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West Midlands Health and Planning group

In 2010, West Midlands PCT's and local authorities came together to prepare a joint public health response to the Local Transport Plan 3. Subsequent work with Centro has demonstrated how this response influenced the final Local Transport Plan and associated implementation plan.

In 2011 a wider group prepared a joint response to the National Planning Policy Framework. It was clear that there was a wide range of healthy urban environment work underway across the West Midlands and extensive local experience and learning. Working with the West Midlands Learning for Public Health Network (LfPHWM) a West Midlands Health and Planning group was established.

The objective of the group is to share learning and experience and coordinate joint work across the West Midlands. With the constraints on people’s time and capacity it was felt that the group needed to take a practical approach to sharing best practice and identify opportunities to undertake joint work across specific areas of practice. The underlying model for the work is the Marmot Review objective E – “To create and develop healthy and sustainable places and communities”.

WMHPG news, information and resources 13 July 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

TWI2050 Report: Transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/research/twi/Report2018.html “The World in 2050 (TWI2050) was established by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) to provide scientific foundations for the 2030 Agenda. It is based on the voluntary and collaborative effort of more than 60 authors from about 20 institutions, and some 100 independent experts from academia, business, government, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations from all the regions of the world”

‘Everything we’ve heard about global urbanization turns out to be wrong’ – researchers: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=0150beca-e3f5-47e0-bc74-9ccc5ef1db8a&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Place “The United Nations predicts the world's urban population is expected to grow to 70 percent by 2050 after becoming majority urban for the first time around 2008. Not so, say researchers based at the European Commission. Using a definition made possible by advances in geospatial technology that can use a high-resolution satellite image to determine the number of people living in a given area, they estimate 84 percent of the world's population, or almost 6.4 billion people, live in urban areas.”

Co-operatives making a difference through … Sustainable Development: https://www.thenews.coop/129403/sector/banking-and-insurance/co-operatives-making-difference-sustainable-development/ “Co-operatives UK secretary general, Ed Mayo, on the role of co-operatives in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”

World Population Day: ‘A matter of human rights’ says UN: https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/07/1014371 “Family planning was affirmed to be a human right 50 years ago, leading to what would become the annual observation of World Population Day, which focuses attention on the impact the number of children born, has on the world.”

Memorizing these three statistics will help you understand the world: https://www.gatesnotes.com/Development/Max-Roser-three-facts-everyone-should-know “One of my favorite websites is OurWorldInData.org. Based at the University of Oxford, it uses statistics—on everything from health and population growth to war, the environment, and energy—to give you phenomenal insight into how living conditions are changing around the world. I asked its founder, Oxford economist Max Roser, to share three facts from the site that everyone should know. Here’s what Max had to say. – Bill Gates”

JRF - Families hit by crippling cost of living need a third more income to make ends meet: https://www.jrf.org.uk/press/families-hit-crippling-cost-living-need-third-more-income “Our latest research reveals how low-income families need a third more disposable income than a decade ago to make ends meet and are facing bigger barriers to meet rising costs - despite tightening their belts and shopping around online for better deals and tariffs.”

Understanding well-being inequalities: Who has the poorest personal well-being? https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/thecharacteristicsandcircumstancesofthosewhoreportlowestpersonalwellbeingratings “The most significant factor associated with poorest personal well-being is having ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ health – those people are almost 14 times more likely to report the poorest personal well-being than those with ‘very good’ or ‘good’ health. ONS also found that disabled people were almost twice as likely as non-disabled people to report poor personal well-being across all the measures. The ONS has identified other individual factors that are associated with the lowest levels of personal well-being, besides health. These include: being economically inactive with long-term illness or disability; being middle-aged, being single/ separated/ widowed or divorced; renting their home; having no, or basic, education”

Healthy planning & environment

Collaboration between physical activity researchers and transport planners: A qualitative study of attitudes to data driven approaches: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140517305704?via%3Dihub#f0005 “Highlights: Qualitative study of benefits and barriers of research and transport collaboration. - Physical activity and GPS research data could provide needed data source. - Collaboration would benefit both researchers and transport professionals. - Policies to mandate the inclusion of health in planning are needed.”

Cities & Health: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcah20/1/2?nav=tocList “Contents list”.

The Observer view on why we shouldn’t waste a drop of increasingly vital and valuable water: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/08/observer-view-on-worldwide-scarcity-means-we-should-conserve-water “Britain’s water politics are benign compared with much of the world. All the more reason to protect our supply”

Rescued from the Cave, Thai Soccer Team Gets Quarantined: Here's Why: https://www.livescience.com/63018-thailand-boys-quarantined-cave-diseases.html “The immense rescue operation for the Thai soccer team trapped in a cave finally concluded on Tuesday (July 10): All twelve boys and their coach have been successfully extracted. But before the rescued boys can finally go home to their families, they need to make a pit stop at the hospital, where they're being briefly quarantined to make sure they didn't pick up any diseases in the caves”


Event – 18 July. The Impact of Welfare Reforms on Housing Associations: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-impact-of-welfare-reforms-on-housing-associations-tickets-46709343905

Older people and housing action: https://housingaction.blog/get-involved/ “Care & Repair England with the Older People’s Champions Group has developed some resources to offer practical help for local groups act on housing.”

'It made me depressed': how poor housing costs the NHS £1.4bn a year: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jul/06/depressed-poor-housing-costs-nhs-14bn-year “With a fifth of English homes officially not decent to live in, health and housing professionals are joining forces to improve residents’ wellbeing”

Tenants' lives at risk after government refuses to act on weak safety rules in rented housing, experts warn: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/grenfell-tenants-lives-risk-weak-safety-rules-government-tragedy-warning-a8433481.html “Exclusive: Ministers defend guidance which says fire risks are very small, is unclear on responsibility for fire prevention and weak on electrical safety - all crucial issues at Grenfell”

Climate change & sustainability

In-depth: UK can go low-carbon ‘at no extra cost’, say infrastructure advisors: https://www.carbonbrief.org/in-depth-uk-can-go-low-carbon-at-no-extra-cost-say-infrastructure-advisors “The report sets out how the UK can move to “highly renewable, clean and low-cost energy”, while ending the use of gas for heating and shifting to 100% sales of electric vehicle (EVs) by 2030. It says a “quiet revolution” in renewable costs means government should prioritise wind and solar, echoing new scenarios from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).”

Extreme heat linked with reduced cognitive performance among young adults in non-air-conditioned buildings: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/extreme-heat-linked-with-reduced-cognitive-performance-among-young-adults-in-non-air-conditioned-buildings/ “Students who lived in dormitories without air conditioning (AC) during a heat wave performed worse on a series of cognitive tests compared with students who lived in air-conditioned dorms, according to new research led by Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health.”

PLOS Collections - Climate Change and Health: http://collections.plos.org/climate-change-and-health “Climate change and the impacts on health are being increasingly reported and documented. It is expected that with continued rises in global temperature and greenhouse gas emissions the effects on health will become more widely experienced and extreme. Throughout July PLOS Medicine is publishing a Special Issue on climate change and health.”

Welcome to Scientific American's New Climate Science Column: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/hot-planet/welcome-to-scientific-americans-new-climate-science-column/ “It’s about this beautiful, messy, funny, tragic planet and the terrible, wonderful humans who live here”

Analysis: ‘Global’ warming varies greatly depending where you live: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-global-warming-varies-greatly-depending-where-you-live “The warming experienced by people is typically higher than the global average warming. In a world where warming is limited to “well below” 2C about 14% of the population will still experience warming exceeding 2C. In the worst-case scenario of continued growth in emissions, about 44% of the population experiences warming over 5C – and 7% over 6C – in 2100.”

Africa’s Hottest Reliably Measured Temperature on Record: 124.3°F on Thursday in Algeria: https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/Africas-Hottest-Reliably-Measured-Temperature-Record-1243F-Thursday-Algeria “A historic heat wave in northern Africa on Thursday, July 5, brought Africa its hottest reliably measured temperature on record: 124.3°F (51.3°C), at Ouargla, Algeria. Ouargla (population 190,000) is the capital city of Ouargla Province in the Algerian Sahara Desert, at an elevation of 719 feet (219 meters).”

Cheaper Green Power in Britain Could Put Nuclear in the Shade: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-09/cheaper-green-power-in-britain-could-put-nuclear-in-the-shade “Renewables can generate half of Britain’s power by 2030 without adding to consumer bills, potentially crowding out nuclear as a significant low carbon source of electricity. That’s the conclusion of the National Infrastructure Committee, an independent body that advises government on how to meet the country’s long-term needs for large construction projects. It recommended the government should make 50 percent a minimum target for 2030 up from 30 percent now. It said taxpayers should only support one more nuclear power station before 2025.”

Annoyance with wind turbines may affect quality of life: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-wind-turbines/annoyance-with-wind-turbines-may-affect-quality-of-life-idUSKBN1JW2M2 “People who can see wind turbines from their homes may be more annoyed by these machines and more likely to report quality of life issues than individuals who live further away from wind turbines, an industry-supported study suggests.”

UK’s ‘largest’ battery storage facility completed: https://www.energylivenews.com/2018/07/09/uks-largest-battery-storage-facility-completed/ “A battery storage facility claimed to be the largest in the UK has been completed. It has a total capacity of 49.9MW and is located at Stocking Pelham near the town of Bishop’s Stortford, according to developer BSR EPC.”

Climate Change a 'Man-made Problem with a Feminist Solution' says Robinson: https://www.voanews.com/a/climate-change-a-man-made-problem-with-a-feminist-solution-says-robinson/4444348.html “Women must be at the heart of climate action if the world is to limit the deadly impact of disasters such as floods, former Irish president and U.N. rights commissioner Mary Robinson said on Monday. Robinson, also a former U.N. climate envoy, said women were most adversely affected by disasters and yet are rarely "put front and center" of efforts to protect the most vulnerable.”

Pope Francis warns against turning Earth into vast pile of 'rubble, deserts and refuse': https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/07/pope-francis-warns-against-turning-earth-into-vast-pile-of-rubble-deserts-and-refuse “Pope Francis urged governments on Friday to make good on their commitments to curb global warming, warning that climate change, continued unsustainable development and rampant consumption threatens to turn the Earth into a vast pile of “rubble, deserts and refuse”.”

Church of England votes to withdraw funds from companies that contribute to climate change: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/church-of-england-climate-change-investment-withdraw-paris-agreement-fossil-fuels-a8437781.html “The Church of England has voted to withdraw investment from companies that are not pulling their weight in the fight against climate change. Following a motion that passed with almost universal approval, the Church will sever ties with firms that do not meet the terms of the Paris climate agreement by 2023.”

Active travel & transport

878. A Cost Benefit Analysis of an Active Travel Intervention with Health and Carbon Emission Reduction Benefits: http://www.globalpanet.com/knowledge-base/measurement/observation/878-a-cost-benefit-analysis-of-an-active-travel-intervention-with-health-and-carbon-emission-reduction-benefits “In conclusion, the present cost benefit study has focused mainly on what are likely to be the most important benefits and costs relating to an active travel intervention programme; in order to provide what few other studies have done, namely, an estimate in economic terms of the value of such a programme.”

‘Right direction, wrong speed’ - Urban Transport Group responds to Government’s Road to Zero strategy: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/media-centre/press-releases/%E2%80%98right-direction-wrong-speed%E2%80%99-urban-transport-group-responds-government “The Government’s much anticipated ‘Road to Zero’ strategy on reducing emissions from vehicles is heading in the right direction, but at the wrong speed, the Urban Transport Group has warned today. Responding to the publication, the Group - which represents the UK’s largest urban transport authorities – criticised the strategy for failing to bring forward the date by which the Government will end the sale of new petrol and diesel from 2040, which many businesses, cities and environmental groups have campaigned for.”

Greater Manchester announces plans for ‘Beelines’ – the UK’s largest cycling and walking network: https://www.tfgm.com/press-release/beelines “Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, has unveiled an innovative new plan to create a city-region-wide cycling and walking network made up of more than 1,000 miles of routes, including 75 miles of Dutch-style segregated bike lanes. The ‘Beelines’ network will be the largest joined-up system of walking and cycling routes in the UK and has been developed with all 10 Greater Manchester local authorities.”

Re-Energising Wales: ‘Decarbonising Transport in Wales’ report: http://www.iwa.wales/news/2018/06/re-energising-wales-decarbonising-transport-wales-report/ “The Re-energising Wales project ‘Decarbonising Transport in Wales’ report highlights opportunities that could significantly improve and decarbonise the transport sector in Wales.”

Opinion: Safer speed limits – why France is taking the right road: https://etsc.eu/safer-speed-limits-why-france-is-taking-the-right-road “Article 4 of the 1789 French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of The Citizen states: “Liberty consists of doing anything which does not harm others…”. These historic words seemed appropriate yesterday as the French government announced a number of measures to improve road safety including a reduction of the speed limit on unseparated rural roads from 90km/h to 80km/h.  The move has sparked a sadly now predictable backlash on social media and from groups representing some drivers.  But if France wants to seriously address the 3500 deaths that occur on its roads each year, tackling speed must be a top priority.”

The Active Well-being Initiative: http://activewellbeing.org/ “The Active Well-being Initiative (AWI) helps cities and organisations to improve the lives of their citizens through the promotion of physical activity, sport and well-being for all. In a world which is facing increasing health problems, the AWI model advocates for more sustainable urban living and calls for new forms of governance. It provides a suite of standards, tools and services, road-tested with a group of pilot cities, and empowers city leaders, their communities and citizens to drive change. Cities are invited to join the movement and see their efforts certified by the Global Active City label.”

Air quality & pollution

CONSULTATION - Clean Air Zone for Birmingham (consultation for individual citizens): https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/economy/caz_individual/ “We are proposing a Clean Air Zone (CAZ), where the most polluting vehicles will have to pay to enter the city centre: all the roads within the A4540 Middleway ring road (but not the Middleway itself). Charges would apply to most vehicles whose engine does not meet specific pollution standards: including buses and coaches, lorries, vans, cars and taxis and specialist vehicles like bin lorries. Vehicles with a clean enough engine (Euro 4 for petrol, Euro 6 for diesel) would not be charged. We are also suggesting other ways to reduce the air pollution caused by motor vehicles, including improving public transport, upgrading engines and building more low emission refuelling stations (e.g. electric charging points), making changes to roads and reviewing charges for parking.”

Sustainability West Midlands - News June 2018 - Air quality: Passive choking or time to change? http://www.sustainabilitywestmidlands.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/SWM-News-June-2018-Air-quality-Passive-choking-or-time-to-change.htm “If you want a reminder about how quickly difficult issues can be solved and our quality of life improved, ask a recent graduate if they remember smoking in pubs and restaurants. You will be greeted with horror and subconsciously put in the box marked ‘alive during Victorian times.’ Yet the public smoking ban in England is only just over ten years old. Today we face the public health crisis of air quality, with a debate about how difficult it is and a raft of initiatives launched this month.”

What Should We Do About Air Pollution In Birmingham? https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/air-pollution-birmingham_uk_5b3dd2ffe4b05127ccef1f59?guccounter=1 “What should be done?  The answers aren’t easy, and will require political courage and joined up thinking at city, region and national levels.  We should focus on measures with the greatest health benefit, which may be slightly different from just meeting the legal limit values.  Some interventions will impact some individuals or groups more than others, but we should remember that poor air quality disproportionately affects the most disadvantaged communities.  Improved public awareness of air quality issues has a key part to play.”

Clean Air Human Rights Bill read in House of Lords: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/07/06/clean-air-human-rights-bill-read-in-lords/ “Introduced by the Green Party peer Baroness Jenny Jones, and read yesterday (5 July), the draft legislation sets out a series of commitments for government to tackle air pollution (see airqualitynews.com story). This includes enshrining a ‘right to clean air’ within law.”

Coverage of the association between air pollution and diabetes mellitus.

Air pollution linked to spikes in hospital and GP visits: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/10/air-pollution-linked-to-spikes-in-hospital-and-gp-visits “Air pollution leads to spikes in health problems and drives up hospital admissions and visits to the GP, according to a new study. The report proves an “absolutely clear” link between poor air quality and health problems and researchers said it should serve as a warning to politicians about the serious impacts of toxic air on public health.”

Nissan Workers in Japan Falsified Emissions Tests, Review Says: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/07/09/business/nissan-falsified-emissions-inspections.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur “An internal review of emissions and fuel economy tests at Nissan’s production plants in Japan showed that company inspectors used “altered measurement values” on emissions inspection reports, the company said in a statement on Monday. The tests also “deviated from the prescribed testing environment,” it said.”

Pollution hits the fungi that nourish European trees: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/186573/pollution-hits-fungi-that-nourish-european/ “A huge study of 13,000 soil samples across 20 European countries has revealed that many tree fungi communities are stressed by pollution, indicating that current pollution limits may not be strict enough.”

More Recycling Won't Solve Plastic Pollution: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/more-recycling-wont-solve-plastic-pollution/ “The only thing worse than being lied to is not knowing you’re being lied to. It’s true that plastic pollution is a huge problem, of planetary proportions. And it’s true we could all do more to reduce our plastic footprint. The lie is that blame for the plastic problem is wasteful consumers and that changing our individual habits will fix it.”

Ozone hole mystery: China insulating chemical said to be source of rise: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44738952 “Cut-price Chinese home insulation is being blamed for a massive rise in emissions of a gas, highly damaging to the Earth's protective ozone layer. The Environmental Investigations Agency (EIA) found widespread use of CFC-11 in China, even though the chemical was fully banned back in 2010.”

Food & food security

The Faculty of Public Health DARE Lecture, "A post-Brexit Food Plan: filling space vacated by HM Government": https://event.on24.com/eventRegistration/EventLobbyServlet?target=reg20.jsp&referrer=&eventid=1781940&sessionid=1&key=8CD6B10D8ADA0D6D0F565A784C26195F&regTag=&sourcepage=register “In June, we welcomed food policy expert Prof Tim Lang to give the annual DARE Lecture. His brief was very simple – to give a lecture that challenges and stimulates debate on developments within public health. Tim opted to talk about post-Brexit food policy.* During the lecture he shared his opinions on the key issues facing the UK’s food system, background on food history and why that’s relevant to today’s challenges, and the value of the UK maintaining relationships with its European neighbours post-Brexit to protect the public’s health. We’re delighted to share a recording of Tim’s lecture.”

Chile’s 2014 sugar-sweetened beverage tax and changes in prices and purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages: An observational study in an urban environment: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002597 “The modifications of Chile’s SSB tax were small, and observed changes in prices and purchases of beverages after the tax were also small. Our results are consistent with previous evidence indicating that small increases in SSB taxes are unlikely to promote large enough changes in SSB purchases to reduce obesity and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).”

What Trump and African leaders need to know about food security: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/09/opinions/global-food-security-act-africa-opportunity-mogues/index.html?no-st=1531307489 “The Global Food Security Act, an Obama-era piece of legislation that marshals foreign aid to speed up agricultural growth and reduce hunger in poor countries, will expire this year if it is not renewed… But even if the bill passes both houses, it remains to be seen whether President Donald Trump will sign it into law. If the administration's stance on another very similar Obama-era initiative -- the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, which increases food security by boosting agricultural productivity, predominantly in African countries -- is anything to go by, the chances for renewal appear quite low. On the one-year anniversary of the Trump presidency, the Treasury Department declared the US would pull out of that program.

WMHPG news, information and resources 6 July 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

SDGs show slow progress, not on track to reach 2030 targets, UN reports: https://www.devex.com/news/sdgs-show-slow-progress-not-on-track-to-reach-2030-targets-un-reports-92971/ “Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals remains uneven, and is not moving fast enough to meet the ambitious 17 goals on poverty, health, and equality by 2030, the United Nations said this week. The U.N. released its annual checkup report on the SDGs on Wednesday, accompanied by a call from U.N. Chief António Guterres that, “we must inject a sense of urgency” in making good on the ambitious 2030 development agenda.”

The start of a new poverty narrative: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2018/06/19/the-start-of-a-new-poverty-narrative/ “Each April and October, the World Poverty Clock data are updated to take into account new household surveys (an additional 97 surveys were made available this April) and new projections on country economic growth from the International Monetary Funds’s World Economic Outlook. These form the basic building blocks for poverty trajectories computed for 188 countries and territories, developed and developing, across the world.”

This is what peak inequality looks like: http://www.dannydorling.org/?p=6669 “We can find it hard to believe that an era has come to an end, that a peak has been passed. But when, finally, such a change happens the memories of commentators change with it. They will say that they believed the change to be desirable all along, that they somehow saw it coming and so, too, were on the side of history. Then we can all forget that just a few years previously they had so vehemently opposed change, had justified the status quo, were so scornful of those who suggested change was possible and ultimately were so wrong.”

An up-to-date account of economic inequalities in Britain since 2008: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/an-up-to-date-account-of-economic-inequalities-in-britain-since-2008/ “Nicholas Sowels provides an up-to-date account of inequalities in the UK since the financial crisis and explains how the current trends compare internationally, as well as among different social and age groups.”

Low income dynamics among ethnic minorities in Great Britain: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/research/publications/working-papers/iser/2018-06 “Using data from Understanding Society, and robust estimation methods we find that Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups have the highest poverty entry rates (23-26%), followed by Indian, black Caribbean and black African groups (9-11%) and the white majority (6%). Indians and Pakistani's have the highest poverty persistence rates (66%), white majority the lowest (52%), the remaining groups around 55%.”

Healthy planning & environment

The role of cities in improving population health: international insights: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/cities-population-health “Drawing on international case studies, this report explores the role of cities in improving population health and the conditions needed for success. It is based on 50 interviews with leaders from 14 cities and includes an extended case study on London that examines the lessons the city might learn from elsewhere.”

Nature-based therapy for stress-related illnesses: https://www.nationalelfservice.net/treatment/complementary-and-alternative/nature-based-therapy-for-stress-related-illnesses/ “Nature-based therapy in the form studied (i.e an intensive 9 hour per week intervention with various individual and group components) is as effective as CBT for the treatment of acute stress reactions, PTSD, adjustment disorders, and other reactions to severe stress. However, nature-based therapies that are available differ substantially in content, delivery, and intensity, and the effect found by Stigsdotter et al cannot be generalised to all forms of nature-based therapy.”

Planning for the Common Good: Adapting the planning system for common good land use: http://www.sharedassets.org.uk/research-report/planning-for-the-common-good/ “This report outlines how the planning system could support land-based social enterprises to use land for the common good.”

Associations between green area in school neighbourhoods and overweight and obesity among Norwegian adolescents: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335517301006?via%3Dihub “Highlights - Prevalence of overweight among Norwegian adolescents varies dependent on greenness. - The prevalence is highest in most green areas and lowest in less green areas. - Physical activity and active transportation are independent explanatory factors. - Health promoting activities should be understood better in rural areas in Norway.”

Heathrow airport: MPs vote in favour of expansion: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44609898 “MPs have backed controversial plans to build a third runway at London's Heathrow airport.”

Dementia-friendly architecture: Reducing Spatial Disorientation in Dementia Care Homes: http://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=ES%2FM009254%2F1 “Knowing where we are and how to get to places are fundamental features of successful everyday living. Although most of us rely automatically and unquestioningly on our wayfinding abilities, they are markedly impaired in people with Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most prevalent form of dementia. This project will identify the features of buildings that make them relatively harder or easier for people with AD to navigate. The knowledge gained will allow us to create dementia-friendly architectural guidelines for use in the design of residences for people with AD.”


Health impact, and economic value, of meeting housing quality standards: https://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/phr/phr06080#/abstract “This study found that meeting national housing quality standards through multiple home improvements was associated with reduced emergency hospital admissions.” – more here: Decent housing means fewer emergency hospital admissions – new research: https://theconversation.com/decent-housing-means-fewer-emergency-hospital-admissions-new-research-86329 “For our study, we worked with the residents living in 9,256 council properties in Carmarthenshire, south Wales, between 2009 and 2014. Of these, 8,558 homes underwent at least one improvement to meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. This included new heating and electrical systems, added wall and loft insulation, new kitchens and bathrooms, windows and doors, or garden paths.”

Rethinking social housing report: http://www.cih.org/rethinkingsocialhousingfinalreport “Welcome to the final report for Rethinking social housing. This report is the culmination of the project. Working with our advisory group we have completed three major stages of work over the course of the last year. This included 200 workshops which more than 3,000 people who live and work in social housing took part in, public perceptions polling and a widespread evidence review.”

Child homelessness in England at highest level since 2007: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jun/27/child-homelessness-in-england-at-highest-level-since-2007 “123,130 children were in temporary accommodation in first quarter of 2018 – an increase of nearly 80% since 2011”

People on low incomes bear brunt of housing crisis: it's time to act: https://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/people-low-incomes-bear-brunt-housing-crisis-its-time-act “The last week has seen evidence from all sides on the causes and solutions to the housing crisis. With the Social Housing Green Paper expected soon, there’s a strong consensus that it is time for decisive action.”

Councils call for changes to affordable housing definition: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-call-for-changes-to-affordable-housing-definition/45584 “Councils have criticised proposed changes to government planning policy after ‘social rent’ homes were dropped from the definition of affordable housing.”

Join up health and housing policy or risk return to 'pre-war slum housing', Labour warns: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/health-housing-policy-joined-up-labour-warning-pre-war-slum-housing-risk-a8425661.html “Labour has warned there is a risk of the resurgence of post-war style slums that fuelled illness as it announced plans to join up health and housing policies. Hundreds of thousands of rented homes are unfit to live in, according to the party. It set out plans to create healthy homes zones that would target areas with the worst quality housing.”

What are the links between homelessness and mental health? https://www.bigissue.com/latest/social-activism/what-are-the-links-between-homelessness-and-mental-health/ “It is evident that there is a link between mental health and homelessness. Poor mental health can make work impossible and cause family breakdowns or substance misuse. Homelessness can also cause mental ill-health due in part to poor living conditions, isolation and uncertainty.”

Beyond ECO: The future of fuel poverty support: https://www.ippr.org/publications/beyond-eco “Fuel poverty is a fact of life for 2.5 million households across England. It is also an increasing problem, with the number of households in fuel poverty rising by just under 5 per cent from 2014 to 2015. The average fuel poverty gap – the amount by which a fuel-poor household’s energy bills exceed reasonable costs each year – was £353 in 2015. As a consequence, too many people are forced to make unacceptable choices between ‘heating or eating’.”

Climate change & sustainability

Red-hot planet: All-time heat records have been set all over the world during the past week: https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2018/07/03/hot-planet-all-time-heat-records-have-been-set-all-over-the-world-in-last-week/ “From the normally mild summer climes of Ireland, Scotland and Canada to the scorching Middle East, numerous locations in the Northern Hemisphere have witnessed their hottest weather ever recorded over the past week. Large areas of heat pressure or heat domes scattered around the hemisphere led to the sweltering temperatures. No single record, in isolation, can be attributed to global warming. But collectively, these heat records are consistent with the kind of extremes we expect to see increase in a warming world.”

Land uplift ‘could prevent’ collapse of West Antarctic ice sheet: https://www.carbonbrief.org/land-uplift-could-prevent-collapse-west-antarctic-ice-sheet “The rapid rise of bedrock beneath one of the fastest melting regions of the West Antarctic ice sheet could help prevent it collapsing, new research suggests.”

Flood damage costs under the sea level rise with warming of 1.5 °C and 2 °C: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aacc76/meta “...We also estimate global annual flood costs under these scenarios and find the difference of 11 cm global sea level rise in 2100 could result in additional losses of US$ 1.4 trillion per year (0.25% of global GDP) if no additional adaptation is assumed from the modelled adaptation in the base year.”

Committee on Climate Change - Apply the lessons of the past decade, or risk a poor deal for the public in the next: https://www.theccc.org.uk/2018/06/28/apply-the-lessons-of-the-past-decade-or-risk-a-poor-deal-for-the-public-in-the-next/ “Ten years after the Climate Change Act came into force, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says the Government must learn the lessons of the last decade if it is to meet legally-binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the 2020s and 2030s. Unless action is taken now, the public faces an unnecessarily expensive deal to make the shift to a low-carbon economy.”

Cutting carbon footprints in the service sector: https://esrc.ukri.org/news-events-and-publications/impact-case-studies/cutting-carbon-footprints-in-the-service-sector “The service sector comprises around 80% of the UK economy, using significant amounts of energy. Research informed the introduction of sustainable practices into the UK’s £6.2 billion hairdressing sector, reducing the carbon footprint of haircare salons.”

Climate Change and the Cost of Capital in Developing Countries: https://imperialcollegelondon.app.box.com/s/e8x6t16y9bajb85inazbk5mdrqtvxfzd “For every USD 10 paid in interest by developing countries, an additional dollar will be spent due to climate vulnerability. This financial burden exacerbates the present-day economic challenges of poorer countries. The magnitude of this burden will at least double over the next decade.”

Oil and Gas Fields Leak Far More Methane than EPA Reports, Study Finds: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/21062018/methane-leaks-oil-gas-climate-change-risks-natural-gas-slcp-global-warming-pollution-science-edf-study “Higher than expected levels of the potent short-lived climate pollutant raise questions about whether natural gas can be an effective bridge to lower emissions.” – original study here: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2018/06/20/science.aar7204.full

UK judge postpones decision on landmark climate case: http://www.climatechangenews.com/2018/07/04/uk-judge-postpones-decision-landmark-climate-case/ “The high court in London has postponed its decision on whether 11 citizens can bring their complaint that the UK’s climate targets need to be changed before the full court”

Government 'will miss fuel poverty target by more than six decades': https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jul/03/government-fuel-poverty-target-ippr-energy-efficiency “Ministers are drastically off course on ensuring as many fuel-poor homes – those which people cannot afford to keep adequately heated – as possible are upgraded to energy efficiency band C by 2030 in England, according to the IPPR. The target will not be met by 2091 at the earliest, a report by the thinktank found.”

£1.3bn Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project thrown out: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-44589083 “Plans to build the world's first tidal power lagoon have been thrown out by the UK government. Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said the £1.3bn project was not value for money, despite claims by developers Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) a revised offer made it cheaper.

Climate Change and the Power of Story: https://orbitermag.com/climate-change-and-the-power-of-story/ “There is a reason why the best science documentaries, whether about the Big Bang or the origin of life, include gorgeous images and sweeping orchestral music. The filmmakers could have just presented the data in graphs and tables, the way scientists often talk among themselves. But such a presentation wouldn’t capture our imaginations. It wouldn’t let our feelings rise to the necessary level of awe and wonder.”

Active travel & transport

International recognition of the links between transport, health and sustainability: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140517306114 “Transport and health is increasingly being acknowledged internationally as an important area that affects the population's quality of life, relationships with the built and natural environment, social justice and inequalities, as well as societal costs, both in economic terms and relating to sustainability, including some of the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). Achieving a shift towards more sustainable modes requires changes beyond transport planning and public health policy, particularly a shift in spatial planning to put education, work, and social activities within short distances of home. This needs political will.”

Residence in unsafe neighborhoods is associated with active transportation among poor women: Geographic Research on Wellbeing (GROW) Study: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140517307211 “Highlights •Poor mothers used active transport much more than non-poor mothers. •Mothers of color used active transport more than White Mothers. •Poor mothers in unsafe vs. safe neighborhoods had higher odds of active transport. •Active transport among poor mothers may expose them to safety risk. •Policies should improve neighborhood safety in areas where poor mothers live.”

Essential evidence on a page No. 169: No. 169: Mobile phone use while driving: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-169-mobile-phone-use-while-driving “Top line: Using a hands-free mobile phone is no safer than using a hand-held mobile phone. Both increase crash risk fourfold, but under-reporting at crash scenes of mobile phone use hampers analysis and future prevention efforts.”

HS2 'green corridor plans slammed by campaigners: https://www.expressandstar.com/news/transport/2018/06/28/hs2-green-corridor-plans-slammed-by-campaigners/ “HS2 plans to spend £2 million on a 'green corridor' to run alongside rail tracks have been branded 'utter greenwash nonsense' by environmental campaigners.”

Urban Transport Group - Rail Cities UK: our vision for their future: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/resources/types/reports/rail-cities-uk-our-vision-their-future “Significant rail expansion is the 'only viable option' to help UK cities achieve their ambitions on economic growth and meeting household demand, whilst also creating attractive urban centres with less road traffic and better air quality. This report sets out a vision of what a step change in rail provision could mean for passengers and cities - and the obstacles that stand in the way.”

Active travel: solutions for changing cities: https://urbantransportgroupblog.org/2018/06/27/active-travel-solutions-for-changing-cities/ “The big shift in thinking in the value of investing in, and promoting, active travel is reflected in a new wave of influential city active travel commissioners, in the benevolent arms race between cities on spend per head on active travel and in the re-shaping of streets from cycle superhighways to healthy streets. It can also be seen in the greater number of cyclists and pedestrians where effective infrastructure and programmes are put in place.”

New bus figures show 'slow death of local buses': https://www.localgov.co.uk/New-bus-figures-show-slow-death-of-local-buses/45456 “The number of people using buses in England fell again in the last financial year in the face of real-terms fare increases and cuts to local routes.”

Mayor and Paralympian hero join forces to boost physical activity in the West Midlands: https://www.wmca.org.uk/news/mayor-and-paralympian-hero-join-forces-to-boost-physical-activity-in-the-west-midlands/ “A partnership has been struck between the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and ukactive, the body representing the UK fitness industry and which is chaired by Tanni Grey-Thompson. It was agreed in principle at a meeting in Birmingham and will be announced officially at ukactive’s national summit on September 12 by WMCA deputy mayor Cllr Bob Sleigh.”

Air quality & pollution

Coverage of a landmark case to re-open an inquest into the death of a nine year old girl based on the link between asthma and air pollution.

Mental health issues and air pollution: what’s the link? //medium.com/@UKHealthClimate/mental-health-issues-and-air-pollution-whats-the-link-b02e5ab943e6">https://medium.com/@UKHealthClimate/mental-health-issues-and-air-pollution-whats-the-link-b02e5ab943e6> “...However, there is now emerging and compelling evidence that air pollution may directly influence adverse mental health outcomes, certainly as far as suicide, dementia and anxiety are concerned. Good quality environmental epidemiological studies have recently started to emerge from across the world outlining a link between suicide and air pollution — particularly pollutants such as fine particulate matter and Nitrogen Dioxide.”

Sonic doom: how noise pollution kills thousands each year: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jul/03/sonic-doom-noise-pollution-kills-heart-disease-diabetes “From heart disease to type 2 diabetes, noise is having dire effects on people’s health. So who is most at risk, what can be done about it – and can you protect yourself?”

Mayor and leaders call for rethink on M6toll price hike: https://www.wmca.org.uk/news/mayor-and-leaders-call-for-rethink-on-m6toll-price-hike/ “Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and the leaders of all seven metropolitan authorities today (Friday June 29) called on the owners of the M6toll motorway to reconsider a planned hike in charges for both motorists and hauliers. In a joint letter to Midlands Express Ltd (MEL), they said the price increases flew in the face of the region’s efforts to improve air quality and manage congestion.”

Consultation on Birmingham CAZ given green light: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/06/27/consultation-on-birmingham-caz-given-green-light/ “Birmingham city council is set to launch a six-week consultation on its plans to charge drivers to enter a Clean Air Zone, after the council’s cabinet approved a motion to push ahead with the proposal yesterday (26 June).”

Dirty air: we want to help you win: https://neweconomics.org/2018/06/dirty-air?mc_cid=f0e8ecef3c&mc_eid=330863fa78 “NEF is launching a new campaign against dirty air. If you’re a local clean air campaign group that would like some help on campaign strategy, economics and policy, media skills or citizen science, get in touch.”

Delhi's air pollution is now so bad it is literally off the chart: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/15/delhi-blanketed-by-smog-so-toxic-it-cant-be-measured “Smog more toxic than can be measured by monitoring devices has blanketed the Indian capital this week, months before the start of Delhi’s traditional “pollution season”. A thick haze was visible across the city from Tuesday and some government pollution monitors have recorded concentrations of 999 – the highest they can measure – as dust storms kicked up in nearby Rajasthan state blanketed the region.”

‘Nothing to worry about. The water is fine’: how Flint poisoned its people: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jul/03/nothing-to-worry-about-the-water-is-fine-how-flint-michigan-poisoned-its-people “When the people of Flint, Michigan, complained that their tap water smelled bad and made children sick, it took officials 18 months to accept there was a problem.”

Food & food security

Wide coverage and discussion of the new Childhood Obesity Plan.

Inclusive climate change mitigation and food security policy under 1.5°C climate goal: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aad0f7 “Food-security support through international aid, bioenergy tax, or domestic reallocation of income can shield impoverished and vulnerable people from the additional risk of hunger that would be caused by the economic effects of policies narrowly focussing on climate objectives only. In absence of such support, 35% more people might be at risk of hunger by 2050 (i.e. 84 million additional people) in a 2°C-consistent scenario.”

England’s poorest areas are fast food hotspots: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/englands-poorest-areas-are-fast-food-hotspots “New figures from PHE show higher concentrations of fast food outlets in England’s most deprived communities.”

Frontiers in Climate Smart Food Systems: Outlining the Research Space: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsufs.2018.00002/full “In this short paper, we briefly discuss the burgeoning approach of climate-smart agriculture, which seeks to integrate complex issues and set out a direction for change in contemporary systems.”

Dietitians are “go to” professionals for prevention and public health: https://betterhealthforall.org/2018/06/06/dietitians-are-go-to-professionals-for-prevention-and-public-health/ “This week is the fifth annual British Dietetic Association (BDA) Dietitians Week, when the dietetic profession come together to spread the word about our work and profession. Our theme this year is “Dietitians Do Prevention”.”

And finally….

Spite buildings: when human grudges get architectural – in pictures: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/jun/21/spite-buildings-when-human-grudges-get-architectural-in-pictures ““Spite buildings” are constructions specifically intended to irritate or protest: our smallest human pettiness made manifest in bricks, mortar and a reckless disregard for planning laws. Their origins are often disputed, occasionally embellished and usually entertaining, revealing tales of spurned lovers, fraternal feuds and vengeance. Below we highlight a few of the most famous of these “malicious erections” (sorry).”

WMHPG news, information and resources 15 June 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

How the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals undermine democracy: https://qz.com/1299149/how-the-uns-sustainable-development-goals-undermine-democracy/ “There is one glaring problem: the SDGs are pushing an agenda carefully calibrated to avoid upsetting the world’s dictators, kleptocrats, and this century’s worst human rights offenders. Search the 17 SDGs and you will fail to find a single mention of the word “democracy.” Out of thousands of words of text, “human rights” is mentioned merely once (and not as its own category, but as a secondary bullet point).”

Social Disadvantage and Social Isolation Are Associated With a Higher Resting Heart Rate: Evidence From The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing: https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/article/71/3/463/2605125 “The finding that poorer people have a higher RHR reinforces the need for additional research exploring the pathways through which social inequalities are translated into biological inequalities.”

The gendered impact of austerity: Cuts are widening the poverty gap between women and men: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/gendered-impacts-of-austerity-cuts/ “Ellie Mae MacDonald explains that women are disproportionately hit by the UK government’s austerity policies. She argues that many government policies, though seemingly gender-neutral, have profoundly gendered impacts. In particular, changes to Universal Credit and cuts to services and public-sector jobs have increased the number of women living in poverty relative to men.”

The links between gender and poverty are over-simplified and under-problematised: a time of economic crisis is an opportune moment to re-think the ‘feminisation of poverty’ and address the ‘feminisation of responsibility’.: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/gender-poverty-links/ “Women’s poverty levels are at the centre of political discussions around the world as governments put into place deficit reduction plans. These discussions often fail to take account of the complex relationship between gender and poverty, argues Sylvia Chant, and a renewed focus on the time and labour that women invest in bearing the burden of dealing with poverty is now needed.”

Destitution in the UK 2018: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/destitution-uk-2018 “As a society we believe in protecting each other from harm and yet last year over 1.5 million people in the UK were pushed into destitution, going without the bare essentials and locked out of the chance of building a decent and secure life.”

A recipe for action: using wider evidence for a healthier UK: https://www.health.org.uk/publication/recipe-action-using-wider-evidence-healthier-uk “A collection of essays exploring why we need trans-disciplinary approaches to improve the public's health” – the essays are from the perspective of different disciplines, e.g. urban planning, engineering, food policy, law, design, social psychology.

Healthy planning & environment

Climate change risks of fracking outweigh benefits – BMJ editorial: https://drillordrop.com/2018/06/09/climate-change-risks-of-fracking-outweigh-benefits-bmj-editorial/ “The scale of harm from shale gas to health is uncertain, but the danger of exacerbating climate change is not, two professors of public health have warned. In an editorial for this week’s British Medical Journal, David McCoy and Patrick Saunders said: “Although we can’t be certain about the scale of harm that shale gas production will bring to local communities and the immediate environment, it will exacerbate climate change. And on these grounds alone, the risks clearly and considerably outweigh any possible benefits.””

Emma Thompson films Great British Bake Off spoof to protest fracking: https://amp.theguardian.com/film/2016/apr/28/emma-thompson-bake-off-spoof-protest-fracking “Oscar winner (and now Dame) cooks up cake-themed sortie on land leased by energy firm Cuadrilla – sparking a farmer’s retaliatory dirty protest of his own”

Global Warming’s Terrifying New Chemistry: https://www.thenation.com/article/global-warming-terrifying-new-chemistry/ “Our leaders thought fracking would save our climate. They were wrong. Very wrong… In February, Harvard researchers published an explosive paper in Geophysical Research Letters. Using satellite data and ground observations, they concluded that the nation as a whole is leaking methane in massive quantities. Between 2002 and 2014, the data showed that US methane emissions increased by more than 30 percent, accounting for 30 to 60 percent of an enormous spike in methane in the entire planet’s atmosphere.”

Economist Josh Ryan-Collins: How Land Disappeared from Economic Theory: http://evonomics.com/josh-ryan-collins-land-economic-theory/ “Land. Neglected, obfuscated but never quite completely forgotten, the story of Land’s marginalization from mainstream economic theory is little known. But it has important implications.”

Science meets imagination – cities and health in the twenty-first century: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23748834.2018.1462610#.WxfTXWTlt5c.twitter “This article explores the field of futures thinking in relation to cities and health. Importantly, it proposes a set of themes that will be the focus of a special issue of Cities & Health in 2019. These include the use of futures studies and foresight, the prospect of strengthening futures literacy, and the nature of policy-making and governance for improved population health within the developing global urban context.”

City of Well-Being: A Radical Guide to Planning: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/23748834.2017.1472842?journalCode=rcah20#.WxfTCCcz7sk.twitter

Promoting a healthy cities agenda through indicators: development of a global urban environment and health index: https://citieshealth.world/promoting-healthy-cities-agenda-indicators-development-global-urban-environment-health-index/ “The BRE Healthy Cities Index and associated BRE Causal Pathways Framework have multiple benefits. They help local professionals become aware of the links between the environment and health – highlighting where there are overlapping responsibilities and the need for collaboration across departments. These tools can also be of value through exposing the conflicting priorities faced by some city departments (and private sector stakeholders) when they work to meet health objectives alongside other goals.”

Planning contributes over £2.35bn to Welsh society, research finds: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Planning-contributes-over-2.35bn-to-Welsh-society-research-finds/45425 “The Royal Town Planning Institute for Wales said it had developed a tool which captures the economic and social value of planning.”


Crisis - Everybody In: How to end homelessness in Great Britain: https://www.crisis.org.uk/ending-homelessness/plan-to-end-homelessness/ “In 21st century Britain, everybody should have a place to live. We need to get Everybody In to end homelessness.”

Mental Health and Housing: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/Mental_Health_and_Housing_report_2016_1.pdf “A project to identify which types of supported accommodation successfully meet the needs of people with mental health problems in order to recommend effective housing solutions”

The impact of housing problems on mental health: https://england.shelter.org.uk/professional_resources/housing_and_mental_health “One in five adults have suffered mental health issues in the last five years, due to housing problems. Our new report reveals that the mental health of millions of people in England has suffered in the last five years because of housing problems. As a result, many have sought help from their GPs.”

Climate change & sustainability

Event – Medact: Climate Change, Clean Air and Fossil Free Health –  Why & how health professionals can use divestment as a powerful tool to fight climate change and protect health. July 1, 10.30-2.00pm, London: https://www.medact.org/event/climate-change-clean-air-and-fossil-free-health-workshop/ -

  • Blog covering the campaign: Climate change threatens to undo decades’ worth of global health gains – but the health community can help to stop this: https://www.medact.org/2018/blogs/climate-change-threatens-to-undo-decades-worth-of-global-health-gains-but-the-health-community-can-help-to-stop-this/ “The fossil fuel industry is blocking action on climate change. We’ve known about climate change for decades. We also know that climate change is largely irreversible on human time scales –making action on this issue increasingly urgent and very time sensitive.  Why then, have we taken so long to act? It’s a complicated issue but one of the most important obstacles to climate progress is the fossil fuel industry. Over many decades, this industry has used all the tools at its disposal, and massive amounts of money, to ensure that climate progress has been as slow and as insignificant as possible.”

Key 'step forward' in cutting cost of removing CO2 from air: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44396781 “A Canadian company, backed by Bill Gates, says it has reached an important threshold in developing technology that can remove CO2 from the air. Carbon Engineering has published a peer-reviewed study showing that they can capture carbon for under $100 a tonne.” – original paper here: A Process for Capturing CO2 from the Atmosphere: https://www.cell.com/joule/fulltext/S2542-4351(18)30225-3 “We describe a process for capturing CO2 from the atmosphere in an industrial plant.”

Quantifying long-term changes in carbon stocks and forest structure from Amazon forest degradation: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aac331/meta “Estimated carbon loss and recovery trajectories provide an important foundation for assessing the long-term contributions from forest degradation to regional carbon cycling and advance our understanding of the current state of frontier forests.”

Sea level rise due to Antarctic ice melt has ‘tripled over past five years’: https://www.carbonbrief.org/sea-level-rise-due-antarctic-ice-melt-has-tripled-over-past-five-years “The rate of sea level rise resulting from the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet has tripled over the past five years, according to new research from a global team of scientists.” – original report here: Mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2017: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0179-y.epdf “The Antarctic Ice Sheet is an important indicator of climate change and driver of sea-level rise. Here we combine satellite observations of its changing volume, flow and gravitational attraction with modelling of its surface mass balance to show that it lost 2,720 ± 1,390 billion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017, which corresponds to an increase in mean sea level of 7.6 ± 3.9 millimetres (errors are one standard deviation). Over this period, ocean-driven melting has caused rates of ice loss from West Antarctica to increase from 53 ± 29 billion to 159 ± 26 billion tonnes per year; ice-shelf collapse has increased the rate of ice loss from the Antarctic Peninsula from 7 ± 13 billion to 33 ± 16 billion tonnes per year.”

Editorials: Where UK newspapers stand on climate change and energy: https://www.carbonbrief.org/editorials-where-uk-newspapers-stand-on-climate-change-and-energy “Using our extensive database of newspaper articles, Carbon Brief has isolated and summarised editorials on a variety of topics related to energy and climate change from the past five years. Topics we’ve chosen range from Arctic sea ice extent, China and coal through to climate finance, flood defence spending and nuclear power.”

California poised to be first state to require solar panels on new homes: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/may/09/california-solar-panels-power-renewable-energy “California is set to require solar panels on new homes and low-rise apartment buildings starting in 2020, the first such mandate in the country and the state’s latest step to curb greenhouse gas emissions.”

The demise of the largest and oldest African baobabs: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41477-018-0170-5 “The African baobab is the biggest and longest-living angiosperm tree. By using radiocarbon dating we identified the stable architectures that enable baobabs to reach large sizes and great ages. We report that 9 of the 13 oldest and 5 of the 6 largest individuals have died, or at least their oldest parts/stems have collapsed and died, over the past 12 years; the cause of the mortalities is still unclear.” – media coverage here: Giant African baobab trees die suddenly after thousands of years: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/11/giant-african-baobab-trees-die-suddenly-after-thousands-of-years “Some of Africa’s oldest and biggest baobab trees have abruptly died, wholly or in part, in the past decade, according to researchers. The trees, aged between 1,100 and 2,500 years and in some cases as wide as a bus is long, may have fallen victim to climate change, the team speculated.“”

Eerie silence falls on Shetland cliffs that once echoed to seabirds’ cries: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/03/shetland-seabirds-climate-change-catastrophe-terns-kittiwakes-puffins “This grim description is backed by figures that reveal the staggering decreases in seabird numbers in Shetland, the most northerly part of the British Isles. In 2000, there were more than 33,000 puffins on the island in early spring. That figure dropped to 570 last year and there are no signs of any recovery this year, although it is still early in the season.”

Global warming could be causing tropical storms to ‘slow down and last longer’: https://www.carbonbrief.org/global-warming-could-be-causing-tropical-stroms-slow-down-last-longer “Rising global temperatures could be causing tropical storms to slow down, allowing them more time to unleash heavy rainfall once making landfall, a new study suggests.”

Pope warns energy bosses of global destruction without fuel shift: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-oil-vatican-conference-pope/pope-warns-energy-bosses-of-global-destruction-without-fuel-shift-idUKKCN1J50BD “Pope Francis warned that climate change risked destroying humanity on Saturday and called on energy leaders to help the world to convert to clean fuels to avert catastrophe.”

Ikea Sets New Climate Goals to Tackle Unsustainable Consumption: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-07/ikea-sets-new-climate-goals-to-tackle-unsustainable-consumption “Ikea aims to reduce more greenhouse gases than its value chain emits by 2030 and will reach that goal by "drastically reducing the climate footprint of the products and operations in absolute terms," it said in a statement on Thursday. The company will for example capture and store carbon and work with suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Active travel & transport

Copenhagenize your city: the case for urban cycling in 12 graphs: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2018/jun/11/copenhagenize-case-urban-cycling-graphs “Danish-Canadian urban designer Mikael Colville-Andersen busts some common myths and shows how the bicycle has the potential to transform cities around the world”

transport / health ROI toolkit: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/transport-health-roi-toolkit “Folklore says the standard DfT model is predicated on a premise of road capacity is needed to address congestion thus roads always win out. Certainly to an extent. Its this sort of stuff that determines the budget for active travel from which interventions can be funded. The basic issue = the standard DfT model says “build roads to ease congestion, it’s the most efficient thing to do”. Thus we allocate the transport resources to build roads, build roads then we don’t ease congestion and don’t achieve any modal shift.”

A Longitudinal Study Examining Changes in Street Connectivity, Land Use, and Density of Dwellings and Walking for Transport in Brisbane, Australia: http://www.globalpanet.com/knowledge-base/environments/built-environment/871-a-longitudinal-study-examining-changes-in-street-connectivity-land-use-and-density-of-dwellings-and-walking-for-transport-in-brisbane-australia “Residential density, land-use mix and street connectivity are three important elements in the creation of neighbourhoods which support adults to walk for transport. The combination of these characteristics are not new to planners, and the recent study led by Bentley et al. has added further evidence to cement these as necessities in our urban areas. The study follows on from previous HABITAT research. HABITAT (How Areas in Brisbane Influence healTh And acTivity) is a longitudinal multi-level study of physical activity among people aged 40+ years living in Brisbane. With over 11,000 participants and 200 neighbourhoods, it is one of the largest studies of its kind.”

Moving the Masses: https://theconversation.com/au/topics/moving-the-masses-54500 “A series of articles about managing the movements of large numbers of individuals, be they drivers or pedestrians, shoppers or commuters, birds or ants.”

Birmingham to be part of UK's largest driverless cars test site: https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/birmingham-part-uks-largest-driverless-14747766 “It was today (Tuesday) announced that a consortium of organisations from both the public and private sectors will be developing 50 miles of roads across Birmingham and Coventry for the project. It will be the largest, most diverse testing environment in the UK.”

Air quality & pollution

A Particulate Problem: https://www.harvardmagazine.com/2018/06/six-cities-study-air-pollution-revisited “Last June, eight new Harvard-affiliated researchers revisited the study, using new technologies and innovations in statistical analysis and examining Medicare data—the largest and most public dataset available documenting the health of U.S. citizens—thus presumably averting renewed charges of secret science (an issue raised anew by current EPA administrator Scott Pruitt). Their findings breathe new life into the main conclusion of the original Six Cities research: that fine-particulate matter, even in concentrations below the current national standards, drives up mortality rates across the country.”

Schools join research into the effect of air pollution on children's health: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-06/qmuo-sjr060718.php “The CHILL study (Children's Health in London & Luton) is funded by the National Institute for Health Research. It will test whether policies to improve air quality, such as London's new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), are associated with improved growth of children's lungs and reduced chest symptoms. Researchers from the University of Bedfordshire and Queen Mary University of London are currently recruiting schools to take part.”

DfT confirms future penalties for ‘defeat devices’: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/06/07/dft-confirms-penalties-defeat-devices/ “Car manufacturers will face heavy fines if they supply vehicles designed to cheat emissions tests to the UK, the government announced today. Under new regulations, manufacturers face a potential penalty of £50,000 for each new vehicle found to be fitted with a so-called ‘defeat device’.”

You’re eating microplastics in ways you don’t even realise: https://theconversation.com/youre-eating-microplastics-in-ways-you-dont-even-realise-97649 “We’re increasingly aware of how plastic is polluting our environment. Much recent attention has focused on how microplastics – tiny pieces ranging from 5 millimetres down to 100 nanometres in diameter – are filling the seas and working their way into the creatures that live in them. That means these ocean microplastics are entering the food chain and, ultimately, our bodies. But fish and shellfish aren’t our only food sources that can contain microplastics. And, in fact, other sources that don’t come from the sea might be much more worrying.”

Ikea commits to phase out single-use plastic products by 2020: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jun/07/ikea-commits-to-phase-out-single-use-plastic-products-by-2020 “Ikea is to phase out all single-use plastic products from its stores and restaurants by 2020 amid growing concern about the effects of plastic on the environment. Ikea said plastic straws, plates, cups, freezer bags, bin bags, and plastic-coated paper plates and cups would all be phased out and where possible replaced by alternatives.”

Preaching against plastic: Indonesia's religious leaders join fight to cut waste: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/07/indonesia-plastic-rubbish-religious-leaders-join-fight-to-cut-waste “The government has announced it will join forces with the country’s two largest Islamic organisations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, using their extensive networks across the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation to encourage consumers to reduce plastic waste and reuse their plastic bags.”

‘The Dump Killed My Son’: Mountains of Garbage Engulf India’s Capital: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/06/10/world/asia/india-delhi-garbage.html “In the metropolitan area of Delhi, which includes the capital New Delhi, trash heaps are towering monuments to India’s growing waste crisis. About 80 billion pounds of trash have accumulated at four official dumping sites, on the fringes of a capital already besieged by polluted air and toxic water, according to the supervisors of the dumps.”

Food & food security

Guest post: Climate change could heighten risk of global food production ‘shocks’: https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-climate-change-could-heighten-risk-global-food-production-shocks “Dr Michelle Tigchelaar is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington, currently investigating the impacts of climate change on global food security.”

Experts Urge Lawmakers to Focus on Food-Migration Nexus: https://reliefweb.int/report/world/experts-urge-lawmakers-focus-food-migration-nexus “Lawmakers at the highest levels urgently need a “revolution in thinking” to tackle the twin problem of sustainable food production and migration. Starting with an inaugural event in Brussels, then travelling on to New York and Milan, an international team of experts led by the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) is urging far-reaching reforms in agricultural and migration policy on an international scale.”

Better Bacon: Why It’s High Time the U.S. Pork Industry Stopped Pigging Out on Antibiotics: https://www.nrdc.org/resources/better-bacon-why-its-high-time-us-pork-industry-stopped-pigging-out-antibiotics “Antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s greatest health threats. Already, at least two million Americans each year suffer infections due to drug-resistant bacteria, resulting in more than 23,000 deaths. The unnecessary use of medically important antibiotics is a major driver of this worsening crisis.”

Video: How beef farmers can reduce their carbon footprint: https://www.carbonbrief.org/video-how-beef-farmers-can-reduce-their-carbon-footprint “The beef industry is currently responsible for 6% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, making it as large a polluter as the construction sector. Eating less meat is one way to cut beef emissions. However, scientists have also started to look at ways that farmers can reduce the carbon footprint of beef before it reaches the plate.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 8 June 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

What Ministries of Finance, Tax and Revenue Need To Know – Non-communicable disease: http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/HIV-AIDS/NCDs/Finance.pdf “Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health and wellbeing includes targets on the prevention and control of NCDs. Achievement of these targets would  deliver  mutual  gains  across  Agenda 2030,  given  the  multidirectional  relationship between NCDs, poverty, inequalities and other goals and targets”

Church launches anti-slavery app: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Church-launches-anti-slavery-app/45394 “The Safe Car Wash app, which has been launched by the Church of England, will aid the public in identifying signs of modern slavery.” – more info & download the app here - Safe Car Wash App: https://www.theclewerinitiative.org/safe-car-wash-app/

New film: why understanding intersecting inequalities vital to achieving SDGs: http://www.ids.ac.uk/news/new-film-why-understanding-intersecting-inequalities-vital-to-achieving-sdgs “A new film showcases why it’s so important to understand the impact of intersecting inequalities on people’s lives and the relevance of this for achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With stories from Egypt, Ghana, India, South Africa and Uganda, the film reflects on what it takes to help people overcome the intersecting inequalities that criss-cross their lives and hold the powerful to account.”

The U.N. Goal That Doesn't Get A Lot Of Respect: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/05/31/614493772/the-u-n-goal-that-doesnt-get-a-lot-of-respect “Of the U.N.'s 17 goals to make the world a better place by 2030, one goal gets much less respect than the others. It's not improving education. It's not wiping out poverty and hunger. It's Goal #14 — which aims to "conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development."

Healthy planning & environment

Heathrow expansion – a selection of the coverage of the decision to allow the building of a third runway at Heathrow Airport;

Tomorrow's cities: Google's Toronto city built 'from the internet up': https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41414872 “On Toronto's Eastern waterfront, a new digital city is being built by Sidewalk Labs - a firm owned by Google's parent Alphabet.

It hopes the project will become a model for 21st-Century urbanism. But the deal has been controversial, representing one of biggest ever tie-ups between a city and a large corporation. And that, coupled with the fact that the corporation in question is one of the largest tech firms in the world, is causing some unease.”

Green spaces are being lost to housing at ‘alarming rate’, campaigners say: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Green-spaces-are-being-lost-to-housing-at-alarming-rate-campaigners-say-/45400 “The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has revealed the amount of farmland, forests, gardens and greenfield land lost to housing development each year has increased by 58% over a four year period.”

Evidence suggests fracking linked to South Korea’s 2017 earthquake: https://theconversation.com/evidence-suggests-fracking-linked-to-south-koreas-2017-earthquake-95883 “A magnitude 5.5 earthquake shook the industrial city of Pohang in South Korea on 15 November 2017, injuring almost 100 people and damaging thousands of buildings at a cost of millions of US dollars. Six months on, two academic papers have suggested that fracking was probably the cause of this earthquake.”


Call for evidence: What is the effectiveness of residential street level design characteristics in reducing chronic and non-communicable disease: a systematic review: http://urban-habitats.com/2018/04/18/call4evidence/ “This call for evidence is now open, please do get in touch below if you have relevant evidence.  The link below gives full details of inclusion criteria.  Essentially we are interested in evidence looking at residential street design, using multiple design characteristics (streets are conceived, designed, and built as a whole after all) and looking at links to any type of non-communicable disease and risk factors for the same.”

National Housing Federation – Research findings: Experiences of those aged 50+ in the private rented sector: http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/pub.housing.org.uk/Experiences_of_those_aged_50_and_over_in_the_private_rented_sector.pdf “Baby boomers hit by ‘shattering impact’ of housing crisis” - press release here: https://www.housing.org.uk/press/press-releases/baby-boomers-hit-by-shattering-impact-of-housing-crisis/

Ripe for development: Building better housing statistics for the UK: https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2018/05/30/ripe-for-development-building-better-housing-statistics-for-the-uk/ “Few issues are more important than housing. Now statisticians from across government have begun a new initiative to bring harmony and coherence to figures currently published by more than seven different departments and public bodies. As Iain Bell explains, the new approach is designed to put the needs of users first.”

Housing affordability in England and Wales: 2017: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/housing/bulletins/housingaffordabilityinenglandandwales/2017 “Brings together data on house prices and annual earnings to calculate affordability ratios for national and subnational geographies in England and Wales, on an annual basis.”

Briefing: Private rented sector – Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee inquiry: https://www.lgiu.org.uk/briefing/private-rented-sector-housing-communities-and-local-government-committee-inquiry/#5b0816a97b965 “The private rented sector is an increasingly important part of the housing market. The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee’s inquiry considers the powers and resources available to local authorities to enforce standards in the private rented sector, with a particular focus on the experience of tenants.”

Sick building syndrome: are we doing enough? https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00038628.2018.1461060 “This paper focuses on reviewing the current state of knowledge on building sickness syndrome which has been prevalent as a building illness since the 1970s especially in offices and schools.”

Netherlands to build world's first habitable 3D printed houses: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/jun/06/netherlands-to-build-worlds-first-habitable-3d-printed-houses “Developers say project will cut costs and environmental damage and offer solution to shortage of bricklayers”

Four myths about homelessness: voices from a tent city: https://theconversation.com/four-myths-about-homelessness-voices-from-a-tent-city-96943 “Between 2012 and 2018, Seattle Pacific University has hosted Tent City 3 three times. During their stays we conducted interviews with over 60 residents. The data challenges what we think we know about the causes of homelessness and the character of the people who experience it.”

Conference - People, Place and Policy 2018: Alternative urban futures for tackling social and spatial inequalities: https://extra.shu.ac.uk/ppp-online/event/people-place-and-policy-2018-alternative-urban-futures-for-tackling-social-and-spatial-inequalities/ “This one-day conference seek to bring together academics, practitioners and policy makers to examine the potential for existing movements and policy experiments to address inequalities; propose new alternatives for addressing inequalities; and critically examine the prospects and possibilities for inequalities of emerging urban phenomena.  The conference will feature theoretical and empirical contributions from a range of geographic foci across the global North and South and across a range of themes including the following:”

Climate change & sustainability

Medact event - Climate Change, Clean Air and Fossil Free Health – Why & how health professionals can use divestment as a powerful tool to fight climate change and protect health: https://www.medact.org/event/climate-change-clean-air-and-fossil-free-health-workshop “July 1 @ 10:30 am - 2:00 pm London. Climate change threatens to undo decades’ worth of global health gains, but the health community can help stop this. This event will explore the connections between climate change, fossil fuels and human health. We’ll analyse why – and how – the health community can give crucial support to the fossil fuel divestment movement, as it fights the root cause of climate change.”

WHO Health, environment and climate change Road map for an enhanced global response to the adverse health effects of air  pollution: http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA71/A71_10Add1-en.pdf?ua=1 “Report from the Director General”

Innovative zero-emissions power plant begins battery of tests: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05247-1 “A team of engineers in La Porte, Texas, has spent the past several weeks running tests on a prototype power plant that uses a stream of pure carbon dioxide — not air — to drive a turbine. If the zero-emission technology developed by NET Power in Durham, North Carolina, succeeds, it could help to usher in an era of clean power from fossil fuels.”

Guest post: Exceeding 1.5C of global warming will hit poorest the hardest: https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-exceeding-1-5c-of-global-warming-will-hit-poorest-the-hardest “Climate change is increasing the frequency of heat waves, changing rainfall patterns, raising sea levels and damaging coral reefs through increasing bleaching events. These effects of climate change are pervasive, so the vast majority of the global population will be impacted in some way as the world warms. However, these impacts will not be felt equally from one country to the next. Our research, published today in Geophysical Research Letters, shows that it will be the poorest nations who will see the biggest shifts in local climate.”

Europe’s Largest Asset Manager Sees ‘Tipping Point’ on Climate: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-31/europe-s-largest-asset-manager-sees-tipping-point-on-climate “The world’s deepest-pocketed investors are starting to take climate change seriously, according to Amundi SA. “We are really observing a tipping point among the institutional investors on climate change,” said Frederic Samama, co-head of institutional clients at the Paris-based firm. “Until recently, that question was not on their radar screen. It’s changing, and it’s changing super fast.””

Swansea tidal lagoon: £200m offer from Welsh Government to get it built: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-44373411 “Wales' first minister has offered £200m to get the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon built, amid reports the UK government is on the point of throwing it out.

Warming stripes: http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2018/warming-stripes/ “A new set of climate visualisations, communicating the long term rise in temperatures for particular locations as a changing set of colours from blue to red. Each stripe represents the temperature of a single year, ordered from the earliest available data to now.”

Margaret Atwood: women will bear brunt of dystopian climate future: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/margaret-atwood-women-will-bear-brunt-of-dystopian-climate-future “Climate change will bring a dystopian future reminiscent of one of her “speculative fictions”, with women bearing the brunt of brutal repression, hunger and war, the Booker prize-winning author Margaret Atwood is to warn.”

Pioneering 'liquid air' project can help store excess electricity: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jun/05/pioneering-liquid-air-project-can-help-store-excess-electricity “The demonstration scheme next to a landfill site in Bury, Greater Manchester, uses excess or off-peak electricity to chill air to -196C, transforming it to a liquid state to be stored inside large metal tanks. Pumping and heating is used later to turn it back to a gas, which is released to turn a turbine, generating electricity at times of need – but without burning the gas and releasing emissions.”

Judge Orders EPA to Produce Science behind Pruitt’s Warming Claims: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/judge-orders-epa-to-produce-science-behind-pruitts-warming-claims/ “EPA must produce the opposing body of science Administrator Scott Pruitt has relied upon to claim that humans are not the primary drivers of global warming, a federal judge has ruled. The EPA boss has so far resisted attempts to show the science backing up his claims. His critics say such evidence doesn’t exist, even as Pruitt has called for greater science transparency at the agency.”

Active travel & transport

More active people for a healthier world: The global action plan on physical activity 2018 – 2030: http://www.who.int/ncds/prevention/physical-activity/gappa “WHO has developed a new global action plan to help countries scale up policy actions to promote physical activity. It responds to the requests by countries for updated guidance, and a framework of effective and feasible policy actions to increase physical activity at all levels.”

The story behind parkrun: https://betterhealthforall.org/2018/06/06/the-story-behind-parkrun/ “On the surface the parkrun concept is incredibly simple and the format hasn’t changed since that first morning – free, timed, weekly, 5k, for everyone who wants to take part. What has changed however is the way that we have evolved from attracting mainly club runners in the very beginning to people from all walks of life.”

Walking in urban parks and green spaces: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/walking-in-urban-parks-and-green-spaces “Walking in Urban Parks and Green Spaces has been written and researched by the TCPA and funded by the Ramblers as part of the organisation’s work to help encourage and protect the ability of people to enjoy the benefits that come from being outdoors on foot.”

From the Royal Wedding to electric buses: 10 reasons we are on the cusp of an EV boom: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news-analysis/3032717/from-the-royal-wedding-to-electric-buses-10-reasons-we-are-on-the-cusp-of-an-ev-boom “The latest developments provide yet more evidence that growing business interest in zero emission transport is poised to accelerate, as costs continue to fall and charging infrastructure expands. BusinessGreen takes a look at the reasons behind the growing optimism coursing through the EV industry - and why the oil industry should be concerned.”

Global EV Outlook. From the International Energy Agency: https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/GlobalEVOutlook2017.pdf “The global electric car stock surpassed 2 million vehicles in 2016 after crossing the 1 million

threshold in 2015”

Conference - Anticipating the driverless future: Threat or saviour for cities and societies? https://congress.academyofurbanism.org.uk/2018/05/25/anticipating-the-driverless-future-threat-or-saviour-for-cities-and-societies/?preview=true

Air quality & pollution

Dynamics of coarse and fine particle exposure in transport microenvironments: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41612-018-0023-y “RDD (respiration deposition doses) for pedestrian and cycle modes were not the lowest among the measured modes but opportunities such as an increased distance between the heavily trafficked roadways and pedestrians/cyclists should be considered in urban planning to reduce potential doses.” – summary here: Pedestrians ‘at highest risk’ from air pollution: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/06/03/pedestrians-at-highest-risk-from-air-pollution/

'Impossible-to-cheat' emissions tests show almost all new diesels still dirty: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/06/impossible-to-cheat-emissions-tests-show-almost-all-new-diesels-still-dirty “Emissions tests that are impossible for carmakers to cheat show that almost all diesel car models launched in Europe since the “dieselgate” scandal remain highly polluting.”

Pollution from cars and vans costs £6billion per year in health damages: http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2018-06-06-pollution-cars-and-vans-costs-%C2%A36billion-year-health-damages “A new Oxford University collaboration has shed light on the damaging health consequences of Britain’s car addiction – revealing that it is likely costing our NHS and society in general more than £6 billion per year.” – a different perspective here - Car and van emissions cost NHS and society £6 billion each year, says new research: https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/environment/2018/06/05/car-and-van-emissions-cost-nhs-and-society-6-billion-per-annum-says-new-report

Mayor to deliver funding to 50 ‘polluted’ London schools: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/05/24/mayor-to-deliver-funding-to-50-polluted-london-schools/ “The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced funding for 50 of the capital’s ‘most polluted schools’ to help deliver measures aimed at reducing air pollution.”

Exploring alternative materials to reduce plastic pollution: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/exploring-alternative-materials-reduce-plastic-pollution “In an effort to equip the world with the tools and knowledge to reduce plastic litter from ending up in our ocean, rivers, and lakes, UN Environment today published a report assessing the potential of replacing conventional plastics with alternative materials in certain applications.” Full report here: http://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/25485/plastic_alternative.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Whale dies from eating more than 80 plastic bags: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/03/whale-dies-from-eating-more-than-80-plastic-bags “Pilot whale was found barely alive in Thai canal and vomited up five bags during fruitless rescue attempts”

The missing science: Could our addiction to plastic be poisoning us? https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/missing-science-could-our-addiction-plastic-be-poisoning-us “For a long time, we operated on the principle that plastics are okay because there was no evidence that they are unsafe. This is not equivalent to proving they are safe. The ubiquity of plastics, and the increasing evidence that we are ingesting many of them in microplastic form, demands a closer examination of the health implications.”

A beginner's guide to plastic-free living: https://www.treehugger.com/green-home/beginners-guide-plastic-free-living.html “It's true that, after years of writing about plastic avoidance and waste reduction, it's hard for me to see it through the eyes of a beginner. There are things I mistakenly assume everyone knows, like where to find bar shampoo/conditioner and plastic-free laundry detergent. But for many people, those are still daunting and confusing steps.”

Somali refugees turn plastic waste warriors in one of world's biggest camps: http://news.trust.org/item/20180605000120-hzy9n/ “A Red Cross-backed recycling project aims to clean up the environment and boost refugee incomes in Kenya's Dadaab camp”

Food & food security

Childhood Obesity: Time for Action. Report from the House of Commons Health Committee: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmhealth/882/882.pdf “The Government is expected to publish shortly a refreshed version of the childhood obesity plan first published in summer 2016. This report outlines the following key areas which demand attention as a matter of urgency by the Government before the next chapter of the plan is finalised.” – media coverage here - 'Ban cartoon characters' on unhealthy food, MPs say: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-44298135

€10m project to tackle Europe’s childhood obesity launches at Imperial: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/186587/10m-project-tackle-europes-childhood-obesity/ “The STOP project (Science and Technology in childhood Obesity Policy), led by a team based at Imperial College Business School, will identify and test the best approaches to the prevention and treatment of obesity, especially in younger children (up to age 12), over the next four years from June 2018 until May 2022.”

As rich children slim down, poor ones are getting fatter: https://www.economist.com/britain/2018/06/02/as-rich-children-slim-down-poor-ones-are-getting-fatter

Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6392/987 “Food is produced and processed by millions of farmers and intermediaries globally, with substantial associated environmental costs. Given the heterogeneity of producers, what is the best way to reduce food's environmental impacts? Poore and Nemecek consolidated data on the multiple environmental impacts of 38,000 farms producing 40 different agricultural goods around the world in a meta-analysis comparing various types of food production systems. The environmental cost of producing the same goods can be highly variable. However, this heterogeneity creates opportunities to target the small numbers of producers that have the most impact.” – media coverage here: Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth

Global Access to Nutrition Index: https://www.accesstonutrition.org/sites/gl18.atnindex.org/files/resources/atni_report_global_index_2018.pdf “The Global Access to Nutrition Index 2018 is the third Global Index published by the Access To Nutrition Foundation (ATNF). The first was published in 2013 and the second in 2016.”

Smarter metrics will help fix our food system: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05328-1 “Think less about bigger crop yields, and more about better lives, says Pavan Sukhdev, as more-comprehensive evaluation techniques are unveiled.”

Food safety may be put at risk by Brexit, council body warns: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/30/food-safety-may-be-put-at-risk-by-brexit-lga-warns “A failure to protect access to shared intelligence in areas such as animal health systems will increase the chance of a new food scandal, according to the LGA, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales.”

Chicken safety fear as chlorine washing fails bacteria tests: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/26/chicken-health-fear-chlorine-washing-fails-bacteria-tests-brexit-salmonella-listeria “British microbiologists find that American technique at heart of Brexit trade row does not kill listeria and salmonella” – original research report here: Viable-but-Nonculturable Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica Serovar Thompson Induced by Chlorine Stress Remain Infectious: http://mbio.asm.org/content/9/2/e00540-18.full

Europeans deserve a food policy that focuses on the environment and people’s health: https://theconversation.com/europeans-deserve-a-food-policy-that-focuses-on-the-environment-and-peoples-health-97622 “The European Union’s common agricultural policy is a sprawling programme of farming subsidies that covers everything from income support for farmers to supporting the promotion of products such as wine. No wonder then that the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, wants to “modernise and simplify” the policy.”

Huge rise in food redistribution to people in need across UK: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/28/huge-rise-in-food-redistribution-to-people-in-need-across-uk “Charity FareShare is feeding three quarters of a million people a week with food that would otherwise go to waste – a 60% rise since last year”

WMHPG news, information and resources 1 June 2018

Sustainable development goals

Inequality the Big Picture: http://www.dannydorling.org/?p=6576 “The first of three Free Summer Lectures on Inequality. Given by Danny Dorling in London on Tuesday May 22nd 2018 at 6:30pm in Bethnal Green. A video of the recording of the lecture, with slides embedded, can be played below. The second free lecture will be given by Sadiah Qureshi on June 21st 2018 entitled: ‘There is Black in the Union Jack’: Britain’s forgotten history, tickets available here. The third free lecture will be given by Rosemary Ashton on July 19th 2018: on: ‘Affordable Education for All: The Pioneering Contribution of Victorian Bloomsbury’, tickets to be found here.”

In Britain, Austerity Is Changing Everything: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/05/28/world/europe/uk-austerity-poverty.html#click=https://t.co/TBHFVk9ahr The view from over the Atlantic – “After eight years of budget cutting, Britain is looking less like the rest of Europe and more like the United States, with a shrinking welfare state and spreading poverty.”

The economy and a healthy population, a two way relationship: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2018/05/16/the-economy-and-a-healthy-population-a-two-way-relationship/ “Last week I had to do a flash talk on the links between health & well being and the economy. This was in the context of an event on inclusive growth, following the publication of the 2018 State of Sheffield report. I was taking about the health and well being chapter (that my fabulous team wrote) on “why is health important for the economy”.”

Event – University of Wolverhampton: International Conference of Global Health 20 August to 23 August 2018: https://www.wlv.ac.uk/about-us/our-schools-and-institutes/faculty-of-education-health-and-wellbeing/lectures-and-seminar-series/international-conference-of-global-health-and-epidemiology-/ “We are delighted to announce our forthcoming conference on Global Health and Epidemiology.  Hosted by the University of Wolverhampton, this conference will enable researchers, academics and health practitioners from across the globe to hear from eminent scholars and meet colleagues to discuss and debate key global and public health issues for populations and communities across the world.”

Money for nothing: the truth about universal basic income: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05259-x “Several projects are testing the idea of doling out funds that people can use however they want.”

UNECA Toolkit to Support Alignment of Development Goals: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/uneca-toolkit-to-support-alignment-of-development-goals/ “The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has released a report arguing for an integrated approach to the implementation of internationally agreed development goals. The report reflects on Africa’s performance on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and makes recommendations for integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.”

WMO, WHO, UNEP Launch Coalition on Health, Environment and Climate Change: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/wmo-who-unep-launch-coalition-on-health-environment-and-climate-change/ “The World Health Organization (WHO), UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) have launched a global coalition on health, environment and climate change, which aims to improve coordination and reduce the annual 12.6 million deaths caused by environmental risks, especially air pollution.”

It Saves Lives. It Can Save Money. So Why Aren’t We Spending More on Public Health? https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/05/28/upshot/it-saves-lives-it-can-save-money-so-why-arent-we-spending-more-on-public-health.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes “Funding for health campaigns is surprisingly low when you consider they’re often so valuable that they pay for themselves.”

Healthy planning & environment

UK's council planners overworked, underpaid and abused, experts say: https://amp.theguardian.com/books/2018/may/25/uk-council-planners-overworked-underpaid-abused-kevin-mccloud-hay-festival-experts-say “Council planners are the most understaffed, underpaid, overworked, abused and depressed workers in Britain, which is a cause for concern because they are responsible for creating and determining the quality of environments we live in, according to a panel of experts at the Hay festival.”

Humans just 0.01% of all life but have destroyed 83% of wild mammals – study: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/21/human-race-just-001-of-all-life-but-has-destroyed-over-80-of-wild-mammals-study “Groundbreaking assessment of all life on Earth reveals humanity’s surprisingly tiny part in it as well as our disproportionate impact” – original report here - The biomass distribution on Earth: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/05/15/1711842115

Fracking could cause earthquakes across huge swathes of UK, warns former Downing Street adviser and seismologist: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/uk-fracking-earthquakes-cause-shale-gas-seismic-events-government-planning-a8363411.html “‘Ministers must take heed and listen to the growing weight of evidence on fracking and, at the bare minimum, implement a moratorium on fracking in coal mining areas and review fracking across the UK’”

Council chiefs warn of ‘housebuilding free-for-all’: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Council-chiefs-warn-of-housebuilding-free-for-all/45359 “The Local Government Association (LGA) says the changes to the National Policy Planning Framework mean developers could be given the green light to build 165,000 new homes in areas where people have said they do not want them.”

10 Principles for a Rain-Friendly City: http://thiscitylife.tumblr.com/post/174191276072/10-principles-for-a-rain-friendly-city/amp#click “The Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN) thinks not. The VPSN recently launched “Life Between Umbrellas” an initiative to examine how public spaces can be designed and programmed to be more rain-friendly.  Last week, they released 10 draft principles for rain-friendly public spaces. The principles were created based on research into local and global best practices, as well as over 400 ideas submitted by Vancouverites during engagement activities held in February and March.”


UK Fuel Poverty Monitor 2017/18: Call for Evidence: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/UKFPM2018 “National Energy Action (NEA) and Energy Action Scotland (EAS) are national charities working to end fuel poverty and the illness caused by cold homes across the United Kingdom. Like many organisations, we are currently reviewing our response to the severe cold weather that was experienced throughout the winter of 2017/18. In particular, we are studying the UK wide cold snap between February and March 2018 and reflecting on where key lessons can be learnt in advance of this coming winter.“

Senior Conservative councillors urge Government to invest more in low-cost rented homes: https://www.jrf.org.uk/press/senior-conservative-councillors-urge-government-invest-more-low-cost-rented-homes “Over seventy percent of Conservative council leaders and housing leads, who responded to a new poll, warn that current Government investment will not deliver enough low-cost rented homes in their area.”

Masterly inactivity or a new dawn?: Labour and the regulation of private renting: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/labour-and-the-regulation-of-private-renting/ “If there is one thing that Labour and the Conservatives currently have in common is that both appear ready to embark on a step change in housing policy. But are Jeremy Corbyn’s recent announcements on rent controls a sign of change, or just another new political language for ‘masterly inactivity’? Ben Pattison reviews Labour’s record on private renting regulation.”

Revealed: the developers cashing in on privatisation of student housing: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/may/27/revealed-developers-cashing-in-privatisation-uk-student-housing “Tens of thousands of undergraduates are paying for accommodation at universities where developers are cashing in on the privatisation of student housing using offshore companies, a Guardian investigation has found.”

Climate change & sustainability

Reduced Urban Heat Island intensity under warmer conditions: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aabd6c/meta “Here we compare urban and rural temperatures in 54 US cities for 2000–2015 and show that the intensity of the Urban Heat Island, measured here as the differences in daily-minimum or daily-maximum temperatures between urban and rural stations or ΔT, in fact tends to decrease with increasing temperature in most cities”

Arctic Heat Surges Again, and Studies Are Finding Climate Change Connections: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/08052018/arctic-heat-wave-climate-change-sea-ice-loss-amplification-north-pole “A heat wave sent temperatures spiking 30 degrees above normal in part of the Arctic, and sea ice is taking a nosedive. That ice loss has scientists worried.”

A Warming Climate May Produce More Drug-Resistant Infections: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-warming-climate-may-produce-more-drug-resistant-infections/ “A study appearing today in Nature Climate Change from researchers at the University of Toronto (U.T.) and Boston Children’s Hospital links the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria to a hotter climate. Researchers found a 10-degree Celsius increase in daily minimum temperature was associated with a small increase in resistance in common pathogens”

A ‘hostile environment’ for renewables: Why has UK clean energy investment plummeted? https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/uk-renewable-energy-investment-targets-wind-solar-power-onshore-a8358511.html “'It’s very clear there is a very substantial downward trend in new investment, which is across the board in terms of investment in clean technology ranging from big wind farms right down to the effective collapse of the solar market'”

Climate change threatens to undo decades’ worth of global health gains – but the health community can help to stop this: https://www.medact.org/2018/blogs/climate-change-threatens-to-undo-decades-worth-of-global-health-gains-but-the-health-community-can-help-to-stop-this/ “The fossil fuel industry is probably the greatest obstacle to climate progress. In the face of such a huge and powerful foe it’s easy to feel despairing, even helpless. But health institutions can play a key role in breaking this industry’s power and creating the space for the urgent action we need. If you’d like to get involved, why not come along to our Fossil Free Health event on 1st July?”

Students examine how climate change affects health: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/students-climate-change-health/ “Using data from 2001-2010, the students found “profound” associations between high temperature and meningitis deaths.”

Turning carbon dioxide into rock – forever: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-43789527 “Nested in the snow-covered mountains of western Iceland, a maze of turbines and pipes belches thick billows of steam. This mammoth structure is responsible for providing power to a country where 100% of the electricity comes from renewable sources.”

Feeding cows seaweed cuts 99% of greenhouse gas emissions from their burps, research finds: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/cows-seaweed-methane-burps-cut-greenhouse-gas-emissions-climate-change-research-a8368911.html “Preliminary research has indicated a small amount of marine algae added to cattle food can reduce methane emissions from cattle gut microbes by as much as 99 per cent.”

Trump White House axes Nasa research into greenhouse gas cuts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-44067797 “President Donald Trump's administration has ended US space agency Nasa's monitoring system into greenhouse gases, a US journal has revealed. The Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), a $10m (£7m)-a-year project which remotely tracks the world's flow of carbon dioxide, is to lose funding.”

Active travel & transport

Essential evidence on a page No. 168 - Stressing the harms of physical inactivity to promote exercise: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-168-stressing-the-harms-of-physical-inactivity-to-promote-exercise “Top line: Inactive people are contributing to a premature death burden as large as tobacco smoking. This fact is largely not known beyond health scientists.”

Schrodinger’s Road Space – excellent GIF: https://twitter.com/urbanthoughts11/status/954709976248971264/photo/1 “The urban superposition - taking space away from cars while giving them more space at the same time”

Air quality & pollution

CONSULTATION - Air quality: reducing nitrogen dioxide air pollution in 33 local authorities (England): https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/air-quality-reducing-nitrogen-dioxide-air-pollution-in-33-local-authorities-england “We are seeking views on how to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air pollution in the shortest possible time in 33 English local authority areas. Consultation closes 26 June 2018)

Coal and oil power plant retirements in California associated with reduced preterm birth among populations nearby: https://academic.oup.com/aje/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/aje/kwy110/4996680?redirectedFrom=fulltext “We used California Department of Public Health birth records and Energy Information Administration data from 2001-2011 to evaluate the relationship between 8 coal and oil power plant retirements and nearby preterm births ( < 37 weeks gestational age)… We found that power plant retirements were associated with a decrease in the proportion of preterm birth within 5 km”

Clean Air Day: https://www.cleanairday.org.uk/Default.aspx “Air pollution is real and harms the health of millions. But there are lots of simple things we can do to improve air quality and look after our own and other people’s health. Clean Air Day is a chance to find out more about air pollution, share information with friends and colleagues, and help make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone.”

UK study looks at long term impact of air pollution on health: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/05/16/uk-study-looks-at-long-term-impact-of-air-pollution-on-health/ “A study carried out by three UK Universities has provided further evidence that exposure to air pollution in early life has detrimental long-term health consequences, researchers claim.”

Clean air is a ‘human right’ in our proposed Clean Air Bill 2018: https://cleanair.london/legal/clean-air-is-a-human-right/ “‘Clean Air in London’ has worked closely with Baroness Jenny Jones (Green) and others to embed a ‘human right to clean air’ in a draft new Clean Air Bill 2018 that could be approved by Parliament now.  Read it here:”

Ozone exposure at birth increases risk of asthma development: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/ats-oea051118.php “A long-term study of the health of Canadian children has found that exposure to ozone (O3), a common air pollutant, at birth was associated with an 82 percent increased risk of developing asthma by age three.”

Pollutionwatch: Air contamination drops by 30% in China: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/24/pollutionwatch-air-contamination-drops-by-30-in-china “Beijing is slowly shedding its image as the world’s most polluted city. In 2013, it ranked as the 40th worst city for the particulate PM2.5 in the World Health Organisation global database. Four years on, thanks in part to a crackdown on polluters, it stands in 187th place.”

Single-use plastics: New EU rules to reduce marine litter: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-3927_en.htm “With the amount of harmful plastic litter in oceans and seas growing ever greater, the European Commission is proposing new EU-wide rules to target the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe's beaches and seas, as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear.”

Food & food security

How the food, beverage and alcohol industries presented the Public Health Responsibility Deal in UK print and online media reports: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09581596.2018.1467001?journalCode=ccph20 “As part of an evaluation of the RD (responsibility deal), we conducted a media analysis to explore how industry spokespersons (from commercial enterprises, trade associations and social aspects/public relations organisations) represented the RD in newspaper and online reports.”

WHO plan to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from global food supply: http://www.who.int/news-room/detail/14-05-2018-who-plan-to-eliminate-industrially-produced-trans-fatty-acids-from-global-food-supply “WHO today released REPLACE, a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply. Eliminating trans fats is key to protecting health and saving lives: WHO estimates that every year, trans fat intake leads to  more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular disease.”

5 Trans Fat Takeaways from #WHA71: https://www.globalhealthnow.org/2018-05/5-trans-fat-takeaways-wha71 “WHO launched a major international push earlier this month to rid the global food supply of trans fatty acids, as they are properly known. To build support for the REPLACE action plan, WHO assistant Director-General Svetlana Akselrod, corralled a group of health ministers and experts on Tuesday at the World Health Assembly to testify about the importance of the effort. Following are 5 takeaways from their talks:”

Food security is a powerful weapon to defeat poverty: http://news.trust.org//item/20180527073835-9gnha/ “Africa is rising. But at the same time, Africa is the continent with the largest number of people, (390 million) living in extreme poverty. One in five people go to bed hungry every night.”

Revealed: industrial-scale beef farming comes to the UK: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/29/revealed-industrial-scale-beef-farming-comes-to-the-uk “Investigation uncovers about a dozen intensive beef units, despite assurances that US-style practices would not happen here”

Denouncing the use of hunger as a tool of war: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/denouncing-the-use-of-hunger-as-a-tool-of-war “Explanation of Vote by Stephen Hickey, UK Political Co-ordinator, at the Security Council Adoption on Conflict Induced Hunger (Resolution 2417 (2018)).”

Science organisations and Coca-Cola’s ‘war’ with the public health community: insights from an internal industry document: http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2018/05/19/jech-2017-210375 “...Here we allow the words of Coca-Cola employees to speak about how the corporation intended to advance its interests by funding the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN). The documents reveal that Coca-Cola funded and supported the GEBN because it would serve as a ‘weapon’ to ‘change the conversation’ about obesity amidst a ‘growing war between the public health community and private industry’.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 25 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.

Sustainable development goals

Will London run out of water? https://theconversation.com/will-london-run-out-of-water-97107 “At Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, colleagues and I have addressed the question of how to prevent London from becoming the next Cape Town. Our research shows that if no action is taken the city is indeed set to experience more frequent and severe water shortages in the future. This is mainly down to population growth, but climate change complicates things further as it will mean more frequent and intense droughts.”

Saving lives, spending less: a strategic response to noncommunicable diseases: http://www.who.int/ncds/management/ncds-strategic-response/en/ “Saving lives, spending less: a strategic response to noncommunicable diseases reveals, for the first time, the financing needs and returns on investment of the WHO cost-effective and feasible “Best Buy” policies to protect people from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), the world’s leading causes of ill health and death.”

What UN Urban Chief Thinks About The New Urban Agenda: https://swarajyamag.com/amp/story/infrastructure%2Fwhat-un-urban-chief-thinks-about-the-new-urban-agenda “The UN’s new urban agenda aims to support countries in addressing sustainable urban development challenges based on UN-Habitat’s best practices and tools developed over the years. UN-Habitat’s executive director Maimunah Mohd Sharif shares her vision for urbanisation.”

Why do medical curricula shouldn’t neglect the Sustainable Development Goals: https://europeansting.com/2018/05/11/why-do-medical-curricula-shouldnt-neglect-the-sustainable-development-goals/ “Why do medical curricula neglect common goals for the whole world?”

Healthy planning & environment

UK-based Design Council's report explores links between public space and health: https://www.shareable.net/blog/design-council-placemaking-report “A recent report by the Design Council of the United Kingdom and Social Change UK, "Healthy Placemaking," explores the potential impact of urban design on human health. The premise of the report centers around this key question posed by the report's lead authors, Kelly Hunstone, Ammar Mesari, and Eloise Pinchera: "The evidence on the positive impact of healthy placemaking on people's health is clear, so how can we create places that deliver healthier lives and help prevent avoidable disease?"” – Full report here: https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/asset/document/Healthy_Placemaking_Report.pdf

Government announces plan to accelerate fracking developments by fast-tracking private companies' planning applications: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/fracking-development-government-plan-accelerate-shale-gas-carbon-emissions-a8355756.html “Proposed changes to the planning process could put an area nearly the size of Wales at immediate risk of drilling. The measures are intended to speed up planning applications and make decisions “faster and fairer” for all those involved.”


Town & Country Planning - Tomorrow Series Paper 16 - new estimates of housing demand and need in England, 2011 to 2031: https://www.cchpr.landecon.cam.ac.uk/Downloads/HousingDemandNeed_TCPA2013.pdf “The analysis presented in this paper suggests that, even if the economy remains depressed and household formation rates remain low, there will still be almost a 20% increase in the number of households over the 20-year period to 2031. This is mainly because of the expected continued growth in population.”

Rethinking social housing: http://www.cih.org/Rethinkingsocialhousing “Rethinking social housing puts the sector in the driving seat and combines original research and engagement with the sector, tenants, politicians and the public to explore fundamental questions about the future of social housing.”

UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence: http://housingevidence.ac.uk/ “The UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) is a consortium of 13 partners led by the University of Glasgow. The centre is a multidisciplinary partnership between academia, housing policy and practice. Over the course of the five-year programme, CaCHE researchers will produce evidence and new research which will contribute to tackling the UK’s housing problems at a national, devolved, regional, and local level.”

Grenfell Tower insulation 'never passed safety tests and should not have been used', investigation finds: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-fire-latest-inquiry-london-cladding-building-safety-uk-celotex-a8362186.html “The insulation that was used on Grenfell Tower never passed required safety tests and should never have been on the building, a BBC investigation has claimed. Celotex, the manufacturer of the insulation, used extra fire retardant in the product that qualified for the safety certificate, Panorama alleged. A more flammable version of the insulation was reportedly sold for public use, including the refurbishment of Grenfell and has been used on hundreds of other buildings around the country, the programme has claimed.”

The GPs offering a lifeline to homeless patients: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/23/gps-lifeline-homeless-patients-died-uk-brighton-surgery “So far this year, 56 homeless people have died in the UK. But a surgery in Brighton shows how coordinated care could save lives”

Homeless village opens in Scotland: https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/environment/homeless-village-opens-in-scotland/18/05/ “The homeless village was developed on vacant land in Granton and is made up of 10 two-bedroom houses. The houses were built off-site before being erected in Granton ahead of the residents moving in this summer.”

Climate change & sustainability

Guest post: Don’t shift the goalposts of Paris Agreement’s temperature limits: https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-dont-shift-the-goalposts-of-paris-agreements-temperature-limits “A 2017 study by Dr Richard Millar and colleagues triggered a scientific debate about how using different metrics to assess global temperature will affect the remaining carbon budget to achieve 1.5C. The research quantified the amount of global warming to date and used this as a basis for calculating the remaining 1.5C budget.”

Brexit could wreck green agenda, says UN: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/19/un-warns-britain-over-green-brexit “The United Nations has warned the government that Britain’s reputation is at risk over plans that would significantly weaken protections for the environment after Brexit. In a stern intervention, Erik Solheim, executive director of the UN’s environment programme, called on the environment secretary Michael Gove to honour his promise to deliver a “green Brexit”, ensuring the environment would not suffer from Britain’s EU departure.”

China could meet emissions pledge early; carbon market on track: officials: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-climatechange/china-could-meet-emissions-pledge-early-carbon-market-on-track-officials-idUSKCN1IO1LD?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews “China’s top climate envoy on Wednesday said the country could meet its pledge to cap carbon emissions ahead of its target of around 2030, while a senior environmental official said plans for a carbon market were on track despite ministerial restructuring.”

Trump White House axes Nasa research into greenhouse gas cuts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-44067797 “The Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), a $10m (£7m)-a-year project which remotely tracks the world's flow of carbon dioxide, is to lose funding. Science magazine reports that its loss jeopardises the ability to measure national emission cuts - as agreed to by nations in the Paris climate deal.”

Large potential reduction in economic damages under UN mitigation targets: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0071-9.epdf - more here: Hitting toughest climate target will save world $30tn in damages, analysis shows: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/23/hitting-toughest-climate-target-will-save-world-30tn-in-damages-analysis-shows

Whitbread to expand onsite solar to 70 more Premier Inn hotels: https://www.edie.net/news/10/Whitbread-to-expand-onsite-solar-to-70-more-Premier-Inn-hotels/ “The UK's largest hospitality company, Whitbread, will roll out its onsite solar array scheme to a further 70 of its Premier Inn locations this year to help it meet its "industry-leading" science-based target.”

Drax launches Europe's first bioenergy carbon capture project: https://www.edie.net/news/10/Drax-launches-Europe-s-first-bioenergy-carbon-capture-project/ “The £400,000 trial, which Drax said “could be the first of several”, could make the renewable electricity produced at the UK’s largest power station carbon-negative if it is successful. It is being jointly funded and undertaken by C-Capture - a spin-out from the University of Leeds, and is set to be a "rapid, low cost demonstration of BECCS", Drax said in a statement.”

Active travel & transport

Cycling injuries and alcohol: https://www.injuryjournal.com/article/S0020-1383(18)30110-4/fulltext “Cyclists involved with alcohol were, in most cases, heavily intoxicated and were not wearing a bicycle helmet. Head injuries were more common among these cyclists than among sober cyclists. As cycling continues to increase, it is important to monitor cycling accidents, improve the accident statistics and heighten awareness of the risks of head injuries when cycling under the influence of alcohol.”

Prescribable mHealth apps identified from an overview of systematic reviews: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41746-018-0021-9 “Mobile health apps aimed towards patients are an emerging field of mHealth. Their potential for improving self-management of chronic conditions is significant. Here, we propose a concept of “prescribable” mHealth apps, defined as apps that are currently available, proven effective, and preferably stand-alone, i.e., that do not require dedicated central servers and continuous monitoring by medical professionals.”

Who is to blame for 'self-driving car' deaths? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44159581 “The confusion between fully autonomous self-driving cars and those that simply offer driver assistance technologies is leading to deaths on the road. Who is to blame and what should be done about it?”

UK to host world's first battery and rapid EV charging network: https://www.edie.net/news/8/UK-to-host-world-s-first-battery-and-rapid-EV-charging-network/ “The world's first 2GW network of grid-scale batteries and rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging stations is set to be installed in the UK at a cost of £1.6bn, as the result of a partnership announced today by the National Grid and Pivot Power.”

Apple is reportedly working with Volkswagen on building self-driving vans: https://qz.com/1287213/apple-is-reportedly-working-with-volkswagen-on-building-self-driving-vans/ “Apple has signed a deal with German automaker Volkswagen to develop self-driving cars for its employees, The New York Times reported May 23. The contract doesn’t involve VW Beetles or wagons, sadly, but rather the company’s new, boxy T6 Transporter vans.”

Accessing attractions beyond the urban fringe…: https://urbantransportgroupblog.org/2018/05/09/accessing-attractions-beyond-the-urban-fringe/ “The Urban Transport Group is a supporter of Good Journey, an independent, non-profit organisation working to transform car-free travel to visitor attractions and venues in the UK. In this blog, Good Journey’s Director, Nat Taplin, explains how they’re changing the way people travel to attractions and beauty spots within easy reach of our cities.”

Renationalising Britain’s railways – EU law not a barrier: https://theconversation.com/renationalising-britains-railways-eu-law-not-a-barrier-96759 “Yet, whether and how renationalising the railways might be achieved depends on the final Brexit deal the UK strikes with the European Union. Under current EU competition policy, Britain could not recreate a railway monopoly. It could, however, bring much of the rail sector into public ownership.”

Air quality & pollution

Air Pollution and Eye Health: https://www.news-medical.net/health/Air-Pollution-and-Eye-Health.aspx “The eye is a delicate organ with a large and moist area exposed to the environment. Thus, it is more susceptible to air pollution than other parts of the body. However, the response of eyes to airborne pollutants ranges from nil to severe irritation and chronic pain; even with contact lenses, eyes are still more sensitive to such effects.”

Mediterranean diet may blunt air pollution's ill health effects: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180521131837.htm “Eating a Mediterranean diet may protect people from some of the harm of long-term exposure to air pollution, and reduce their risk of dying from heart attacks, stroke and other causes of death, according to new research.”

New tool calculates NHS and social care costs of air pollution: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-tool-calculates-nhs-and-social-care-costs-of-air-pollution “A tool calculating the potential costs of air pollution will provide councils with further impetus to act and improve air quality.”

The government has published the Air quality: draft Clean Air Strategy 2018: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/environmental-quality/clean-air-strategy-consultation/ “This draft of our Clean Air Strategy outlines our ambitions relating to reducing air pollution in the round, making our air healthier to breathe, protecting nature and boosting the economy. In this draft strategy, we set a clear direction for future air quality policies and goals. The strategy sits alongside three other important UK government strategies: our Industrial Strategy, our Clean Growth Strategy and our 25 Year Environment Plan.” There has been wide response to the strategy – a selection of links below;

London one of worst capitals in Europe for clean, safe transport, study shows: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/22/london-one-of-worst-capital-cities-in-europe-for-clean-safe-transport-study-shows “Exclusive: UK capital has the most expensive public transport, third-worst air quality and is one of most dangerous to walk and cycle, study of 13 cities reveals”

EU takes British government to court for illegal and dangerous air pollution levels: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-government-eu-court-air-pollution-dangerous-levels-european-commission-latest-a8355711.html “The European Commission has launched legal proceedings against the governments of Britain and five other countries for repeatedly breaching legally binding EU air pollution rules.”

Joining the dots on data, transport, health and air quality: https://urbantransportgroupblog.org/2018/05/03/joining-the-dots-on-data-transport-health-and-air-quality/ “The Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) at Leeds University recently held a workshop exploring how new and emerging data sources can help to support policy making in relation to transport, health and air quality – connections we at UTG have been exploring.”

What Happens to the Plastic We Throw Away? https://blog.education.nationalgeographic.org/2018/05/17/what-happens-to-the-plastic-we-throw-away/ “Scroll through how tons of trash travels from inland trash heaps to oceanic garbage patches.”

Plastic Bag Found at the Bottom of World's Deepest Ocean Trench: https://relay.nationalgeographic.com/proxy/distribution/public/amp/2018/05/plastic-bag-mariana-trench-pollution-science-spd “A recent study revealed that a plastic bag, like the kind given away at grocery stores, is now the deepest known piece of plastic trash, found at a depth of 36,000 feet inside the Mariana Trench. Scientists found it by looking through the Deep-Sea Debris Database, a collection of photos and videos taken from 5,010 dives over the past 30 years that was recently made public”

Seaweed could be an alternative to plastic packaging for food and beverages: https://www.optimistdaily.com/2018/05/seaweed-could-be-an-alternative-to-plastic-packaging-for-food-and-beverages/ “…one Indonesia-based company is producing biodegradable packaging from seaweed. The company isn’t aiming to replace all plastic usage, but is instead focusing on smaller products such as food packets and packing for other small products like bars of soap.”

Food & food security

Antifungal resistance could lead to ‘global food shortages’: https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2018/05/21/Antifungal-resistance-could-lead-to-global-food-shortages “Researchers warn that growing levels of resistance to antifungal treatments could result in disease outbreaks that hit global food security.”

Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels this century will alter the protein, micronutrients, and vitamin content of rice grains with potential health consequences for the poorest rice-dependent countries: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/5/eaaq1012.full “One of the consequential impacts of rising carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) and climate change is expected to be on food security (1). This expected impact is due, in part, to the vulnerability of the global population to food supply” – more here: Rice, the staple food of billions, could become less nutritious because of climate change: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/05/23/rice-the-staple-food-of-billions-could-become-less-nutritious-because-of-climate-change/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2358b3953361

WMHPG news, information and resources 18 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.


I would like to get people’s views on a new section for the weekly update – sharing good practice. The proposal is that there is a standing item in the email each week asking people to share what they are working on, any case studies, what has worked (or not!). The thinking is that this will be a way to gather and share examples of good practice. We know there is a lot of good stuff going on out there, and that it is often not shared beyond local areas. What do you think

  • Would this be a useful role for the update?
  • Any suggestions on how it could be made most effective / useful?


Sustainable development goals

Tackling Health Inequalities Using Urban HEART in the Sustainable Development Goals Era: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs11524-017-0165-y.pdf “The Urban Health Equity Assessment and Response Tool (Urban HEART) was developed jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO), city and national officials, and academics and researchers in 2010 to support stakeholders in cities to address health inequities by acting on the social, economic, and physical environmental determinants of health”

Maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals cut to £2: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/17/maximum-stake-for-fixed-odds-betting-terminals-cut-to-2 “The maximum permitted stake on controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) will be cut from £100 to £2, the government has announced after ministers ignored pleas from bookmakers and branded the machines a “social blight”.”

The economy and a healthy population, a two way relationship: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2018/05/16/the-economy-and-a-healthy-population-a-two-way-relationship/amp/ “Last week I had to do a flash talk on the links between health & well being and the economy. This was in the context of an event on inclusive growth, following the publication of the 2018 State of Sheffield report.”

Healthy planning & environment

TCPA – Raynsford Review of Planning – Interim Report: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/raynsford-review “The Raynsford Review of Planning has been set up to identify how the government can reform the English planning system to make it fairer, better resourced and capable of producing quality outcomes, while still encouraging the production of new homes.” Report can be downloaded directly here: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=8c619109-a721-4efc-8eac-c9ba8ecee4b5

Planning and climate change coalition: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/planning-and-climate-change-coalition “The Planning & Climate Change Coalition, which has been brought together by Friends of the Earth and the TCPA, includes over 60 cross-sector organisations and individuals. The Coalition has worked hard to ensure that the planning system makes a full contribution to meeting the climate change challenge. As such, we have developed planning guidance and model policies on climate change for local authorities in England. The aim of the Coalition is to build a consensus amongst a wide range of stakeholders on the benefits of guidance on planning for climate change, working with local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and communities. The Coalition has no core funding and no political or corporate affiliations.”

Wales HIA Support Unit (WHIASU) E-bulletin: https://whiasu.publichealthnetwork.cymru/en/get-involved/e-bulletin/

Revealed: Network Rail's new £800m scheme to remove all 'leaf fall' trees: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/09/revealed-network-rails-new-800m-scheme-to-remove-all-leaf-fall-trees “Exclusive: five-year ‘enhanced clearance’ programme targets trees along 20,000 miles of track to avoid delays, according to an internal document” – is a loss of natural habitat and biodiversity worth it for more reliable train travel?

'Feel good' factor not CO2 boosts global forest expansion: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44113494 “Forests are increasing around the world because of rising incomes and an improved sense of national wellbeing say researchers. The authors refute the idea that increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are the key cause of the spread of trees.”

Should zoning be introduced in England? http://lichfields.uk/blog/2018/may/14/should-zoning-be-introduced-in-england/ “Zoning is sometimes mentioned as an alternative approach to the current planning regime in England that could address these issues, being another way of managing development through planning by providing increased certainty from the outset - especially as zoning systems are already used by many western countries around the world (in different forms).”

Women and men are different in what they need from city living: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=ac056e07-4774-4f5d-9e79-9a75b88d22b4 “Decisions on how money is spent and cities are planned are largely made by men, stifling women's rights in the world's most urbanized region, according to urban experts and women's rights leaders at a conference on cities this week in Bogota.”

Road Verge Campaign: http://plantlife.love-wildflowers.org.uk/roadvergecampaign “Rural road verges are a vital refuge for wild flowers driven out of our farmland. In turn, wild flowers support our birds, bees and other wildlife. Some councils are looking after their road verges in a way that benefits nature, but they are in a minority. We want to see all road verges managed better while remaining safe for motorists. Not only can it be done - it could save money as well.”


From the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government – Housing Deals: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/housing-deals “Housing deals provide an opportunity to support our commitment to deliver 300,000 homes per year by the mid-2020s and beyond.”

'We'll consult': Government won't commit to banning flammable cladding after fury over Grenfell review: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/grenfell-tower-cladding-ban-government-review-flammable-fire-report-latest-a8355836.html “The Government will look at making flammable cladding illegal - but did not commit to a ban - after drawing a furious backlash when a report into the Grenfell Tower fire failed to recommend the move.”

Government commits £400m to remove dangerous cladding: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Government-commits-400m-to-remove-dangerous-cladding/45302 “The replacement and removal of unsafe cladding by councils will be fully funded by the Government, at an estimated cost of £400m.”

Housing for the Many: A Labour Party Green Paper: http://www.arch-housing.org.uk/media/113431/housing_for_the_many.pdf “This Green Paper – Housing for the Many  – sets out our framework plan to change the country’s approach to affordable housing as part of a new national mission to solve the country’s housing crisis.”

A range of recent reports on housing for vulnerable groups;

  • New research by Mencap shows rise in demand for specialised supported housing: https://www.mencap.org.uk/press-release/new-research-mencap-shows-rise-demand-specialised-supported-housing “New research commissioned by the learning disability charity Mencap, in partnership with Housing LIN, has revealed that the Specialised Supported Housing (SHH) sector is more than double the size of previous estimates and that demand for SHH is rising.”
  • Housing for vulnerable people: what works? https://whatworkswellbeing.org/blog/housing-for-vulnerable-people-what-works/ “Today we publish an evidence review that looks at what works when it comes to interventions for housing-vulnerable people. It builds on evidence gaps identified in our scoping review earlier this year. In today’s blog we run the key findings against practitioner perspectives of what works. The practitoner perspective comes from Chris Fields, CEO of Leeds-based homeless charity St Georges Crypt, based on his experience of what makes delivering interventions successful.”
  • Housing and disabled people: Britain’s hidden crisis: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/housing-and-disabled-people-britain%E2%80%99s-hidden-crisis “n 2016 we began our inquiry into housing for disabled people. We looked at whether the availability of accessible and adaptable housing, and the support services around it, is fulfilling disabled people’s rights to live independently in England, Scotland and Wales. On this page you’ll find the results of that inquiry in the form of videos, blogs, reports, recommendations, infographics and case studies.”

Climate change & sustainability

Climate, energy, tech, and the future of civilisation – a chronology of selected recent developments: http://jeremyleggett.net/ “After consultations with a good few readers of the earlier website, and a lot of help from a small team of tech-proficient friends, I think I may have figured out the best way to contribute a free-access concise information-sharing resource for the time-constrained on some of the issues vital to all of us, vocationally and personally. In brief, I will be updating a chronology of selected news and views on a near-daily basis from now on. The site unashamedly targets the super-busy. It should be self explanatory on a scan of less than a minute, with maybe a few clicks of content to make it crystal clear in a second minute (I hope).”

Bonn climate talks: key outcomes from the May 2018 UN climate conference: https://www.carbonbrief.org/bonn-climate-talks-key-outcomes-from-the-may-2018-un-climate-conference “Over the past two weeks, more than 3,000 diplomats and observers have been in Bonn, Germany, to discuss how to bring the Paris Agreement on climate change to life when it enters force in 2020.”

Mapped: Revolving Doors between UK Government and the Energy Industry: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2018/05/09/mapped-revolving-doors-between-uk-government-energy-industry “Andy Rowell, a campaigner at Oil Change International and co-author of the report, argues that the UK in particular has “an endemic revolving door problem that exists at all levels of government”, involving ministers, political advisors and senior and middle-ranking civil servants. Based on the report’s research, DeSmog UK has mapped the connections between former government officials and the fossil fuel and other energy companies where they have taken up jobs:”

National Audit Office - Investigation into the 2017 auction for low-carbon electricity generation contracts: https://www.nao.org.uk/press-release/investigation-into-the-2017-auction-for-low-carbon-electricity-generation-contracts-2/ “Rule changes made by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (the Department) on its 2017 auction for contracts to support new, low-carbon electricity generation will increase costs for energy users by around £100m a year, according to an investigation carried out by the National Audit Office (NAO).”

Peers to rebel over ‘toothless’ post-Brexit green watchdog: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/12/peers-to-rebel-over-toothless-environment-watchdog-brexit “Four former environment and climate change secretaries from three parties told the Observer they had concerns about “toothless” plans announced by the government last week, which suggested the new post-Brexit green watchdog would lack the power to take the government to court.”

State of the climate: Warm start to 2018 despite La Niña conditions: https://www.carbonbrief.org/state-of-the-climate-warm-start-to-2018-despite-la-nina-conditions “The first three months of 2018 have been between the fourth and sixth warmest first quarter on record since 1880. This is despite a modest La Niña event leading to a relatively cooler start to the year, compared to recent record warmth.”

Emerging trends in global freshwater availability: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0123-1 “This observation-based assessment of how the world’s water landscape is responding to human impacts and climate variations provides a blueprint for evaluating and predicting emerging threats to water and food security.” More here: Mapped: How global warming and land-use change threaten water security worldwide: https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-how-global-warming-land-use-change-threaten-water-security-worldwide

UK wind power tops nuclear over a whole quarter for first time: https://www.energylivenews.com/2018/05/16/uk-wind-power-tops-nuclear-over-a-whole-quarter-for-first-time/ “The UK’s wind generation has overtaken nuclear output throughout an entire quarter for the first time on record.Using data from National Grid, researchers from Imperial College London found wind power was the second most productive form of power generation across the first three months of 2018.”

Introducing Empire Oil: A DeSmog UK Special Investigation: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2018/05/10/introducing-empire-oil-desmog-uk-special-investigation “DeSmog UK’s new three-part investigative series Empire Oil: London’s Dirty Secret, lifts the veil on a “boys' club” that generates wealth for The City from environmentally damaging activities in politically unstable regions. Through detailed analysis of company activity and market data, it exposes how AIM’s “light touch” regulation and complex offshore company structures create an opaque corporate environment in which conflicts of interest have been shown to thrive.”

New climate 'feedback loop' discovered in freshwater lakes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43990403 “Methane emissions from lakes in the northern hemisphere could almost double over the next 50 years because of a novel "feedback loop" say scientists.”

How Shareholder Activism is Forcing Corporate Change over Climate Crisis: https://www.desmog.co.uk/2018/05/16/power-shift-how-shareholder-activism-forcing-corporate-change-over-climate-profiteering “The annual round of big corporate AGMs is upon us, with mining giant Rio Tinto and big oil companies BP, Shell, Exxon, Statoil and Total all having their meetings around this time of year. That creates an opportunity for shareholder activists that want the companies to clean up their act… So here’s an outline of what shareholder activism is, the AGMs coming up, and the changes activists are demanding.”

Bank of England must do more to tackle climate change, says report: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/bank-of-england-climate-change-policy-fossil-fuels-investments-green-economy-report-a8351671.html “The BoE must offload fossil fuel assets and use its existing powers more effectively to promote a low-carbon economy, study recommends”

If we act on climate change now, the economic prize will be immense: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/17/economic-prize-climate-change-action “Acting on climate can certainly be driven by pure pragmatism: the economics of it are clear, writes Felipe Calderón”

Active travel & transport

Checking the progress of self-driving cars: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/05/predictions-for-self-driving-cars-in-harvard-discussion/ “Participants in a panel Friday at the Harvard Chan School expressed confidence that self-driving cars will one day dramatically reduce road deaths in the U.S. — currently at 37,000 annually — but cautioned that we’re entering a transition period in which accidents involving such vehicles will almost certainly rise.”

University of Cambridge sets the pace for healthy lifestyles and sustainable travel: https://www.cambridgenetwork.co.uk/news/university-of-cambridge-sets-the-pace-for-health/ “The University of Cambridge, is launching a cycling campaign today (14th May) at its new community, Eddington, to promote sustainable travel and healthy living. Coined the ‘Eddington Number’ campaign, the initiative was devised to build upon the rising number of sustainable journeys already taking place across Cambridge and the surrounding area.”

Physical activity levels in adults and older adults 3–4 years after pedometer-based walking interventions: Long-term follow-up of participants from two randomised controlled trials in UK primary care: http://www.globalpanet.com/knowledge-base/interventions/interventions/869-physical-activity-levels-in-adults-and-older-adults-3-4-years-after-pedometer-based-walking-interventions-long-term-follow-up-of-participants-from-two-randomised-controlled-trials-in-uk-primary-care” This new study by Harris and colleagues (2018) followed up participants from two pedometer-based walking trials, to establish whether the positive short-term effects on physical activity were sustained over time. These findings are important in that they are the first to demonstrate the potential for population-based pedometer-based interventions to effect long-term increases in physical activity in a middle-aged and older population.”

Fitness apps found to make almost no difference to users' health: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/11/fitness-apps-found-to-make-almost-no-difference-to-users-health “Researchers studied a range of apps and found only one was effective, while others failed to spark improvements or made the problem worse”

No ticket to ride: Japanese bus drivers strike by giving free rides: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/may/11/no-ticket-to-ride-japanese-bus-drivers-strike-by-giving-free-rides-okayama “A protest in the city of Okayama is the latest in a long line of fare-free travel in response to privatisation and price hikes”

Air quality & pollution

LA study links prolonged air pollution exposure to cancer risk in rats: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/05/10/la-study-links-prolonged-air-pollution-exposure-to-cancer-risk-in-rats/ “Carried out by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in the Los Angeles Basin, the study found markers indicating certain materials in coarse air pollution—nickel, in particular—may play a role in genetic changes related to disease development..”

In-womb air pollution exposure associated with higher blood pressure in childhood: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/aha-iap050918.php “DALLAS, May 14, 2018 - Children who were exposed to higher levels of air pollution during the third trimester of their mother's pregnancy had a higher risk of elevated blood pressure in childhood, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension.”

It seems someone is producing a banned ozone-depleting chemical again: https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/05/it-seems-someone-is-producing-a-banned-ozone-depleting-chemical-again/ “A group of researchers led by Stephen Montzka of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had been tracking the progress of CFCs and noticed something off with CFC-11.” More here: Thursday briefing: Who is destroying the ozone layer again? https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/17/thursday-briefing-who-is-destroying-the-ozone-layer-again

Food & food security

London mayor to ban junk food ads on tubes and buses: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/11/junk-food-ads-to-be-banned-london-tubes-and-buses-sadiq-khan “Ads that promote foods and drinks that are high in salt, fat and sugar will no longer be accepted on tubes, buses and overground trains that are part of the Transport for London (TfL) network – nor in stations. The ban is currently out to consultation.”

New satellite technology unveiled to manage food security: http://www.kbc.co.ke/new-satellite-technology-unveiled-manage-food-security/ “A new satellite technology tool has been unveiled to help five African countries among them Kenya to manage food security. The tool harnesses the latest Earth observation and satellite technology to help Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Tanzania to address food security as well as issues relating to agriculture, deforestation, and water access.”

Workshop explores intertwined future of food production, water, and climate: https://news.mit.edu/2018/workshop-explores-intertwined-future-food-production-water-climate-0511 “Choices by consumers and farmers can help limit global warming, but climate change may also curtail those choices in the future.”

Growing up - why the UAE's first vertical farm could be a regional gamechanger: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=865fbbc2-1ce2-411a-bba0-8fbe63842240 “The farm, which began production late last year, is on an 800-square-metre plot of land in one of Dubai's main industrial areas, and produces two hundred boxes of green vegetables a day.”

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.”



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.”


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.”


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.”

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Jo Dodd - 07815 490436
Rajdeep Atwal - 0845 352 7672


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Freeth Street
West Midlands
B69 3DE


Jo Dodd - 07815 490436

Rajdeep Atwal - 0121 569 5121