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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 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.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 13 April 2018

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

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

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

Sustainable development goals

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

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

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

Healthy planning & environment

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

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

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

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

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

Recent coverage of plastic pollution:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Climate change & sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel & transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air quality & pollution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food & food security

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally….

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

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

WMHPG news, information and resources 23 March 2018

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

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

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

Sustainable development goals

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

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

Healthy planning & environment

More on the draft NPPF consultation;

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Climate change & sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel & transport

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

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

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

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

Air quality & pollution

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

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

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

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

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


Food & food security

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

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

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

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Freeth Street
West Midlands
B69 3DE


Jo Dodd - 07815 490436

Rajdeep Atwal - 0121 569 5121