Our Networks

Send to Facebook Tweet this

Login | Register | Share:

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 9 February 2017

This information has been marked as: IL0: UNCLASSIFIED

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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.

News & information

New housing white paper - Fixing our broken housing market: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/590043/Fixing_our_broken_housing_market_-_housing_white_paper.pdf

Comments on Fixing our broken housing market;

Academy of Urbanism: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/statement-on-housing-white-paper/

TCPA: Government commits to a new generation of new communities: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/news/tcpa-pr-hwpnta

Planning Portal: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/489/planning_news_-_9_february_2017

Guardian: Housing market is 'broken', government admits in white paper:  https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/07/housing-market-government-white-paper-sajid-javid

LocalGov: Housing white paper criticised for ‘glaring omissions’: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Housing-white-paper-criticised-for-glaring-omissions/42503

Financial times: Sajid Javid sets out fix for ‘broken’ housing market: https://www.ft.com/content/dfb68f7c-ec97-11e6-930f-061b01e23655

BBC: Affordable rent measures promised in housing White Paper:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38873524

The Telegraph: Government launches 'radical' White Paper to fix the housing crisis - what wasn't in it that should have been? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/house-prices/government-launches-revolutionary-white-paper-fix-housing-crisis/

Healthy planning & environment

Lobbyists behind attack on green belt: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/lobbyists-behind-attack-on-green-belt-v8508lhx5Property industry lobbyists have been accused of using think tanks, charities and even MPs as “front operations” in a push to ease restrictions and allow massive new housebuilding projects on greenfield and greenbelt land.”

Should Britain build on its green spaces to solve the housing crisis? https://theconversation.com/should-britain-build-on-its-green-spaces-to-solve-the-housing-crisis-72522The challenge, then, is to identify where these benefits of the greenbelt can be optimised, and the costs of development minimised. At a national level, England lacks a strategic plan to identify the best sites for housing, jobs and key infrastructure.”

Cardiovascular disease-related hospital admissions jump on second day after major snowfall: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/hospital-admissions-heart-disease-snowstorms

Standardised housing need measure to decide infrastructure spend: http://www.transport-network.co.uk/Standardised-housing-need-measure-to-decide-infrastructure-spend/13781Ministers have pledged to align strategic infrastructure spending with house building by targeting the £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund at areas with the greatest housing need.”

BRE office building to become 'living lab' for occupant health and wellbeing: https://www.bre.co.uk/news/BRE-office-building-to-become-living-lab-for-occupant--health-and-wellbeing--1212.htmlBRE has announced a new project that will test the effects of biophilic design on office occupants. The Healthy Research Building will be the UK’s first live research workspace that measures the real-world health and well-being benefits of incorporating nature into a building’s design.

Grim reaping: http://www.monbiot.com/2017/01/11/grim-reaping/Brexit could wreck the British countryside – or it could save it. It depends on getting our voices heard.”

Catalyzing the power of parks for social connection: https://parkpeople.ca/archives/5093At a time when increasing attention is being paid to the growing inequality of our cities and neighbourhood-based inequities, it’s critical that we examine how engaging in our parks and public spaces can create more inclusive, equitable places that are shaped by and for the people living there.”

Active travel & transport

Camden school closes road for rush-hour drop-offs: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-38894174 “The school, which has 300 pupils, said there had been about a 50% reduction in children arriving by car.”

Six more police forces looking to run close pass operation - including in Leeds: http://road.cc/content/news/217038-six-more-police-forces-looking-run-close-pass-operation-including-leedsPolice across six forces in England, covering a population of 7.6 million people, have confirmed they are looking to roll out a close pass operation pioneered in the West Midlands last year.”

Commons Select Committee - Urban congestion examined with transport industry: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news-parliament-2015/urban-congestion-ev2-16-17/The Transport Committee holds the second evidence session of its urban congestion inquiry and hears from transport industry representatives and academics.”

Any journey is greener by bus: http://www.greenerjourneys.com/publication/journey-greener-bus/This new study focuses on the experience of bus users and the wider benefits of the bus to society and to the cities and communities in which they operate. Any Journey is Greener by Bus approaches the situation from the perspective of the passenger and those most directly affected by the developments in buses.”

Urban Transport Voice – latest newsletter from the Urban Transport Group: http://us6.campaign-archive2.com/?u=268196eed8&id=6ef41fa122&e=cd72cb7cb6Hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases decline on days with major snowfalls compared to days with no snowfall, but they jump by 23% two days later, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.”

Further progress toward putting autonomous vehicles on the roads: https://medium.com/enrique-dans/further-progress-toward-putting-autonomous-vehicles-on-the-roads-515977274ae5#.m5z3e4a9pDaimler and Uber have announced a non-exclusive collaboration agreement by which the German automobile company will add its autonomous vehicles to the fleet managed by Uber, becoming the first automotive brand to take advantage of the opening up of Uber as a platform for the operation of autonomous vehicles.”

Self-Driving: Who decides who will die? https://hackernoon.com/self-driving-who-decides-who-will-die-cffbed89c357#.b6o3cc2yaPrivately held companies are currently determining who self-driving cars will allow to live and choose to kill.”

Why Robots May Need Driving Lessons From Humans. //medium.com/@verilocation/why-robots-may-need-driving-lessons-from-humans-9dbe6d64fdec#.n91tjp59o">https://medium.com/@verilocation/why-robots-may-need-driving-lessons-from-humans-9dbe6d64fdec#.n91tjp59oTo drive safely in a human world, robots must learn to think like us — or at least understand how humans think. But how will they learn?

Wired-up roads will soon charge your electric car – while you’re driving: https://theconversation.com/wired-up-roads-will-soon-charge-your-electric-car-while-youre-driving-72625Due to their low local emissions, battery-powered electric cars are more in demand than ever, but they still have a reputation for being too expensive and having too short a driving range. So how about recharging them without having to plug in a cable, while parking or even driving on the road?

How Cycling Helps Save the World: http://readynutrition.com/resources/how-cycling-helps-save-the-world-and-save-your-a-when-the-shtf_12112016/Includes a discussion of the value of cycling in the zombie apocalypse

Volvo to seek volunteers for self-driving car trial in UK: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/02/volvo-seeks-volunteers-for-self-driving-car-trial-in-west-london-public-roadsVolvo is looking for drivers who commute into west London to take part in its self-driving cars trial, the largest conducted by the automobile industry. The Swedish carmaker said it was aiming to make operating self-driving cars as easy as using a smartphone.”

The school run: cycling and walking to school: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/what-you-can-do/children-and-families/school-run-cycling-and-walking-schoolEncouraging children to walk, cycle and scoot will reduce congestion and pollution around the school gates. It will also help your child’s mental and physical health. Teachers find that pupils who walk and cycle arrive at school more relaxed, alert and ready to start the day than those who travel by car.”

The world’s longest elevated cycle path built in record time: https://stateofgreen.com/en/profiles/dissing-weitling-architecture/news/the-world-s-longest-elevated-cycle-path-built-in-record-timeThe Danish architectural firm Dissing+Weitling has drawn an eight-kilometre-long elevated cycle path in the port of Xiamen in the south-eastern part of China. It is not only the first of its kind in China; it is also the world’s longest. Built in record time, the bridge is now complete.”

Air quality and pollution

Letter to Theresa May: Phasing out diesel: https://www.medact.org/2017/actions/sign-ons/letter-theresa-may-phasing-diesel/Doctors Against Diesel are calling for government level action to support local efforts to reduce air pollution.   Without government support for the phase out of diesel local authorities can only take limited action to reduce the single biggest source of nitrogen dioxide.  If you are a nurse, doctor or allied health professional please sign below and share.”

Viewpoint: the trouble with diesel: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38814297The UK government estimates that the harm done by particulates, tiny particles we can't see, in shortening our lives is equivalent to 29,000 premature deaths a year. Add in nitrogen dioxide emissions, which, like particulates, are partly generated by diesel traffic, and that figure rises to about 40,000. This would make air pollution more deadly than obesity and alcoholism combined.”

Officials 'drawing up plans' for diesel scrappage scheme to cut emissions: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/02/officials-drawing-plans-diesel-scrappage-scheme-cut-emissions/A scrappage scheme for diesel cars could be introduced within months as part of a plan to lower emissions and improve air quality across the country, the Telegraph understands.”

Government's claim Heathrow's third runway will not affect air quality contradicted by its own experts: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/air-quality-london-heathrow-airport-third-runway-not-affect-contradict-experts-scientists-a7561926.htmlAs London schools consider getting pupils to wear pollution masks, consultants say there is a risk that adding another runway to serve the city will affect attempts to stay within air quality safety limits

Reality Check: Was pollution worse in London than Beijing? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38829146The claim: Air pollution in London last week was worse than it was in Beijing.

Reality Check verdict: Some one-off readings were higher in London last week, but this was an unrepresentative snapshot and Beijing is generally far worse.”

Climate change and sustainability

Floods and erosion are ruining Britain’s most significant sites: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/07/floods-erosion-ruining-britains-significant-sites-climate-changeClimate change is already wrecking some of Britain’s most significant sites, from Wordsworth’s gardens in Cumbria to the white cliffs on England’s south coast, according to a new report.”

Costa goes nationwide with in-store coffee cup recycling scheme: http://www.edie.net/news/5/Costa-Coffee-cup-recycling-scheme-with-VeoliaCoffee shop chain Costa Coffee has taken a huge step forward in the war on waste coffee cups with the rollout of a pioneering cup recycling scheme to more than 2,000 of its stores across the UK.”

Factcheck: Mail on Sunday’s ‘astonishing evidence’ about global temperature rise: https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-mail-sundays-astonishing-evidence-global-temperature-riseIn an article in today’s Mail on Sunday, David Rose makes the extraordinary claim that “world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data”, accusing the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of manipulating the data to show more warming in a 2015 study by Tom Karl and coauthors.” More coverage here: http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/02/06/graph-nasa-gavin-schmidt-factcheck-mail-on-sunday-climate-data-noaa-whistleblower/

Millennials view SUVs as leading choice for fuel-efficient vehicles: http://www.edie.net/news/6/Millennials-view-SUVs-as-leading-choice-for-fuel-efficient-vehicles/Fresh from the announcement that Ford is commercialising a fully-electric SUV, a survey sponsored by the motor giant has revealed that millennials are making purchasing decisions based on the efficiency of a vehicle.”

DONG Energy to stop all use of coal by 2023 (Denmark’s largest energy company): https://stateofgreen.com/en/profiles/dong-energy/news/dong-energy-to-stop-all-use-of-coal-by-2023

Exclusive: US withdrawal from Paris Agreement 'could happen any day', says Trump aide: http://www.edie.net/news/11/Trump-aide--US-will-initiate-key-climate-policies--in-next-few-monthsThe US will initiate all of Donald Trump's major climate change policy changes - including highly controversial moves to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - in the next few months, a key aide of the President has told edie.”

‘Green’ street lighting attracts pests and harms environment: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/_TP_/article/green-street-lighting-attracts-pests-and-harms-environment-659w6c8ffA study by Exeter University found that LED street lights acted as a draw for predatory spiders and beetles, destroying vegetation and damaging other species. Pests were more likely to be attracted to grassland patches lit by cold white energy-efficient lighting than those with conventional sodium street lamps

Fracking firm Ineos accused of threatening landowners to allow exploration: http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/02/05/fracking-firm-ineos-accused-threatening-landowners-allow-exploration/The UK’s leading fracking company has been accused of threatening landowners into giving it access to conduct exploratory work, an Energydesk investigation has found.  “

Food & food security

Via Medact Events - Planet on a plate: Interconnected impacts of our global food system: https://www.medact.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/A1-Milja-Fenger-Samuel-Lee-Gammage.pdf

Maintaining a nutrition safety net for vulnerable families: http://endhungeruk.org/maintaining-nutrition-safety-net-vulnerable-families/Dr Helen Crawley of the Healthy Start Alliance argues for a commitment to increase the voucher value and uptake of the UK’s Healthy Start programme.”

Instagram generation is fuelling UK food waste mountain, study finds: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/10/instagram-generation-fuelling-uk-food-waste-mountain-study-sainsburys?CMP=Share_iOSApp_OtherResearch highlights generational divide in attitudes towards food as millennials focus on its appearance while buying too much

Brighton & Hove shares experience in measuring household food insecurity: http://sustainablefoodcities.org/newsevents/news/articleid/736/brighton-hove-shares-experience-in-measuring-household-food-insecurityBrighton & Hove Food Partnership shares with the Sustainable Food Cities Network how they have started to build a robust picture of household food insecurity in the city.”

Lettuce in February: the hidden cost of buying fresh vegetables all year round: https://theconversation.com/lettuce-in-february-the-hidden-cost-of-buying-fresh-vegetables-all-year-round-72445 “...but what are the costs of a system that means people get used to fresh produce of a high visual and quality specification available 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Who coordinates the many suppliers and their crops to ensure shelves are not empty and that the product on those shelves has a lengthy “shelf life”?”

Is a vegetarian diet really more environmentally friendly than eating meat? https://theconversation.com/is-a-vegetarian-diet-really-more-environmentally-friendly-than-eating-meat-71596 “...But what about all those fruit, vegetable and staples crossing the globe – can we really label them as more sustainable than eating meat?.”

And finally….

The beauty of transport - SHAFT! 8 – SHAFT ON THE TYNE IS ALL MINE (TYNE TUNNEL VENTILATION SHAFT BUILDINGS): https://thebeautyoftransport.com/2017/02/08/shaft-8-shaft-on-the-tyne-is-all-mine-tyne-tunnel-ventilation-shaft-buildings/Like gigantic up-ended Alpenhorns, two enormous upturned cones dominate their surroundings in Jarrow and Howdon, either side of the River Tyne. Unadorned concrete, stretching high into the sky, they pack an enormous visual punch. I don’t know about all those Viking-influenced artworks of George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire magical horns. I’m pretty sure that the Horn of Winter looks like this.“

Resources and research

How poverty affects people’s decision-making processes: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/how-poverty-affects-peoples-decision-making-processes – Another part of the picture influencing behaviour change such as active travel.  “As poverty continues to be a feature of the social and economic landscape in the United Kingdom, attention is turning towards the potentially damaging role played by individual decisions made in low-income contexts.”

Weather Warning: Britain’s Special Places Under Threat: http://climate.leeds.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Weather-warning-report.pdfIn recent years, some of these very special places have been damaged by extreme weather, in particular heavy rainfall and flooding. The British weather has always been changeable, but there is now a proven increase in extreme weather events and scientists have calculated that climate change is playing a role.”

EU Science for Environment Policy - Review confirms climate change is threatening many ecosystem services: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/review_confirms_climate_change_threatening_many_ecosystem_services_482na4_en.pdfThe research, which brings together the findings of over 100 other studies, found that 59% of reported impacts of climate change on ecosystem services are negative, while just 13% are positive. However, the method of research was shown to strongly influence whether impacts are reported as positive or negative, with expert opinion studies far more negative than other types of study.”

Between exposure, access and use: Reconsidering foodscape influences on dietary behaviours: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829216305664We further argue that food outlets continuously experienced within individuals’ daily-path help people re-evaluate food acquisition possibilities, push them to form intentions, and shape their preferences for the choices they will subsequently make.”

Generating political priority for regulatory interventions targeting obesity prevention: An Australian case study: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312645434_Generating_political_priority_for_regulatory_interventions_targeting_obesity_prevention_An_Australian_case_studyEffective obesity prevention requires a synergistic mix of population-level interventions including a strong role for government and the regulation of the marketing, labelling, content and pricing of energy-dense foods and beverages. In this paper we adopt the agenda of the Australian Federal Government (AFG) as a case study to understand the factors generating or hindering political priority for such ‘regulatory interventions’ between 1990 and 2011

The short-term health and psychosocial impacts of domestic energy efficiency investments in low-income areas: a controlled before and after study: http://www.housinglin.org.uk/_library/Resources/Housing/OtherOrganisation/art3A10.11862Fs12889-017-4075-4.pdf#163961_20170131034106The study showed that investing in energy efficiency in low-income communities does not lead to self-reported health improvements in the short term. However, investments increased subjective wellbeing and were linked to a number of psychosocial intermediaries that are conducive to better health. It is likely that better living conditions contribute to improvements in health outcomes in the longer term.”

Research on human vision preventing road accidents: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/news-events-and-publications/impact-case-studies/research-on-human-vision-preventing-road-accidents/The research showed that children under 11 are unable to accurately judge the approach of vehicles travelling above 25mph, emphasising the need to reduce speed limits in areas where children are present. It also showed that adults over the age of 75 are poor at judging the speed of oncoming vehicles, making them more likely to make mistakes, particularly at A-road intersections.”

Subnational governance for the low carbon energy transition: Mapping the UK’s ‘Energy Constitution’: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2399654416687999The paper therefore develops a more nuanced understanding of the spatiality, territorialisation and scaling of UK energy governance to highlight a nexus of ambiguity and partial power allocation distributed across a plurality of overlapping ‘legal’ jurisdictions.”

Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Intake among Children and Youth through Gardening-Based Interventions: A Systematic Review: http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S2212-2672(16)31296-5/fulltextAlthough the evidence is mixed and fraught with limitations, most studies suggest a small but positive influence of gardening interventions on children's F/V intake.”

World Economic Forum - The Global Risks Interconnections Map 2017: http://reports.weforum.org/global-risks-2017/global-risks-landscape-2017/ Interactive mapping of connections between major global risks. Could be useful for a teaching / discussion workshop?

7 Podcasts Urbanists Should Be Listening to Now: https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/7-podcasts-urbanists-should-be-listening-to-nowSo I’ve rounded up a list, in no particular order, of the seven podcasts urbanists should be listening to right now, focusing not only on design and planning, but also on the economic systems that undergird our cities. I hope you’ve got a lot of time on your hands.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 20 January 2017

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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.

A request:

If you have any articles, research or resources that will be of use to other WMHPG members please send them to me to include in the weekly update. This can include local case studies, news stories or projects. The update is an opportunity to highlight all the good work that is going on across the West Midlands. If at all possible please provide web links rather than documents so that they can be accessed when the update is put on the website.

News & information


Healthy environment and planning

Neighbourhood planning bill: Lords express concerns about planning conditions measures: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/486/planning_news_-_19_january_2017Members of the House of Lords have expressed both support for and concern about measures for pre-commencement planning conditions laid out in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill – some calling for more evidence to suggest they delay house building.”

'Walking buses' and council housing: a wishlist for world cities in 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/dec/30/walking-buses-council-housing-wishlist-world-cities-2017We asked a range of writers, architects and activists around the world to share their 2017 wishlist for their city – from better inclusivity in Accra to “walking school buses” in New York. Wherever you live, share your own wishes for urban change and improvement in the comments below.”

Agenda for The Future of Urbanism: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/agenda-for-the-future-of-urbanism/The Academy of Urbanism in collaboration with Barton Willmore have prepared an Agenda For The Future of Urbanism – a distillation of the key themes to emerge from our London Congress in June 2016. The document will be used to stimulate further discourse on the subject and identifies the three key areas which are to be the focus for the Academy in its next ten years.”

What makes a city resilient: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jan/27/what-makes-a-city-resilientWhile many point to robust disaster defences, others claim social cohesion is what makes a city great. They're both right, and new projects aim to unearth dozens of other factors

City Planning – video: https://review.bellmedia.ca/view/1330758657The current model for city design just doesn’t work” via @BrentToderian

A foundation to building: depth psychology and architecture: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/a-foundation-to-building-depth-psychology-and-architecture


Communities Secretary Sajid Javid sets out plans to ‘hand OAPs incentives’ to downsize from large homes to ease housing crisis: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2612515/communities-secretary-sajid-javid-sets-out-plans-to-hand-oaps-incentives-to-downsize-from-large-homes-to-ease-housing-crisis/Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, will set out proposals for elderly home owners to receive help with moving costs or exemptions on stamp duty to encourage them to move into bungalows or flats.” More coverage (£)  http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/incentives-for-pensioners-to-sell-their-home-8d5s2ngx2

London garage space could free up room for 16,000 new homes: http://www.thelondoneconomic.com/property/london-garage-space-free-room-16000-new-homes/16/01/More than 16,000 new homes could be built across London on land occupied by unused or rundown garages owned by councils, according to new research.”

Rural army masses behind ‘hero’ farmer in homes battle: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rural-army-masses-behind-hero-farmer-in-homes-battle-jt2tpzbr9Worsley, 50, became a folk hero for supporters of rural life in 2015 when he revealed to The Sunday Times that he had turned down the offer of £275m for his 550-acre farm in Twineham, in the district of Mid Sussex, from one of the developers that wanted to build a town of 10,000 homes on it.”

The radical model fighting the housing crisis: property prices based on income: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jan/16/radical-model-housing-crisis-property-prices-income-community-land-trustsCommunity land trusts battle gentrification by linking house prices to local wages rather than the market rate. But can this growing movement for ‘permanently affordable’ homes really ease Britain’s housing crisis?

Climate change & sustainability

Jevons paradox – Particularly relevant to sustainability & trying to use technology to tackle climate change without reducing our overall energy use: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox  “The Jevons paradox was discovered in 1865 by British economist William Stanley Jevons. By studying the effects of steam engine innovations made by engineers such as Thomas Newcomen and James Watt, he found that the increases in efficiency that they created actually increased consumption of coal rather than decreasing it, as it became more economical for people run them and thus more steam engines were being used. This could in theory also be applied to many modern technologies, such as cars; more fuel-efficient cars may result in increased consumption of oil as they would allow people to travel more often and in faster vehicles.”

2016 hottest year ever recorded – and scientists say human activity to blame: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/18/2016-hottest-year-ever-recorded-and-scientists-say-human-activity-to-blame2016 was the hottest year on record, setting a new high for the third year in a row, with scientists firmly putting the blame on human activities that drive climate change.”

Scotland raises climate ambition with new plan to cut emissions two thirds by 2032: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002936/scotland-raises-climate-ambition-with-new-plan-to-cut-emissions-two-thirds-by-2032The Scottish Government today set out draft proposals to achieve a 66 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2032 against a 1990 baseline, demonstrating what it described as "a new level of ambition" towards tackling climate change.”

Barnsley neighbourhood to demo solar smart battery technology: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002855/barnsley-neighbourhood-to-demo-solar-smart-battery-technology

Scant relief for green economy as May's Brexit speech skims over environmental considerations “ http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002723/scant-relief-for-green-economy-as-mays-brexit-speech-skims-over-environmental-considerationsCampaigners warn leaving the single market leaves UK environmental legislation vulnerable to erosion. Campaigners have warned Britain's environmental protections could be put at risk from the 'hard Brexit' trailed today by Prime Minister Theresa May.”

Ikea won't invest any of its £524m green energy fund in UK until Government backs renewables: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/ikea-renewable-energy-fund-wont-invest-in-uk-government-climate-change-policies-a7529921.htmlIkea won’t spend any of its £524m green energy fund in the UK because government policies on renewables have made it “difficult” to invest, the company said… Joanna Yarrow, Ikea UK’s head of sustainability, told the Huffington Post that the UK’s “political context” does not encourage investment in renewables.”

IKEA achieves zero-waste-to-landfill status in the UK: http://www.edie.net/news/5/Ikea-achieves-zero-waste-to-landfill-status-across-the-UKThe world's biggest furniture retailer has announced that it sent zero waste to landfill across all of its UK and Ireland facilities in 2016, achieving a 90% recycling rate in the process

UK wave power far too costly, warns energy research body: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/16/uk-wave-power-far-too-costly-warns-energy-research-bodyWave power devices being tested in Cornwall and at Orkney are 10 times more expensive than other sources of low carbon power and need a radical rethink, the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) said.”

Record number of oil and gas firms go bust as renewable energy revolution begins to bite: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/oil-gas-firms-industry-bust-renewable-energy-revolution-biofuel-solar-panel-wind-power-opec-saudi-a7507016.htmlA record number of oil and gas companies became insolvent last year, according to a new study which environmentalists said highlighted the need for the UK to prepare for the move to a low-carbon economy.”

Fracking is acceptable, says church: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/fracking-is-acceptable-says-church-x6qps72lzThe Church of England has concluded that fracking can be morally acceptable in a move that shale gas explorers hope could pave the way for drilling to take place on church land.”

Saudis seek up to $50 billion for first phase of renewables plan: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-16/saudis-seek-up-to-50-billion-for-first-phase-of-renewables-planSaudi Arabia will start soliciting bids in the next few weeks for the first phase of a “massive” renewable-energy program costing $30 billion to $50 billion, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said.”

Unilever sets goal to ensure all its plastic packaging is recyclable by 2025: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002595/unilever-sets-goal-to-ensure-all-its-plastic-packaging-is-recyclable-by-2025The company announced the latest in a series of environmental targets over the weekend, as it also confirmed plans to step up investment in plastics research and renewed its membership of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which campaigns for the wider adoption of circular economy models.”

China scraps construction of 85 planned coal power plants: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-scraps-construction-85-coal-power-plants-renewable-energy-national-energy-administration-paris-a7530571.htmlChina has suspended 85 planned coal power plants in a bid to meet a government coal capacity target laid out in its latest plan for social and economic development.”

Lidl rings up new electric car charging network: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002758/lidl-rings-up-new-electric-car-charging-networkThe UK's expanding electric vehicle charging network received a further boost yesterday with the news Lidl is to become the latest supermarket to install rapid charge points at some of its stores.”

Fuel for thought: will 2017 become the year of the zero emission fuel-cell vehicle? http://www.edie.net/library/Fuel-for-thought--Is-2017-the-year-of-the-fuel-cell-/6741Low-carbon energy and sustainable transport are becoming evermore intertwined as new green technologies emerge and become more affordable to the masses. But as the sectors move ahead with innovative battery and electrification plans, they could be missing out on a growing fuel cell market

Cool Block Shows How Neighborhoods Can Create Climate Resilience: http://www.shareable.net/blog/cool-block-shows-how-neighborhoods-can-create-climate-resilience “...Sandra Slater has learned quite a bit about human behavior, including the idea that just giving people information doesn't inspire a change in behavior. "If you just go in and say, 'Let's lower your carbon footprint,' it's a nonstarter," Slater says. "You have to go in with other motivators." She says people are looking for social connection, meaning, purpose, safety, and efficacy.”

Obama is spending another $500m to fight climate change before Trump can stop him: http://grist.org/briefly/obama-is-spending-another-500-million-to-fight-climate-change-before-trump-can-stop-himThe State Department announced Tuesday that it will send the money to the U.N.-affiliated Green Climate Fund, which helps developing nations shift to cleaner energy and adapt to climate change. …Trump said during his campaign that he would defund international climate action.”

Donald Trump: the (bad for) business president: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/blog-post/3002850/donald-trump-the-bad-for-business-presidentThe biggest story in the energy sector in recent years has been the viability of clean energy technologies and the headwinds faced by a coal industry Trump will simply not be able to save. The world's most successful and popular business leaders are increasingly to be found not in the Trump clique, but amongst the innovative entrepreneurs working to deliver a sustainable, zero carbon economy..

The threat to species from climate change should provoke shame in our hearts: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/20/the-threat-to-species-from-climate-change-should-provoke-shame-in-our-hearts?CMP=Share_iOSApp_OtherWhile Australia bakes through another hot, angry summer, its precious wildlife is increasingly under threat, not just from the extreme weather of fires and floods but by the growing reality of a changing climate.”

National Audit Office slams £100m cost of flawed CCG competition: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002924/national-audit-office-slams-gbp100m-cost-of-flawed-ccs-competitionThe government will today be accused of failing to deliver value for money from its latest carbon capture and storage (CCS) funding competition, which was controversially cancelled in late 2015.”

Active travel & transport

Cardiff aiming to become leading cycling city in 10 years: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-38684125The target is get half of commuters in the city out of their cars by 2021 and 60% by 2026.”

The end of traffic: increasing American prosperity and quality of life. From the co-founder of Lyft -  US based but much of it is relevant anywhere: //medium.com/@johnzimmer/the-end-of-traffic-6d255c03207d#.dammwt4md">https://medium.com/@johnzimmer/the-end-of-traffic-6d255c03207d#.dammwt4md

Sustran review for the year – annual report: https://www.sustainweb.org/resources/files/reports/Annual_Report_2016.pdf

IKEA $400 flat-pack city bike will hit US stores in February: http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/ikeas-400-flat-pack-city-bike-will-hit-stores-next-month.htmlSomewhere between the bookshelves, bedroom sets, and kitchen stuff, there will soon be flat-packed belt drive bicycles, which display the same understated and timeless Scandinavian design as the rest of IKEA's offerings. And they will be priced right in line with the company's other fast-moving products, so the retailer could be poised to move a bazillion of them.”

Vancouver prepares for a driverless future that includes extra space for walking, cycling and transit: http://www.modacitylife.com/blog/vancouver-prepares-for-driverless-futureIf you believe the hype coming out of Silicon Valley in recent years, the transportation world is about to experience its biggest disruption since the motorcar replaced the horse-drawn carriage at the beginning of the twentieth century.”

Air quality & pollution

Are we content with toxic air? http://www.insallandcoe.co.uk/blog/ Comments on the draft NICE guidance on air quality – with a link to their response to the consultation: http://www.insallandcoe.co.uk/s/comments-form-PHG92-P-Insall-for-blog-8pkd.pdfFor example, NICE says that new housing should be aligned so that living rooms face away from highly polluted roads, and that ‘high-risk groups’ should avoid exercise and close doors and windows when pollution is bad. That cannot be right!  What kind of dystopia are we living in?  The appropriate response is to keep the most polluting vehicles away and ensure that air quality reaches a standard where people can engage in normal daily activities.  Even going so far as to sit in their front room if they wish.  'High-risk group' or not.”

London motorists who leave engines running to face £80 fines: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/london-motorists-who-leave-engines-running-to-face-80-fines-a3439786.htmlMotorists who pump out toxic fumes in central London by leaving their engine idling are to face an £80 fine. Westminster council will enforce the regime from February 4. Drivers of cars, van, coaches and taxis will be penalised if they leave engines idling for more than a minute while parked up.”

Pollution warning as London air quality alerts are issued: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-38673310Air quality alerts have been issued by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan - with moderate pollution expected until the weekend across 17 London boroughs.”

And finally…

Obscure objects of transport beauty: the Bundy Clock: https://thebeautyoftransport.com/2017/01/18/obscure-objects-of-transport-beauty-the-bundy-clock/It’s a general rule of life that if you come across a weird but interesting-looking street furniture relic in a city, it will be something to do with trams or trolleybus, and so indeed was the case with the ones in Birmingham. They were the decrepit remains of an early tram (and later bus) driver tracking device, the Bundy Clock.

Resources and research

City of Well-Being: a radical guide to planning. A new book from Hugh Barton, Emeritus Professor of planning, health and sustainability at the WHO Collaborating Centre for healthy urban environments,

University of the West of England. “City of Well-Being provides a radical and holistic introduction to the science and art of town planning. It starts from the premise that the purpose of planning is the health, well-being and sustainable quality of life of people. Drawing on current and historic examples it offers inspiration, information and an integrated perspective which challenges all professions and decision-makers that affect the urban environment. It is both authoritative and readable, designed for students, practitioners, politicians and civil society.” https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/City-Well-being-radical-guide-planning/0415639328


Urbanism: 75 great places 2009-2013: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/urbanism-75-great-places-2009-2013/ New book from the Academy of Urbanism “This book is a compendium of 75 places that have been shortlisted as part of the Academy’s annual awards scheme which covers great Places, Streets, Neighbourhoods, Towns and Cities.”

UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-climate-change-risk-assessment-2017 This report outlines the UK and Devolved Governments’ views on the key climate change risks and opportunities that the UK faces. The report endorses the six priority risk areas identified in the independent evidence report by the Adaptation Sub-Committee:

  • from flooding and coastal change
  • to health and well-being from high temperatures
  • due to water shortages
  • to natural capital
  • to food production and trade
  • from pests and diseases and invasive non-native species

Pulses and climate change: http://www.fao.org/resources/infographics/infographics-details/en/c/454530/ From the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. “The changing climate will continue to put pressure on agricultural ecosystems, particularly in regions and for populations that are particularly vulnerable. Introducing pulses into crop production can be key to increasing resilience to climate change.”

Town and Country Planning Association: Planning for the climate change: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/planning-for-the-climate-challengeDespite the increasing intensity and frequency of climate-related impacts, local plans are not delivering on the basic standards set out in national law and policy for either mitigation or adaptation. To deliver the fundamental change required, climate change must be placed front and centre of the policy priorities of the spatial planning system. Only a radical refocusing of the system will meet the challenges of climate change, now and in the future.”

The case for cultivating community resilience: http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/316071/Practice_Deepening_Community/Case%20for%20Cultivating%20Community%20Resilience.pdf?t=1484751238387Communities today are shaped and impacted by a myriad of complex issues – the effects of climate change, deteriorating infrastructure, an aging population, growing debt levels at the household,

government and corporate levels, rising inequality, and growing rates of loneliness and isolation in people of all ages.”

DEFRA pollution forecasts: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/forecasting/. There are also local examples -   AirAlert for Hampshire: http://www.airalert.info/hants/. London: http://www.londonair.org.uk/london/asp/publicepisodes.asp

The case for active travel: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/resources/types/reports/case-active-travelThis report sets out the fivefold economic benefits of greater investment in active travel: saving costs to the health sector; the economic value of active travel trips; the economic benefits of an improved urban realm; promoting inclusive growth; and direct employment and spend. The report also sets out a concise and accessible summary of the wider evidence base for investing in active travel which urban transport planners and practitioners can use as a basis for building the case for policies and projects.

Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollutionThis report from the RCP and the RCPCH examines the impact of exposure to air pollution across the course of a lifetime.”

The bigger and denser the city you live in, the more unhappy you’re likely to be. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/66906/#.WGbjcQE4yls.twitterUrban living increases employment prospects and consumption opportunities but also exposes individuals to numerous urban problems including high living costs, congestion, pollution, crime, and traffic among others. New research by John Winters and Yu Li examines the overall effects of urban living on happiness in the US as measured by self-reported life satisfaction. They find that living in large metropolitan areas and counties with higher population densities reduces average happiness levels.”

The socio-legal implications of the new politics of climate change: http://www.academia.edu/30291359/THE_SOCIO-LEGAL_IMPLICATIONS_OF_THE_NEW_POLITICS_OF_CLIMATE_CHANGE

Sustainable food systems: the role of the city: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/browse-books/sustainable-food-systems-the-role-of-the-cityThis book, by a leading expert in urban agriculture, offers a genuine solution to today’s global food crisis. By contributing more to feeding themselves, cities can allow breathing space for the rural sector to convert to more organic sustainable approaches.”

IRENA – International Renewable Energy Agency – useful resource with reports on the global perspective for renewable energy: http://www.irena.org/Publications/index.aspx?mnu=cat&PriMenuID=36&CatID=141

WMHPG news, information and resources 13 January 2017

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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.

News & information

 Healthy environments, housing and planning

Urban idiocy: brilliant ideas that ruined our cities – part 5: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/urban-idiocy-brilliant-ideas-that-ruined-our-cities-2/ - The neighbourhood unit.

Reaching out a helping hand: identifying and enfranchising the impoverished in Britain’s urban neighbourhoods | Julia Unwin CBE AoU: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/reaching-out-a-helping-hand-identifying-and-enfranchising-the-impoverished-in-britains-urban-neighbourhoods-julia-unwin-cbe-aou/

Why infrastructure investment matters: the contribution of civil society: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/why-infrastructure-investment-matters-the-contribution-of-civil-society-john-worthington-aou/From many years’ experience of observing how successful cities transform themselves, John Worthington MBE AoU provides some advice for cities at the beginning of a journey of change and for us all on how we can be involved in these transformations.”

From architecture to cultural life: how would you design a city from scratch? https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jan/05/grand-designs-how-to-build-a-garden-villageCities developed in the UK as a result of the industrial revolution, and some things have changed surprisingly little. A traffic jam, that modern peril, could wreak havoc for hours in 1749. Nearly three centuries on, streets are still cleaned mostly by a human with a broom and there are still more people than places for them to live. But now stop the clock. Design a city from scratch.”

New garden village coming to West Midlands: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/new-garden-village-coming-west-12394069A new 'garden village' with at least 1,500 homes is to be built in Warwickshire as part of an initiative which will deliver more than 48,000 new houses across the country.

Green belt at mercy of developers, say councils: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/green-belt-at-mercy-of-developers-say-councils-wjn33l2gtMost councillors in green-belt areas believe that the land will be given over to housing in the next five years.”

Sherwood Forest ‘should not be fracked’, says RSPB: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-38497045Sherwood Forest and other protected sites should be ruled out as locations for fracking, according to the RSPB conservation charity. Chemicals giant Ineos wants to survey part of the Nottinghamshire forest to see if there is potential for fracking. But the RSPB - which will manage the entire Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve from 2018 - opposes fracking.”

72% of councillors think planning system is undemocratic: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/485/planning_news_-_12_january_2017Councillors in England think that the planning system works in the interests of developers over councils and local communities, according to new survey.”

Project for Public Spaces - Our top 10 placemaking articles of 2016: https://www.pps.org/blog/our-top-10-articles-of-2016/

Sajid Javid’s folly would be to build new housing in Tory backyards: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/07/sajid-javids-folly-would-build-tory-back-yardsThanks primarily to two things – unchecked immigration and high divorce rates – we have insufficient housing. Prices are so high in the south-east that many live with their parents well into their 30s.  Essential staff, such as teachers and those in the emergency services, struggle to find a home anywhere near their workplace.”

Active travel

Institute of mechanical engineers – Promoting safe, efficient transport systems with minimal congestion is important for personal mobility and transportation of goods: http://www.imeche.org/policy-and-press/transport-themeYet the transport sector damages our environment: it produces over a quarter of UK CO2 emissions. Engineering is therefore key to meeting the requirements of increased mobility, lower carbon emissions and improving air quality.”

Encouraging car dooring is fine – it’s just “heavy irony” says Sunday Times: http://www.cyclinguk.org/blog/duncandollimore/encouraging-car-dooring-fine-just-heavy-irony-says-sunday-timesThe Sunday Times says it's fine for national newspapers to print articles promoting and encouraging crime, distressing victims’ families, and with boasts about the columnist's own attempted crimes. You just print it and say you were being heavily ironic - the poorest excuse for lazy journalism ever.”

Cyclists don’t count as road users, argues transport secretary: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/12/cyclists-dont-count-as-road-users-argues-transport-secretaryChris Grayling’s response to question in House of Commons draws fire from cycling groups and accusation of ‘astonishing lack of knowledge’ of his brief

EU to embrace safer ‘direct vision’ trucks – but with an 11 year delay: https://www.transportenvironment.org/news/eu-embrace-safer-%E2%80%98direct-vision%E2%80%99-trucks-%E2%80%93-11-year-delayProposals to make lorries safer for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians have been announced by the European Commission. T&E has welcomed the basis for the new legislation, but says the Commission’s 2028 deadline for improved direct vision for trucks is too long and must be shortened.”

Climate change

Putting a human face on climate change: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/climate-change-symposiumFocusing on the potential health impacts of climate change—such as malnutrition, an increase in infectious and chronic diseases, and more deaths from heat waves and cold snaps—may be the best way to communicate its dangers, according to speakers at a recent Harvard symposium.”

Q&A: How Climate Change Hurts Health: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine/magazine_article/qa-how-climate-change-hurts-healthAs associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard Chan School, he has explored the public health effects of such environmental stresses as global warming and loss of biodiversity and has shared the science with students, educators, policymakers, and the public.”

Can we eat our way out of climate change (podcast): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04kxn2sFood production accounts for as much global greenhouse gas emissions as all forms of transport combined. That’s why many scientists think we can’t tackle climate change without addressing what we eat.”

Science loses out to uninformed opinion on climate change – yet again: https://theconversation.com/science-loses-out-to-uninformed-opinion-on-climate-change-yet-again-70924

Modern agriculture cultivates climate change – we must nurture biodiversity: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jan/09/modern-agriculture-cultivates-climate-change-nurture-biodiversity-olivier-de-schutter-emile-frisonA future of continually increasing food supplies and ever more sophisticated manipulation of agro-ecosystems seems to be upon us. However, there is a risk that these technologies blind us to the very real problems facing modern agriculture – problems that are rapidly undermining the previous round of technological advances.”

Why are the social sciences so important in tackling climate change? https://blog.esrc.ac.uk/2017/01/11/why-are-the-social-sciences-so-important-in-tackling-climate-change/ “….as we are increasingly realising, to really make a dent in the targets agreed to at COP21, entire societies across the globe will need to take action. So while the natural sciences can tell us what is happening and develop technology to address the problems, social scientists such as economists, political scientists, psychologists and sociologists (to name but a few) are crucial to influencing major changes.”

It’s time to wake up to the devastating impact flying has on the environment: https://theconversation.com/its-time-to-wake-up-to-the-devastating-impact-flying-has-on-the-environment-70953 “...But here’s the peculiar thing: although no other human activity pushes individual emission levels as fast and as high as air travel, most of us don’t stop to think about its carbon impact.”

Church of England unveils low carbon investment tracker: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002275/church-of-england-unveils-low-carbon-investment-trackerSome of the UK's leading institutional investors, including the Church of England's National Investing Bodies and the Environment Agency Pension Fund, have launched a major new initiative to ensure their investments are well positioned for the transition to the low carbon economy.”

MPs call for halt to Green Investment Bank sale: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/01/11/mps-call-halt-green-investment-bank-salePoliticians from both sides of the House urged Theresa May’s government to rethink the sale of the GIB, which has invested £2.7bn in projects including street lights and windfarms since its creation as a public sector body in 2012.”

UK wind power generation overtakes coal for first time in 2016: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002037/uk-wind-power-generation-overtakes-coal-for-first-time-in-2016According to analysis released by energy and climate specialists Carbon Brief yesterday, wind power accounted for 11.5 per cent of UK electricity last year, while coal contributed only 9.2 per cent - its lowest level of output since 1935.” Full report and analysis here: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-uk-wind-generated-more-electricity-coal-2016

Wind power deliver all Scotland’s power for four straight days: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002112/wind-farms-deliver-all-scotlands-power-for-four-straight-daysWWF Scotland, drawing on data from WeatherEnergy, today reported all of Scotland's power demand was matched by output from wind turbines on the 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th of December.”

Blustery weather topples wind power records across Europe: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002472/blustery-weather-topples-wind-power-records-across-northern-europeIreland and the Nordics enjoy record levels of power production from wind farms, while UK breaks two new records for daily and half hourly generation

The year coal collapsed: 2016 was a turning point for Britain’s electricity: https://theconversation.com/the-year-coal-collapsed-2016-was-a-turning-point-for-britains-electricity-70877Britain’s electricity was the cleanest it had been in 60 years, as coal collapsed and renewables rose to record levels.”

Donald Trump urged to ditch his climate change denial by 630 major firms who warn it ‘puts American prosperity at risk’: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-climate-change-science-denial-global-warming-630-major-companies-put-american-a7519626.htmlMore than 630 companies and investors have called on Donald Trump and the Republican-dominated Congress to continue the move to a low-carbon economy, warning that failing to do so would “put American prosperity at risk”.”

Air quality and pollution

Diesel cars are 10 times more toxic than trucks and buses, data shows: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/06/diesel-cars-are-10-times-more-toxic-than-trucks-and-buses-data-showsThe stark difference in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) is due to the much stricter testing applied to large vehicles in the EU, according to the researchers behind a new report. They say the same strict measures must be applied to cars.”

FBI arrests Volkswagen executive on conspiracy charge in emissions scandal: http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/business/volkswagen-diesel-emissions-investigation-settlement.htmlThe F.B.I. has arrested a Volkswagen executive in Florida, accusing him of playing a central role in a broad conspiracy to keep United States regulators from discovering that diesel vehicles made by the company were programmed to cheat on emissions tests.”

The US has accused Fiat Chrysler of the same emissions cheating that cost Volkswagen billions: https://qz.com/884245/the-us-accuses-fiat-chrysler-of-emissions-cheating/Just as the dust starts to settle on Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accused Fiat Chrysler using similar methods to illegally manipulate the pollution levels in hundreds of thousands of diesel vehicles.

Auto industry execs predict rise of EVs to signal end of diesel cars: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3002108/auto-industry-execs-predict-rise-of-evs-to-signal-end-of-diesel-carsKPMG survey of car firm executives finds three quarters believe many of today's car owners will not want to own a car within a decade

Automakers prepare for an America that’s over the whole car thing: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/22/business/automakers-prepare-america-fewer-cars.html?_r=0 “…. carmakers are looking ahead to a day when the automobile plays a smaller role, or even no role at all, in many people’s daily routines.

Brixton Road breaches annual air pollution limit in five days: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-38529928A south London road has breached its annual air pollution limit for 2017 in just five days. Readings taken in Brixton Road found levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), linked to nearly 5,900 early deaths a year, repeatedly breached the EU limit. King's College London, which runs the air quality monitoring stations, said some London streets have the highest levels of NO2 exposure in the world.”

And finally….

Travellers cast off inhibitions on no pants subway ride day – in pictures: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/09/travellers-cast-off-inhibitions-on-no-pants-subway-ride-day-in-picturesSubway riders around the world might have noticed something missing when their fellow transit users went trouserless on Sunday for the annual no pants subway ride. Participants were told to get on trains and act as they normally would and were given an assigned point to take off their pants. They are asked to keep a straight face and respond matter-of-factly to anyone who asks them if they’re cold.”

Resources and research

Essential evidence on a page 157: Liveable Neighbourhoods and evidence for increased walking: https://travelwest.info/essentialevidence/public-policiesTop line: In designing new neighbourhoods a unique policy experiment has highlighted the importance of implementing the community design element above and beyond that of the movement network and lot layout elements alone. A result is that walking for transport and particularly walking for recreation increased for new residents of a liveable neighbourhood.

Sustainability and public health: a guide to good practice: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/sustainability-and-public-health-a-guide-to-good-practiceThese resources can help health professionals and other practitioners make informed decisions about the public health benefits of sustainable development.”

Happy corporate holidays from Coca-Cola: http://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.i6833I suppose we should have realised that Coca-Cola was up to something when it opened a head office next to the Royal Society of Medicine in Wimpole Street. The path of associating unhealthy products with health, wellbeing, and healthy lifestyles is one that has been well trodden down the years by the tobacco industry. The lessons have not been lost on Coca-Cola. In fact, you could argue that Coca-Cola started even earlier than tobacco

New website resource: Citiscope: http://citiscope.org/Citiscope spurs innovations to help cities work better for all of their people through the power of independent journalism. We deliver: on-the-ground reporting by local journalists, extensive coverage of global debates on the future of cities & expert commentary and analysis

NOx emissions from heavy-duty and light-duty vehicles in the EU: Comparison of real-world performance and current type-approval requirements: http://www.theicct.org/nox-europe-hdv-ldv-comparison-jan2017Summary - Identifies key differences in the regulations governing certification of NOX emissions from diesel cars (Euro 6) and trucks (Euro VI) that help explain differences in their real-world emissions performance. Ultimately, an examination of the HDV regulation reveals insights that could be used to improve the LDV regulation.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 6 January 2017

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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.

News & Information

Event: Sustainability West Midlands – Carbon Management and Reduction Workshop: http://www.sustainabilitywestmidlands.org.uk/events/public-sector-carbon-management-workshop-2317/This event will provide public sector organisations with the latest picture regarding carbon management legislation and tools, share good practice case studies on carbon management and reduction and provide an opportunity to network with a variation of public sector organisations.

Event: The effects of busy roads on local people: https://khub.net/group/healthypeoplehealthyplaces/events/-/event/view/29830807UCL Street Mobility and Network Accessibility project final conference. Busy roads can have negative effects on people's mobility, wellbeing and health. The Street Mobility and Network Accessibility project (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/street-mobility ) team has developed tools to measure and value the impacts of busy roads on local people. On Wednesday 8th March 2017 (12.30 -5.30pm) we will hold our final conference.”

Consultation – limiting hot food takeaways near schools: “Haringey Council have asked us to circulate the following consultation open for public response until 13 January 2017. The Council is currently consulting on a Local Development Management Plan, which in part would allow them to limit the number of fast food outlets near schools. We encourage you to respond, especially if you’ve had similar experience in your local area:” http://www.haringey.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning/planning-policy/local-plan/examination-public-local-plan-eip

Sustrans enews: http://sustrans-info.org.uk/6EB-4MQBA-612GY4DP79/cr.aspx?v=1

Sustrans Policy Scan: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/policy-evidence/our-policy-work/policy-scan

Landscape Institute update: http://landscapeinstitute-news.org/6KZ-4OL4C-A7MKETF5A2/cr.aspx

How to support mental health through urban planning: http://www.citylab.com/design/2016/12/how-to-support-mental-health-through-urban-planning/510833Green spaces, active spaces, social spaces & safe spaces

Centre for Active Design – Affirming the connection between place and civic life: https://centerforactivedesign.org/affirmingplaceandciviclifeCan park enhancements encourage greater interaction with neighbors? Can community beautification inspire ongoing acts of stewardship? Can arts and cultural resources help stimulate a sense of civic trust? These are just a few of the questions that the Center for Active Design (CfAD) is exploring through Assembly, a pioneering initiative to leverage place-based design as a pivotal tool for enhancing the civic life of communities.”

Math myth-busting some of our worst urban planning misconceptions: http://www.metronews.ca/views/opinion/2017/01/03/math-myth-busting-our-worst-urban-planning-misconceptions.htmlTo be blunt, the math suggests that we’ve been doing a lot of things wrong.”

Working as one UN to address the root environmental causes of ill health: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/commentaries/2017/one-un-environmental-health/en/There are many compelling reasons why we need to clean up the global environment. One of the most pressing is that a polluted environment is a deadly one. Every year, almost 12.6 million people die from diseases associated with environmental hazards, such as air, water or soil pollution, and climate change. That is one in four deaths worldwide

Evidence that obesity is a problem is not evidence that sport is the solution: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/expertcomment/evidence-that-obesity-is-a-problem-is-not-evidence-that-sport-is-the-solution/This clearly shows that, despite considerable investment in sport, people are choosing ways, other than sport, by which to become active.”

Ministers press ahead with pre-commencement conditions revamp and neighbourhood plan regime changes: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/484/ministers_press_ahead_with_pre-commencement_conditions_revamp_and_neighbourhood_plan_regime_changesThe government has announced it will press ahead with controversial proposals to change the pre-commencement planning conditions regime in England. These changes are part of a package of measures on planning conditions previously consulted on. This move came as the administration also confirmed making a key modification to the neighbourhood planning regime.”

Beijing’s new highway network connects urban zone twice the size of New York: http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2052657/opening-beijings-1000km-seventh-ring-road-more-closely

Paris makes all public transport free in battle against ‘worst air pollution for 10 years’: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/paris-public-transport-free-air-pollution-spike-a7460191.html

Madrid bans half of cars from roads to fight air pollution: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/29/madrid-bans-half-of-cars-from-roads-to-fight-air-pollution?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

London air pollution ‘means children should be banned from playgrounds’: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/london-air-pollution-means-children-should-be-banned-from-playgrounds-a3431686.htmlChildren should be stopped from using playgrounds when London’s toxic air reaches dangerously high levels, a peer suggested today.”

The Square Mile wants a ban on all diesel minicabs by 2020: http://www.cityam.com/256363/square-mile-wants-ban-all-diesel-minicabs-2020The City of London Corporation wants Sadiq Khan to ban all diesel vehicles used by companies such as Uber and Addison Lee by 2020.New licenses would not be given to the most polluting private hire vehicles (PHV) immediately under the group's proposals, while current cars would be phased out over the next three years.

State of The Transition, December 2016: As fossil fuel diehards take over The White House, the evidence of a fast-moving global energy transition has never been clearer: http://www.jeremyleggett.net/2017/01/state-of-the-transition-december-2016-as-fossil-fuel-diehards-take-over-the-white-house-the-evidence-of-a-fast-moving-global-energy-transition-has-never-been-clearerAs captains of the fossil fuel industries and their lobbyists prepare to take over the White House – appointed by a President elected by a minority, claiming to represent the people on an anti-elite ticket yet possessing by far the highest cumulative wealth of any cabinet ever – they will face evidence breaking out all around them of a fast-moving global energy transition threatening to strand the fossil fuels they seek to boost.”

Christmas Day 2016 sets new UK record for renewable energy use: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3001734/christmas-day-2016-sets-new-uk-record-for-renewable-energy-useGreen energy such as wind power made up 40 per cent of electricity generated in Britain, compared with 25 per cent on 25 December 2015

Renewables investment in UK will fall 95% over next three years – study: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/04/renewables-investment-uk-fall-95-percent-three-years-study-subsidy-cuts-emissions-targetsMore than £1bn of future investment in renewable energy projects disappeared over the course of 2016, the Green Alliance found when it analysed the government’s latest pipeline of major infrastructure plans.”

Costa partners with Bio-Bean to give waste coffee a new lease of life: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3001387/costa-partners-with-bio-bean-to-give-waste-coffee-new-lease-of-lifeCoffee giant Costa has revealed that waste coffee grounds from more than 850 stores nationwide are now being used to make low-carbon fuel thanks to a new partnership with biomass specialists Bio-bean.”

Blenheim Palace goes green: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3001396/blenheim-palace-goes-greenThe Oxfordshire palace, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, announced last week it has reduced its use of heating oil by 81 per cent as well as cut its overall mains water consumption by 42 per cent since 2013.”

Friends of the Earth fracking leaflet ‘misleading’, ad watchdog says: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-37473276Friends of the Earth (FOE) misled the public in a leaflet which claimed fracking can cause cancer, the advertising watchdog has said.”

Ryedale fracking: protest camp has ‘national focus’: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-38463634

The city of Las Vegas is now powered entirely by renewable energy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-city-of-las-vegas-is-now-powered-entirely-by-renewable-energy_us_58594291e4b0b3ddfd8ea4e8

Solar and wind power cheaper than fossil fuels for the first time: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/solar-and-wind-power-cheaper-than-fossil-fuels-for-the-first-time-a7509251.htmlDespite the low price, not enough money is being put into renewable ways of generating electricity

2 remarkable facts that illustrate solar power’s declining costs: http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2016/12/22/14022114/solar-year-two-remarkable-factsLast week, the internet was overrun with headlines about how solar energy has officially become the cheapest form of electricity in the world. This is … not quite right. Solar has seen remarkable cost declines and is competing in more circumstances with every passing year. But it is not the world’s cheapest source of electricity.”

Re-invent Paris: https://stateofgreen.com/en/profiles/sla-architects/solutions/reinvent-parisLast year, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, invited architects all over the world to reinvent the French Capital in an international competition asking for an environmental and sustainable approach. In the project Ternes-Villiers, SLA’s winning project covers the Boulevard Périphérique, the big ring road that circles around the entire city, as it discovers urban life and city nature in three dimensions.”

India’s double first in climate battle: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38391034?ocid=socialflow_twitterTwo world-leading clean energy projects have opened in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. An industrial plant is capturing the CO2 emissions from a coal boiler and using the CO2 to make valuable chemicals. It is a world first. And just 100km away is the world's biggest solar farm, making power for 150,000 homes on a 10 sq km site.”

The Beauty of Transport – A station fit for a king: http://feedly.com/i/subscription/feed/http://thebeautyoftransport.wordpress.com/feed/

Everything I needed to know about urban transport planning I (could have) learned from watching “the Simpsons”… https://thebeautyoftransport.com/2016/12/21/seasonal-special-everything-i-needed-to-know-about-urban-transport-planning-i-could-have-learned-from-watching-the-simpsons/

Media coverage of housing & affordable homes

Announcements of new garden towns and villages –  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/first-ever-garden-villages-named-with-government-support : wide media coverage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38486907: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/02/new-garden-towns-villages-provide-200000-homes-ease-housing/ : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/locations-of-14-new-garden-villages-revealed-a7505131.html : https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2517967/garden-villages-towns-what-where-why/

UK’s new cycle-friendly Garden Villages could need bike shops: http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/uk-s-new-cycle-friendly-garden-villages-could-need-bike-shops/020508

Row over ‘affordable’ starter homes that will cost up to £450,000: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/row-over-affordable-starter-homes-cost-up-to-450000-pounds-a7506216.html . Financial times coverage: https://www.ft.com/content/2e2229e2-d49c-11e5-829b-8564e7528e54 : BBC – why starter homes are controversial: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34465513

Church of England urged to release land for new homes: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/12/31/church-england-urged-release-land-new-homes/

Top 10 biggest house builders control land for almost one million homes: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/12/18/top-10-biggest-house-builders-control-land-almost-one-millionThe UK’s 10 biggest house builders are sitting on 14 years’ worth of land, on which almost one million homes could potentially be built, Shelter has claimed.

Pilot scheme launched to speed up home building blocked by infrastructure delays: http://www.propertywire.com/news/europe/pilot-scheme-launched-speed-home-building-blocked-infrastructure-delays/The scheme will pay particular attention to housing developments that have been delayed due to a lack of water, sewage, electricity, gas or road connectivity. If successful, the plan is to roll the scheme out across the UK later in 2017.”

Hundreds of homes are built each year despite flood risk objections: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/environment/hundreds-homes-built-year-despite-flood-risk-objections/Hundreds of homes are being approved by planning chiefs in England each year in spite of official objections from the Environment Agency about the risk of flooding, it can be revealed.

Resources and research

Living near major roads and the incidence of dementia, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis: a population-based cohort study: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)32399-6/fulltextInterpretation - In this large population-based cohort, living close to heavy traffic was associated with a higher incidence of dementia, but not with Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis.”

Healthy Travel Choices in Warwickshire: https://apps.warwickshire.gov.uk/api/documents/WCCC-630-839 (Exec summary: https://apps.warwickshire.gov.uk/api/documents/WCCC-630-838 ) “The Healthy Travel Choices document is a tool for members and others within Warwickshire County Council which outlines evidence based methods that have been proven to help reduce some of the difficulties people face when deciding on their commute, their journey and their choices.”

Shared Assets – Land Explorer: http://landexplorer.uk/Land Explorer helps you find information on land in the UK.” It is a free-to-use map-based platform aimed at helping people who are trying to use land for the common good. It combines various different land-related datasets with an easy to use interface, and clear explanations of how to use the information.” More information: http://www.sharedassets.org.uk/landexplorer/launching-land-explorer/

A measure of diversity from production to diets: the value of an agrobiodiversity index: http://www.bioversityinternational.org/news/detail/a-measure-of-diversity-from-production-to-diets-the-value-of-an-agrobiodiversity-index

Report: small is beautiful: delivering more homes through small sites: http://www.lgiu.org.uk/report/small-is-beautiful-delivering-more-homes-on-small-sitesThis new report from LGiU in partnership with the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) focuses on how local authorities can help to make this happen.”

Each Home Counts: http://site-shapuk.rhcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Peter-Bonfield-Each_Home_Counts__December_2016_1.pdfAn Independent Review of Consumer Advice, Protection, Standards and Enforcement for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Jane Jacobs: is there good science behind urban planning? : https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/jane-jacobs-is-there-good-science-behind-urban-planning/?wt.mc=SA_Twitter-ShareIn the 1960s, activist Jane Jacobs (who would have turned 100 on May 4, 2016) questioned whether massive urban planning projects work, and objected to demolishing old neighborhoods for sterile new buildings and highways. She described factors including mixed-age buildings and short blocks as leading to better neighborhoods. Has the state of city planning science changed since then?”

Air pollution and health: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(16)30023-8/fulltext?rss=yesAir pollution is one of the great killers of our age. Polluted air was responsible in 2015 for 6·4 million deaths worldwide: 2·8 million from household air pollution and 4·2 million from ambient air pollution.1, 2 In the same year, tobacco caused 7 million deaths, AIDS 1·2 million, tuberculosis 1·1 million, and malaria 0·7 million.3 In the absence of aggressive control, ambient air pollution is projected by 2060 to cause between 6 million and 9 million deaths per year.”

Journal of Transport and Health: Special edition on the built environment & health: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/22141405/3/4

Essential evidence on a page, No. 156: Transport and social exclusion – where are we now? https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-156-transport-social-exclusion-nowTop line: If properly designed and delivered, public transport can provide part of a solution to social exclusion, but it is most likely that other forms of more flexible (and often informal) transport services will be needed to complement mainstream services.

Future proofing housing stock for an ageing population: http://www.trustha.org.uk/about-us/ Resources produced by Trust Housing Association: http://www.trustha.org.uk/media/uploads/nlc/01_ColourWayfinding_15%2011.pdf ; http://www.trustha.org.uk/media/uploads/nlc/02_DaylightSpaces_15%2011.pdf ; http://www.trustha.org.uk/media/uploads/nlc/03_Remodelling_15%2011.pdf

Get Warm Soon: progress to reduce ill health associated with cold homes in England: http://www.nea.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Get-Warm-Soon-Full-Report.pdf

WMHPG news, information and resources 25 November 2016

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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.

News and information

Consultation – Transport Select Committee – inquiry into urban congestion. Closing date 9 December 2016. https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/urban-congestion-16-17/

Sustainability West Midlands – Green Leaders Award: http://www.sustainabilitywestmidlands.org.uk/news/sustainability-west-midlands-2016-green-leaders-competition-entry-open/We are delighted to once again open the search for the region’s leading individuals that are playing a key role in leading us towards a more sustainable future. We are encouraging the area’s most influential people to step forward in a bid to highlight sustainable initiatives and promote the skills needed to drive the low carbon agenda.”

Why do we live, where we live? https://heartfoundation.org.au/news/why-do-we-live-where-we-liveThe Heart Foundation (Australia) surveyed 1000 people to see what impact their surroundings had on their physical activity and how important this factor was in selecting a place to live.”

Where you live can kill you: http://discoversociety.org/2016/11/01/where-you-live-can-kill-you/In 1842, the English social reformer Edwin Chadwick documented a 30-year discrepancy between the life expectancy of men in the poorest social classes and the gentry. …. Today, these inequalities persist. People in the most affluent areas of the United Kingdom, such as Kensington and Chelsea, can expect to live 14 years longer than that those in the poorest areas, such as Glasgow or Blackpool. Men and women in the North of England will, on average die 2 years earlier than those in the South. Scottish people also suffer a health penalty with the highest mortality rates in Western Europe.

Older people and housing: towards a wiser economy: http://discoversociety.org/2016/11/01/older-people-and-housing-towards-a-wiser-community/Housing is almost exclusively talked about as a crisis for young people, a shortage of so-called starter homes. The real issue, if we are to plan housing with the needs of the whole population in mind, is the shortage of smaller homes.“

International conference on transport and health 2017, Barcelona, Spain: http://www.tphlink.com/icth-2017---barcelona.html

Motorists across the West Midlands could be asked to pay for Birmingham’s parks: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/motorists-across-west-midlands-could-12177850 “They could be asked to pay because they drive in to the city and cause air pollution, according to Lisa Trickett, Birmingham City Council's Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and Environment.”

HS2: North West and Yorkshire routes confirmed: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/454/majority_of_hs2_route_confirmed BBC coverage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37981840

“Whose streets, our streets”: Democracy still lives in public spaces: http://www.pps.org/blog/democracy-still-lives-in-public-spaces/Democracy depends on having a safe space—a commons—for citizens to come together. “

Heathrow plans congestion charge for drivers:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/10819628/Heathrow-plans-congestion-charge-for-drivers.html“Drivers could be charged for dropping off passengers at Heathrow Airport under plans to manage congestion”

A call to action for healthy communities – from the American Public Health Association: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Zhh3K_05x8

Australia – A sugary drinks tax: recovering the community costs: http://grattan.edu.au/report/a-sugary-drinks-tax-recovering-the-community-costs/

To green our cities, we must rethink our relationship with nature: http://www.citymetric.com/fabric/green-our-cities-we-must-rethink-our-relationship-nature-2513

Conservative councils reluctant to grant planning permission: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Conservative-councils-reluctant-to-grant-planning-permission/42077 - as always - need to be aware of the source of the report when considering their findings.

Government lifts block on Sutton Coldfield green belt development:http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/government-lifts-block-sutton-coldfield-12226096Housing minister Gavin Barwell lifts block on the Birmingham Development Plan and plans for 6,000 homes on green fields to the east of Walmley”

Coventry council to suspend some bus lanes in congestion trial: http://www.itv.com/news/central/2016-11-22/council-to-suspend-some-bus-lanes-in-congestion-trial/

Midland Metropolitan Hospital: take a look around the £300m building site of the Black Country’s newest landmark: http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2016/11/15/midland-metropolitan-hospital-take-a-look-around-the-300m-building-site-of-the-black-countrys-newest-landmark/“A three-dimensional computerised model of the hospital, complete down to every detail, exists on the internet. It is just one of the ways in which this is a ground-breaking project. The hospital is the first public-private finance scheme to use BIM, or building information management, which allows planners and builders to work out all the details – and the potential problems – before construction started. Project director David Hollywood said: “We built it in 3D before we laid a brick.

‘Pay to stay’ social housing plan dropped: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38058402

Autumn statement promises funds to boost housebuilding: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/460/autumn_statement_promises_funds_to_boost_housebuilding

Reading drivers may face £20 fines for ‘vehicle idling’: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-38052193

Resources and research

Latest Sustrans policy scan: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/policy-evidence/our-policy-work/policy-scan

Mud pies and green spaces – why children do better when they can get outdoors: https://theconversation.com/mud-pies-and-green-spaces-why-children-do-better-when-they-can-get-outdoors-43151new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a team of researchers from Spain, Norway, and the US found that time spent near or in green places, especially those in and around schools, can improve learners’ cognitive development. ….found that pupils’ ability in memory tasks and to maintain attention improved over time if their schools had green spaces on their campus and nearby.”

Housing and health inequalities briefing from NHS Scotland: http://www.healthscotland.scot/publications/housing-and-health-inequalities-briefingThis briefing focuses on the role that good-quality housing can play in improving health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities.”

The first report from the Committee on Fuel Poverty: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cfp-report-september-2016This report: sets out where we see early opportunities to make a difference and makes recommendations on these; gives our views on matters which are subject to current or imminent Government decisions. Beyond this, the report discusses some of the key issues in tackling fuel poverty and outlines our early views on these.

Meeting carbon budgets – 2016 progress report to Parliament: https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/meeting-carbon-budgets-2016-progress-report-to-parliamentThe Progress Report shows that UK emissions have fallen rapidly in the power sector, but that progress has stalled in other sectors, such as heating in buildings, transport, industry and agriculture.”

World Energy Outlook 2016: https://stateofgreen.com/en/profiles/state-of-green/news/world-energy-outlook-2016As a result of major transformations in the global energy system that take place over the next decades, renewables and natural gas are the big winners in the race to meet energy demand growth until 2040, according to the latest edition of the World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency’s flagship publication.

Essential evidence on a page No. 155 – Road user charging: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-essential-evidence-page-no-155-road-user-chargingTop line: Despite the perceived effectiveness of a Road User Charge (RUC), issues with acceptance has meant other ‘second-best alternatives’, such as parking policies, have been increasingly used to manage congestion.”

What makes an urban neighbourhood more resilient to flood? New assessment tool trialled in Hamburg: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/urban_neighbourhood_resilient_flood_new_assessment_tool_hamburg_477na1_en.pdfThe method identifies features of urban landscapes that contribute to three elements of flood resilience; resistance, absorption and recovery.”

The influence of mobility on mental health status in young people: The role of area-level deprivation: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829216302519Moving to a deprived area in childhood is linked to later poor mental health. Residential moves mediate the effect of area change on mental health…….

Sustainable drainage systems: new ecosystem services-based evaluation methods: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/suds_ecosystem_services_biodiversity_communities_new_evaluation_methods_477na6_en.pdf

Health and Place alert – new articles list: http://rt2-m.notifications.elsevier.com/nl/jsp/m.jsp?c=%40y2SfHisMZvjyvFavS4NqpYNmusHJhsdoIcmtLbglOqM%3D

Air pollution exposure in relation to the commute to school: a Bradford UK case study: http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/13/11/1064

The effectiveness of average speed cameras – Road Safety Analysis report: http://www.roadsafetyanalysis.org/2016/09/new-rsa-report-analyses-average-speed-cameras/ the RAC Foundation have published research carried out by Road Safety Analysis and Professor Richard Allsop that reviews the effectiveness of Average Speed Cameras (ASC). The project has taken just of a year to complete and offers an independent review of collision records over 25 years at 50 sites in Great Britain.”

Analysing the ‘safety in numbers’ effect in England: http://www.roadsafetyanalysis.org/2016/11/cycling-safety-in-numbers-research/Several international studies have pointed to the effect known as 'safety in numbers' (SIN), which suggests that when there are more cyclists on the road, the rate of injury collisions involving cyclists reduces. Using data from every English local authority this unique report explores whether SIN can be demonstrated, and what different levels of risk exist around the country.“

WMHPG News, information and resources 4 November 2016

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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.

News & Information

Germany is building the world’s first wind turbines with built-in hydroelectric batteries: http://qz.com/823054/germany-wind-turbine-hydroelectric-batteries/Wind blows. Water falls. But for the first time, one is now powering the other. Engineers in Germany are storing water for hydroelectricity inside wind turbines allowing the towers act like massive batteries once the wind stops blowing. It’s the first major example of the two technologies being physically integrated to supply reliable renewable energy.”

No prizes for originality. A thought provoking call for fresh thinking on transport and transport planning: http://www.urbanmovement.co.uk/blog/no-prizes-for-originality-john-dales

16 ways to design a better intersection – and better cities: https://www.wired.com/2016/10/how-to-design-better-cities/

New £8m fleet of driverless cars to be launched in Britain within weeks. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/new-8million-fleet-driverless-cars-9166136The driverless fleet will be launched in Greenwich within weeks after the council clinched a multi-million pound bid”

Britain set for new wave of prefabs to help tackle housing crisis: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/29/britain-set-for-new-wave-of-prefabs-to-help-tackle-housing-crisi/

The costly gridlock: how can we keep our cities moving? https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/oct/31/improving-transport-systems-electric-cars-technology

ClientEarth wins air pollution case in High Court: http://www.clientearth.org/major-victory-health-uk-high-court-government-inaction-air-pollution/ClientEarth has won its High Court case against the Government over its failure to tackle illegal air pollution across the UK.”

Diesel drivers fear £10 city centre bill after High Court orders government to clean up act on emissions: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/02/diesel-drivers-fear-10-city-centre-bill-after-high-court-orders/

Vehicle Idling Action: http://idlingaction.london/Vehicle Idling Action is a London-wide, education and behaviour change campaign to help reduce localised air pollution caused by motorists who leave their engines running when stationary.”

Work begins on tool to show health impacts of air pollution: http://www.sduhealth.org.uk/news/505/work-begins-on-tool-to-show-health-impacts-of-air-pollutionThe aim of the work is to quantify the total health impact from travel and transport through air pollution and other quantifiable health impacts (e.g. road trauma) from activities related to the NHS, public health and social care sector. “

Mobility in cities is about space – proven powerfully in pictures: http://www.planetizen.com/node/68574

The Academy of Urbanism: The urban revolution: creating place vitality: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/the-urban-revolution-creating-place-vitality-michael-cowdy-aou/With more than half the world’s population, currently some 7 billion lives now inhabiting cities, our world is changing at an unprecedented rate. By 2050, two-thirds of the planet’s projected population of nearly 10 billion is expected to inhabit metropolitan areas (UN Habitat, 2016). So a key challenge we face as urbanists is how to respond to this rapidly evolving urban world.”

Lisbon will likely be in the middle of a desert by 2100 if we don’t mitigate climate change: http://qz.com/823360/lisbon-will-likely-be-in-the-middle-of-a-desert-by-2100-if-we-dont-mitigate-climate-change/Very few places on Earth beat the Mediterranean as a holiday destination in the summer. That may all change within a few decades. By 2100, Lisbon will likely be in the middle of a desert and rest of the coastal towns too hot if we don’t mitigate climate change”

The flight of reason: http://www.monbiot.com/2016/10/19/the-flight-of-reason/sorry, but you cannot build new runways and prevent climate breakdown…. The correct question is not “where?”. It is “whether?”. And the correct answer is no.”

Wave of prefab homes planned to tackle UK housing crisis: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/30/wave-of-prefab-homes-planned-to-tackle-uk-housing-crisisMore than 100,000 pre-packed modular homes could be constructed as the government looks at ways to meet its target to provide a million new homes by 2020”

Secret government papers show taxpayers will pick up costs of Hinkley nuclear waste storage: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/oct/30/hinkley-point-nuclear-waste-storage-costs?CMP=share_btn_tw

How street furniture can discourage antisocial behaviour: http://www.localgov.co.uk/How-street-furniture-can-discourage-antisocial-behaviour/41941

Scotland’s not even close to getting on top of fuel poverty – here’s why: https://theconversation.com/scotlands-not-even-close-to-getting-on-top-of-fuel-poverty-heres-why-67917In 2002 Scotland announced a plan to eliminate fuel poverty, one of few countries in the world to do so. The government was supposed to have got there by the end of this month, but it hasn’t – not by a long way. The story behind what has happened helps to show why a new approach to this measure of living standards is needed, not only in Scotland but worldwide.”

MPs urge radical overhaul of flood management in England: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/442/mps_urge_radical_overhaul_of_flood_management_in_england

Resources and research

Science for environment policy – greener cities and more exercise could dramatically reduce urban mortality rates: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/greener_cities_more_exercise_reduce_urban_mortality_475na2_en.pdfResearchers have estimated that, annually, almost 3 000 deaths (i.e. 20% of mortality) in Barcelona, Spain, are premature, and would be preventable if residents lived in urban environments that met international exposure recommendations for physical activity, air pollution, noise, heat and access to green spaces.”

A breath of fresh air: addressing air pollution and climate change together for health: http://www.ukhealthalliance.org/new-report-breath-fresh-air-addressing-climate-change-air-pollution-together-health/The latest report from the UK Health Alliance, A Breath of Fresh Air, makes the case for much more integrated strategies to address air pollution and climate change.”

UNICEF – Clear the air for children: http://www.unicef.org/publications/index_92957.htmlThis report looks at how children, particularly the most disadvantaged, are affected by air pollution. It points out that around 300 million children live in areas where the air is toxic – exceeding international limits by at least six times – and that children are uniquely vulnerable to air pollution….”

Foods, nutrients and health: when will our policies catch up with nutrition science? http://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(16)30265-0/abstract

Change in commute mode and body-mass index: prospective longitudinal evidence from UK Biobank: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(16)30006-8/fulltextIncorporation of increased levels of physical activity as part of the commute to work could reduce obesity among middle-aged adults in the UK.”

RTPI – the value of planning: http://www.rtpi.org.uk/valueofplanningThis report demonstrates how good planning can deliver sustainable economic growth and housing. It also suggests why in the UK we are not consistently realising the value of planning in practice, especially compared to parts of continental Europe. 

New resource – the Place Alliance. http://placealliance.org.uk/Place Alliance is a movement for place quality. It is founded on the idea that through collaboration and better communication we can establish a culture whereby the quality of place becomes an everyday national and local priority. Place Alliance is open to all and brings together organisations and individuals who share the belief that the quality of our built environment has a profound influence on people’s lives.”

Quick guide: health and housing – transforming urgent and emergency care services in England: http://www.housinglin.org.uk/_library/Resources/Housing/OtherOrganisation/Quick-Guide-health-and-housing.pdf

National Geographic - Before the Flood. https://www.youtube.com/user/NationalGeographic  “Join Leonardo DiCaprio as he explores the topic of climate change, and discovers what must be done today to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet.

WMHPG news, information and resources 12 August 2016

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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.


Free conference - austerity, poverty and health - 26 September 2016. "For a number of years, Sandwell public health has held a conference with a theme of ‘think global, act local’. The aim is to give an alternative view of public health, economics and politics. This year’s conference, on 26 September, will explore austerity, poverty and health.  The morning will look at the global picture. This includes speakers on the Icelandic and Greek alternatives to austerity, and from key national commentators on the picture in England and what this means for health and wellbeing." Places limited - register at www.lfphwm.org.uk 

FPH Blog – Air quality, polluter pays principle and man-made conflicts: perspective from Iraq: https://betterhealthforall.org/2016/07/29/air-quality-polluter-pays-principle-and-man-made-conflicts-perspective-from-iraq/

The power revolution could soon be moving from dream to reality: http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/the-power-revolution-could-soon-be-moving-from-dream-to-reality-a3316716.html  “Innovative local power projects in London – using fat from sewers, heat from the London underground, solar panels.”

Holy grail of energy policy in sight as battery technology smashes the old order. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/08/10/holy-grail-of-energy-policy-in-sight-as-battery-technology-smash/This country can achieve total self-sufficiency in power at viable cost from our own sun, wind, and waters within a generation. Once we shift to electric vehicles as well, we will no longer need to import much oil either. Rejoice.”

World overshoot day. http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/earth_overshoot_day/

As of today, we have used up all the Earth’s resources for 2016. http://qz.com/753603/as-of-today-we-have-used-up-all-the-earths-resources-for-2016/

Obesity Health Alliance – briefing on marketing to children: http://obesityhealthalliance.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/OHA-Marketing-to-Children-Briefing-Summary.pdfThe Government should introduce a ban on advertisements before the 9pm watershed for food and drink products that are high in saturated fat, salt and sugar. Alongside this, regulation governing on‐demand services and online marketing should be tightened to align with broadcast regulations. 

Greater Manchester low-emission strategy and air quality action plan: http://www.tfgm.com/GMLES/Pages/default.aspx

Waste of resources is biggest threat to planet, warns Scottish environment agency: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/08/waste-of-resources-is-biggest-threat-to-planet-warns-scottish-environment-agency

China’s elevated bus: futuristic ‘straddling bus’ hits the road. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-36961433the transit elevated bus straddles the cars below, allowing them to pass through”. However – it may not be quite ready for production http://www.citylab.com/tech/2016/08/chinas-straddling-bus-derails-into-controversy/495188/?utm_source=SFFB

Polluted Putney High Street to become new ‘green bus’ zone: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/polluted-putney-high-street-to-become-new-green-bus-zone-a3314271.html AND: Putney High Street records largest drop in NO2 pollution in London after banning HGVs. http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/14665840.Putney_High_Street_records_largest_drop_in_NO2_pollution_in_London_after_banning_HGVs/

Smart cities: does this mean more transport disruptions: https://theconversation.com/smart-cities-does-this-mean-more-transport-disruptions-63638a plethora of new and personalised ways of getting around cities are emerging – electric bikes, motorised scooters, electric vehicles, car sharing and re-interpretations of the taxi by Uber

Cities need more public transport, not more Uber and self-driving cars: http://billmoyers.com/story/cities-need-public-transit-not-uber-self-driving-cars/

Self-driving cars will improve our cities: if they don’t ruin them: https://backchannel.com/self-driving-cars-will-improve-our-cities-if-they-dont-ruin-them-2dc920345618#.oanvpol8p

Enjoy it while you can: climate change is already hitting the Olympics hard: http://grist.org/climate-energy/enjoy-it-while-you-can-people-climate-change-is-already-hitting-the-olympics-hard/

For a secure energy future, there are far better investments than Hinkley: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/08/for-a-secure-energy-future-there-are-far-better-investments-than-hinkley

Earth overshoot day for 2016: http://www.slowfood.com/press-release/earth-overshoot-day-2016-terra-madre-salone-del-gusto-commitment-sustainable-future/

Sustainability slogans: genuine claims or food fraud? http://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/sustainable-label-genuine-claims-or-food-fraud/

Analysis: aviation could consume a quarter of 1.5C carbon budget by 2050: https://www.carbonbrief.org/aviation-consume-quarter-carbon-budget

‘A good wander unveils the wonder of a city’: readers on urban walking: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/aug/06/a-good-wander-unveils-the-wonder-of-a-city-readers-on-urban-walking?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Fracking – a wide range of media coverage ranging from full support to scepticism: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/08/householders-will-have-wait-at-least-five-years-fracking-payments : http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/fracking-theresa-may-payment-households-profits-shale-gas-renewable-energy-a7177581.html : https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1569574/the-benefits-of-fracking-for-the-uk-are-well-worth-pm-theresa-mays-10000-bribe/ : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3728075/Environment-campaigners-accuse-trying-bribe-public-plans-cash-handouts-fracking.html

WHO’s recommended level of exercise too low to beat disease: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/aug/09/whos-recommended-level-exercise-too-low-beat-disease-study

How to drive if you don’t want to kill people: https://momentummag.com/drive-like-dont-want-kill-people/

Journal of urban design and mental health: Pokémon Go: a tool to help urban design improve mental health? http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/pokemon-go-a-tool-to-help-urban-design-improve-mental-health

The Beauty of Transport. Artful interchange (Graz Hauptbahnhof, Austria): https://thebeautyoftransport.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/artful-interchange-graz-hauptbahnhof-graz-austria/

Place governance: placemaking powered localism: http://www.pps.org/blog/place-governance-testing-the-limits-of-localism/This article is part of a series on the many issues that converge in public space leading up to thePlacemaking Leadership Forum(September 14–17, 2016), where practitioners will chart the future of the placemaking movement, and share concrete strategies to make it happen.”

Not strictly health and planning – but very relevant to anyone trying to change the thinking around new ideas. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n15/john-lanchester/brexit-bluesThe ‘Overton window’ is a term from political science meaning the acceptable range of political thought in a culture at a given moment. It was the creation of Joseph Overton, a think-tank intellectual based in Michigan, who died in 2003 at 43 after a solo plane accident. His crucial insight, one which both emerged from and was central to the work of the think tank Right, was that the window of acceptability can be moved. An idea can start far outside the political mainstream – flat taxes, abolish the IRS, more guns in schools, building a beautiful wall and making Mexico pay – but once it has been stated and argued for, framed and restated, it becomes thinkable. It crosses over from the fringe of right-wing think-tankery to journalistic fellow-travellers; then it crosses over to the fringe of electoral politics; then it becomes a thing people start seriously advocating as a possible policy. The window has moved, and rough beasts come slouching through it to be born.”

Resources and research

Visiting green space is associated with mental health and vitality: A cross-sectional study in four European cities: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/291517674_Visiting_green_space_is_associated_with_mental_health_and_vitality_A_cross-sectional_study_in_four_european_cities - latest papers from the Phenotype collaboration. “The current study explored the associations between time spent in green spaces by purposeful visits and perceived mental health and vitality in four different European cities, and to what extent gender, age, level of education, attitude towards nature and childhood nature experience moderate these associations.”

Health benefits of green spaces in the living environment: a systematic review of epidemiological studies: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282548214_Health_Benefits_of_Green_Spaces_in_the_Living_Environment_A_Systematic_Review_of_Epidemiological_StudiesThe objective was to systematically review the literature examining the relationship between quantity and quality of green spaces in the living environment and three health outcomes: perceived general health, perceived mental health, and (all-cause) mortality

Assessments of environmental determinants of physical activity: a study of built environment indicators in Brno, Czech Republic: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26849539

The Academy of Urbanism. Here and Now 7: Housing https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/here-now-7-housing/The quality, quantity and accessibility of housing has been close to the heart of urbanism theory and practice since the late 19th century. The Academy has identified and celebrated a number of examples of innovative and established housing developments, management schemes and improvement projects over the past 10 years. It is all the more frustrating, then, that in the UK; in England in particular; and especially in London, our inability to match housing supply to the formation of new households has got worse rather than better over the past 40 years.

Car free cities: pathway to urban living: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303814646_Car_free_cities_Pathway_to_healthy_urban_livingMany cities across the world are beginning to shift their mobility solution away from the private cars and towards more environmentally friendly and citizen-focused means.”

On the frontline: climate change and rural communities. http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/ruralreport   Australian based report highlights how climate change can impact on different populations.

Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice (£): http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/09658564/91

Counting calories: how under-reporting can explain the apparent fall in calorie intake: http://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk/publications/counting-calories-how-under-reporting-can-explain-the-apparent-fall-in-calorie-intake/ . Media coverage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36988065

A spoonful of sugar: how the food lobby fights sugar regulation in the EU: http://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/a_spoonful_of_sugar_final.pdfDespite a growing body of scientific studies highlighting the connection between excess sugar consumption and obesity, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes, over the past decade the food industry has vigorously mobilised to stop vital public health legislation in this area.


Birmingham and Solihull speed cameras switched on. “New average speed cameras have been turned on in the West Midlands”: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-37007855

Households in line for direct shale gas development proceeds: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/369/households_in_line_for_direct_shale_gas_development_proceeds . More coverage here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37000975 and https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/06/fracking-local-people-payments-theresa-may

IPPR urges priority for northern transport infrastructure over HS2 and Crossrail 2: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/368/ippr_urges_priority_for_northern_transport_infrastructure_over_hs2_and_crossrail_2

WMHPG News, information and resources 8 July 2016

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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.


Faculty of Public Health – More cycling and walking; less driving, needed for our health and economy says new FPH report: http://www.fph.org.uk/more_cycling_and_walking%3B_less_driving,_needed_for_our_health_and_economy,_says_new_fph_report


Stuck in first gear: the government’s cycling revolution. From the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group: https://allpartycycling.org/2016/06/08/stuck-in-first-gear-the-governments-cycling-revolution/A report on the current state of cycling in Britain calls for 10 per cent of all journeys in Britain to be by bike by 2025 and a minimum investment of £10 per person per year, rising to £20 per person. The report of the influential All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) also calls for a commitment to improve enforcement of traffic laws.”

Access fund for sustainable travel. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-fund-for-sustainable-travel-application-form

Dudley borough development strategy major modifications consultation: 1st July – 12th August 2016. http://www.dudley.gov.uk/resident/planning/planning-policy/local-plan/devstrat/

Autonomous cars sacrificing their passengers. http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/autonomous-cars-sacrificing-their-passengers/ one aspect of autonomous cars (cars that are capable of driving themselves) that you might not think of right away but becomes obvious once pointed out: the cars will have to have an algorithm to determine what they do in an emergency situation.”

Three quarters of people living in cities want clean air zones: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/04/three-quarters-of-people-living-in-cities-want-clean-air-zones-poll-finds

From the Conversation - “After Paris, UK’s latest ‘carbon budget’ just isn’t ambitious enough” http://theconversation.com/after-paris-uks-latest-carbon-budget-just-isnt-ambitious-enough-61925

Sustrans: More action for clean air needed. “Today is the 60th anniversary of the clean air act” http://www.sustrans.org.uk/news/more-action-clean-air-needed

Sustrans: E-new: http://sustrans-info.org.uk/6EB-4A1EX-612GY4DP79/cr.aspx?v=0

The UN’s new urban agenda zero draft on urban design and mental health: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/the-uns-new-urban-agenda-zero-draft-on-urban-design-and-mental-health

Consultation on the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP): https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-the-heat-networks-investment-project-hnip

Beijing to limit car growth to 100k per year, make public transport greener: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/992493.shtml

Norway to ‘completely ban petrol powered cars by 2025’: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/norway-to-ban-the-sale-of-all-fossil-fuel-based-cars-by-2025-and-replace-with-electric-vehicles-a7065616.html

Resources and research

Faculty of Public Health – Local Action to Mitigate the Health Impact of Cars. http://www.fph.org.uk/uploads/Briefing%20statement%20-%20Impact%20of%20cars.pdfThe report, Local action to mitigate the health impacts of cars, is published on the 60th anniversary of the Clean Air Act. The Act was passed in response to London's Great Smog of 1952, and introduced a number of measures to reduce air pollution, including 'smoke control areas' in some towns and cities in which only smokeless fuels could be burned. The report provides practical advice, based on best practice, to help local authorities design towns and cities that encourage active travel. It is endorsed by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), Chartered Institute for Waste Management (CIWM) and Partnership for Active Travel, Transport and Health (PATTH).

Longitudinal associations of active commuting with body mass index: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743516301396  “This work provides further evidence of the contribution of active commuting, particularly cycling, to preventing weight gain or facilitating weight loss. The findings may be valuable for employees choosing how to commute and engaging employers in the promotion of active travel.”

A Healthier Life for All – the case for cross-government action: http://www.health.org.uk/publication/healthier-life-all - “challenging the tyranny of short term return on investment forcing us downstream”; “The Health Foundation and the All-Party Parliamentary Health Group have jointly published a comprehensive, accessible collection of essays setting out the current and emerging threats to health and wellbeing and what we know about what works to address them”.

From Healthy Places – briefing on planning and licensing, including legal options for creating a healthier food environment: http://www.healthyplaces.org.uk/themes/access-to-healthy-food/hot-food-takeaways/planning-and-licensing/

Tackling air pollution from diesel cars through tax: options for the UK: http://green-budget.eu/wp-content/uploads/Tackling-air-pollution-from-diesel-cars-through-tax-options-for-the-UK-Full-Report-June-2016-Web.pdf

Local home energy projects to reduce energy use and address fuel poverty: https://www.cse.org.uk/downloads/file/Fuel%20poverty%20projects.pdf

Securing Healthy Returns: “Realising the financial value of sustainable development. How organisations can save money, reduce carbon and help to improve healthhttp://www.sduhealth.org.uk/policy-strategy/engagement-resources/fnancial-value-of-sustainable-development.aspx


80 casualties a week after surge in injuries on Birmingham roads: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/80-casualties-week-after-surge-11565596That came despite figures from the Department for Transport revealing a decrease of four per cent across Britain as a whole last year.

Mayor warns of air quality crisis in London: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Mayor-warns-of-air-quality-crisis-in-London/41172

Sadiq Khan unveils plans for extra charge on London’s most polluting cars: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/05/sadiq-khan-unveils-plans-for-extra-charge-on-londons-most-polluting-cars?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Cautious green light for fracking: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-36727751

Plan to axe hard shoulder on the M6 and M42 ‘are dangerous and must be stopped’: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/plan-axe-hard-shoulder-m6-11547785

Institute of Civil Engineers: give combined authorities greater access to funding to deliver better transport infrastructure: http://highwaysmagazine.co.uk/ice-give-combined-authorities-greater-access-to-funding/

WMHPG news, information and resources 20 November 2015

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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.


Traffic calming measures – Britain’s death rate from transport accidents is now the lowest in the world: http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21678249-traffic-calming-measures?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/trafficcalmingmeasures&utm_content=buffer43655&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Direct Planning Bill 2015-16: A bill to make provision about direct planning pilot schemes: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2015-16/directplanningpilot.html

Autonomous cars and ethics. An interesting blog piece looking at the ethical issues raised by autonomous cars: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/autonomous-cars-and-ethics/

Latest ‘Food Thinkers’ talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9h5juKN_bqM

Sandwell School wins active travel award: http://www.centro.org.uk/about-us/news/2015/sandwell-school-stars-in-modeshift-scheme-%281%29/

Climate change and health – project in Bristol. A major project that will combine latest methods in economic valuation and systems modelling to estimate the potential risk from a changing climate and extreme weather to people’s health across the city, then explore the strategic level response to that evidence and opportunities for minimising those costs. http://www.db-associates.co.uk/news.html

MPs want more spent on cycling: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/news/mps-want-more-spent-cycling?utm

Sustrans policy scan: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/policy-evidence/our-policy-work/policy-scan?utm

Resources and research

Greenhouse gas concentrations hit yet another record. From the World Meteorological Organization: https://www.wmo.int/media/content/greenhouse-gas-concentrations-hit-yet-another-record

Impact of new transport infrastructure on walking, cycling and physical activity: http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797%2815%2900622-4/abstract

Designing neighbourhoods for health, well-being and social inclusion: http://www.bristolhealthpartners.org.uk/latest-news/2015/11/11/designing-neighbourhoods-for-health-well-being-and-social-inclusion/458

2015 Parliamentary Constituency Road Safety Dashboard. “reveals how the casualty rate (by population) varies across the parliamentary constituencies in Great Britain.” http://www.pacts.org.uk/DASHBOARD/

Community resilience to climate change: an evidence review: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/community-resilience-climate-change

Happy City website. “The way we design buildings, neighbourhoods and cities has a profound effect on health and happiness. We draw on a decade of research to make sense of that relationship. We offer evidence and examples to inspire designers, decision-makers and city-dwellers to embrace happy design. And we empower them to take action.” http://thehappycity.com/what-we-do/

Provisional road traffic estimates October 2014 to September 2015: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/provisional-road-traffic-estimates-great-britain-october-2014-to-september-2015

‘A Bumpy Ride’ the funding and economics of highways maintenance on local roads in the English City Regions: http://www.pteg.net/system/files/general-docs/pteg%20Report%20Economics%20of%20Highways%20Maintenance%20_A%20Bumpy%20Ride_FINAL.pdf


CTC concern over coroner’s inquest into cyclist death: http://www.ctc.org.uk/news/20151113-lorry-driver-expected-cyclist-road-says-coroner

Helmets, excuses, irrelevant facts and blame deflection: http://www.ctc.org.uk/blog/duncandollimore/helmet#.VkYIksY8F7E.twitter

WMHPG news, information and resources 6 November 2015

This information has been marked as: IL0: UNCLASSIFIED

Weekly news, information and resources from the West Midlands Health & Planning Group.

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.


Oslo invests $0.5bn on bicycle infrastructure: http://www.spacescape.se/oslo-invests-05-bn-usd-on-bicycle-infrastructure/

Developer urges women-friendly city planning: http://ht.ly/U7bHWc

“Over-crowded, dirty and expensive” – but young people still prefer city-centre living: http://www.centreforcities.org/press/over-crowded-dirty-and-expensive-but-young-people-still-prefer-city-centre-living/

Sustrans update, including the results of the biggest ever survey on bike life in the UK: http://sustrans-info.org.uk/6EB-3R5U5-612GY4DP79/cr.aspx?v=0

Public Consultation on the Dudley Area Action Plan (Publication Stage) Development Plan Document (6th November to 18th December 2015): Dudley Council has prepared a final draft Area Action Plan (AAP) (Publication Stage) which sets out a vision, objectives and detailed spatial strategy for future development in Dudley Town Centre up to 2026, including development opportunity sites to stimulate regeneration. The document is informed by, and a culmination of, the previous 2014 'Issues and Options' stage and 2015 ‘Preferred Options’ consultation. The Dudley AAP (Publication Stage) document (November 2015) is Dudley Council’s final draft and once adopted it will be used as a basis from which to assess planning applications. There is a final opportunity for key stakeholders and the public to make representations on the documents ‘legal compliance’ and ‘soundness’ during the consultation period which runs from 6th November to 18th December 2015. The representation form is available to download on the Council’s website. To assist in making representations, a guidance note on how to make comments can also be downloaded.  www.dudley.gov.uk/resident/planning/planning-policy/local-development-framework/dudley-aap/

Resources and research

WHO report – Reducing global health risks through mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants. “Highlights the urgent need to reduce emissions of black carbon, ozone and methane - as well as carbon dioxide – which all contribute to climate change. Black carbon, ozone and methane – frequently described as short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) - not only produce a strong global warming effect, they contribute significantly to the more than 7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution”. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/reducing-climate-pollutants/en/

A brief guide to the benefits of urban green spaces.” In collaboration with the United Bank of Carbon, and the Sustainable Cities Group at the University of Leeds, LEAF researchers have produced a report summarising the latest research on the impact of green spaces in urban areas.” http://leaf.leeds.ac.uk/a-brief-guide-to-the-benefits-of-urban-green-spaces/

Walk Score and Australian adults’ home-based walking for transport: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829215001021

The role of bluespaces in experiencing place, ageing and wellbeing: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829214001464

The role of natural environments within women’s everyday health and wellbeing in Copenhagen, Denmark: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S135382921400166X

Exploring the forest instead of the trees: an innovative method for designing obesogenic and obesoprotective environments: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829215001112

Predicting urban design effects on physical activity and public health: a case study: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829215001070

District level heating could help achieve EU 2020 energy efficiency goals: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/district_level_heating_could_help_achieve_eu_2020_energy_efficiency_goals_434na1_en.pdf


Tens of thousands of new homes in greenfield areas to get automatic planning permission: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/greenpolitics/planning/11968830/Tens-of-thousands-of-new-homes-in-greenfield-areas-to-get-automatic-planning-permission.html

Cycling likely to suffer in government spending review: http://road.cc/content/news/170222-cycling-likely-suffer-government-spending-review

Schools shut under a cloud of diesel: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/cleanaircampaign/article1574556.ece

Council leaders call for freedom on planning fees: http://www.theguardian.com/local-government-network/2012/aug/10/local-council-planning-fees-freedom

Contact Us

You can get in touch with us at:

Sandwell MBC
Freeth Street
West Midlands
B69 3DE

Jo Dodd - 07815 490436
Rajdeep Atwal - 0845 352 7672


Hosted by Sandwell MBC
Freeth Street
West Midlands
B69 3DE


Jo Dodd - 07815 490436

Rajdeep Atwal - 0121 569 5121