausible assumptions in the BP analysis.”

Air quality & pollution

Emissions of air pollutants in  the uk, 1970 to 2016: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/681445/Emissions_of_air_pollutants_statistical_release_FINALv4.pdf “Statistical release: 15 February 2018” – media coverage;

Government air quality plan ruled ‘unlawful’: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/02/21/government-air-quality-plan-ruled-unlawful/ “A High Court judge has ruled that the government’s air quality plan – which includes measures to force councils into action to address air pollution – is “unlawful”. And, following the ruling today (21 February), a supplementary plan instructing 33 more local authorities to carry out feasibility studies of air quality measures will need to be published.”

Most UK parents back air pollution exclusion zones around schools: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/26/most-uk-parents-back-air-pollution-exclusion-zones-around-schools “Exclusive: 60% of parents want traffic to be diverted away from schools at peak times to protect children’s health, a new study shows”

Brussels to make public transport free on high air pollution days: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/26/brussels-to-make-public-transport-free-on-high-air-pollution-days “The new rules will also see car speed limits cut and wood-burning stoves banned in a drive to improve air quality in the city”

German court rules cities can ban diesel cars to tackle pollution: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/27/german-court-rules-cities-can-ban-diesel-cars-to-tackle-pollution “Millions of heavily polluting vehicles could eventually disappear from roads across Germany after its top administrative court ruled that cities have the right to ban diesel motors in an effort to improve deadly air quality levels. Tuesday’s historic decision potentially affects an estimated 12m vehicles and has delivered a heavy blow to Europe’s largest car market, while being celebrated by environmental campaigners.”

Police probe withdrawn Waverley air quality report: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/02/19/police-probe-withdrawn-waverley-air-quality-report/ “Surrey Police has launched an investigation into an air quality report compiled by Waverley borough council, which was withdrawn due to inaccuracies in data. The council withdrew its 2016 Air Quality Report in October, after an independent review had found that ‘bias adjustment factors’ had been applied incorrectly. Bias adjustments can be used by local authorities to adjust data where interference may be skewing readings.”

EPA scientists find black communities disproportionately hit by pollution: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/375289-epa-scientists-find-emissions-greater-impact-low-income-communities “The findings by five EPA scientists, published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, found that when looking at areas most affected by particulate air emissions, like soot, there were large disparities between communities differentiated by color and social strata.”

Food & food security

Processed Food Isn’t Killing You: //medium.com/@gidmk/processed-food-isnt-killing-you-43556b943bd6">https://medium.com/@gidmk/processed-food-isnt-killing-you-43556b943bd6> “Why you don’t have to worry about chicken nuggets giving you cancer”

Going veggie would cut global food emissions by two thirds and save millions of lives – new study: https://theconversation.com/going-veggie-would-cut-global-food-emissions-by-two-thirds-and-save-millions-of-lives-new-study-56655#link_time=1482507824 “In our latest research, colleagues and I estimate that changes towards more plant-based diets in line with the WHO’s global dietary guidelines could avert 5m-8m deaths per year by 2050. This represents a 6-10% reduction in global mortality.”

Shoppers may be forced to buy inferior milk from America in post-Brexit trade deal with US: https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/shoppers-may-forced-buy-inferior-milk-america-post-brexit-trade-deal-us “Lower quality American milk and dairy products from cows with udder infections could be forced on British consumers under a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States, i can reveal.”

Healthy chicken shops to fight obesity: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43161939 “Child obesity is a "ticking time bomb", according to experts, with one in three children overweight by the time they leave primary school. There has been a big focus on how the government can tackle the issue - for example, next month the sugar tax comes into force. But a report from the charity arm of the world-famous Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals shows what can be achieved locally in urban areas.”

How formula milk firms target mothers who can least afford it: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/feb/27/formula-milk-companies-target-poor-mothers-breastfeeding “Guardian/Save the Children investigation in deprived areas of Philippines finds companies flouting international code”

Future of food explored in latest magazine: www.ethicalcorp.com/future-food-explored-latest-magazine “We take an in-depth look at food this month, looking at the prospects of big data sowing a new green revolution and the global battle against food waste. This month in Ethical Corporation magazine we emerging solutions to address growing challenges in the global food system.  By 2050 there will be almost two-and-a-half billion more mouths to feed on planet Earth, and we will need to produce almost twice as much food as today.”

World's fishing fleets mapped from orbit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43169824 “"Because fishing is an industrial activity tied to politics and culture, this is actually a positive message because it shows we have a lot of human agency in the way we fish the oceans, and it's entirely within our power to change things," he told BBC News.””

Arctic stronghold of world's seeds reaches one million mark: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43171939 “The vault storing the world's most precious seeds is taking delivery on Monday of consignments that will take it to the one million mark. More than 70,000 crops will be added to frozen storage chambers buried deep within a mountain in the Arctic Circle. Cereal staples, unusual crops like the Estonian onion potato, and barley used to brew Irish beer are among them.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 23 February 2018

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

Why is life expectancy in England and Wales ‘stalling’? http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2018/02/20/jech-2017-210401 “Several independent analyses, by both epidemiologists and actuaries, have concluded that the previous rate of improvement of life expectancy in England and Wales has now slowed markedly, and at older ages may even be reversing…  We argue that recent changes cannot be dismissed as a temporary aberration. While the causes of this phenomenon are contested, there is growing evidence to point to the austerity policies implemented in recent years as at least a partial explanation. We conclude by calling for a fully independent enquiry to ascertain what is happening to life expectancy in England and Wales and what should be done about it.”

Healthy planning & environment

Playing Out: an initiative that empowers children to play near their homes: https://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/playing-out-an-initiative-that-empowers-children-to-play-near-their-homes “Playing Out – the organisation – is run by a small team of four based in Bristol, but the UK-wide movement we support now involves several thousand active parents and residents working to change things in their own streets, neighbourhoods and cities. Over 600 streets across 60 local authority areas have been involved so far, and the movement is growing.”

What is Placemaking? https://www.pps.org/article/what-is-placemaking “More than just promoting better urban design, Placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.”

A walk to the park? Assessing access to green areas in Europe's cities: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/information/publications/working-papers/2018/a-walk-to-the-park-assessing-access-to-green-areas-in-europe-s-cities “This updated working paper presents a methodology that takes into account the spatial distribution of both population and green areas throughout the cities' territory, and produces indicators on the proximity of the green areas to the urban population.”

Theresa May’s environment plan includes less than £1m a year of extra funds: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/02/16/environment-plan-funding-theresa-may/ “Less than £1m a year in new funding has been set aside for the government’s 25 year environment plan, Unearthed has learned. Theresa May promised “global leadership” on environmental issues from plastic waste to animal abuse when launching the strategy last month. But so far only £15.7m in extra funding has been set aside for the strategy, it emerged in a recent parliamentary question posed by Green Party leader Caroline Lucas.”

‘Cities are designed around men. It’s time for equality in planning’: https://www.lgcplus.com/services/regeneration-and-planning/cities-are-designed-around-men-its-time-for-equality-in-planning/7023068.article “Only a few women have been influential or writing on planning and city design, with the author and activist Jane Jacobs being the single biggest exception, while most cities are designed around men’s needs and their work. In fact, in an influential 1980s essay, What Would a Non-Sexist City Be Like? Yale professor Dolores Hayden argued women’s place had been in the home and that had shaped architectural design and urban planning in the last century.”

Ocean plastic tide 'violates the law': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43115486 “The global tide of ocean plastic pollution is a clear violation of international law, campaigners say. They have been urging for a new global treaty to tackle the problem. But a new report - to be presented to a Royal Geographical Society conference on Tuesday - says littering the sea with plastics is already prohibited under existing agreements.”

An international plastics treaty could avert a "Silent Spring" for our seas: https://theconversation.com/amp/an-international-plastics-treaty-could-avert-a-silent-spring-for-our-seas-90990 “What we lack are binding rules for land-based sources of plastic pollution that apply to countries around the world. As the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) noted: “Current initiatives to tackle plastic pollution focus on the symptoms but not the root of the problem.””

Anthropocene began in 1965, according to signs left in the world’s ‘loneliest tree’: https://theconversation.com/anthropocene-began-in-1965-according-to-signs-left-in-the-worlds-loneliest-tree-91993 “Planted in the early 20th century by Lord Ranfurly, governor of New Zealand, the tree’s wood has recorded the radiocarbon produced by above ground atomic bomb tests – and its annual layers show a peak in 1965, just after the tests were banned. The tree therefore gives us a potential marker for the start of the Anthropocene.”

The state of the environment: water quality: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/682223/State_of_the_environment_water_quality_report_2016.pdf “Population growth, climate change, emerging chemicals, plastic pollution, nano-particles and fracking all present potential future threats to water quality.” – media coverage here - Water quality and resources could be at risk from fracking, says the Environment Agency: https://drillordrop.com/2018/02/19/water-quality-and-resources-at-risk-from-fracking-says-the-environment-agency

Housing

Strengthening consumer redress in the housing market: a consultation: Written statement - HCWS467: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-02-20/HCWS467 “On Sunday 18 February the Government launched a public consultation on strengthening redress in housing. The consultation is open to consumers, providers of housing services, and existing redress schemes, and asks how we can make the system simpler and more effective for consumers.”

Rethinking social housing: http://www.cih.org/rethinkingabout “Rethinking social housing is major new project by the Chartered Institute of Housing aims to help shape the future of social housing. Rethinking social housing will combine original research and engagement with the sector, tenants, politicians and the public to explore fundamental questions about the future of social housing.” There is a toolkit for delivering a workshop related to this project. http://www.cih.org/resources/PDF/Policy%20free%20download%20pdfs/news%20and%20views/CIH_Rethinking%20social%20housing_Toolkit_Welcome.pdf

Survey for the homeless families project: “Dear all, We are working with colleagues to develop a toolkit to support public health nurses to support homeless families. We are looking for your views to inform this work. Please can you complete the short survey and cascade to colleagues to complete:” https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VW6BBNH

Government announces public bodies with homelessness duties: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Government-announces-public-bodies-with-homelessness-duties/44787 “Hospitals, prisons, job centres and a number of other public bodies have a duty to refer those at risk of becoming homeless to a housing authority, the Government says.”

Government's anti-homelessness taskforce has not held a single meeting since it was set up, ministers admit: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/government-homelessness-rough-sleeping-tories-taskforce-not-held-meeting-john-healey-philip-hammond-a8220101.html “Cross-departmental group was set up last year to address soaring levels of rough sleeping but plans for first meeting still 'being finalised'”

Selling homes for £1 gives local authorities the power to revive deprived communities: https://theconversation.com/selling-homes-for-1-gives-local-authorities-the-power-to-revive-deprived-communities-88265 “In the city of Stoke-on-Trent, England, the council is offering 25 homes for sale for just £1 each. The houses are mainly two-bedroom Victorian terraces, in a deprived area of the city where there are a large number of empty properties, and which has a reputation locally for high levels of disorder and antisocial behaviour. Clearly, the city council hopes the “Reviving Communities Scheme” will do just that.”

Climate change & sustainability

Climate-change–driven accelerated sea-level rise detected in the altimeter era: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/02/06/1717312115 “...If sea level continues to change at this rate and acceleration, sea-level rise by 2100 (65 cm) will be more than double the amount if the rate was constant at 3 mm/y.”

Anti-fossil fuel norms: a new frontier in climate change politics: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/government/2018/02/20/anti-fossil-fuel-norms-a-new-frontier-in-climate-change-politics “Testing nuclear weapons, owning slaves and waging aggressive war were all once normal practices – in some cases, for much of human history. In newly published research, I argue that the processes by which such practices came to be seen as morally repugnant can teach us much about how we should tackle climate change – and why the standard prescriptions are flawed.”

OECD says energy taxes in developed economies too low to fight climate change: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-oecd-energy-taxation/oecd-says-energy-taxes-in-developed-economies-too-low-to-fight-climate-change-idUKKCN1FY16T “Energy taxes in major advanced economies are not doing enough to reduce energy use, improve energy efficiency and drive a shift towards low-carbon sources, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said on Wednesday.”

History and future of the global energy transition 2016 – 2017 in pictures and charts: http://www.jeremyleggett.net/2018/02/the-history-and-future-of-the-global-energy-transition-2016-2017-in-pictures-and-charts/ “This presentation, to accompany the publication of the updated edition of The Winning of The Carbon War, is easily downloadable on Slideshare here.”

Energy use and life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of drones for commercial package delivery: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02411-5 “We show that, although drones consume less energy per package-km than delivery trucks, the additional warehouse energy required and the longer distances traveled by drones per package greatly increase the life-cycle impacts. Still, in most cases examined, the impacts of package delivery by small drone are lower than ground-based delivery.” Media coverage here: Small drones could be better for climate than delivery trucks, says study: https://www.carbonbrief.org/small-drones-could-be-better-for-climate-than-delivery-trucks-says-study

EU to refuse to sign trade deals with countries that don't ratify Paris climate change accord: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/eu-trade-deal-paris-climate-change-accord-agreement-cecilia-malmstr-m-a8206806.html “The European Union will refuse to sign trade deals with countries that do not ratify the Paris climate change agreement and take steps to combat global warming, under a new Brussels policy. Cecilia Malmstrom‏, the EU’s trade chief, said a binding reference to the Paris agreement would be “needed in all EU trade agreements” from now on, noting that it had been included in a deal with Japan.”

Expect more 'complete surprises' from climate change: NASA's Schmidt: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/global-warming/expect-more-complete-surprises-from-climate-change-nasa-s-schmidt-20180212-p4z035.html “The eruption of pine bark beetles that has devastated millions of hectares of forests in North America is an example of the surprises yet to come as the planet warms, says Gavin Schmidt, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.”

Ocean-wide sensor array provides new look at global ocean current: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02113-y “The North Atlantic Ocean is a major driver of the global currents that regulate Earth’s climate, mix the oceans and sequester carbon from the atmosphere — but researchers haven’t been able to get a good look at its inner workings until now. The first results from an array of sensors strung across this region reveal that things are much more complicated than scientists previously believed.”

First ship crosses Arctic in winter without an icebreaker as global warming causes ice sheets to melt: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/arctic-sea-route-first-ship-no-icebreaker-winter-icebergs-ice-shelf-teekay-russia-a8208596.html “Crossing of polar region is becoming easier due to warming global temperatures and thinning sea ice”

Ikea joins Big Clean Switch to offer 100% renewable energy tariff: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/20/ikea-joins-big-clean-switch-to-offer-100-renewable-energy-tariff “Ikea is calling for households to join its latest joint venture – a collective energy switch that promises an exclusive 100% renewable electricity tariff. The furniture retailer has joined forces with the “Big Clean Switch” campaign to use a collective switch to secure cheaper green power for the households that sign up.”

Wind farms make up all EU’s net power growth: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/02/13/wind-farms-make-eus-net-power-growth/ “The boom in wind farms across the European Union has single-handedly driven the net growth in power generating capacity as fossil fuel plants shut faster than they are built. The steady shutdown of polluting coal plants across the UK and the rest of EU outstripped the number being built by more than four times over.”

EU wind funding down a fifth to $27.4 billion in 2017: WindEurope: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-windfarm/eu-wind-funding-down-a-fifth-to-27-4-billion-in-2017-windeurope-idUSKBN1FX0ID “Spending on new wind capacity in Europe hit a three-year low in 2017, according to industry group WindEurope, in a sign that the sector is slashing costs and becoming more efficient as governments phase out lavish subsidies.”

Semitransparent solar cells: a window to the future? https://theconversation.com/semitransparent-solar-cells-a-window-to-the-future-90839 “With between 5 billion and 7 billion square metres of glass surface in the United States alone, solar windows would offer a great way to harness the Sun’s energy. Our research represents a step toward this goal, by showing how to make solar panels that still let through enough light to function as a window.”

Vast bioenergy plantations could stave off climate change—and radically reshape the planet: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/02/vast-bioenergy-plantations-could-stave-climate-change-and-radically-reshape-planet “Paul Stoy, an ecologist at MSU, paces in front of whiteboards in a powder blue shirt and jeans as he describes how a landscape already dominated by agriculture could be transformed yet again by a different green revolution: vast plantations of crops, sown to sop up carbon dioxide (CO2) from the sky. "We have this new energy economy that's necessary to avoid dangerous climate change, but how is that going to look on the ground?" he asks.”

Climate change spells turbulent times ahead for air travel: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/19/climate-change-spells-turbulent-times-ahead-for-air-travel “From rising temperatures preventing take-off to rising seas flooding runways, aviation needs to adapt to changes already grounding flights around the world”

Meet the new ‘renewable superpowers’: nations that boss the materials used for wind and solar: https://theconversation.com/meet-the-new-renewable-superpowers-nations-that-boss-the-materials-used-for-wind-and-solar-91680 “The 20th century was dominated by coal, oil and natural gas, but a shift to zero-emission energy generation and transport means a new set of elements will become key.”

Active travel & transport

Impact of free access to leisure facilities and community outreach on inequalities in physical activity: a quasi-experimental study: http://jech.bmj.com/content/72/3/252 “The study suggests that removing user charges from leisure facilities in combination with outreach and marketing activities can increase overall population levels of physical activity while reducing inequalities.”

Britain's bus coverage hits 28-year low: https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/uk-england-42749973 “Britain's bus network has shrunk to levels last seen in the late 1980s, BBC analysis has revealed. Rising car use and cuts to public funding are being blamed for a loss of 134 million miles of coverage over the past decade alone. Some cut-off communities have taken to starting their own services, with Wales and north-west England hardest hit.”

Automobile dependence: A contributing factor to poorer health among lower-income households: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221414051730662X “In this viewpoint, we explore an understudied pathway between household income and health: automobile dependence. We argue that the provision of policies that reduce automobile dependence, and facilitate active and affordable modes of travel (i.e. walking, cycling and public transport), may mitigate poorer health among individuals from lower-income households. Policies and environments that support active travel are likely to have particularly strong health and economic benefits for lower-income residents.”

Seattle Cut Car Commuting Downtown While Adding 60,000 Jobs: https://usa.streetsblog.org/2018/02/15/seattle-cut-car-commuting-downtown-while-adding-60000-jobs/ “From 2010 to 2017, downtown Seattle added 60,000 jobs. Over the same time period, the number of solo car commuters into the city’s central business district dropped by 4,500, or 9 percent, according to a new report from Commute Seattle.”

How walking and cycling reduce congestion: FLOW Quick Facts published: http://h2020-flow.eu/news/news-detail/how-walking-and-cycling-reduce-congestion-flow-quick-facts-published/ “What happens when you remove a car lane to put in a new bicycle lane? Or you give pedestrians more time to cross a busy road? FLOW published a new collection of Quick Facts from cities who measured the impact pedestrian and cyclist measures have on congestion.”

Air quality & pollution

Household chemicals rival vehicles as smog source: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02132-9 “Everyday items such as soaps, perfume, paint and pesticides now contribute as heavily to certain sorts of air pollution in US cities as cars and trucks — a finding that surprised even the researchers who made it.”

Rapid pollution increases may be as harmful to the heart as absolute levels: https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/Rapid-pollution-increases-may-be-as-harmful-to-the-heart-as-absolute-levels “...The researchers were surprised by the magnitude of the association. Dr Rakers said: “The risk of heart attack more than doubled after a 24 hour increase in nitric oxides of more than 20 μg/m3. The impact of rapid increases in air pollutants on heart health may be at least as important as absolute concentrations.””

Government loses clean air court case: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43141467 “Campaigners have won a third High Court victory over the UK government's plans to tackle air pollution. The judge in the case said the government plan was "unlawful" and that more action was needed in 45 English local authority areas. He said ministers had to ensure that in each of the areas, steps were taken to comply with the law as soon as possible.”

Toxic emissions down, but people still dying from air pollution – it’s time for something radical: https://theconversation.com/toxic-emissions-down-but-people-still-dying-from-air-pollution-its-time-for-something-radical-91875 “The UK has made much progress in its efforts to clean the air of toxic pollutants, but while the thick, dirty haze of the 1952 great London smog no longer fills the city streets, air pollution remains a silent killer. In the UK, poor air quality is responsible for some 40,000 deaths each year. It has been linked to diseases such as cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity and dementia. The health problems from exposure to air pollution are costing the nation more than £20 billion every year.”

Nitrogen oxides hit ‘record low’, Defra reports: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/02/15/nitrogen-oxides-hit-record-low-defra-reports/ “Emissions of nitrogen oxides are thought to have fallen up to 10% in 2016 compared to levels recorded the previous year, a report published today by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has suggested.”

German cities to trial free public transport to cut pollution: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/14/german-cities-to-trial-free-public-transport-to-cut-pollution ““Car nation” Germany has surprised neighbours with a radical proposal to reduce road traffic by making public transport free, as Berlin scrambles to meet EU air pollution targets and avoid big fines.”

Green screens ‘effective’ in reducing NO2 pollution: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/02/12/green-screens-effective-in-reducing-no2-pollution/ “Schools located close to roads with high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) could use green screens as an effective measure to reduce exposure to transport emissions, new research has suggested.”

Schools Tackling Oxford's Air Pollution (STOP): https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20052/air_quality/1254/schools_tackling_oxfords_air_pollution_stop “The air quality toolkit below provides science teachers with a series of interesting air quality scientific activities to present to pupils, which are expected to promote understanding of the causes and impacts of air pollution and help to reduce children’s exposure to air pollutants, within the school and through their travel”

German court to rule on city bans for heavily polluting diesel cars: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/22/german-court-to-rule-on-city-bans-for-heavily-polluting-diesel-cars “Federal court set to announce whether Stuttgart and Düsseldorf can use vehicle bans to try to improve air quality”

Want to monitor air pollution? Test a pigeon: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/16/want-to-monitor-air-pollution-test-a-pigeon “Feral pigeons are exposed to the same environmental factors as humans, so help explore the affect of contaminants, say researchers”

Food & food security

Evaluating Calorie Intake: https://datasciencecampus.ons.gov.uk/2018/02/15/eclipse/ “The Evaluating Calorie Intake for Population Statistical Estimates (ECLIPSE) project was carried out by the Data Science Campus at the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Its goal was to better understand the apparent under-estimation of average calorie intake reported in national surveys. The aims of this project were to quantify the level of accuracy in estimates from self-reported data and explore methods for adjusting and improving the accuracy of population level statistics.”

Revealed: rightwing groups plot to ditch EU safety standards on food and drugs: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/17/revealed-us-uk-rightwing-thinktanks-talks-to-ditch-eu-safety-checks “According to a document outlining the project, mistakenly published online by the IFT, the groups will “hash out an ‘ideal’ US-UK free trade agreement (FTA)” that includes Britain recognising US standards which are widely seen as weaker than those adopted by the EU. Such a move would allow imports of chlorinated chicken and hormone-reared beef to be sold in the UK for the first time.”

Food standards 'must not be sacrificed to cheap imports' after Brexit, say MPs: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/food-farming-brexit-imports-mps-uk-politics-latest-a8216186.html “High animal welfare, environmental and food standards “must not be sacrificed on the altar of cheap imports”, MPs warned as they called for post-Brexit clarity for agriculture. The Government must not allow imports that have not been produced to UK standards, and should improve country of origin labelling and introduce mandatory “method of production” labels for food after Brexit, they said.”

'Dirty meat': Shocking hygiene failings discovered in US pig and chicken plants: https://www.theguardian.com/animals-farmed/2018/feb/21/dirty-meat-shocking-hygiene-failings-discovered-in-us-pig-and-chicken-plants “Previously unseen government records detail ‘deeply worrying’ incidents in pork and poultry plants, raising fears of ‘dirty meat’ entering the UK under a post-Brexit trade deal” Previously unseen government records detail ‘deeply worrying’ incidents in pork and poultry plants, raising fears of ‘dirty meat’ entering the UK under a post-Brexit trade deal

Brexit: a guide for the perplexed – Food: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09rxyjx “Brexit and food - Chris Morris discovers what leaving the EU could mean for the British baked potato. How might Brexit affect the food we buy, and what it might cost? And why could post Brexit food fights break out between different parts of the UK?”

'My response to Weight Watchers offering a free programme for weight-conscious teenagers? NOOOOOOOO!' https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/my-response-weight-watchers-offering-a-free-programme-weight “Society absolutely has deeply ingrained and complex issues with unhealthy food choices, lack of exercise and a culture which commodifies the body… The solution to this is not, however, by any logical or morally sound assessment, dieting. Dieting adds another layer of complication and pressure onto a dynamic already fraught with it. It also plays into a narrative which erroneously tells us that health is defined by weight, as opposed to lifestyle.

And finally….

Via XKCD: https://xkcd.com/1958/ “If most people turn into murderers all of a sudden, we'll need to push out a firmware update or something.”

Bad News: the game researchers hope will 'vaccinate' public against fake news: https://www.getbadnews.com/ “Cambridge researchers have built an online game, simply titled Bad News, in which players compete to become “a disinformation and fake news tycoon”. By shedding light on the shady practices, they hope the game will “vaccinate” the public, and make people immune to the spread of untruths.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 16 February 2018

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

Life Expectancy by Socio-Economic Group: http://www.longevitypanel.co.uk/viewpoint/life-expectancy-socio-economic/ “Despite the efforts of successive UK Governments to narrow the gap, differences in life expectancy by socio-economic group have continued to widen. Understanding the reasons for these changes should help the forecasting of life expectancy for the whole population in future. This paper Life Expectancy: Past and Future Variations by Socio-Economic Group in England & Wales is a first step. In it we set out evidence and examine some important issues such as the social determinants of health.” Press release here: http://www.longevitypanel.co.uk/_files/press-release-LSAP-paper-LifeExpectancyPast-future-variations-by-socioeconomic-group-in-EW.pdf “ – media coverage here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/health-43058394

Framing the Economy: How to win the case for a better system: http://neweconomics.org/2018/02/framing-the-economy-2/ “What is the story of the economy in Britain? Who gets to shape public opinion about what it’s for, how it’s broken and how it can be fixed? These are the questions the Framing the Economy project set out to answer. We wanted to help civil society communicate and organise more effectively, to help bring about the changes needed to move to a sustainable, equitable and democratic economy.”

There are fairer ways to spread prosperity than universal basic income: http://neweconomics.org/2018/02/better-fairer-ways-spreading-prosperity-ubi/ “When an idea stirs the popular imagination, pundits and politicians find it hard to resist. Never mind if there is no evidence to support it. Never mind if closer scrutiny suggests putting it into practice will be counterproductive or plain impossible… The case against UBI is building rapidly. But so is the clamour to try it out in states and cities around the world. That the latter seems immune to the former is alarming. And the fact that it’s promoted by radicals at both ends of the political spectrum should ring alarm bells.”

Tax and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: https://iccwbo.org/publication/tax-united-nations-sustainable-development-goals/ “This ICC paper addresses how effective tax policy can facilitate economic growth, and in doing so, support the UN SDGs.” More here - 5 ways tax policy can help achieve the UN Global Goals: https://iccwbo.org/media-wall/news-speeches/5-ways-tax-policy-can-help-achieve-un-global-goals/ “Here are five Global Goals where effective tax policies can facilitate economic growth and fuel progress towards sustainable development:”

#FridayFact: Every minute, we lose 23 hectares of arable land worldwide to drought and desertification: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/fridayfact-every-minute-we-lose-23-hectares-arable-land-worldwide-drought “Drought, desertification, urban sprawl and uncontrolled grazing are harming the land that provides us with food on our plates. Yet UN Environment is working with partners to turn the tables, to prevent land degradation and restore degraded land back to full health. These projects on sustainable land management are worth $70.5 million and take place across the globe.”

A science-based framework for evaluating sustainable investing: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/evaluating-sustainable-investments/ “Now scientists at City University of New York (CUNY) and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have partnered with UBS Asset Management to develop a scientific framework to help investors judge whether companies’ actions, products, and services support the environment and human wellbeing.”

Platform to Galvanize Business Leadership on Ocean: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/platform-to-galvanize-business-leadership-on-oceans/ “he UN Global Compact has announced the establishment of a ‘Business Action Platform for the Ocean,’ a three-year global programme bringing together a range of stakeholders to advance the ocean economy and sustainable development.”

Healthy planning & environment

Sixty five cities commit to health and well-being as drivers of urban development: two out of three people in the WHO European Region live in urban environments: http://www.euro.who.int/en/media-centre/sections/press-releases/2018/sixty-five-cities-commit-to-health-and-well-being-as-drivers-of-urban-development-two-out-of-three-people-in-the-who-european-region-live-in-urban-environments ““Action starts at city level, and mayors are uniquely positioned to bring together health and other sectors such as education, city planning and transportation, all of which have a profound influence on health and well-being”, said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe”

How do you build a healthy city? Copenhagen reveals its secrets: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/11/how-build-healthy-city-copenhagen-reveals-its-secrets-happiness “The Danish capital ranks high on the list of the world’s healthiest and happiest cities. With obesity and depression on the rise worldwide, here are its lessons for how to combat them culturally”

Math myth-busting some of our worst urban planning misconceptions: http://www.metronews.ca/views/opinion/2017/01/03/math-myth-busting-our-worst-urban-planning-misconceptions.html “When it comes to great cities, I'm the first to point out that not all that counts can be counted, but most of the things we can count lend support to smarter ways of thinking about how our cities grow and change. To be blunt, the math suggests that we've been doing a lot of things wrong. And the same math can help us understand how to do it better.”

Secret UK government report lowers fracking expectations: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/02/10/uk-shale-gas-fracking-report-forecast/ “The British government does not expect a fracking boom on the scale predicted by the shale gas industry, according to confidential Cabinet Office projections seen by Unearthed. Far from the thousands of wells predicted by the shale gas industry just a few years ago, the government’s unreleased Implementation Unit Report on Shale Gas foresees only 155 wells drilled by 2025.” – More coverage here: Hidden report reveals ministers exaggerated UK fracking boom: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/02/10/hidden-report-reveals-ministers-exaggerated-uk-fracking-boom/

How to plan and design a gay-friendly city: https://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/how-to-plan-and-design-a-gay-friendly-city “Layla McCay, Director of the Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health reflects on how marginalisation of LGBT+ people in their own neighbourhoods may contribute to mental health problems - and how planners and designers might help.”

BBC aims to be free of single-use plastics across all operations by 2020: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/13/bbc-aims-to-be-free-of-single-use-plastics-across-all-operations-by-2020 “Decision follows the corporation’s landmark series Blue Planet II, which highlighted plastic pollution in the oceans”

Fighting back: taking a stand against the lunacy of throwaway plastic: http://aplasticplanet.com/fighting-back-taking-stand-lunacy-throwaway-plastic/ “This week’s campaign blog features the reflections of new Plastic Free Ambassador Kate Armstrong. In 2007, we decided to give up plastic. I started the blog www.plasticisrubbish.com to record our successes and failures. We do it for free, it is our voluntary environmental work if you like. We travel a lot and do it plastic-free.”

Ocean Cleanup concept to become a reality next year: https://newatlas.com/ocean-cleanup-tsushima-island-korea-strait/37829/ “A concept designed to rid the oceans of plastic waste is to become a reality next year. Boyan's Slat's Ocean Cleanup system is expected to be deployed in the second quarter of 2016 in the waters between Japan and South Korea. It will be the longest floating structure ever deployed in the ocean.”

Coca-Cola And Nestlé To Privatize The Largest Reserve Of Water In South America: http://econewsmedia.net/2018/02/08/coca-cola-nestle-privatize-largest-reserve-water-south-america/ “Private companies such as Coca-Cola and Nestlé are allegedly in the process of privatizing the largest reserve of water, known as the Guarani Aquifer, in South America. The aquifer is located beneath the surface of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay and is the second largest-known aquifer system in the world.” More here: https://canadians.org/blog/barlow-warns-nestle-seeking-control-guarani-aquifer

Housing

The Communities and Local Government committee have published a report on housing for older people. There has been wide coverage;

Housing & health. Starter kit: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/housing-health-starter-kit/ A blog from Greg Fell (@felly500) “I still know relatively little about the housing sector. I do know it’s a huge area for health improvement and increasing efficiency in the health and social care sector. This blog builds on earlier one and sets out a few thoughts. I’d welcome input of those who know what they’re doing in this space to improve”

A day of reckoning for UK housing: http://neweconomics.org/2018/02/day-reckoning-uk-housing/ “It is impossible to shut out so large a proportion of the population from something as essential as housing and not ultimately pay the political price. So it’s not surprising that both the Government and the Opposition are flexing their policy biceps to find solutions.”

'Grenfell has to change things': how we're covering Britain's housing crisis: https://www.theguardian.com/membership/2018/feb/10/grenfell-change-covering-housing-crisis “Student and desk editor Poppy Noor, who spent several years living in hostels, speaks to specialist reporter Robert Booth”

Climate change & sustainability

The 2017 Report of the Lancet Countdown: http://www.lancetcountdown.org/the-report “The Lancet Countdown's 2017 report tracks 40 indicators across five areas, arriving at three key conclusions: The human symptoms of climate change are unequivocal and potentially irreversible`. The delayed response to climate change over the past 25 years has jeopardised human life and livelihoods. The past 5 years have seen an accelerated response, and in 2017 momentum is building across a number of sectors; the direction of travel is set, with clear and unprecedented opportunities for public health.”

Melting permafrost in the Arctic is unlocking diseases and warping the landscape: https://www.vox.com/2017/9/6/16062174/permafrost-melting “But perhaps most disturbing are the changes occurring underground in the permafrost. Permafrost is a layer of frozen soil that covers 25 percent of the Northern Hemisphere. It acts like a giant freezer, keeping microbes, carbon, poisonous mercury, and soil locked in place. Now it’s melting. And things are getting weird and creepy…”

Sea Ice Variability: http://sites.uci.edu/zlabe/research-areas/sea-ice-variability/ “In our new paper (Labe et al., 2018), we are interested in understanding the year-to-year variability of Arctic sea ice thickness along with the long-term trend. For comparison, we use a global climate model with 40 iterations (known as a “large ensemble”) to understand the historical variability and future projected variability”

Deadly heat: How to survive the world’s new temperature extremes: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2158338-deadly-heat-how-to-survive-the-worlds-new-temperature-extremes/ “January 2017 was the hottest ever recorded in Sydney and Brisbane, and great swathes of the south-east endured temperatures that often exceeded 40°C for weeks on end. In South Australia, soaring electricity demand caused an outage that left 90,000 homes sweltering through a blackout with no air conditioning. Across New South Wales, 87 bush fires blazed. It was so hot that dairy cows dropped dead in the fields.”

Fully Charged: Renewables and Storage Powering Australia: http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/battery-storage-2018 “The 'Fully Charged: Renewables and Storage Powering Australia’ report shows that Australia is on the cusp of a reliable renewable energy future, as the cost of energy storage rapidly drops, with prices dropping by 80 per cent since 2010, and are tipped to halve again by 2025.”

In-depth: Renewables are ‘key’ to lower UK industrial electricity prices: https://www.carbonbrief.org/in-depth-renewables-are-key-to-lower-uk-industrial-electricity-prices “Unlocking investment in the renewables, which offer the cheapest sources of electricity, is one of the recommendations of today’s University College London (UCL) report, prepared for the Aldersgate Group, an alliance of business, academic institutions and NGOs.”

Crossrail will generate electricity using the wind created by trains: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/city-wind-farms-energy-crossrail-london-renewable-energy “A pilot project will use grids of lamellae-covered plastic sheets on London's Crossrail to generate electricity from draughty tunnels”

Gravitricity is turning old mine shafts into power generators using giant weights: https://inhabitat.com/startup-is-turning-old-mine-shafts-into-power-generators-using-giant-weights/ “The coal mining industry is dying (despite what some people would have you think), and it isn’t coming back. But a new startup is breathing life into mining communities with an ingenious design that uses old mine shafts to generate energy. Gravitricity has devised a giant weight system that drops down into disused mine shafts to create power on demand using gravity.”

Banks Told They're Lagging on Response to Climate Risks: https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2018-02-15/banks-told-they-re-lagging-on-response-to-climate-change-risks “Fewer than half the world’s biggest banks are doing enough to forestall climate change that poses risks to their markets and economies. Most lenders still aren’t producing firm targets for low-carbon financial products that will aid efforts to keep temperatures from rising, according to a survey of 59 banks conducted by Boston Common Asset Management LLC. Even the strongest banks in the survey, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., still struggle to define a climate strategy at the heart of their business, according to the report published Thursday and backed by more than 100 institutional investors.”

The EU wants to fight climate change – so why is it spending billions on a gas pipeline? https://theconversation.com/the-eu-wants-to-fight-climate-change-so-why-is-it-spending-billions-on-a-gas-pipeline-91442 “Over the past few years there has been exponential growth in clean energy investment – while fossil fuel assets are increasingly considered to be risky. Yet, on February 6, the European Investment Bank, the EU’s long-term lending institution, voted to provide a €1.5 billion loan to the controversial Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).”

Removing barriers to mature renewables key to lowering industrial electricity prices: http://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/latest#removing-barriers-to-mature-renewables-key-to-lowering-industrial-electricity-prices “Today, the Aldersgate Group publishes a new report written by University College London (UCL) [1], setting out what the government can do to support competitive industrial electricity prices as it delivers its Clean Growth and Industrial Strategies. The report recommends that the UK government improves investment conditions in low-cost renewable energy technologies such as onshore wind, co-ordinates investment in power generation and network infrastructure more efficiently and ensures that the UK leaves the EU in a way that supports increased interconnection with European power grids and cross-border electricity trading.”

Active travel & transport

This is the sound of the suburbs: https://urbantransportgroupblog.org/2018/01/23/this-is-the-sound-of-the-suburbs/ “Nipped up to Walthamstow between London meetings to check out the mini-Holland last week. Here’s a few thoughts that flickered around my brain as I  wondered around in a semi-random way.”

The Bristol Twenty Miles Per Hour Limit Evaluation (BRITE) Study: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/34851/ “The study found statistically significant reductions in average traffic speeds of 2.7mph across the city of Bristol, following the introduction of 20mph speed limits. This is a larger reduction than seen in previous evaluations in other cities. The study employed a more sophisticated analysis than previous studies of 20mph limits, including using individual speed data from over 36 million vehicle observations and controlling for other factors that might affect changes in traffic speeds. There has been a reduction in the number of fatal, serious and slight injuries from road traffic collisions, equating to estimated cost savings of over £15 million per year.” More here: http://www.20splenty.org/bristol_20mph_analysis#_ftn1

Two minute read on five thoughts from Cov on CAVs: https://urbantransportgroupblog.org/2018/02/02/two-minute-read-on-five-thoughts-from-cov-on-cavs/ “Our smart futures strategy group met at the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick yesterday to find out more about Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs). Here’s five things I learned.”

Highways England A63 cycle ban labelled “ludicrous” by Cycling UK: https://www.cyclinguk.org/press-release/highways-england-a63-cycle-ban-labelled-ludicrous-cycling-uk “Highways England’s proposal to ban cycling from parts of the A63 is “entirely unreasonable and lacks both evidence and analysis” says national cycling charity, Cycling UK.”

Air quality & pollution

An indoor chemical cocktail: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6376/632.full “In the past 50 years, many of the contaminants and chemical transformations that occur in outdoor waters, soils, and air have been elucidated. However, the chemistry of the indoor environment in which we live most of the time—up to 90% in some societies—is not nearly as well studied.” I haven’t been able to access the original paper – but there are many possible confounders in this area. One for closer examination?

Sandwell council to assess air pollution hot spots: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/02/13/sandwell-council-to-assess-air-pollution-hot-spots/ “Sandwell council is to develop a model to identify all air quality ‘hot-spot’ locations within the borough, as part of its work to improve air quality in the area.”

Was Volkswagen the First to Test Exhaust Fumes on Monkeys? Your Questions Answered.: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/02/wildlife-watch-lab-monkey-testing-volkswagen-auto-industry/ “The car industry-funded research outraged the public and even has some researchers wondering how it was approved.”

Air pollution linked to increased crime levels, finds research: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/air-pollution-crime-levels-health-environment-stress-anxiety-a8207206.html “Toxic air 'may have potential ethical costs that go beyond its well-known toll on health and the environment', says the study's lead author”

Food & food security

Deaths involving malnutrition have been on the rise. NHS neglect is not to blame: https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2018/02/14/deaths-involving-malnutrition-have-been-on-the-rise-but-nhs-neglect-is-not-to-blame/ “An increase in the number of people dying in hospital with a diagnosis of malnutrition has prompted understandable concern. One leading charity has described the figures as “shocking.” But as Myer Glickman explains, many factors other than poverty or neglect lie behind the data.”

Addressing food wastage in the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0734242X17751968 “Waste management operators are able to see huge opportunities for  energy  and  material  recovery  from  the  source-separated organic  fraction  of  municipal  solid  waste  (MSW),  thanks  to anaerobic  digestion  and  composting… The  food  waste  issue  is  a  key  part  of  the  UN  Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 12, Ensure sustainable consumption  and  production  patterns.’

France to make half of all food in public sector organic or local by 2022: https://www.farminguk.com/news/France-to-make-half-of-all-food-in-public-sector-organic-or-local-by-2022_48536.html “France has announced that at least half of all food bought by the public sector must be organic or locally produced.”

Huge levels of antibiotic use in US farming revealed: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/08/huge-levels-of-antibiotic-use-in-us-farming-revealed “Concerns raised over weakened regulations on imports in potential post-Brexit trade deals”

GLOBAL NUTRITION MONITORING FRAMEWORK - targets for 2025: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/259904/1/9789241513609-eng.pdf “The  objectives  of  GNMF are:  (i)  to  monitor  progress towards the achievement of the six global targets (for use at global and national levels); (ii) to track implementation of  selected  programmes  required  to  achieve  the  global targets  (for  use  at  global  and  national  level);  and  (iii)  to track  implementation  of  all  programmes  required  to achieve national targets (for use at national and at sub-national levels).”

Sorting fat from fiction: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/news/sorting-fat-from-fiction “we have recently summarised contemporary evidence on the topic with a completed an evidence review and position statement. Here we will use this science to answer some of the most common questions asked about fat - sorting the fat from the fiction, so to speak.”

And finally….

Anyone want to see a cycle lane gritter bike in action? https://twitter.com/ETAservicesltd/status/961885701586419713/photo/1

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