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West Midlands Health and Planning group

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

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

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

WMHPG news, information and resources 30 November 2017

We do not accept responsibility for the availability, reliability or content of these news items and do not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them.
Sustainable development goals
This is How Prevalent Child Labor is Around the World Today. Can the Sustainable Development Goals Totally Eradicate it 7 Years from Now? https://www.undispatch.com/prevalent-child-labor-around-world-today-can-sustainable-development-goals-totally-eradicate-7-years-now/ “According to the ILO’s latest report, published ahead of the conference, the number of girls and boys between ages 5 and 17 engaged in child labor dropped by about 16 million (from 168 to 152 million) from 2012 to 2016. But that’s only one-third of the progress made in the previous four years, when estimates fell by 47 million from 2008 to 2012.”
The world needs to rethink the value of water: https://m.phys.org/news/2017-11-world-rethink.html “Water is not just about sustaining life, it plays a vital role in sustainable development. Water's value is evident in all of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, from poverty alleviation and ending hunger, where the connection is long recognised - to sustainable cities and peace and justice, where the complex impacts of water are only now being fully appreciated.
Water security is a growing global concern. The negative impacts of water shortages, flooding and pollution have placed water related risks among the top 5 global threats by the World Economic Forum for several years running.”
Why are food companies aligning with UN Sustainable Development Goals? https://www.just-food.com/analysis/why-are-food-companies-aligning-with-un-sustainable-development-goals_id138131.aspx “Over the two years since the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) were launched, increasing numbers of food companies have sought to align their sustainability aims and objectives with the targets. Ben Cooper examines why and what benefits alignment could bring for the goals and for the companies themselves.”
A Safer World – Treating Britain’s harmful dependence on nuclear weapons: https://www.medact.org/2017/resources/reports/safer-world-treating-britains-harmful-dependence-nuclear-weapons/ “The world now has an international treaty making it illegal for ratifying states to possess any nuclear weapons. Yet the UK continues to keep and modernise its nuclear weapons at huge cost and risk to life, and is increasingly seen as out of step with the rest of the world. On July 7th 2017 the UN General Assembly adopted, by a vote of 122 to 1, the text of a legally binding ‘instrument’ to prohibit nuclear weapons. This landmark treaty signals a growing international desire to  protect the world from the horrors of a nuclear war.”
Why a complete ban on nuclear weapons is important, as is the NPT Review Conference in 2020: https://www.medact.org/2017/resources/educational/complete-ban-nuclear-weapons-important-npt-review-conference-2020/ “In his latest of a series of ‘Open Democracy’ articles on the Korean crisis, Paul Rogers (12 October) predicted that there could well be a nuclear war between the US and North Korea by November 2019. President Trump, by stating that North Korea will not be allowed to threaten the United States directly and making this a core element of his presidency, has ‘boxed himself into a corner’ and therefore has to ‘win this one’. Trump is a danger now but this ‘perilous situation’ will become worse by 2020 when the US’ ‘modernization’ programme of the B61-12 bomb makes it ready for deployment.”
Healthy planning & environment
New draft London Plan released: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/london-plan There has been wide media coverage:
Has the Government made Peace with the CIL Review? http://lichfields.uk/blog/2017/november/28/has-the-government-made-peace-with-the-cil-review/ “The independent CIL Group, led by Liz Peace, prepared their report ‘A New Approach to Developer Contributions’ in October 2016 and this was released in February 2017 alongside the Housing White Paper. The Group’s report provided a number of recommendations, with the overarching objective of simplifying the levy, a laudable and welcome aim, but not an easy proposition.”
There have been a number of articles looking at the environmental impact of black Friday.
Fracking – a range of articles looking at different aspects of fracking.
  • Variation in beliefs about 'fracking' between the UK and US: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa8f7e/meta “People who associated shale gas development with increased energy security in the UK were over three times more likely to support development than people in the US with this same belief. We conclude with implications for policy and communication, discussing communication approaches that could be successful cross-nationally and policy foci to which the UK might need to afford more attention in its continually evolving regulatory environment.”
  • Ban fracking in London, Sadiq Khan tells councils: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3021905/ban-fracking-in-london-sadiq-khan-tells-councils “London Mayor Sadiq Khan will effectively ban fracking in London with new advice for local councils to refuse any applications for exploration or extraction of shale gas in the capital.Khan declared yesterday there is "no place for fracking in London", issuing a statement highlighting fears it can contaminate water supplies, endanger public health, and promote the use of fossil fuels at a time when efforts should be focused on rolling out clean energy.”
  • Communities to share £1bn shale gas funding: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Communities-to-share-1bn-shale-gas-funding/44194 “A £1b fund has been announced for communities near fracking sites to pay for extra facilities including parks, sports centres and libraries “
  • Fracking firm wins extension to 'draconian' protest injunction: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/23/fracking-firm-wins-extension-to-draconian-protest-injunction “A multinational firm has secured a long-term, sweeping injunction against anti-fracking protesters despite critics calling it “draconian and anti-democratic”… The injunction prohibits campaigners from interfering unlawfully with Ineos’s fracking operations. Anyone who obstructs the firm’s fracking activities faces being jailed, fined, or having their assets seized.”
  • Watchdog Calls for ‘Urgent’ Review of Police Tactics at Fracking Protests: https://www.desmog.uk/2017/11/20/watchdog-calls-urgent-review-police-tactics-fracking-protests “A police watchdog has today called for two reviews into law enforcement tactics handling anti-fracking protests, in what has been described as “an authoritarian war” against the right to protest at a shale gas site in Lancashire. In a new report, Netpol called for an “urgent” review into the national policy on policing anti-fracking protests as well as an external review to be done into the way police have conducted operations in Lancashire.”
Artificially lit surface of Earth at night increasing in radiance and extent: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/11/e1701528.full “A central aim of the “lighting revolution” (the transition to solid-state lighting technology) is decreased energy consumption. This could be undermined by a rebound effect of increased use in response to lowered cost of light. We use the first-ever calibrated satellite radiometer designed for night lights to show that from 2012 to 2016, Earth’s artificially lit outdoor area grew by 2.2% per year, with a total radiance growth of 1.8% per year.”
Everything Must Go: http://www.monbiot.com/2017/11/24/everything-must-go/ “Economic growth will destroy everything. There’s no way of greening it – we need a new system.”
What is an intelligent building? Analysis of recent interpretations from an international perspective: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00038628.2015.1079164 “...this study aims to extract the common features of IBs leading to an evolved definition which could be useful as a reference framework for design, evaluation, and development of future IBs. Findings also scrutinize the long run benefits of IBs, while demonstrating the constraints and challenges of the current international interpretations.”
Paris to open school grounds as public spaces: https://www.childinthecity.org/2017/11/24/paris-to-open-school-grounds-as-public-spaces/ “ Paris will open up school grounds to the local community as part of a new ‘resilience strategy’. Schoolyards within the state school system will be designated ‘new’ public spaces as part of the long-term plan to prepare the French capital for the risks and challenges of the future.”
Council proposes £1,000 fines for homeless people sleeping in tents: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/24/council-proposes-1000-fines-for-homeless-sleeping-in-tents “Stoke-on-Trent council in Staffordshire is consulting on a public space protection order (PSPO) that will make it an offence for a person to “assemble, erect, occupy or use” a tent unless part of a council-sanctioned activity such as a music festival. Under such a scheme anyone who fails to pay their £100 on-the-spot penalty notice can be prosecuted and could be fined up to £1,000 in court.”
Climate change & sustainability
Chinese CO2 emission flows have reversed since the global financial crisis: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01820-w “In terms of foreign trade, emissions embodied in China’s exports declined from 2007 to 2012 mainly due to changes in production structure and efficiency gains, while developing countries became the major destination of China’s export emissions.”
Income inequality and carbon consumption: evidence from environmental Engel curves: http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/publication/income-inequality-and-carbon-consumption-evidence-from-environmental-engel-curves/ “This analysis by researcher Lutz Sager puts a ‘carbon dioxide cost’ on household consumption by adding up the emissions that can be attributed to the goods, services and energy that households in the United States buy in a year, comparing households with different incomes.”
Reassessing emotion in climate change communication: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-017-0021-9?WT.feed_name=subjects_scientific-community-and-society “Debate over effective climate change communication must be grounded in rigorous affective science. Rather than treating emotions as simple levers to be pulled to promote desired outcomes, emotions should be viewed as one integral component of a cognitive feedback system guiding responses to challenging decision-making problems.”
Deep oceans may acidify faster than anticipated due to global warming: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-017-0003-y “Here we show that deep waters in the Sea of Japan are undergoing reduced ventilation, reducing the pH of seawater. As a result, the acidification rate near the bottom of the Sea of Japan is 27% higher than the rate at the surface, which is the same as that predicted assuming an air–sea CO2 equilibrium. This reduced ventilation may be due to global warming and, as an oceanic microcosm with its own deep- and bottom-water formations, the Sea of Japan provides an insight into how future warming might alter the deep-ocean acidification.”
New Oxford Academic journal – Clean Energy: https://academic.oup.com/ce/advance-articles#
Autumn Budget 2017: Key climate and energy announcements: https://www.carbonbrief.org/autumn-budget-2017-key-climate-energy-announcement  “For energy and climate, however, the substance within the budget documents is more ambiguous. It quietly announces an effective moratorium on new support for low-carbon electricity. It promises to maintain a UK carbon price at current levels, until coal is phased out, but without explaining the details. It freezes fuel duty yet again, adding to a cumulative cost to the exchequer of £46bn since 2010. And it offers further beneficial tax changes to the North Sea oil and gas sector.”
COP23: Key outcomes agreed at the UN climate talks in Bonn: https://www.carbonbrief.org/cop23-key-outcomes-agreed-un-climate-talks-bonn “Climate change was again placed at the centre of global diplomacy over the past two weeks as diplomats and ministers gathered in Bonn, Germany, for the latest annual round of United Nations climate talks.”
Discussion of the newly launched Industrial Strategy:
MPs to scrutinise Government's green finance strategy: https://www.edie.net/news/11/MPs-to-scrutinise-Government-s-green-finance-strategy/ “MPs have launched a wide-ranging investigation looking at how the UK Government aims to fulfil its pledge to become a "world leader" in green finance.”
ONS – Renewable Energy in the UK: https://www.slideshare.net/statisticsONS/renewable-energy-in-the-uk “Find out about renewable energy consumption in the UK, one of the targets for the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.”
Government’s stealth tax on energy bills is the height of hypocrisy: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/government-s-stealth-tax-on-energy-bills-is-the-height-of-hypocrisy-fkn2cxscc “Despite a rally in the broader FTSE 100, shares in the owner of British Gas have slumped by a third, from 235p in January to 160p this week. For that, blame a toxic combination of rising political pressure, weak energy prices and intense competition from smaller rivals, which during the first half of 2017 poached about 387,000 British Gas customers.”
Analysis: How could the Agung volcano in Bali affect global temperatures? https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-how-could-agung-volcano-bali-affect-global-temperature “The Mount Agung volcano in Bali, Indonesia, has been showing signs that an eruption is likely to occur this year. Last time Agung erupted, back in 1963, it had a noticeable cooling effect on the Earth’s climate. Here, Carbon Brief examines how volcanoes influence the climate, and suggests that a new Agung eruption would likely only result in a modest and temporary cooling of global temperatures.”
Why climate change is creating a new generation of child brides: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/26/climate-change-creating-generation-of-child-brides-in-africa “The Brides of the Sun reporting project, funded by the European Journalism Centre, set out to try to assess the scale of what many experts are warning is a real and growing crisis: the emergence of a generation of child brides as a direct result of a changing climate.”
Tesla finishes installing mega-battery in Australia: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42090991 “Tesla has finished installing the world's biggest lithium-ion battery and will switch it on over the coming days. The 100-megawatt battery in South Australia is designed to provide security to the state's electricity grid. It will store enough energy to power 30,000 homes for about an hour.”
Migrating birds winter in Israel as climate change makes desert too dangerous: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-environment-birdmigration/migrating-birds-winter-in-israel-as-climate-change-makes-desert-too-dangerous-idUSKBN1DR1UH “Climate change is turning Israel into a permanent wintering ground for some of the 500 million migrating birds that used to stop over briefly before flying on to the warm plains of Africa, Israeli experts say.”
South32 backs out of coal with South African exit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/11/27/south32-backs-coal-south-african-exit/ “South32 has become the latest mining group to back out of coal by signalling its intention to exit its thermal coal business in South Africa.”
Active travel & transport
Incompetent or Too Competent? Negotiating Everyday Cycling Identities in a Motor Dominated Society: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17450101.2012.696342 “This article uses the concept of stigma to explore cycling identities in the UK. Drawing on interview data, it argues that people who cycle are caught between two threats: appearing too competent as a cyclist (a ‘proper cyclist’), and appearing not competent enough (a ‘bad cyclist’).”
Seventy new bike racks planned for Birmingham city centre: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/seventy-new-bike-racks-planned-13866786 “The scheme will see various designs of cycle rack - from the latest charging points for electric bikes to metal circles attached to lampposts and railings dotted around Birmingham. It is the latest scheme from the £23 million Government funded Birmingham Cycle Revolution initiative - designed to get more Brummies on their bikes to increase healthy activity and reduction pollution and traffic congestion.”
Official stats show that cycle use in London set to overtake car use: http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/official-stats-show-that-cycle-use-in-london-set-to-overtake-car-use/022268 “The statistics compendium from the Department for Transport is released annually. The graph was produced with raw data contained in TSGB0106 – "People entering central London during morning peak" – and shows that since 2003 car use has been in a steep decline and cycle use has been on a corresponding growth spurt. Use of taxis and motorcycles have also reduced, but at a much slower rate.”
New pothole repair rules will increase risk of cycling deaths, coroner warns: https://www.expressandstar.com/news/uk-news/2017/11/14/new-pothole-repair-rules-will-increase-risk-of-cycling-deaths-coroner-warns/#xVMJzQtvkkqhX2Ef.99 “Cyclists could die because of new Government rules relaxing repairs to deep potholes, a coroner has warned. Peter Sigee, assistant coroner for Greater Manchester North, said an apparent change in procedure on when potholes are deemed deep enough to need repair will “increase the risk of future deaths”.”
Better by bus? Insights into public transport travel behaviour during Storm Doris in Reading, UK: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wea.3058/abstract “The analysis generally supports previous research findings that there are fewer public transport trips in adverse weather conditions. However, an increase in bus trips on services parallel to the more severely disrupted train services suggests that some travellers respond flexibly by using the bus as an alternative, more resilient mode.”
No need to speed - explanimation video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YerQnTYJYYc “This fun animation uses the science of speed and the physics of road crashes to explain why it’s important for drivers to keep within speed limits.”
Fitter bodies, fitter brains? https://mind-the-gap.live/2017/09/11/fitter-bodies-fitter-brains/ “Is the brain of fitter individuals different from that of less fit individuals? Yes, several investigations support that there are indeed important structural differences in the brain in people with different physical fitness levels.”
Air quality & pollution
Air Quality: A Briefing for Directors of Public Health: https://laqm.defra.gov.uk/assets/63091defraairqualityguide9web.pdf “This briefing provides Directors of Public Health with the information you need to help you consider the appropriate public health response to air pollution in your area. There is extensive evidence about the health impacts of air pollution, growing media and public interest and an indicator on mortality attributed to particulate matter (PM) air pollution in the Public Health Outcomes Framework”
King’s College London – How to use the daily air quality index to protect your health: https://www.londonair.org.uk/LondonAir/Guide/Soundslides/HealthEffects/HealthEffectsVideo.aspx
Diesel bus ban ‘devastating’ to communities, transport expert says: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Diesel-bus-ban-devastating-to-communities-transport-expert-says-/44250 “David Begg, visiting professor at Plymouth University and former chairman of the Government's Commission for Integrated Transport, said a blanket ban would lead to the loss of eight in 10 services, increased social deprivation and higher unemployment.”
Council leaders call on government to strengthen air quality plan after budget disappointment: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3021844/council-leaders-call-on-government-to-strengthen-air-quality-plan-after-budget-disappointment “UK100 group of cities urge Environment Secretary to deliver national framework to drive air quality improvements”
Delhi suffers second smog crisis in 12 months, as wake-up calls go unheeded: https://theconversation.com/delhi-suffers-second-smog-crisis-in-12-months-as-wake-up-calls-go-unheeded-87604 “Levels of the most dangerous particles, called PM2.5, have once again reached last November’s levels: more than 700 micrograms per cubic metre in some parts of the city. Experts say that prolonged exposure to this level of pollution is equivalent to smoking more than two packs of cigarettes a day.”
Food & food security
Event – Warwick University. Warwick Food Global Research Priorities (GRP) Showcase Event. 12 December, 10am to 3pm: https://warwick.ac.uk/research/priorities/foodsecurity/events/showcaseevent/ “Please join us to hear about research and learning activities on 'food' at Warwick – several of which have been supported by the GRP - and about opportunities to engage with the GRP and to apply for small amounts of funding to ‘pump-prime’ research proposals and support workshops and other events.”
Report from the Obesity Health Alliance - Why it’s Prime Time to Protect Children from Junk Food Adverts A ‘Watershed’ Moment: http://obesityhealthalliance.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/A-Watershed-Moment-report.pdf “The Obesity Health Alliance commissioned the University of Liverpool to analyse the adverts shown during some of the TV shows popular with children in February 2017 to examine how many HFSS adverts children are exposed to during the programmes they watch most.”
Children seeing up to 12 adverts for junk food an hour on TV, study finds: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/28/children-seeing-up-to-12-adverts-for-junk-food-an-hour-on-tv-study-finds: “Children are seeing as many as 12 advertisements for junk food within an hour while watching family television shows such as The Voice, new research has revealed on Tuesday. Children as young as four are seeing ads for pizza, burgers, sweets and biscuits in breaks during shows on ITV, C4 and E4 such as Hollyoaks and The Simpsons, Liverpool University researchers found. The findings have led to renewed calls from health experts to ministers to toughen up rules restricting the broadcast of adverts for foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS), which they claim are “not fit for purpose”.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 29 September 2017

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.

Readings for a new #publichealth councillor: https://jimmcmanus.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/readings-for-a-new-publichealth-councillor/ Blog from Jim McManus with advice and a reading list for a new ‘public health’ councillor. Useful more widely as an introduction to public health.

Sustainable development goals

Global estimates of child labour: Results and trends, 2012-2016: https://reliefweb.int/report/world/global-estimates-child-labour-results-and-trends-2012-2016 “he 2016 Global Estimates present the scale, prevalence, and key characteristics of child labour in the world today. Child labour remains endemic and its elimination requires both economic and social reform as well as the active cooperation of all those active cooperation of governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations, enterprises, international organizations, and civil society at large.”

World Leaders Gobble Up M&M's Imprinted With U.N. Goals: http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/09/22/552728625/world-leaders-gobble-up-m-ms-imprinted-with-u-n-goals “Sometimes it's hard to get people to pay attention to the biggest problems of the world — poverty, hunger, disease. But what if they were printed on M&M's? That was the idea that a U.N. promotional group called Project Everyone proposed to Mars, Incorporated, the maker of M&M's as a sweet reminder of what diplomats, policymakers and world leaders were there for. The first customized candies were made in 2015. This year's U.N. General Assembly gobbled up the biggest batch ever for U.N. week: 5,000 tins totaling more than 100,000 individual M&M's.” – Some mixed messages here? – the use of sugar based sweets to promote improving global health and reducing poverty & hunger?

Universities Launch Collective Response to the Sustainable Development Goals: http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/organizational_change/sustainable_brands/universities_launch_collective_response_sust “A significant source of cutting-edge research, innovation and ideas, universities are uniquely positioned to accelerate progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — a notion that is supported by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC). Representing more than two million students and 400,000 faculty and staff across the UK and Ireland, the organization has launched The SDG Accord to ensure the SDGs are embedded into post-secondary education.”

Marmot Indicators Release 2017: http://www.instituteofhealthequity.org/about-our-work/marmot-indicators-release-2017 “Fair Society, Healthy Lives was published in February 2010. The report included some suggested indicators to support monitoring of the overall strategic direction in reducing health inequalities. Following on from this, The London Health Observatory and the Institute produced baseline figures for some key indicators of the social determinants of health, health outcomes and social inequality that corresponded, as closely as was possible, to the indicators proposed in Fair Society, Healthy Lives.”

Gambling as a public health issue: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2017/09/28/gambling-as-a-public-health-issue/ Excellent summary from Greg Fell - problem gambling, includes links to a range of resources

Pension fund execs call for investors to use UN’s sustainable development goals: http://www.pionline.com/article/20170926/ONLINE/170929902/pension-fund-execs-call-for-investors-to-use-uns-sustainable-development-goals “The United Nations' sustainable development goals can help institutional investors to invest in new opportunities and identify future areas of risk in portfolios, said pension fund executives.”

Healthy planning & environment

Evaluation of the health impact of an urban regeneration policy: Neighbourhood Renewal in Northern Ireland: http://jech.bmj.com/content/71/9/919?rss=1 “Conclusions: Area-based initiatives may not achieve health gains beyond mainstream service provision, though they may safeguard against widening of health disparities.”

Using Virtual Reality for assessing the role of noise in the audio-visual design of an urban public space: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204617301226 “ A new method for comparing the quality of future urban renovations is proposed. Noise affects the overall pleasantness of public space even in unattended experience. Pleasantness is slightly reduced under informed conditions. The visual design of a noise barrier can be more effective than increasing its height. Vegetated visual designs are rated most pleasant for a bridge giving access to a park.”

Design South East and Kent Design are running a series of masterclasses including – Creating and sustaining quality public places & Designing for people and cars: http://www.kentdesign.org/events/

Landowners veto fracking over liability for abandoned shale gas wells: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/landowners-veto-fracking-over-liability-for-abandoned-shale-gas-wells-ssxkkct80 “Fracking could be blocked in large parts of the countryside because of a dispute between the government and landowners over liability for abandoned shale gas wells.”

Growing Number of Restrictions Placed by Police, Councils on Anti-Fracking Protests: https://www.desmog.uk/2017/09/11/growing-number-restrictions-placed-police-councils-anti-fracking-protests “Local councils, police, and companies are increasingly trying to restrict how anti-fracking campaigners can protest shale gas development in Britain. Over the past two months, there have been three separate instances of new rules being developed to limit protesters’ activities. The most widely publicised is the recent interim injunction against anti-fracking protesters granted at the end of July to INEOS, which has licenses to explore for shale gas across the largest area of any company in the UK.”

How did that get there? Plastic chunks on Arctic ice show how far pollution has spread: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/24/arctic-plastic-pollution-polystyrene-wildlife-threat “Discovery by UK scientists prompts fear that melting ice will allow more plastic to be released into the central Arctic Ocean – with huge effects on wildlife”

Big Antarctic iceberg edges out to sea: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-41366504 “The giant berg A-68 looks finally to be on the move. Recent weeks have seen it shuffle back and forth next to the Antarctic ice shelf from which it broke away. But the latest satellite imagery now indicates the near-6,000 sq km block is swinging out into the Weddell Sea.”

Councils support parks research despite funding pressures: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-support-parks-research-despite-funding-pressures/43834 “Council chiefs have thrown their support behind a new Government-created group looking into the future of parks despite funding pressures.”

Explainer: What is a national urban policy?: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/explainer-what-national-urban-policy “A national urban policy is “a coherent set of decisions derived through a deliberate government-led process of coordinating and rallying various actors for a common vision and goal that will promote more transformative, productive, inclusive and resilient urban development for the long term.””


Social housing spending at record low: http://www.housing.org.uk/press/press-releases/social-housing-spending-at-record-low/ “At the National Housing Federation Annual Conference, Chief Executive David Orr will today warn that social housing funding is in crisis, unless the Government is prepared to make a break with the past and start funding new genuinely affordable homes.”

Home Affront: housing across the generations: https://www.intergencommission.org/publications/home-affront-housing-across-the-generations/ “In this, the 9th report of our Intergenerational Commission, we take on this hugely important topic. We compare the housing outcomes achieved by different generations over the life course and assess the extent to which intergenerational inequalities exist when it comes to security, to affordability and to quality.”

A range of coverage of the rollout of smart meters – following a report from Sussex University - ‘Confusion and resistance’ slows down UK smart meter roll-out: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/broadcast/read/41630

Climate change & sustainability

Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 °C: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo3031.html?foxtrotcallback=true A new paper in Nature Geoscience provides updated estimates of the remaining carbon budget for limiting to a 1.5C increase in global temperature. This is a complex and nuanced paper, with in-depth analysis and discussion.  However, there has been wide media coverage which, as often happens, simplifies the conclusions – often in favour of the writers particular biases.

Guest post: What will be in the next IPCC climate change assessment: https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-what-will-be-in-the-next-ipcc-climate-change-assessment “The outline consists of 12 chapters. The first is the framing, then three chapters are dedicated to large-scale patterns of climate change. These are: the changing state of the climate system, the assessment of human influence, and future climate change. This last chapter will encompass both near term prediction and scenario-based long term projections.”

This summer was greenest ever for energy, says National Grid: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/sep/26/summer-green-energy-national-grid-carbon-emissions-solar-uk “Carbon emissions pushed to lowest level yet as first subsidy-free large solar power project opens in the UK”

An article on Conservative Home - Simon Clarke: The case for lifting the national bar on onshore wind: https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2017/09/simon-clarke-the-case-for-lifting-the-national-bar-on-onshore-wind.html “Onshore wind is inherently cheaper than offshore wind – with onshore the costs of transporting turbines out to sea, attaching them to the seabed, and then bringing the power back to land are eliminated from the equation. Given how cheap offshore wind now is, any future onshore wind projects will almost certainly result in fixed prices agreed below the expected market rate…. Surely local people should be able to decide if they want to take part in this revolution?”

Nicaragua to sign Paris Agreement, leaving America and Syria as the only countries not in it: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/paris-agreement-trump-nicaragua-america-us-syria-countries-in-it-a7958341.html “Nicaragua has announced it will sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, which leaves the US and Syria as the only two countries not participating in the global accord.”

Who’s the world’s leading eco-vandal? It’s Angela Merkel: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/19/world-leading-eco-vandal-angela-merkel-german-environmental “Ignore her reputation for supporting green initiatives. The German chancellor’s record on environmental policy has been a disaster”

How 73 cities are using innovative climate action to ‘future-proof’ themselves: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/how-73-cities-are-using-innovative-climate-action-future-proof-themselves “The publication and accompanying online database were released this week as new storms continued to devastate islands in the Caribbean. Meanwhile, power outages plague more than a million residents of Florida and Georgia a week after a ferocious hurricane devastated the U. S. southeast.”

EU to aim for 100% emission cuts in new ‘mid-century roadmap: http://www.euractiv.com/section/climate-environment/news/eu-to-aim-for-100-emission-cuts-in-new-mid-century-roadmap/ “EXCLUSIVE / The European Commission is preparing an update of its low-carbon economy roadmap for 2050, acknowledging that the bloc’s current target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions at least 80% by mid-century are insufficient, EURACTIV.com has learned.”

Sulfate geoengineering impact on methane transport and lifetime: results from the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP): https://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/17/11209/2017/ “Sulfate geoengineering (SG), made by sustained injection of SO2 in the tropical lower stratosphere, may impact the CH4 abundance through several photochemical mechanisms affecting tropospheric OH and hence the methane lifetime.”

David Attenborough: On climate change, optimism and Blue Planet II: https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2017/09/25/david-attenborough-climate-change-science-storytelling-blue-planet-ii/?source=daily “Sir David Attenborough may be 91, but he is a busy 91. As we set up in his Richmond home, he is upstairs studying footage of orcas and humpback whales on a herring hunt. He has just come back from Edinburgh. And last night he was up late writing the latest programme for his new series: Blue Planet Two.”

Active travel & transport

Our blueprint for urban transport can deliver transformational change: https://urbantransportgroupblog.org/2017/09/18/our-blueprint-for-urban-transport-can-deliver-transformational-change/ “Over the coming few weeks the major political parties will be getting together to debate their policies for the next few years. Ensuring our urban economies can grow in a sustainable and inclusive way has to be a key part of those debates. We believe modern and efficient transport networks can be the link between policy objectives and delivered results… That’s why we are launching our latest Policy Futures vision – a blueprint that can lead to transformational change for everything from economic development, social mobility and inclusion through to creating the cities we will need for the future.”

Bus use drops across Great Britain: http://www.passengertransport.co.uk/2017/09/bus-use-drops-across-great-britain/ “The number of people travelling by bus continues to decline across Great Britain, according to the latest statistics from the Department for Transport. Figures for April-June 2017 show year-on-year decreases in England (-1.6%), Scotland (-2.0%) and Wales (-1.9%). Within England, the decline in London was much slower. The year-on-year reduction was 0.7% in the capital compared to -2.4% elsewhere.”

West Midlands transport plan approved: http://www.governmentbusiness.co.uk/news/12092017/west-midlands-transport-plan-approved “The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has approved a £3.4 billion transport blueprint to transform the city’s tram routes, new suburban rail lines, cycle routes and motorways. The 2026 Delivery Plan for Transport forms part of the authority’s long term transport strategy, ‘Movement for Growth’, which sets out a number of infrastructure projects for 2026. Funding for this new programme is now being pursued.”

Report reveals Government concern over HS2 affordability: https://www.transportxtra.com/publications/local-transport-today/news/54616/report-reveals-government-concern-over-hs2-affordability/ “The Government’s Major Projects Authority voiced concern about the affordability of HS2 in September 2015, questioning whether the budget was big enough to allow the routes to Manchester and Leeds to be completed. The MPA raised concerns in a review of the Government’s decision to accelerate the delivery of phase 2a of the project – the route from Staffordshire to Crewe – so that it opens in 2027, six years earlier than previously planned.”

Electric bus breaks global EV record with 1,101 mile journey: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3017771/electric-bus-breaks-global-ev-record “The 40-foot electric bus travelled 1,101.2 miles on a single charge, outstripping the previous record of 1,013.76 miles held by a passenger EV”

Air quality & pollution

Air pollution may have damaging effects on the kidneys: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-09/ason-apm091517.php “Studies have shown that air pollution can have negative effects on cardiovascular health and life expectancy. Now new research indicates that it is also harmful to the kidneys. The study, which appears in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), reveals that the effects on the kidneys are seen at low levels of particulate matter and increase linearly with rising levels of pollution.” More here - Air Pollution Exposure & Kidney Disease Linked By New Study: https://cleantechnica.com/2017/09/22/air-pollution-exposure-kidney-disease-linked-new-study/ “Exposure to air pollution increases the risk of experiencing a decline in kidney function and developing kidney disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.”

UN report expresses ‘alarm’ at UK’s air quality plan: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2017/09/11/un-report-expresses-alarm-uks-air-quality-plan/ “A UN advisor on human rights has criticised the ‘urgency’ of the UK government’s plan to tackle harmful levels of air pollution in towns and cities, prompting a strong response from Defra. The comments by Baskut Tuncak, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights, hazardous substances and wastes, have emerged in a report which is due to go before the United Nations’ Human Rights Council”

Is your child playing in a poisoned playground? https://www.clientearth.org/poisoned-playgrounds/ “Search the map and click on the dot to find out your school’s pollution levels. The darker the dot, the higher the pollution level at your school”

London's most polluted schools to be given air-quality audits: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/13/londons-most-polluted-schools-to-be-given-air-quality-audits “Mayor Sadiq Khan announces first 50 schools to undergo audits to help identify measures to minimise the impact of pollution on children”

Police probe Cheshire East air quality data: https://www.airqualitynews.com/2017/09/19/police-probe-cheshire-east-air-quality-data/ “Cheshire Constabulary has launched a formal investigation into allegations that air quality data submitted by Cheshire East council between 2012 and 2014 had been ‘manipulated’.”

Food & food security

Global food security index 2017: http://foodsecurityindex.eiu.com/ “The 2017 Global Food Security Index provides a worldwide perspective on which countries are most and least vulnerable to food insecurity and how resource risks increase vulnerability.” – more here: Ireland Tops U.S. as the Country Best Able to Feed Its People: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-food-security/ “The U.S. for the first time dropped from the top spot in a global ranking of how well countries can feed their own people, as concerns about agricultural research spending and government policy trends may make the world’s top food exporter a less-certain place to get a meal.”

Meta-analyses in nutrition research: sources of insight or confusion? https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2017/09/18/meta-analyses-nutrition-research-sources-of-insight-or-confusion/ “Nutrition is a complex field regularly cursed with provocative media headlines that often preface an oversimplified summary. If you’re a savvy consumer of nutrition news, you may have become wise to look past the catchy headlines to assess the quality of the study being reported—sizing-up the latest finding in context of existing evidence on the topic. But what approach do you take when the study itself, by design, supposedly factors-in the existing evidence?”

UK's top supplier of supermarket chicken fiddles food safety dates: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/sep/28/uks-top-supplier-of-supermarket-chicken-fiddles-food-safety-dates “Firm supplying Tesco, Sainsbury’s and M&S may have duped customers into buying out-of-date meat, Guardian/ITV News investigation reveals”

Sixth mass extinction of wildlife also threatens global food supplies: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/26/sixth-mass-extinction-of-wildlife-also-threatens-global-food-supplies “Plant and animal species that are the foundation of our food supplies are as endangered as wildlife but get almost no attention, a new report reveals”

Disappearing traditional crops pose threat to food security, experts warn: http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/220499/ “Agriculture experts have warned that agriculture mechanisation, expansion of large-scale agriculture and new technologies have led to disappearance of local crop varieties as farmers look for more commercial varieties that grow faster and produce more yields.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 22 September 2017

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 useful paper on how to use numbers to tell a story, and how to frame a discussionhttps://www.frameworksinstitute.org/assets/files/eZines/Storytelling_power_of_numbers.pdf  Applicable to public health and to working with local decision makers.

Sustainable development goals

Causes of death over 100 years: http://visual.ons.gov.uk/causes-of-death-over-100-years/ “We are living longer than we did 100 years ago because of advances in medical science as well as better sanitation, nutrition and hygiene. Just over a century ago the average life expectancy at birth for a man was 48.4 years, whereas women could expect to live to 54.0. Fast forward from 1915 to 2015 and a man’s life span extended by 31 years and almost 29 years for a woman (79.3 and 82.9 respectively). The top causes of death at the start of the 20th century were very different to those that we see today. This may partially be explained by improvements in medical knowledge that have led to a more comprehensive classification system.”

UNDP, UN Environment Outline Poverty-Environment Action for SDGs: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/undp-un-environment-outline-poverty-environment-action-for-sdgs/ “The report highlights the work of the joint Global Programme to improve climate resilience of the poorest and to effectively implement pro-poor environmental practices, along with a just transition to an inclusive green economy.”

Can A Better Way to Measure Conflict-Related Deaths Help Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? https://www.undispatch.com/can-better-way-measure-conflict-related-deaths-help-achieve-sustainable-development-goals/ “The connection between peace and sustainable development is embedded directly in the Sustainable Development Goals. Goal number 16 calls for the international community to “significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere” by 2030 For his part, the new Secretary General Antonio Guterres has made an early priority to extrapolate the “synergies between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and sustaining peace.””

New economic tool to get the most out of public health investment: http://phengland.newsweaver.com/phenews/1r5z0f0qdsco8lvg9xz4v2?email=true&a=2&p=628597&t=1663657 “PHE’s evidence resource summarises the best available economic evidence, and allows councils to apply it to their own populations, in order to guide decisions on investment and decommissioning of services.”

Healthy planning & environment

New journal – Cities and Health: Call for papers: http://explore.tandfonline.com/page/pgas/rcah-cfp-child-friendly-city “In this special issue we are looking for a range of submissions including: empirical papers, theoretical discourse, reviews and case studies, to develop the conversation about healthy and child-friendly places in our towns and cities. We want to know what is happening is cities, what has been tried, what has worked (and what does not work); so we are also looking for what we are calling ‘City Shorts’, describing real examples of design and place-making for (or by) children in cities.”

Event: Is Our Landscape Killing Us? https://www.architecturecentre.org.uk/whats-on/is-our-landscape-killing-us/ - 11 October, evening, Bristol. “Hear a range of speakers from different disciplines converge and discuss the challenges, benefits and importance of creating landscapes that encourage people to engage in healthy lifestyles, with physical and mental health benefits. Chaired by Dr Laurence Carmichael, Head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments, UWE”

Natural Environment and People evidence round up  - August 2017: http://mailchi.mp/e17a4c3c8af3/fexixsdb6i-1190645?e=aa44b2dd94#163961_20170911123724 “A round up of recent and relevant evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items. This supports the Strategic Research Groups for Learning in Natural Environments and Outdoors for All to develop better coherence and collaboration in research and to improve links between research, policy and practice in these areas.”

Plastic in drinking water: what are the risks to human health? https://theconversation.com/plastic-in-drinking-water-what-are-the-risks-to-human-health-83844 “Plastic microparticles are finding their way into our drinking water. We already knew tiny pieces of plastic find their way into seawater where they can be eaten by marine animals and so end up in human food. But now, perhaps more worryingly, new research suggests plastic particles or fibres are also commonly found in drinking water.”

MPs to reopen inquiry into plastic bottle use: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3017377/mps-to-reopen-inquiry-into-plastic-bottle-use “New inquiry will look into the viability of deposit schemes and taxes as ways to reduce impact of plastic waste on the environment”

Green spaces and cognitive development in primary schoolchildren: http://www.pnas.org/content/112/26/7937 “Our study showed a beneficial association between exposure to green space and cognitive development among schoolchildren that was partly mediated by reduction in exposure to air pollution.” More discussion here: 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-43151 “A new 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. Payam Dadvand and colleagues 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.”

Green Vs Brown: https://www.environmentalistonline.com/article/green-vs-brown “With the need for new homes ever- increasing in the UK, Mark Smulian looks at the case for green versus brownfield sites”

Why England’s new litter strategy is actually a bit rubbish: https://theconversation.com/why-englands-new-litter-strategy-is-actually-a-bit-rubbish-81202 “Earlier this year, England got its first ever litter strategy. It was a moment of triumph for groups such as Keep Britain Tidy, which have campaigned for action over decades. Citing the long-established evidence that litter costs taxpayers billions to clean up, is bad for business and makes people depressed and angry, the government finally declared war on rubbish. There’s just one problem: this strategy is unlikely to lead to a victory.”


New research warns of risks in unhealthy homes: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/public-policy/public-policy-news/research-risks-unhealthy-homes-appg “Research part funded by UCL Public Policy has made a series of recommendations to improve the indoor environment. The research calls for a Commission on Indoor Air Quality and a set of health-based standards and guidelines for new buildings, to improve health indoors.”

Affordable Housing: https://www.jrf.org.uk/housing/affordable-housing “How do we provide affordable housing for all? We look at areas like landlords and poverty, and the role of housing organisations like the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust.”

Javid launches social housing green paper: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Javid-launches-social-housing-green-paper/43836 “The Government has confirmed it will bring forward a green paper on social housing in England. Communities secretary Sajid Javid said the green paper would be a ‘wide-ranging, top-to-bottom review of the issues facing the sector’.”

Universal Credit and debt: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/policy/policy-research-topics/welfare-policy-research-surveys-and-consultation-responses/welfare-policy-research/universal-credit-and-debt/ “We support the aims of UC to simplify the benefits system, make transitions into work easier and make every hour of work pay. However to achieve these aims it is vital that it works well for all claimants… Our evidence shows that our UC clients are more likely to have debt problems than those on legacy benefits. A quarter (26%) of the people we helped with UC also needed help with debt, compared to 19% for legacy benefits. They are also struggling to pay off their debts. More than 2 in 5 (41%) debt clients on UC have no spare income to pay creditors, compared to a third (33%) on legacy benefits.”

How cold homes impact health? Public Health Evidence Bulletin 7th September 2017, No.166: http://mailchi.mp/c628191c303b/public-health-evidence-bulletin-7th-september-no166?e=9f60c1fc56 An analysis of housing in Hackney based on the most recent evidence.

New housing need assessments demand biggest building increase in London: https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/new-housing-need-assessments-demand-biggest-building-increase-in-london-52427 “London boroughs will need to increase their levels of housebuilding the most if they are to meet the government’s new assessment of housing need around the country.”

Is the slowing UK housing market a Brexit effect or a natural correction? http://annual.housing.org.uk/conference/blog/is-the-slowing-uk-housing-market-a-brexit-effect-or-a-natural-correction “The UK housing market has been slowing since early 2017. In London and the South East, prices have fallen over the last three months: house prices continue to rise in other areas, but overall the picture is one of stagnation.”

Climate change & sustainability

Cities aren’t using their key tool for climate action: Urban planning: http://citiscope.org/commentary/2017/09/cities-arent-using-their-key-tool-climate-action-urban-planning “Too much of today’s conversation focuses on energy generation rather than urban design, land-use planning and zoning interventions.”

UK Omits Climate Change from Post-Brexit Foreign Policy Plan: https://www.desmog.uk/2017/09/13/uk-omits-climate-change-post-brexit-foreign-policy-plan “The UK government made no mention of climate change in a paper published Tuesday on its proposed foreign policy relationship with the EU after Brexit. The document calls for continued cooperation on defence and security issues, including energy security, as Britain prepares to leave the EU, emphasising shared values and interests. But fails to mention climate change, which the EU ranks among its foreign policy priorities.”

There is some uncertainty about whether the US will pull out of the Paris Accord.

However, whether the US is in or out of the Paris Accord, the activity to meet the Accord goals continues.

  • US states, cities and businesses keep US climate action on track: https://www.theclimategroup.org/news/us-states-cities-and-businesses-keep-us-climate-action-track ““US states, cities and businesses are not waiting for the US federal government to make its position clear on Paris. This new report clearly highlights their unwaivering commitment to climate leadership. Importantly, it shows us that climate action is not solely dependent on the actions of national government. US states, cities and businesses have the power to mitigate the consequences of a full Paris pull out.”

Wind farms: Britain’s offshore boom is concentrating power in the hands of a few very large developers: https://theconversation.com/wind-farms-britains-offshore-boom-is-concentrating-power-in-the-hands-of-a-few-very-large-developers-83836 “Cheap wind power is a great source of low carbon electricity, and it’s good news for politicians who may have been worried about subsidies bumping up household bills. But the scale of investment in offshore wind raises bigger, more systemic questions.”

Why the wiring of our brains makes it hard to stop climate change: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-victor-amaya-obradovich-why-our-brains-make-it-hard-to-stop-global-warming-20170917-story.html “...So why isn’t the public heeding scientists and demanding climate action by politicians that could help deal with these destructive extremes? You can point fingers at the influence of fossil fuel companies, at misinformation from climate deniers and at political obstructionism, notably from a fragmented Republican party. But a much deeper force is also at work: the way our brains function.”

Climate change deniers 'stupid': Pope Francis: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/09/12/climate-change-deniers-stupid-pope-francis “Pope Francis on Monday slammed climate change doubters as 'stupid' in the wake of a spate of hurricanes that have thrashed the US, Mexico and the Caribbean.”

‘The Mail on Sunday’ forced to acknowledge it published fake news about climate change: http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/news/the-mail-on-sunday-forced-to-acknowledge-it-published-fake-news-about-climate-change/ “’The Mail on Sunday’, a UK national newspaper, has been forced to publish a lengthy admission today that an article on climate change by one of its reporters, David Rose, was fake news.”

Big Oil Becomes Greener With Cuts to Greenhouse Gas Pollution: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-18/big-oil-becomes-greener-with-cuts-to-greenhouse-gas-pollution “It’s no secret that oil majors are among the biggest corporate emitters of pollution. What may be surprising is that they’re reducing their greenhouse-gas footprints every year, actively participating in a trend that’s swept up most corporate behemoths. Sixty-two of the world’s 100 largest companies consistently cut their emissions on an annual basis between 2010 and 2015, with an overall 12 percent decline during that period, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance released ahead of its conference in London on Monday.”

Watching Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Katia From 22,000 Miles Above Earth: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/12/us/hurricane-irma-satellite-images.html “More than 22,000 miles above the surface of Earth, a new weather satellite run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration captured high-resolution imagery of three dangerous hurricanes moving across the Atlantic Ocean over the past week. Each frame in the composite animations below is separated by 15 minutes.”

In Florida it is illegal to use solar panels to power your home - Why Didn't FPL Do More to Prepare for Irma? http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/miami-frustrated-with-fpl-after-hurricane-irma-9666311 “…FPL's lobbying wing has fought hard against letting Floridians power their own homes with solar panels. Thanks to power-company rules, it's impossible across Florida to simply buy a solar panel and power your individual home with it. You are instead legally mandated to connect your panels to your local electric grid.”

Active travel & transport

Speed limits in England: http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN00468#Wednesday,%20August%2030,%202017 “This paper sets out the legislation and guidance on speed limits and how highways authorities can vary limits in their areas. It also explains policy towards 20 mph, motorway and rural speed limits and how speed limits are enforced. Finally, it summarises the policies of successive governments towards speed limits.”

Beyond the threat of legal sanctions: What deters speeding behaviours? http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369847816303011?dgcid=raven_sd_via_email “While researchers have long proposed that a range of legal and non-legal sanctions can influence speeding behaviours (which are also utilised in complementary media campaigns), a strong link between deterrent forces and offending behaviours with self-reported data remains lacking. This paper further considers the findings in regards to the need for further research.”

The general theory of walkability: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEkgM9P2C5U “Jeff Speck is a city planner and urban designer who, through writing, public service, and built work, advocates internationally for smart growth and sustainable design.”

Where is the world's most walkable city? https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/sep/12/walkable-city-worlds-most-new-york-melbourne-fes-el-bali “From New York’s cafe squares to Melbourne’s laneways to the walled Fes el Bali, these pedestrian paradises combine safety, beauty and comfort. Now urban planners are taking note as they seek to hand back cities to the walkers”

Build it and they will come? Why Britain's 1960s cycling revolution flopped: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/sep/19/britains-1960s-cycling-revolution-flopped-stevenage “Squint at Stevenage’s extensive 1960s protected cycleway network and you could be in the Netherlands – except for the lack of people on bikes. So why did the New Town’s residents choose the motor car over the bicycle?”

What successful cycling infrastructure looks like - Morning Ebb And Flow: https://vimeo.com/141516172 “A view from the Larry vs Harry shop of bicycle traffic flowing through Copenhagen. Filmed by Jeppe Rysgaard Jørgensen. Music by Jim Slade. http://larryvsharry.com/

How a city in Spain got rid of its cars: http://www.eco-business.com/news/how-a-city-in-spain-got-rid-of-its-cars/ “But it’s not just the streets near City Hall that have been transformed. According to the city administration’s numbers, motor traffic in Pontevedra’s historical centre has been reduced by an unbelievable 97 per cent since 1999. Traffic is down 77 per cent in the areas adjacent to the centre, and by 53 per cent in the city as a whole.”

How we built the first real self-driving car (really): https://medium.com/kylevogt/how-we-built-the-first-real-self-driving-car-really-bd17b0dbda55 “Electric self-driving cars will save millions of lives and significantly accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, but only when they’re deployed in large numbers.”

Air quality & pollution

One million premature deaths linked to ozone air pollution: http://ccacoalition.org/en/news/one-million-premature-deaths-linked-ozone-air-pollution “New research by CCAC partner, the Stockholm Environment Institute, links long-term exposure to ozone air pollution with one million premature deaths per year due to respiratory diseases, which is more than double previous estimates.”

Researcher wants to put the power to model air pollution into your hands: https://phys.org/news/2017-09-peter-adams-power-air-pollution.html “Until very recently, modeling the movement of pollution in the air required very complex calculations – models that often took days and even weeks to run. But air quality affects everyone: not just governments and universities, but average citizens, children, pets. At Carnegie Mellon, CEE/EPP Professor Peter Adams is working to make sure that everyone who is affected by air pollution has the tools they need to understand the quality of their air.”

Interactive Map Shows You How Many Years Of Your Life You're Losing To Air Pollution: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/interactive-map-shows-years-life-losing-air-pollution/ “As reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, for every 10 micrograms per cubic meter increase of PM10 in the air, a person will lose seven months from their life expectancy. For the even finer PM2.5, an identical increase shaves an entire year off your life. With this metric, they developed the Air Quality-Life Index (AQLI), an interactive map which shows how much longer you should be living in a world where the strict air quality standards set in place by the World Health Organization (WHO) were adhered to.”

UK legal claims grow over exposure at work to toxic diesel fumes: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/16/legal-claims-grow-exposure-at-work-to-toxic-diesel-fumes “Unions warn effects of exposure to diesel pollution is ticking time bomb for business, likening situation to ‘early days of asbestos’”

Poisoned Playgrounds campaign launched by ClientEarth: http://www.airqualitynews.com/2017/09/14/poisoned-playgrounds-campaign-launched-clientearth/ “Environmental law firm ClienEarth has launched the ‘Poisoned Playgrounds’ campaign – a nationwide awareness initiative aimed at highlighting the number of schools located in areas with high air pollution.”

Testing of diesel vehicle emissions is moving to ‘real world’ testing, but there are concerns that this isn’t ‘real world’ enough to reflect normal urban use.

Used diesel cars have lost up to a quarter of their value since the start of 2017: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/11/used-diesel-cars-have-lost-quarter-value-since-start-2017/ “Some of the most popular used diesel cars have lost a quarter of their value since the start of the year in anticipation of a  government crackdown on polluting cars, figures show”

Help Brum breathe – take a break from the car – Leave Your Car at Home Day (22 September): https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/autumnbreathes “You might find that your trip to work is quicker by bike or less stressful by bus, train and tram. Maybe give it a go on Leave Your Car at Home Day (22 September) – a worldwide awareness event now in its 17th year.”

Food & food security

Marketing food to children – what FPH members think: https://betterhealthforall.org/2017/09/15/marketing-food-to-children-what-fph-members-think/ “…However, industry spends 500 times as much on promoting high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) foods as the WHO spends on promoting healthy diets. For example, food companies in the UK spend one billion pounds on marketing.”

Food in a fragile world: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-41306112 “In sub-Saharan Africa, conflict and climate change have had a major impact on food security. Communities in Niger, Burundi and Central African Republic are experiencing dangerous levels of hunger and malnutrition. Chris de Bode visited these places, bringing a backdrop to create photographs that blend studio portraits with documentary. As well as exploring how political and environmental instability can reduce people's ability to grow or buy food, de Bode also shows how charitable interventions can help.”

How Close are We to Zero Hunger: the state of food security and nutrition in the world 2017: http://www.fao.org/state-of-food-security-nutrition/en/ “There is more than enough food produced in the world to feed everyone, yet 815 million people go hungry…. After steadily declining for over a decade, global hunger appears to be on the rise, affecting 11 percent of the global population. In addition to an increase in the proportion of the world’s population that suffers from chronic hunger (prevalence of undernourishment), the number of undernourished people on the planet has also increased to 815 million, up from 777 million in 2015.”

The great nutrient collapse: http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/09/13/food-nutrients-carbon-dioxide-000511 “The atmosphere is literally changing the food we eat, for the worse. And almost nobody is paying attention.”

Digesting the Indigestible: https://www.medact.org/2017/resources/reports/digesting-the-indigestible “Unravelling hospital food policy and practices, and finding the way towards healthier, tastier and more sustainable hospital food”

Relevant to food – but also to wider public health. Marketers will spend $1.2bn by 2019 to reach kids on their tablets: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/09/08/marketers-will-spend-12bn-2019-reach-kids-their-tablets “As children watch less TV, professional services network PwC said it expects the digital advertising market for kids to grow to $1.2bn by 2019 – at which point it will represent 28% of all advertising to children.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 1 September 2017

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


Sustainable development goals

Economic insecurity during the Great Recession and metabolic, inflammatory and liver function biomarkers: analysis of the UK Household Longitudinal Study: http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2017/08/28/jech-2017-209105 “Our study reveals that economic security is associated with several different biomarkers linked to greater health risk. Biomarkers related to adverse metabolic and inflammatory situations, including HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides and CRP, appear particularly sensitive. An important finding was the relative consistency in the pattern of results between both measures of economic security and the persistence of several associations when adjusting for a range of potential sociodemographic and health-related confounding factors.”

First-ever index ranks urban areas on SDGs implementation: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/first-ever-index-ranks-urban-areas-sdgs-implementation “Cities in the United States can now see how they stack up against international development standards, in an effort that organizers hope will offer a model for other countries. The first-ever U. S. Cities SDG Index ranks the country’s 100 most populous cities, using statistics for their metropolitan areas, to look at issues such as education, health care and infrastructure.”

UNGA 72 Documents Address Trade, Gender and Human Development: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/unga-72-documents-address-trade-gender-and-human-development/ “To achieve the 2030 Agenda, these reports recommend: trade strategies focus on achieving sustainable development and the SDGs; gender mainstreaming in implementation of the SDGs and targets; and adaptation of institutions, education and training systems and social protection systems to equip people to navigate the 21st century and ensure no one is left behind.”

Agriculture development, food security and nutrition - Report of the Secretary-General: http://reliefweb.int/report/world/agriculture-development-food-security-and-nutrition-report-secretary-general-a72303 “The world is not on track to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by 2030. Scarce and unsustainably managed natural resources, combined with insecure and uneven tenure rights for smallholders, are severely affecting vulnerable populations in rural areas. Climate change, drought, political instability and conflict are threats to food security in many places and prevent progress in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.”

IOM Identifies Migration as Positive Adaptation Strategy, Important Component of SDGs: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/iom-identifies-migration-as-positive-adaptation-strategy-important-component-of-sdgs/ “The IOM published a report titled, ‘Migration as Adaptation to Environmental and Climate Change: The Case of Kenya,’ showing that migration can be a positive adaptation strategy to environmental and climate change.”

Sustainable Tourism - A tool for development and poverty eradication: http://unctad.org/en/pages/newsdetails.aspx?OriginalVersionID=1538 “Tourism is also singled out in three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals - part of an ambitious global plan adopted by the international community in 2015 that is setting the tone for development through to 2030. Specifically, tourism is tied to the goals on sustainable economic growth and decent employment, sustainable production and consumption, as well as the conservation and sustainable use of oceans.”

West Midlands in Context from IEWM: http://www.westmidlandsiep.gov.uk/news/2017/05/18/WMiC_Issue_16_-_West_Midlands_employment_and_houses_price_statistics_and_local_child_obesity_data “WMiC, Issue 16 - West Midlands’ employment and houses price statistics and local child obesity data”

Revealed: how gambling industry targets poor people and ex-gamblers: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/31/gambling-industry-third-party-companies-online-casinos “The gambling industry is using third-party companies to harvest people’s data, helping bookmakers and online casinos target people on low incomes and those who have stopped gambling, the Guardian can reveal.”

Healthy planning & environment

Learning from inspiring experiences of boundary pushing planning practitioners: http://rtpi.org.uk/briefing-room/rtpi-blog/learning-from-inspiring-experiences-of-boundary-pushing-planning-practitioners/ “While planning students are taught to be the guardians of the public interest, in the face of power relations shaped by market dynamics, planning practitioners usually lack the power to fulfill that role. How does this make them feel? And how do planning practitioners respond to an urban development model informed by private sector involvement in large-scale projects?”

Government Keeps Flawed Environmental Justice Report Quiet: https://www.desmog.uk/2017/08/25/government-keeps-flawed-environmental-justice-report-quiet “A report on access to environmental justice has been quietly published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) during peak holiday season. Published on an obscure website, the report includes inaccurate figures on the cost of pursuing environmental legal cases against the government. The report, writes ENDS, was also published without notifying NGOs who are currently challenging the government’s change to the rules.  Last month environmental lawyers ClientEarth and NGOs Friends of the Earth and the RSPB took the government to court, claiming the rule change has a “chilling effect” on environmental legal cases. A ruling is expected this month.”

Sharing the inspiration from cities of culture: https://congress.academyofurbanism.org.uk/2017/08/23/why-learning-from-places-is-so-important/ “Ahead of the Aarhus international urbanism congress, Ann Wallis highlights the importance of learning from places of culture.”

London and health: the best and worst of cities: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2017/08/london-and-health-best-and-worst-cities#comments-top “The role of cities in relation to health has long been recognised. Modern public health has its roots in 19th-century efforts to improve the health of urban populations. Over time this has evolved into a more sophisticated understanding of the complex ways in which various aspects of city life interact to shape health and wellbeing. For more than three decades, the World Health Organization’s Healthy Cities programme has encouraged cities in different countries to share good practice, and more recently this has been accompanied by a focus on creating age-friendly cities.”

Ten new 'healthy' towns to be built in England: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/01/ten-new-healthy-towns-to-be-built-in-england “Towns, designed to address problems such as obesity and dementia, will have 76,000 new homes

and 170,000 residents”

NHS England select Citiesmode as winner of international design competition: http://citiesmode.com/citiesmode-blog/nhs-england-select-citiesmode-as-winner-of-international-design-competition/ “The Healthy New Towns programme looks at how health and wellbeing could be “designed-in” to be at the heart of urban design and planning. The aim is to reduce pressure on the NHS by rethinking our lifestyles and the way health services are delivered.”

Architecture's next big thing: buildings that make us feel better: http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/architectures-next-big-thing-buildings-that-make-us-feel-better-20170823-gy286s “Forget style, functionality and aesthetics: architecture’s hot topic is how to design buildings that improve our health, both mental and physical. Cue indoor gardens, emotionally pleasing colour palettes, stairs in place of lifts … even animal enclosures.”

Trees Can Save A City $500 Million Every Year: https://www.fastcodesign.com/90137827/trees-can-save-a-city-500-million-every-year?partner=rss “It’s a thankless job, but green spaces save us millions by soaking up pollution and cooling us down.”

Data: Michael Gove must triple tree planting to keep manifesto promise: http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/08/19/tree-planting-target-micheal-gove/ “Michael Gove has said he will meet a government target to plant 11 million trees by 2020 – but new figures show he would have to triple the current rate of planting to do so.”


Whitehall plans cause 85% drop in homes for most vulnerable: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Whitehall-plans-cause-85-drop-in-homes-for-most-vulnerable-/43684 “A survey of 69 housing associations, which together deliver a third of supported and sheltered homes in England, found plans to build new homes for vulnerable people are down from 8,800 to 1,350 units.” Source report - Briefing: Supported and sheltered housing survey - The impact of the Government’s proposed new funding model on housing associations: http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/pub.housing.org.uk/Supported_and_sheltered_housing_survey_research_briefing.pdf

If you thought the housing crisis was bad enough, the UK just lost its biggest funder of social housing: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-housing-crisis-uk-just-lost-its-biggest-funder-a7909886.html “The £1bn given by European Investment Bank to UK social housing projects last year makes it the sector’s biggest investor. This week it was confirmed that this investment would stop”

Climate change & sustainability

The developing natural disaster in the Southern USA is receiving much media coverage – meanwhile, floods in Bangladesh and Nepal are not receiving the same level of media coverage.

Discussion over the continuing disaster in Texas and Louisiana from hurricane Harvey and the contribution of climate change.

Data dashboard: climate: https://www.carbonbrief.org/data-dashboard-climate-change A range of charts covering global temperature, carbon dioxide, daily sea ice, sea level rise….

Fracking Definition Based on “Little Rational or Scientific Basis”, Scientists Warn: https://www.desmog.uk/2017/08/24/environment-risk-fracking-definition-based-little-rational-or-scientific-basis-scientists-warn “Two British scientists have warned that the UK Government’s definition of fracking could risk environmental harm. In a letter published in Nature on 23 August Stuart Haszeldine of the University of Edinburgh and geophysics expert David Smythe write that the government’s legal definition of hydraulic fracturing has “little rational or scientific basis”.

From Oxford Public International Law - Focus on International Climate Change Law: http://opil.ouplaw.com/page/Focus-on-International-Climate-Change-Law/focus-on-international-climate-change-law?__prclt=SHzBjUON “This week we are putting the spotlight on climate change law. Climate change is one of the fundamental challenges facing the world today, and is the cause of significant international concern. Learn more about the legal instruments and sources that govern the international response to climate change, from the Kyoto Protocol to the Paris Agreement, protection of endangered species and marine mammal conservation, to rising sea levels and warming seas. Explore the following materials relating to the legal aspects of climate change, which have been made freely available for a limited time:”

Vast majority of UK accept climate change is real, finds new poll: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/uk-climate-change-real-accept-majority-global-warming-poll-finds-a7909841.html “About 13 per cent of people in Britain do not accept the science of climate change, according to a new poll. The survey of 1,200 adults in the UK by Censuswide found men (17 per cent) were significantly more likely than women (11 per cent) to deny the widespread evidence of global warming – from melting sea ice and glaciers and rising sea levels to animals and plants heading for the poles. However, a substantial majority of 70 per cent said they did agree the temperature is rising and that greenhouse gas emissions are to blame – as accepted by every major scientific organisation in the world.”

Another US agency deletes references to climate change on government website: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/23/us-government-agency-climate-change-references-removed-again “The term ‘climate change’ was changed to simply ‘climate’ on website of the National Institutes of Health, the world’s leading public health research body”

The UK’s Uneven Emissions Map: Regions Struggle to Cut Carbon in line with Climate Goals: https://www.desmog.uk/2017/07/03/uk-uneven-emissions-map “The UK has been making reasonable progress down a path towards its legally binding climate goals, but it currently has no plan on how to get over the line. Such a plan is “urgently” needed, experts warned last week. And new data shows that any strategy must take regional differences into account, with emissions reductions being felt unevenly across the UK. DeSmog UK takes a look at the key challenges in each region.”

It’s time to accept carbon capture has failed – here’s what we should do instead: https://theconversation.com/its-time-to-accept-carbon-capture-has-failed-heres-what-we-should-do-instead-82929 “For years, optimists have talked up carbon capture and storage (CCS) as an essential part of taking emissions out of electricity generation. …But ten years after the UK government first announced a £1 billion competition to design CCS, we’re not much further forward.” – just avoiding the overfilling of domestic kettles could save 335MW per year.

Alaska’s Permafrost Is Thawing: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/08/23/climate/alaska-permafrost-thawing.html “The loss of frozen ground in Arctic regions is a striking result of climate change. And it is also a cause of more warming to come.”

Russian tanker completes Arctic passage without aid of icebreakers: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/world/europe/russia-tanker-christophe-de-margerie.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur “A Russian-owned tanker, built to transverse the frozen waters of the Arctic, completed a journey in record time from Europe to Asia this month, auguring the future of shipping as global warming melts sea-ice.”

Electricity demand in southern Europe to soar with air con – scientists: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/28/electricity-demand-in-southern-europe-to-soar-with-air-con-say-climate-scientists “Study predicts power consumption to rise with hotter temperatures, increasing need for renewable sources, while northern Europe’s demand may fall”

Climate change could flip European peak power demand to summer, study says: https://www.carbonbrief.org/climate-change-could-flip-european-peak-power-demand-to-summer-study-says “Climate change could push peak electricity demand from winter to summer in most European countries, a new study says.”

UK coal power peters out to lowest in 135 years: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/08/25/uk-coal-power-peters-lowest-135-years/ “The UK’s remaining coal-fired power plants made their lowest ever contribution to Britain’s electricity grid in 135 years last month, and could fall further in August. The proportion of coal-fired generation in the power mix halved from last summer to an average of just 2pc of the total power generated over the month, analysts at Aurora Research have found.”

Wind Power Costs Could See Another 50% Reduction by 2030: https://www.ecowatch.com/wind-power-costs-2478701894.html “Fresh off the first-ever American Wind Week, the Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released a new report finding wind energy cost reductions of 50 percent are possible by 2030. That's on top of the 66 percent cost reduction since 2009.”

Most of The World Could Be 100% Powered With Renewables by 2050: https://www.sciencealert.com/most-of-the-world-could-be-100-powered-by-renewables-by-2050 “Almost three quarters of the world's countries could be powered entirely by renewable energy sources by 2050 – if we want it badly enough, that is. That's according to an ambitious new 2050 roadmap that calculates a move to an emissions-free future would create millions of jobs, cut trillions in health and climate costs, and help save the planet from global warming.”

Ford powers ahead with energy and water targets: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3016263/ford-powers-ahead-with-energy-and-water-targets “Ford, one of the world's biggest automakers, is on track to hit its carbon reduction targets this year, way ahead of its 2025 deadline. According to its 2016 sustainability report, released on Friday, the carmaker has cut carbon emissions per vehicle produced by 29.6 per cent since 2010, putting it within touching distance of its 30 per cent target it originally aimed to hit by 2030.”

China has already surpassed its 2020 solar target: http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/08/25/china-raises-solar-power-target/ “China has more than doubled its end-of-decade solar power target, with new installations dramatically outstripping expectation.”

From Thousands to Billions - Coordinated Action towards 100% Net Zero Carbon Buildings By 2050: http://www.worldgbc.org/news-media/thousands-billions-coordinated-action-towards-100-net-zero-carbon-buildings-2050 “In From Thousands to Billions - Coordinated Action towards 100% Net Zero Carbon Buildings By 2050, WorldGBC calls for a dramatic and ambitious transformation towards a completely zero carbon built environment, through the dual goals of: All new buildings must operate at net zero carbon from 2030; 100% of buildings must operate at net zero carbon by 2050”

Active travel & transport

Cities Alive: Towards a Walking World: http://publications.arup.com/publications/c/cities_alive_towards_a_walking_world “Cities Alive: Towards a walking world highlights the significant social, economic, environmental and political benefits of walking. Informed by specialist insight and multidisciplinary expertise from across our global offices, we highlight 50 benefits of walking explored through 16 distinct indicative themes, and list 40 actions that city leaders can consider to inform walking policy, strategy and design. These are informed by a catalogue of 80 international case studies that will inspire action, and further aid cities in identifying and evaluating opportunities.”

Urban Transport Group: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/ “The Urban Transport Group brings together and promotes the interests of Britain's largest urban areas on transport.  Our full members are Transport for West Midlands, Merseytravel (Merseyside), North East Combined Authority, South Yorkshire PTE (Sheffield City Region), Transport for Greater Manchester, Transport for London, West Yorkshire Combined Authority.  We also have associate members which are Bristol and the West of England Partnership, Nottingham City Council, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Tees Valley Combined Authority. Between them our members serve over 24 million people.”

The Scandinavian Way to Better Public Transport: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/resources/types/reports/scandinavian-way-better-public-transport “Our new report, The Scandinavian Way to Better Public Transport, shows how the Scandinavians put a high value on making their city regions sustainable, liveable and attractive places in which to live and invest. This has led them to promote active travel and to invest in smart, green and high quality public transport networks. In doing so they are moving quickly towards new smart ways of paying for access to transport, phasing out diesel buses to improve air quality, and investing heavily in more and better tram, train and bus services.”

How do you get more kids cycling to school? http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/34664770 The views of children and young people – some very sensible suggestions.

Is the UK really menaced by reckless cyclists? https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2017/aug/29/is-the-uk-really-menaced-by-reckless-cyclists “The anti-cycling backlash in the media in the aftermath of Charlie Alliston trial suggests roads and streets overrun by dangerous cyclists, but is this true?”

One of the most important parts of bike infrastructure is invisible: http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/one-of-the-most-important-parts-of-bike-infrastructure-is-invisible/ “Since its founding 50 years ago, the top U.S. agency for investigating transportation injuries had been suprisingly quiet about a phenomenon that's behind 30 percent of U.S. traffic fatalities. Like much of the country's transportation safety establishment, the National Transportation Safety Board had frequently avoided the subject of the speed of private cars. It did so even though the issue has been coming up since the very first collision the agency investigated, in Joliet, Illinois, in 1967.”

A Right to the Road Understanding & Addressing Bicyclist Safety: http://www.ghsa.org/sites/default/files/2017-08/2017BicyclistSafetyReport-FINAL.pdf - more coverage: Providing safe roads is key to growing bicycle culture, report finds: https://mobilitylab.org/2017/08/24/providing-safe-roads-key-growing-bicycle-culture-report-finds/

Driverless cars could see humankind sprawl ever further into the countryside: https://theconversation.com/driverless-cars-could-see-humankind-sprawl-ever-further-into-the-countryside-83028 “Self-driving cars will change how we live, in all sorts of ways. But they won’t just affect us humans – the coming revolution in autonomous transport has significant implications for wildlife as well. Nature conservationists and planners need to think hard about the impact of driverless vehicles, most notably in terms of renewed urban sprawl.”

The government has announced plans to trial self-driving lorries on major roads in the UK. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41038220 . Some different perspectives; Self-driving truck trials 'could slash pollution and emissions': https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3016236/self-driving-convoy-gbp81m-truck-trials-could-slash-pollution-and-emissions . UK to test self-driving truck platoons: https://www.theengineer.co.uk/uk-self-driving-truck-platoons/ . 'Self-driving' trucks are coming to UK roads after the government approved a trial: http://uk.businessinsider.com/self-driving-trucks-trial-major-uk-roads-2018-department-transport-2017-8?r=US&IR=T . Semi-automated truck convoys get green light for UK trials: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/aug/25/semi-automated-truck-convoy-trials-get-uk-go-ahead-platooning

Air quality & pollution

NO₂ – not as bad as we thought? https://theconversation.com/no-not-as-bad-as-we-thought-83056 “... This huge reduction was attributed to new advice from the independent experts of the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution (COMEAP), which had found it difficult to disentangle the impacts of specific pollutants – in this case NO₂ – from that of the whole mix of traffic-related pollutants.”

Maternal exposure to ambient air pollution and fetal growth in North-East Scotland: A population-based study using routine ultrasound scans: http://aura.abdn.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/2164/9085/Maternal_exposure_to_ambient_air_pollution_and_fetal_growth_in_North_East_Scotland.pdf?sequence=1 “Conclusions: Fetal growth is strongly associated with particulates exposure from later in second trimester on-wards but the effect appears to be subsumed by smoking. Typical ambient exposures in this study were relatively low compared to other studies and given these results, it may be necessary to consider reducing recommended “safe” ambient air exposures.”

London should lead in showing electric cars will not tackle air pollution: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/04/london-should-lead-in-showing-electric-cars-will-not-tackle-air-pollution “The government’s new strategy does not go far enough in recognising fewer vehicles, not just cleaner ones, are the answer” – more here: Total car ban is the only way to beat air pollution in cities, expert warns: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/air-pollution-electric-car-ban-petrol-diesel-environment-professor-frank-kelly-london-emissions-a7878306.html “An influx of electric vehicles will not solve the toxic air crisis, which can only be beaten by ensuring there are 'fewer cars, not just cleaner cars', Professor Frank Kelly claims”

Diesel scrappage: don’t hold your breath: http://neweconomics.org/2017/08/scrappage_schemes/ “This week, car giant Ford announced a new scrappage scheme for old diesel cars. They’re offering at least £2,000 for the trade in of a pre-2010 motor (any brand) for a new one – as long as it’s made by Ford, obviously. This is smart PR for the UK’s leading car maker – something that it – and the industry it leads – desperately need. But are scrappage schemes really the answer to the UK’s diesel crisis?”

Royal Mail trials ‘large payload’ fully-electric trucks: http://www.airqualitynews.com/2017/08/23/royal-mail-trials-large-payload-fully-electric-trucks/ “Royal Mail is to trial the use of nine fully-electric trucks weighing up to 7.5 tonnes from its Mount Pleasant Mail Centre in London, under a partnership with the Banbury-based electric vehicle manufacturer Arrival.”

Food & food security

High-profile Tories back Labour bill on free meals in school holidays: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/aug/30/high-profile-tories-back-labour-bill-on-free-meals-in-school-holidays “Jacob Rees-Mogg and Mel Stride among those supporting Frank Field’s proposals to help poorer children who may go hungry”

Better Food Britain: The legal milestones ahead: https://www.sustainweb.org/blogs/jul17_better_food_britain_legal_milestones_ahead/ “The UK’s departure from the European Union has profound implications for our food, farming and fishing. The Sustain alliance Campaign for a Better Food Britain seeks to ensure the best possible outcome for the UK’s food, farming and fishing industries, for citizens and the environment.”

Backstreet fried chicken shops must stop using killer trans fat: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2140478-backstreet-fried-chicken-shops-must-stop-using-killer-trans-fat/

We must protect high standards for baby food: https://www.sustainweb.org/blogs/jul17_baby_food_standards_need_protection/ “It's not just chlorine-dipped chicken. The quality and safety of baby food are at risk from the Repeal Bill and new international trade deals. We need strong standards and institutions to ensure babies get the nutrition and protection they need”

In Baltimore and Washington, D.C., fresh thinking about food: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/baltimore-and-washington-dc-fresh-thinking-about-food “BALTIMORE — How does a city recoup from food emergencies — cutoffs of normal supply triggered by storms, droughts or civil unrest? How does it assure an ongoing supply of healthy and fresh foods, especially for low-income neighbourhoods? A report released in Baltimore this month takes a fresh look at the issue. It examines threats to Baltimore’s food supply and suggests responses to emergencies, from heavy snowstorms to terrorism, that can easily strangle the flow of food into the city.”

Mmm, a mealworm burger…that sounds good. A Swiss supermarket is selling food made from insects: http://tsss.ca/channels/food-and-sustainability/mmm-a-mealworm-burger-that-sounds-good-a-swiss-supermarket-is-selling-food-made-from-insects “Switzerland this year became the first European country to allow the sale of insect-based food for humans. Despite being considered delicacies in some Asian nations, as actress Angelina Jolie demonstrated on a trip to Cambodia earlier this year, insects are banned as food in many western countries. However, Switzerland altered its food safety laws in May to allow the sale of food items based on three types of insect: grasshoppers, crickets and mealworms.”

World’s soils have lost 133bn tonnes of carbon since the dawn of agriculture: https://www.carbonbrief.org/worlds-soils-have-lost-133bn-tonnes-of-carbon-since-the-dawn-of-agriculture “The world’s soils have lost a total of 133bn tonnes of carbon since humans first started farming the land around 12,000 years ago, new research suggests. And the rate of carbon loss has increased dramatically since the start of the industrial revolution.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 25 August 2017

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

Sustainable development goals

The seven tactics unhealthy industries use to undermine public health policies: https://theconversation.com/the-seven-tactics-unhealthy-industries-use-to-undermine-public-health-policies-81137 “Across Africa there are examples of governments trying to introduce policies that improve health, and protect the environment only to find their efforts undermined by unhealthy corporations, and their industry associations. A case in point is South Africa’s efforts to introduce a tax on sugary drinks to reduce the growing burden of obesity. In the process they are facing a barrage of resistance. This is one small example of unhealthy industries undermining the public’s health and the global environment.” – Useful summary of the tactics used to discredit and attack scientific evidence that threatens profits.

Measuring global biodiversity change: https://phys.org/news/2017-08-global-biodiversity.html “A new paper co-authored by a group of international scientists, among them UvA researcher W. Daniel Kissling, shows how Essential Biodiversity Variables can be produced to measure biodiversity change at a global scale.” Source paper here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/brv.12359/abstract;jsessionid=603A5F286B00DB6030F83C0B6026AEB3.f02t01

Opinion: Creating a safer world for children: https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-creating-a-safer-world-for-children-90873 “One year ago marked a historical milestone in realizing the rights of children: the launch of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. Amid a flurry of activity and emotion, government ministers, the U.N. secretary-general, young people from Central America, foundation and civil society leaders, and actress Lucy Liu gathered in New York to take this important step.”

New app to support disability in emergency response: https://www.devex.com/news/new-app-to-support-disability-in-emergency-response-90893 “An initiative of CBM’s Inclusive Emergency Response Unit, the Humanitarian Hands on Tool, or HHoT, provides field workers with guidelines to help them incorporate disability-inclusive thinking into their humanitarian action on the ground. Ramps, washrooms and communication are among the tasks and processes outlined for implementing solutions.”

There is a major obstacle to tracking disability inclusion in the SDGs: https://www.devex.com/news/there-is-a-major-obstacle-to-tracking-disability-inclusion-in-the-sdgs-90762 “As countries work through the early stages of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, a development agenda designed to represent everyone, some disability experts are questioning how effectively national plans can incorporate people with disabilities.”

Government accused of breaching UN convention in its treatment of disabled people: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/government-disabled-people-un-convention-treatment-breach-a7900176.html “'The Government will claim we’re world leaders in disability rights, but actually things have gone rapidly backwards in the last 10 years,' disability organisations will tell major UN committee” More here - BREAKING: The UN has just accused the Tories of creating a ‘human catastrophe’ in the UK: https://www.thecanary.co/2017/08/24/breaking-un-just-accused-tories-creating-human-catastrophe-uk/ “The UN has condemned the Conservative government for creating what it calls a “human catastrophe” in the UK. It follows a previous report which stated that the Tories had committed “grave” and “systematic” violations of human rights on British shores. And the UN accused the government of using a “smoke screen” and “misusing statistics” to try and cover its tracks.”

Number of problem gamblers in the UK rises to more than 400,000: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/24/problem-gamblers-uk-gambling-commission-report “Gambling Commission report finds more than 2 million people are addicted to gambling or at risk of developing a problem”

A stupid gamble on evil machines: https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/19/a-stupid-gamble-on-evil-machines “The government’s failure to clamp down on fixed-odds betting terminals must be down to stupidity or corruption and I’m not sure which of those I hope it is. Which is better? Idiots or crooks? It would make a good parlour game.”

These Young Entrepreneurs Are Focusing Their Efforts On The Sustainable Development Goals: https://www.fastcompany.com/40454087/these-young-entrepreneurs-are-focusing-their-efforts-on-the-sustainable-development-goals “At the second annual Young Sustainable Impact conference in Oslo, Norway, 25 innovators–all under 25, from all around the world–are coming together to develop solutions for global issues.”

Tata group launches report on its sustainable work: http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/tata-group-launches-report-on-its-sustainable-work-2367235.html “The report maps out the Group's contribution in business, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and philanthropy, and are aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), identified in September 2015 and subsequently agreed on and committed to by 193 countries, a statement said.”

Next month, a key opportunity to re-imagine the global response to an urban world: http://citiscope.org/commentary/2017/08/next-month-key-opportunity-re-imagine-global-response-urban-world “A high-level U.N. meeting on 5-6 September may sound arcane, but the decisions made there could decide how sustainable our cities are for generations. Here’s what needs to happen.”

Brexit, trade and the economic impacts on UK Cities: http://www.centreforcities.org/publication/brexit-trade-economic-impacts-uk-cities/ “This paper summarises new analysis by the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) and Centre for Cities, which examines for the first time the potential impact of both a ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ Brexit on British cities in the ten years following the implementation of new trade arrangements with the EU.”

Healthy planning & environment

OS Greenspace – a more active, greener, healthier nation: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/getoutside/greenspaces/ “Finding greenspaces has never been easier! The new free Greenspace layer in OS Maps is the easiest way to discover greenspaces across Britain. Discover the great outdoors! Whether it’s a quick click online or a simple tap on the app, OS Maps lets you find different places for leisure and recreation across England, Scotland and Wales. Stroll across a public park, run around a playing field, exercise at a sports facility, have fun in a play area, or reap the rewards of renting an allotment. Greenspace is Britain’s most comprehensive catalogue of accessible places.”

Health and environmental impact assessment: guide for local teams: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-and-environmental-impact-assessment-guide-for-local-teams “To help local public health teams identify when and how to contribute to environmental impact assessments.”

Heart Foundation – Healthy Active by Design: http://www.healthyactivebydesign.com.au “The Heart Foundation is committed to making it easier for Australians to lead heart-healthy lives.  For more than 20 years we have worked to support the creation of healthy built environments and help planners, developers and communities work towards creating healthier streets, towns and cities. We are pleased to launch our new National website for Australians concerned with, or working in the creation of, liveable places and spaces. The website provides the best available evidence, practical advice, checklists and case studies to assist with the development of healthy neighbourhoods that promote walking, cycling and public life.” – An excellent site with links, resources and case studies – from Australia but relevant anywhere.

Are green cities healthy and equitable? Unpacking the relationship between health, green space and gentrification: http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2017/08/19/jech-2017-209201?rss=1 “…Who benefits in the short and long term from greening interventions in lower income or minority neighbourhoods undergoing processes of revitalisation? And, can green cities be both healthy and just? We propose the Green Gentrification and Health Equity model which provides a framework for understanding and testing whether gentrification associated with green space may modify the effect of exposure to green space on health.”

Healthy planning and regeneration innovations: http://brebuzz.net/2017/08/22/healthy-planning-and-regeneration-innovations/ “Planning and regeneration can help create health promoting environments that are good for people and the environment. Over the last year I’ve been working with Southwark Council on an ambitious project to raise the profile of health and wellbeing in the Council’s planning activities, particularly for the regeneration of Old Kent Road.”

Mayor's health inequality plan stresses role of high-density development: http://www.planningresource.co.uk/article/1442765/mayors-health-inequality-plan-stresses-role-high-density-development “A draft plan to tackle health inequality in the capital, published today by by the mayor of London, stresses the role of high-density development in addressing the issue and says the new London Plan will 'strengthen the consideration of the impact of planning on health'.”

Who should own our communities? The case for social and public ownership in the UK: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/who-should-own-our-communities-the-case-for-social-and-public-ownership-in-the-uk/ “Should people own their local environment? Robin Jervis presents the arguments around community ownership and control. He explains how this idea could help move democracy closer to the people and help counter the trend of privatisation in public services.”

Norway embarks on mission improbable: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/08/19/norway-embarks-mission-improbable/ “For years Norway has charged British cities to take their waste while creating a valuable source of heat and energy on the side. Now it has plans to create a third source of income from UK rubbish.”

Going underground: the biggest underground bin system in the UK starts operating in north-west Cambridge: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/news/2017/08/07/going-underground-the-biggest-underground-bin-system-in-the-uk-starts-operating-in “There will be no wheelie bins at the development, instead residents will take their waste and mixed recycling to sleek steel bin chutes set into the pavement outside their homes. The items fall into a large underground chamber, and a sensor notifies the council when it is full, so that collections need only take place when needed. A specialist lorry then hoists the container out of the ground with a crane and empties the waste into the vehicle.”

Garden Bridge plans ‘terminated’ due to lack of mayoral support: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Garden-Bridge-plans-terminated-due-to-lack-of-mayoral-support/43616 “Plans to build a Garden Bridge over the Thames have been officially terminated due to what the charity behind the scheme describe as a lack of mayoral support.”

Designing a Megacity for Mental Health: https://www.citylab.com/solutions/2017/08/designing-a-megacity-for-mental-health/537423/ “A new report assesses how Tokyo’s infrastructure affects residents’ emotional well-being, offering lessons for other cities.”


housing and public health: http://www.sitra.org/policy-good-practice/housing-for-health/housing-and-public-health/  “Public Health England commissioned Sitra to carry out a study on the impact of the housing workforce on health outcomes, build case studies and develop a suite of training to enable housing providers to develop their staff to become part of the wider public health workforce. These resources will equip staff to begin conversations with their customers about their health on topics such as smoking and harmful drinking, dementia, mental health and wellbeing.”

Why Architects Should Care About Public Health: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-architects-should-care-about-public-health_us_5995b4cde4b056a2b0ef039d “While architects have long recognized the importance of human health — including physical, mental, and social well-being — as part of their mission, implementation sometimes reflects a spirit of compliance more than of aspiration. Design that is limited to preventing harm by meeting building codes and standards forfeits the full range of design possibilities that could enhance the health and quality of life of a building’s occupants and visitors.”

Poor health both a cause and effect of homelessness in Wales: https://www.bigissue.com/news/poor-health-both-cause-and-effect-homelessness-wales/ “A government-backed report finds that many people in Wales become homeless because of health issues”

Let's be honest - if you're middle class, you're less likely to become homeless: https://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2017/jul/28/middle-class-homelessness-myth-poverty-racism-structural-issues “The myth that we’re all just two paycheques away from sleeping rough ignores the real inequality in this country”

Figures reveal over 100,000 new homes built last year: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Figures-reveal-over-100000-new-homes-built-last-year/43677 “New figures show more than 153,000 new homes were built in the last year, an increase of 11% compared to the 12 months before.”

Climate change & sustainability

A range of articles and thought pieces on electrification, decarbonisation and the shift to electric cars.

  • From the National Grid – Energy Insights: Forecourt thoughts: Mass fast charging of electric vehicles: http://fes.nationalgrid.com/media/1221/forecourt-thoughts-v10.pdf “... But if all cars were electric and they were to have the range of today’s petrol and diesel cars (internal combustion engines, ICE) they will need to have large capacity batteries installed.  Residential charging is the norm now but is it going to be a viable solution for the future? What about those without off street parking? What about multiple EV households? Can our domestic electricity supply take the extra demand? “
  • Do electric vehicles actually reduce carbon emissions? https://www.drax.com/technology/electric-vehicles-actually-reduce-carbon-emissions/ “Electric vehicles reduce air pollution but they also increase demand for electricity. So just how green are they? There is no doubt that EVs will make up a significant part in the future of our mobility. That they will also play a part in the future of cleaning up that mobility is as good as assured, but on this journey, it’s imperative we keep our eyes on the road.”
  • Norway could become world’s first fully electric powered country: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/norway-electric-powered-country-first-fully-green-energy-clean-cars-a7898701.html “Norway can become the world’s first fully electric-powered country with a concerted push for sustainability, according to an energy think tank. Energi Norge, a industry advisory body, set out its green energy programme and said it was possible for the country to operate entirely using clean electricity by 2050.”
  • What you need to know about Britain’s electricity last quarter: https://www.drax.com/energy-policy/what-you-need-to-know-about-britains-electricity-last-quarter/ “More records fell in spring/summer as Britain’s energy system accelerates toward decarbonisation”

The solar eclipse has prompted a number of articles on climate change, the role of the Sun and a case study for using evidence on climate change.

  • Solar eclipse: Why the sun is not responsible for recent climate change: https://www.carbonbrief.org/why-the-sun-is-not-responsible-for-recent-climate-change “With a total solar eclipse sweeping across North America, everyone is suddenly paying attention to the sun. One of the most common sceptical arguments against human-caused climate change is that changes in solar activity, rather than just CO2, is playing the biggest role.”
  • Should You Trust Climate Science? Maybe the Eclipse Is a Clue: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/08/18/climate/should-you-trust-climate-science-maybe-the-eclipse-is-a-clue.html “Thanks to the work of scientists, people will know exactly what time to expect the eclipse. In less entertaining but more important ways, we respond to scientific predictions all the time, even though we have no independent capacity to verify the calculations. We tend to trust scientists. For years now, atmospheric scientists have been handing us a set of predictions about the likely consequences of our emissions of industrial gases. These forecasts are critically important, because this group of experts sees grave risks to our civilization. And yet, when it comes to reacting to the warnings of climate science, we have done little.”
  • What blackout? How solar-reliant power grids passed the eclipse test: https://theconversation.com/what-blackout-how-solar-reliant-power-grids-passed-the-eclipse-test-82825 “The total solar eclipse that captivated the United States this week was more than just a celestial spectacle (and a reminder to take care of your eyes). It was also a valuable lesson in how to manage electricity grids when a crucial generation source – solar power, in this case – goes temporarily offline.”

Solar panel capacity to overtake nuclear energy next year in historic landmark: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/solar-panel-capacity-nuclear-energy-months-clean-energy-renewables-electricity-a7906291.html “Solar still generates less electricity than nuclear but it is growing rapidly”

These Concrete Gravity Trains May Solve the Energy Storage Problem: http://interestingengineering.com/concrete-gravity-trains-may-solve-energy-storage-problem/ “One of the most common ways that energy is stored in large scale for the grid is through pumped hydro electric storage dams…. One California company has come up with another solution, the Advanced Rail Energy Storage System, or ARES for short.”

It’s time to start thinking about our digital carbon footprint: https://theconversation.com/its-time-to-start-thinking-about-our-digital-carbon-footprint-81518 “Many assume that digital media is more environmentally friendly than traditional forms. Take publishing – there’s far less paper used, right? The publisher Schibsted, for example, argues that the move to digital has reduced its emissions by more than 50% from 2009 to 2015. Yet it is not always clear what to include within these measurements. Schibsted has, for example, focused on the type and volume of energy needed to power devices in terms of reading time. But other considerations, such as the use of files and access to cloud services, provide more complex challenges.”

The state of the planet is scary – but that’s just the start: http://neweconomics.org/2017/08/earth_overshoot_day “Scaring people is only the first step in driving climate action - we have to then show people how to channel their fear”

Q&A: The return of UK fracking and what it could mean for the climate: https://www.carbonbrief.org/qa-the-return-of-uk-fracking-and-what-it-could-mean-for-the-climate “The controversial technique for extracting shale gas and oil, known as fracking, is set to be used by the end of this year at a site in Fylde, Lancashire, owned by UK company Cuadrilla. The firm says it started drilling on 17 August. But how close is the UK to shale gas production on a large scale? And what would the carbon impacts of this be? Carbon Brief breaks down the key climate questions facing fracking in the UK.” : More here - UK's Largest Independent Oil and Gas Producer IGas 'Poised' for Fracking: https://www.desmog.uk/2017/08/22/igas-poised-uk-fracking

Assessing ExxonMobil's climate change communications (1977–2014): http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa815f/meta “This paper assesses whether ExxonMobil Corporation has in the past misled the general public about climate change. We present an empirical document-by-document textual content analysis and comparison of 187 climate change communications from ExxonMobil, including peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed publications, internal company documents, and paid, editorial-style advertisements ('advertorials') in The New York Times.” : Media coverage: What Exxon Mobil didn’t say about climate change: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/22/opinion/exxon-climate-change-.html?mcubz=0 “Scrutiny is mounting on the world’s largest publicly traded oil and gas company. On multiple legal fronts the question is being asked: Did Exxon Mobil’s communications about climate change break the law?”

Cross-border train use 'cuts emissions': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-40998997 “A shift from air to rail for passengers travelling between Scotland and London has led to a major reduction in carbon emissions, according to a report.”

Stalled Agriculture Emissions Cuts Show Need for Green Brexit: https://www.desmog.uk/2017/08/23/lack-progress-agricultural-emission-reductions-shows-need-green-brexit “New government statistics released 22 August show UK farming emitted 49.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2015, the exact same amount as a year before and remaining at about the same level since 2008. Overall, agriculture accounted for about 10 percent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and remains the country’s fifth largest emitting sector.”

Active travel & transport

Which physical and social environmental factors are most important for adolescents’ cycling for transport? An experimental study using manipulated photographs: https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12966-017-0566-z “Results of this experimental study justify investment by local governments in well-separated cycling infrastructure, which seemed to be more important than cycling distance and the social environment.”

Illusory speedbumps: can these cheap tarmac Banksys slow drivers down? https://www.theguardian.com/cities/shortcuts/2017/aug/20/invisible-speedbumps-tfl-london-illusion “London hopes optical illusions painted on busy roads will trick motorists into reducing their speed. The locations are secret, but we tracked some down”

Average driver spends nearly £1,000 and wastes almost five days stuck in traffic a year: https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/average-driver-spends-nearly-ps1000-and-wastes-almost-five-days-stuck-traffic-year “The average motorist is being forced to waste £968 and spend 4.9 days stuck in traffic on major roads each year because of congestion, according to new analysis by the Local Government Association.” – this recognises that a major part of the solution must be to reduce the demand for car use

Tour of Britain race in Mansfield where cyclists banned: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-40974380 “A council has been accused of double standards for allowing a stage of a major cycle race to start in a town centre where cyclists have been banned.”

UK families could get money off shopping bills if they hit exercise goals: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/22/uk-families-money-off-shopping-bills-hit-exercise-goals-nhs “NHS ‘healthy towns’ scheme could offer rewards such as free cinema tickets in attempt to reduce lifestyle-related illnesses… Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, said it was crucial that health should be “designed in” to the much-needed wave of housebuilding across the country.””

Ford launches scrappage scheme offering at least £2,000 for any brand: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/22/ford-scrappage-scheme-vauxhall-bmw-uk “Company joins other manufacturers, including Vauxhall and BMW, in seeking to get dirtier vehicles off UK roads”

Air quality & pollution

Can traffic management strategies improve urban air quality? A review of the evidence: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140517301330 “This paper reviews the effectiveness of traffic management strategies (TMS) for mitigating emissions, ambient concentrations, human exposure, and health effects of traffic-related air pollution in urban areas. …  An evidence-based approach to transportation systems planning necessitates additional resource allocation to ex post evaluations and performance monitoring for air quality impacts of traffic management strategies.”

Essential evidence on a Page No 162: Air pollution exposure among motor vehicle occupants: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-162-air-pollution-exposure-among-motor-vehicle-occupants “Top line: A key concern for air pollution scientists and the broader clinical and public health community is a lack of awareness amongst the public and decision makers as to the potential high air pollution exposure levels for motor vehicle occupants. High pollutant exposure levels in urban areas, particularly under typical commute driving conditions, exposes vehicle occupants to health risks that are often significantly greater than that for those travelling by other modes.”

ClientEarth seeks ‘clarification’ over air quality plan: http://www.airqualitynews.com/2017/08/17/clientearth-asks-clarification-air-quality-plan/ “Environmental law firm ClientEarth has written to the government asking for “urgent answers” over the plan to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels in the UK.”

‘Significant’ drop in NO2 recorded on Putney High Street: http://www.airqualitynews.com/2017/08/16/significant-drop-in-no2-recorded-on-putney-high-street/ “Provisional data published by Wandsworth council suggests that pollution on Putney High Street has fallen dramatically, a fall that the council has attributed to action against highly-polluting buses.”

Moss may prove cheap city pollution monitor, study finds: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/21/moss-may-prove-cheap-city-pollution-monitor-study-finds “Common moss changes shape in areas of high nitrogen pollution and drought and has potential to be big bioindicator, say scientists”

UK company sells lead to last place on Earth where leaded petrol is legal: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/leaded-petrol-algeria-still-legal-innospec-cheshire-uk-sale-export-tel-tetraethyl-lead-a7907196.html “Greenpeace calls for Government to ban exports of tetraethyl lead, which was outlawed in the UK in 2000 because it can cause premature death, brain damage and a host of other health problems”

Food & food security

Our World in Data: https://ourworldindata.org/ - fascinating site with a wide range of mapped data and analysis covering many areas of interest. The food section includes; obesity, food per person, hunger and undernourishment, food prices….

A look towards… Food Brexit: The International Meat Trade Association: https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/news/43768/brexit-international-meat-trade-association/ “In a new series in which New Food looks forward to the upcoming ‘Food Brexit’ event, we speak to Katie Doherty, Policy Director at The International Meat Trade Association who will speaking in London in October.”

Saving Your Home From Food Waste, One Graying Avocado at a Time: https://www.citylab.com/environment/2017/08/food-waste-nrdc-amazon-echo-alexa/537630/ “Amazon’s Alexa can now field questions about storing and salvaging food before it lands in the dumpster or compost bin.

WMHPG news, information and resources 18 August 2017

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

Sustainable development goals

Reducing inequalities in health: towards a brave old world? https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2017/08/reducing-inequalities-health-towards-brave-old-world “In the past few weeks there has been a lot of interest in trends in population mortality and life expectancy. Michael Marmot pointed out that life expectancy at population level seems to have stalled, which served as a reminder that there has been concern about trends in mortality rates among older people, in 2015 in particular, but perhaps more importantly over a longer period since around 2010. Public Health England also published its first health profile for England and its interpretation of the mortality trends above. But here I want to focus on inequalities in health, and what three very recent pieces of information and analysis tell us.”

Metro Mayors Economic Data Dashboards: http://www.centreforcities.org/metro-mayors-dashboard/ “These economic data dashboards bring together key stats for mayoral combined authority. The data is based on what control the metro mayors have, and where the metro mayor’s policies could bring about economic change. The stats featured on the dashboard include transport, housing and jobs and employment growth. Click on each city on this page to access the full data dashboard”

Financing health systems to achieve the health Sustainable Development Goals: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(17)30294-2/fulltext “... It provides not only the estimated level of financing that will be required for the health SDGs to be reached, but also a global picture of how this target might be achieved. In this Comment, we discuss how their analysis could be of use to countries, and some of the implications for the global health community.”

Healthy planning & environment

Infographic: how do our surroundings influence our health? http://www.health.org.uk/blog/infographic-how-do-our-surroundings-influence-our-health “In June 2017, we released an infographic looking at the ‘bigger picture’ of what makes us healthy. It identified eight factors, outside of health care, that influence people’s opportunity to live a healthy life. One of these factors is our surroundings – this month’s infographic (shown below) looks at how health is influenced by how places, spaces and buildings make us feel, and the opportunities they provide.” Infographic at the bottom of the email

Accessing blue spaces: Social and geographic factors structuring familiarity with, use of, and appreciation of urban waterways http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204617301445?via%3Dihub “We found evidence supporting the idea that urban waterways are positive amenities for neighborhood quality of life. We also found that the farther away a household lived from the blue space, the less likely they were to be aware of or use the amenity. Surprisingly, we also found that while high socio-economic status (SES) and white respondents generally lived further from points of access to urban waterways, they reported higher familiarity and were more likely to spend time at them than lower SES and nonwhite Hispanic households.”

Changes to the guidance on Neighbourhood Plans: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/neighbourhood-planning--2 A number of the sections of guidance were updated at the end of July and in early August 2017.

Take Back the City: reclaiming London for the people: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/take-back-the-city-reclaiming-london-for-the-people-tim-white/ “If we vilify the disenfranchisement, disconnect and disparity across Britain’s towns and cities, we must surely act upon it. It is no secret that many Londoners feel ignored by the powers-that-be, in thrall to market forces. But there are other ways of expressing our perplexities than taking a baseball bat to Foxtons or Brick Lane’s Cereal Killer Café, writes Tim White.”

Don’t give up on ambitious green architecture – despite London’s Garden Bridge folly: https://theconversation.com/dont-give-up-on-ambitious-green-architecture-despite-londons-garden-bridge-folly-82602 “...the Garden Bridge’s failure shouldn’t be an excuse to rein in our ambitions. In order to deliver more innovative urban greening in London and beyond, there remains value in thinking bigger, bolder and greener.”

The real cost of regeneration – podcast: https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2017/aug/04/the-real-cost-of-regeneration-podcast “When private developers move in, the first eviction is accountability – then tenants’ complaints procedures and safety. Zoe Williams reveals the truth about for-profit council estates”

Trust – the antidote to risk: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/journal-in-conversation-withstephen-willacy-aou-city-architect-of-aarhus-on-trust-the-antidote-to-risk/ “Aarhus is regularly cited as the happiest city in Denmark. That Denmark itself is cited as the happiest country in the UN World Happiness Report of 2013 makes for a pretty good case for arguing that this post-industrial city is the happiest city worldwide. So is the job of city architect Stephen Willacy AoU already made much easier?”

Costa Rica aims to become the first country to ban all single-use plastics: http://inhabitat.com/costa-rica-aims-to-become-the-first-country-to-ban-all-single-use-plastics “Costa Rica is taking a stand against the plastic waste flooding our oceans and clogging up our landfills: the country is poised to become the first in the world to eliminate all single-use plastics. This isn’t just a ban on plastic bags or water bottles. Using a multi-prong approach, Costa Rica will eliminate plastic forks, lids and even coffee stirrers. And as if that wasn’t a lofty enough goal, they plan to do this by 2021.”


Third of private rented homes fail basic health and safety standards, new analysis finds: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/private-rental-homes-health-safety-standards-fail-third-landlords-lease-flats-houses-a7883016.html “Millions of UK people living in rented properties with dangerous hazards, despite private rents soaring”

Khan sets out new planning rules to boost affordable housing: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Khan-sets-out-new-planning-rules-to-boost-affordable-housing/43627 “New developments on public land in London will have to provide at least 50% affordable housing to benefit from faster planning rules, the mayor has announced.”

Weekly Economics Podcast: Will selling off public land make the housing crisis worse? http://neweconomics.org/2017/08/public-land-housing-crisis “Lots of land in the UK is owned by the government and local authorities – public land. But a load of it is being sold off, from old hospitals to sites owned by the Ministry of Defence. The government says that we should sell it to developers to build houses on to deal with the housing shortage. But is that really happening? Is selling off our public land really helping to solve the housing crisis?”

Climate change & sustainability

Much coverage this week of an item on climate change on Radio 4’s Today programme. The first part of the interview was with Al Gore, this was followed by an interview with Nigel Lawson, a frequent critic of climate change. As part of a fact check of Nigel Lawson’s statements, Carbon Brief have transcribed and annotated the interview: https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-lord-lawson-inaccurate-claims-about-climate-change-bbc-radio-four?ct=t(Carbon_Brief_Weekly_11_08_2017) . This was covered widely by the media, including; The Independent - http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/today-programme-nigel-lawson-al-gore-climate-change-denier-global-warming-bbc-radio-4-inconvenient-a7886426.html : The BBC- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40899188 : The Telegraph -  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/10/brian-cox-hits-bbc-inviting-climate-change-denier-radio-4/ : New Scientist - https://www.newscientist.com/article/2143769-the-bbc-should-stop-giving-unwarranted-airtime-to-nigel-lawson/ and the London School of Economics - http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/climate-correctness-lawson-climate-change-sceptic/

Factors associated with the climate change vulnerability and the adaptive capacity of people with disability: A systematic review: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/WCAS-D-16-0126.1?af=R& “People with disability experience multidimensional inequalities, which heighten their vulnerability to climate change. An understanding of the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of people with disability can be gained through considering how they have fared during the types of events associated with climate change, such as droughts, floods, heat waves, hurricanes, and wildfires. A systematic review was conducted to identify factors associated with climate change vulnerability and adaptive capacity of people with disability.”

Questions are being raise about the viability of fracking for shale gas in the UK. Fracking: Shale rock professor says UK gas reserves 'hyped': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40955249 “The gas reserves in shale rocks in the UK have been "hyped", a geology professor has warned.”. More detailed analysis from the author of the report - There may be a huge flaw in UK fracking hopes – the geology: https://theconversation.com/there-may-be-a-huge-flaw-in-uk-fracking-hopes-the-geology-80591

Opinion: Climate policymakers and assessments must get serious about climate engineering: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/08/14/1713456114.full “Climate engineering (CE)—the intentional, global-scale modification of the environment to help offset the effects of elevated greenhouse gases—appears able to reduce climate-change risks beyond what’s possible with mitigation and adaptation alone. Furthermore, the large-scale use of CE is probably essential for achieving prudent climate-change limits, including the Paris target of limiting the average global temperature rise to 1.5–2.0 °C”

An Eclipse Is Just What the U.S. Power Sector’s Been Waiting For: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-17/an-eclipse-is-just-what-the-u-s-power-sector-s-been-waiting-for “Turns out the solar eclipse, set to plunge parts of the U.S. into total darkness on Monday, will offer exactly what the power sector’s been looking for: a completely predictable stage for experiments.”

Changing climate shifts timing of European floods: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6351/588 “Warmer temperatures have led to earlier spring snowmelt floods throughout northeastern Europe; delayed winter storms associated with polar warming have led to later winter floods around the North Sea and some sectors of the Mediterranean coast; and earlier soil moisture maxima have led to earlier winter floods in western Europe. Our results highlight the existence of a clear climate signal in flood observations at the continental scale.” – Discussion here: Climate change is already shifting the timing of European floods, study says: https://www.carbonbrief.org/climate-change-is-already-shifting-the-timing-of-european-floods-study-says “Climate change is shifting the timing of river flooding across Europe, with parts of the continent experiencing flooding several weeks earlier or later than they did 50 years ago.”

Europe to be hit hard by climate-related disasters in the future: https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/news/europe-be-hit-hard-climate-related-disasters-future “Weather-related disasters could affect around two-thirds of the European population annually by the end of this century. This could result in a 50-fold increase in fatalities compared to today if no measures are taken, according to a new study by the Joint Research Centre”

Super-heatwaves of 55°C to emerge if global warming continues: http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=177994&CultureCode=en “Heatwaves amplified by high humidity can reach above 40°C and may occur as often as every two years, leading to serious risks for human health. If global temperatures rise with 4°C, a new super heatwave of 55°C can hit regularly many parts of the world, including Europe.”

Millions may face protein deficiency as a result of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/climate-change-carbon-emissions-protein-deficiency “Researchers estimate that roughly an additional 150 million people may be placed at risk of protein deficiency because of elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is the first study to quantify this risk.”

Britain spent 'twice as much on overseas fossil fuels as renewables': https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/11/britain-spent-twice-as-much-on-overseas-fossil-fuels-as-renewables “Nearly half of £6.1bn energy spending in developing countries from 2010-14 went on oil, coal and gas-fired schemes, data shows”

Greenland hit by largest wildfire on record, scientists report: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/greenland-wildfire-largest-on-record-scientists-report-a7883951.html “Greenland – a place more commonly associated with ice rather than fire – has been hit by exceptional wildfires this year, according to satellite images. Professor Stef Lhermitte, of Delft University in the Netherlands, reported that the largest blaze ever recorded had broken out on the island.”

Government holds crunch talks with industry giants over the future of British nuclear energy: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/08/13/government-holds-crunch-talks-industry-giants-future-british/ “The key nuclear power players have been called in by the Government for crunch talks on plans to meet Britain’s energy demands with new small reactor technology, amid mounting fears over delays and Whitehall paralysis.”

6 Charts to Understand U.S. State Greenhouse Gas Emissions: http://www.wri.org/blog/2017/08/6-charts-understand-us-state-greenhouse-gas-emissions “The following six charts show how emissions from U.S. states compare, how they are changing and what could come next. These are based on the latest greenhouse gas emissions data World Resources Institute compiled for all 50 states”

Pakistani province plants one billion trees to help slow down effects of global warming: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/pakistan-plant-billion-trees-global-warming-effects-climate-change-imran-khan-khyber-pakhtunkhaw-a7892176.html “Cricket-star turned politician Imran Khan launched the green initiative in Khyber Pakhtunkhaw after vast areas ravaged by floods and widespread felling”

Active travel & transport

Office of National Statistics - Are we ready to switch to electric cars? http://visual.ons.gov.uk/are-we-ready-to-switch-to-electric-cars/ “The government recently announced plans to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, which is part of a long-term plan to tackle air pollution. Emissions from vehicles contribute to pollution and climate change, as well as harming our health. As the UK’s plan for this notes: “Although air pollution has improved, it still poses an urgent health problem”.”

Cars, bicycles and the fatal myth of equal reciprocity: https://theconversation.com/cars-bicycles-and-the-fatal-myth-of-equal-reciprocity-81034 “The idea that the space someone’s car occupies on the road is personal space, where the car is treated as a proxy body with its own right not to be molested, shows just how far this notion of reciprocity has gone.”

GPs’ knowledge, use, and confidence in national physical activity and health guidelines and tools: a questionnaire-based survey of general practice in England: http://bjgp.org/content/early/2017/08/14/bjgp17X692513 “The majority of GPs in England (80%) are unfamiliar with the national PA guidelines. Awareness of the recommended tool for assessment, GPPAQ, is higher than use by GPs. This may be because it is used by other clinical staff, for example, as part of the NHS Health Check programme. Although brief advice in isolation by GPs on PA will only be a part of the behaviour change journey, it is an important prompt, especially if repeated as part of routine practice. This study highlights the need for significant improvement in knowledge, skills, and confidence to maximise the potential for PA advice in GP consultations.”

Automobile-dependency as a barrier to vision zero, evidence from the states in the USA: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001457517302476 “Taken as a whole, our findings suggest that if additional progress is to be made in reducing traffic fatalities, emphasis needs to move beyond simply focusing on policies such as GDL and seat belt laws, which have already been adopted by almost all jurisdictions across the United States. We need to also consider factors that focus on the type of urban form that we are creating to ensure that we are fostering environments that encourage multi-modal transportation such as walking to reduce the VMT and Vehicles per Capita, the two strongest predictors of traffic fatalities.”

This is why investing in roads doesn’t drive local growth: http://www.citymetric.com/transport/why-investing-roads-doesn-t-drive-local-growth-3229 “Road schemes are broadly considered as a reliable way to take lorries out of town centres and make people’s journeys faster and easier. Unfortunately, however, there is little robust evaluation evidence on the impact they have on local economic development.”

The rise of electric cars could leave us with a big battery waste problem: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/aug/10/electric-cars-big-battery-waste-problem-lithium-recycling “Carmakers, recyclers and tech startups are working to solve the question of how to deal with lithium-ion batteries when they wear out”

London to double electric car charging network by end of 2018: https://www.theclimategroup.org/news/london-double-electric-car-charging-network-end-2018 “The number of electric vehicle (EV) charge points in London is set to double to 1,500 by the end of 2018, following the announcement of a US$5.83 million (£4.5 million) investment from the Mayor’s Office last week.”

How can cities stop car being king? http://www.centreforcities.org/blog/can-cities-stop-car-king/ “Cutting down on the number of commuters using cars for short journeys will be key”

What would the perfect cycling city look like? https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/bike-blog/2017/aug/09/what-would-the-perfect-cycling-city-look-like “If you were building a city for bicycles from scratch, what would you include and leave out? In an edited excerpt from his new book Velotopia, Steven Fleming imagines a pedallers’ paradise”

Air quality & pollution

Particulate Matter Exposure and Stress Hormone Levels: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Crossover Trial of Air Purification: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/136/7/618 “This study suggests that higher PM may induce metabolic alterations that are consistent with activations of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal and sympathetic-adrenal-medullary axes, adding potential mechanistic insights into the adverse health outcomes associated with PM. Furthermore, our study demonstrated short-term reductions in stress hormone following indoor air purification.” Media coverage: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-pollution-stress-hormones-idUSKCN1AV1VK

The climate and air-quality benefits of wind and solar power in the United States: https://www.nature.com/articles/nenergy2017134 “Here we evaluate how wind and solar climate and air-quality benefits evolved during this time period. We find cumulative wind and solar air-quality benefits of 2015 US$29.7–112.8 billion mostly from 3,000 to 12,700 avoided premature mortalities, and cumulative climate benefits of 2015 US$5.3–106.8 billion.” Media coverage - http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/us-wind-power-solar-energy-renewables-prevent-12700-deaths-2015-clean-air-climate-change-a7894066.html

How California's climate policies created an economic boon: https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/how-californias-climate-policies-created-economic-boom “According to the first comprehensive study of the economic effects of climate programs in California’s Inland Empire, Riverside and San Bernardino counties experienced a net benefit of $9.1 billion in direct economic activity and 41,000 jobs from 2010 through 2016.”

The challenge of clean air zones: https://www.localgov.co.uk/The-challenge-of-clean-air-zones/43624 “The latest draft reveals that the Government is continuing to put its faith in a network of local authority –led clean air zones as a key mechanism for tackling nitrogen dioxide in towns and cities. It would be understandable if this caused some raised eyebrows and headscratching within local authorities – it might be said that a central plank of the government’s plan is effectively to delegate to local authorities the (not insignificant) task of implementing an effective clean air zone.”

Doctors Against Diesel - http://doctorsagainstdiesel.uk/contact “Let’s work together to win clean air. Join Doctors Against Diesel.”

Air quality plan shows the car is still king: http://environmentjournal.online/articles/air-quality-plan-shows-car-still-king/ “The government’s latest air quality plan represents yet another missed opportunity for real change, argues Rachel White of Sustrans”

Still failing to tackle air pollution: http://www.bmj.com/content/358/bmj.j3802 “New government plan does little to ease the crisis in UK towns and cities”

The death of the internal combustion engine: https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21726071-it-had-good-run-end-sight-machine-changed-world-death “It had a good run. But the end is in sight for the machine that changed the world”

Food & food security

Eating after Brexit: a new Victorian diet? https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/rsa-blogs/2017/08/healthy-eating-after-brexit-a-new-victorian-diet?id=utm_medium=newsletter/fellowship/140817# “Poor diets are a major public health challenge of our time. As Brexit will change how we eat, we need to plot a new relationship between food, farming and the countryside.”

Useful websites for food security information, research and articles:

K food self-sufficiency drops to 60%: http://www.fwi.co.uk/news/uk-food-self-sufficiency-drops-60-per-cent.htm “Brexit must be seen as an opportunity to enhance the nation’s ability to produce its own food, as self-sufficiency continues to decline, says the NFU. According to NFU president Meurig Raymond the importance of producing more of our own food has been thrown into even sharper focus by last year’s decision to leave the European Union.”

And finally….

The Shipwreck Graveyard in the Middle of a Desert: http://www.abandonedspaces.com/uncategorized/apocalypse-today-ship-graveyard-aralkum-desert.html

WMHPG news, information and resources 11 August 2017

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

Sustainable development goals

Essential reading from Sir Michael Marmot - Social justice, epidemiology and health inequalities: https://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10654-017-0286-3# “While it is important to consider alternative explanations of the social gradient in health—principal among them reverse causation—evidence strongly supports social causation. Social action is by its nature political. It is, though, a vital function to provide the evidence that underpins action.” Health inequalities in a world of President Trump, post-truth and Brexit.

North-South disparities in English mortality1965–2015: longitudinal population study: http://jech.bmj.com/content/71/9/928 “Conclusions: England's northern excess mortality has been consistent among those aged <25 and 45+ for the past five decades but risen alarmingly among those aged 25–44 since the mid-90s, long before the Great Recession. This profound and worsening structural inequality requires more equitable economic, social and health policies, including potential reactions to the England-wide loss of improvement in premature mortality.” – media coverage here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/08/alarming-rise-in-early-deaths-of-young-adults-in-the-north-of-england-study

Delivering the foundation of the Sustainable Development Goals: http://news.trust.org/item/20170807103841-anmhf “Next month marks the second anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 targets agreed by world leaders with the aim of ending poverty and hunger and bringing health, education, social equality and more to everyone, everywhere by 2030.  But the provision of clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene must be at the heart of each and every one of these goals if they’re to be achieved.”

Healthy planning & environment

Event: Building health into developments – How planning and public health can build a healthier future: http://agwpublichealthnetwork.info/events/building-health-into-developments-how-planning-and-public-health-can-build-a-healthier-future/ Free event, 5 & 6 September 2017, Taunton.

UN Report Criticises UK's Crackdown on Access to Environmental Justice: https://www.desmog.uk/2017/08/04/un-report-criticises-uk-s-crackdown-access-environmental-justice “The UK has been criticised in a new United Nations report for its poor record on providing fair access to the court system for people trying to protect their environment. The Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee report said the UK’s recent law reforms moved it “further away” from fulfilling its duty to allow citizens to bring forward environmental cases. The report supports arguments made by NGOs that the rules passed by the Ministry of Justice in February will deter people who want to go to court to protect the environment.”

Mayor and TfL offer £85.9 million to fund greener & healthier public spaces: https://www.london.gov.uk/city-hall-blog/mayor-and-tfl-offer-ps859-million-fund-greener-healthier-public-spaces “The new Liveable Neighbourhoods programme will support boroughs to improve health and air quality in their area. They'll have the opportunity to do things like: create new green spaces, build or improve infrastructure to encourage cycling, widen walking routes so that more people can access local shops, businesses, bus stops and train stations”

5 Lessons Learned through Livability Solutions’ Technical Assistance Program: https://www.pps.org/blog/5-lessons-learned-livability-solutions-technical-assistance-program/ “When posed the question “Would you rather live in a community where it’s easy to walk or one where it’s easy to drive,” three thousand Americans were evenly split on their answers. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) asked this question as part of its biennial Community & Transportation Preferences Survey and, compared to when the survey began 15 years ago, the split in responses represents a shift in preference towards sustainability.”

Explore 100 city solutions for a greener and fairer future: http://solutions.sustainia.me/cities/ “Here are 100 solu­tions from 61 cit­ies which show how local gov­ern­ments around the world are taking the necessary steps to mitigate and adapt to climate change, while at the same time creating valuable co-benefits for their economies, communities and citizens' health.

Revisiting the Resistance on England’s Fracking Frontline: https://www.desmog.uk/2017/08/01/revisiting-rolling-resistance-england-fracking-frontline


West Midlands in Context – issue 17 – build – local housing requirements: http://www.westmidlandsiep.gov.uk/news/2017/07/13/WMiC_Issue_17_-_Build_-_local_housing_requirements “At a time when official figures show that around 140,000 new homes were built last year, increasing housebuilding to the envisaged levels will be no easy task. Indeed a useful House Commons briefing on housing supply noted that since 1939 housebuilding has only exceeded 200,000 a year when there were large-scale public sector programmes. Following its precipitous decline, council-led building has increased, but it now makes up only a very small percentage of the new homes built. Currently, the bulk of housing comes from the private sector with around 20% from housing associations.” – Well worth signing up for the West Midlands in Context updates – cover a wide range of topics around economy, housing, transport and wider policy.

Making the case for affordable housing on public land: http://neweconomics.org/2017/07/affordable-housing-public-land  “…the government is continuing its policy of selling off public land owned by government departments to stimulate the development of new private homes. Cash-strapped public authorities across the country are selling off land to plug budgetary gaps. Development land values are climbing by 15% over the last year in urban centres across the country, and consequently the temptation to sell off the silver to make ends meet is not limited to London and the South East.”

Guidance: Improving health through the home: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-health-through-the-home/improving-health-through-the-home

JRF Response to the Housing White Paper consultation: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/jrf-response-housing-white-paper-consultation “How do we build more affordable homes, and make the private rented sector work for people on low incomes?”

Climate change & sustainability

New online assessment tool to support sustainability planning, reporting and action:  http://www.sduhealth.org.uk/news/558/new-online-assessment-tool-to-support-sustainability-planning-reporting-and-action “The SDU are excited to say that a new online sustainability assessment tool is being developed to replace the existing GCC (Good Corporate Citizen).”

Extreme weather 'could kill up to 152,000 a year' in Europe by 2100: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-40835663 “Extreme weather could kill up to 152,000 people yearly in Europe by 2100 if nothing is done to curb the effects of climate change, scientists say. The number is 50 times more deaths than reported now, the study in The Lancet Planetary Health journal said. Heat waves would cause 99% of all weather-related deaths, it added, with southern Europe being worst affected. Experts said the findings were worrying but some warned the projections could be overestimated.”

British government launches review to cut long-term energy costs: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-energy-idUSKBN1AL0SJ “Britain's government launched a review on how best to reduce long-term energy bills for households and business on Sunday, prompted in part by concern that high electricity costs could damage industrial competitiveness. The government said it was still committed to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in line with its existing legal commitments, but also wanted to reduce Britain's energy costs to the lowest in Europe.”

Carbon Brief have published a detailed overview of the scope and timescales for the UK energy review & of Prof Dieter Helm who will be carrying out the review: https://www.carbonbrief.org/depth-challenges-facing-dieter-helm-energy-cost-review

Electricity is a rip-off – we need a truly radical intervention in the energy market: https://theconversation.com/electricity-is-a-rip-off-we-need-a-truly-radical-intervention-in-the-energy-market-77502 “... For a start, the price cap won’t work because the market is not only broken, it never worked in the first place. Incredibly high start-up costs mean energy is a natural monopoly, in which a small number of companies have been protecting significant investments in fossil fuels and nuclear power since the sector was first privatised.”

Climate change is a top security threat, and most of the world knows it: http://grist.org/article/climate-change-is-a-top-security-threat-and-most-of-the-world-knows-it/ “People around the world consider climate change to be a top security threat — and in some cases the biggest threat, according to a survey published Tuesday by Pew Research Center. The poll surveyed 42,000 adults in 38 countries and asked them to prioritize eight types of perceived threats, including concern about the economy, cybersecurity, climate change, and ISIS. Of course, views on all these issues varied widely depending on region, age, and the political leanings of those who were surveyed. In most cases, especially in most western European countries, climate change ranks in second place when it’s not a top concern. Overall 13 countries surveyed — most clustered in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa — ranked global warming as the top concern. Eighteen nations picked ISIS.”

US federal department is censoring use of term 'climate change', emails reveal: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/07/usda-climate-change-language-censorship-emails “Exclusive: series of emails show staff at Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service advised to reference ‘weather extremes’ instead”

Climate change, sewage and fertilisers could trigger mass extinction of life in oceans, scientists warn: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-global-warming-sewage-fertilisers-mass-extinction-ocean-life-trigger-scientists-warn-a7884861.html “Areas of low oxygen known as 'dead zones' are spreading, killing or forcing marine life to flee”

Sea level fears as Greenland darkens: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40686984 “Scientists are "very worried" that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet could accelerate and raise sea levels more than expected. They say warmer conditions are encouraging algae to grow and darken the surface. Dark ice absorbs more solar radiation than clean white ice so warms up and melts more rapidly.”

Migrating birds can’t keep up with an earlier spring in a changing climate: https://www.carbonbrief.org/migrating-birds-cant-keep-earlier-spring-changing-climate “Migrating birds might not be able to fly home fast enough to meet shifts in springtime in Europe driven by climate change, new research suggests.”

NASA Finds New Way to Track Ocean Currents from Space: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/nasa-finds-new-way-to-track-ocean-currents-from-space “A team of NASA and university scientists has developed a new way to use satellite measurements to track changes in Atlantic Ocean currents, which are a driving force in global climate. The finding opens a path to better monitoring and understanding of how ocean circulation is changing and what the changes may mean for future climate.” – YouTube clip here showing the ocean currents (3 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCmTY0PKGDs

Storing clean energy in salt isn’t as crazy as it sounds: http://grist.org/article/storing-clean-energy-in-salt-isnt-as-crazy-as-it-sounds/ “Using giant vats of molten salt and antifreeze under the codename “Malta,” Google’s parent company Alphabet is joining Tesla and smaller companies that are developing ways to store wind and solar power affordably to expand renewables and combat climate change.”

Active travel & transport

RESEARCH: Scoping assessment of transport design targets to improve public mental health: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/journal-3---transport-and-mental-health.html “This assessment aims to apply the theory of urban design for good mental health specifically to the transport sector, identifying potential research and innovation targets in order to better leverage transportation design for mental health promotion.”

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

Transport poverty and fuel poverty in the UK: From analogy to comparison: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0967070X17304869?_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_origin=gateway&_docanchor=&md5=b8429449ccfc9c30159a5f9aeaa92ffb “    Transport affordability is only a subset of a broader 'transport poverty' problem. Mismatches between income, prices and energy efficiency worsen affordability. Households prioritise commuting over other expenditure, including domestic energy. Fuel poverty metrics should be carefully adapted for use in the transport domain. Social gradients in the diffusion of low-carbon technology are a matter of concern.”

Safer Cycling: Bicycle Ridership and Safety in New York City: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/bike-ridership-safety.shtml “This comprehensive study analyzes growth of cycling and NYC’s bicycle network, noting that as the number of regular bicyclists has increased, cycling has grown dramatically safer.” Media coverage here: More people riding bikes makes cycling safer for everyone, major new study finds: http://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/latest-news/more-people-riding-bikes-makes-cycling-safer-for-everyone-major-new-study-finds-344859#FmobgAUesIWOehMT.99

Horizon – 2017: Dawn of the Driverless Car: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08wwnwk/horizon-2017-dawn-of-the-driverless-car “This episode enters a world where cars can drive themselves, a world where we are simply passengers, ferried about by wholesome green compassionate technology which will never ever go wrong. And it is almost here. Horizon explores the artificial intelligence required to replace human drivers for cars themselves, peers into the future driverless world and discovers that, despite the glossy driverless PR (and assuming that they really can be made to work reliably), the reality is that it might not be all good news. From the ethics of driverless car crashes to the impact on jobs, it might be that cars are about to rise up against us in ways that none of us are expecting.”

Pedal power: Brompton's classic folding bike goes electric: https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/pedal-power-bromptons-classic-folding-bike-goes-electric-a3598366.html “Zippy and developed with the help of a Formula 1 team, a powered version of the classic folding bike is set to be unveiled.”

World's biggest bike parking garage opens in Utrecht – but Dutch dream of more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/07/worlds-biggest-bike-parking-garage-utrecht-netherlands “Space under train station in Utrecht, where 40% of visitors arrive on two wheels, will eventually have room for 12,500 bikes”

The economic black hole at the heart of the shift to electric vehicles: https://theconversation.com/the-economic-black-hole-at-the-heart-of-the-shift-to-electric-vehicles-81959 “The ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040 is perhaps the most significant policy announcement made by the UK government in the past decade (with the possible exception of Brexit). It feels like a key moment for the fight against pollution and climate change, but the shift from petrochemicals to electric vehicles will be disruptive and extremely expensive. The ramifications need to be considered systematically.”

An alternative view? This “War on Cars” Video Will Defend America From Transit-Riding Infidels: http://usa.streetsblog.org/2017/08/03/this-war-on-cars-video-will-defend-america-from-transit-riding-infidels/ “Mockery isn't necessary, but we're mocking it anyway.”

Air quality & pollution

2040 is too long to wait for air-quality improvements: https://betterhealthforall.org/2017/08/03/2040-is-too-long-to-wait-for-air-quality-improvements/ “The government is proposing to ban the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040, to address air pollution in the UK that regularly breaches health-based EU regulations. There are three main ways to improve UK air quality: reducing emissions from vehicles; driving less; and dealing with other sources of air pollution. The government’s preferred approach seems to be ‘business as usual, but less pollution from existing travel patterns’.”

UK Government’s Air Quality Plan shows lack of leadership: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/blog/uk-government’s-air-quality-plan-shows-lack-leadership “The plan itself appears to be a plan for lots of other plans, seemingly ignoring the urgency and speed of action needed to address the fact that 40,000 people are dying prematurely in the UK every year from this public health crisis – that’s nearly a million (920,000) premature deaths over 23 years. Road transport is responsible for 80% of NOX where legal limits are being broken with the majority of that pollution from diesel.”

Electric cars are not the answer to air pollution, says top UK adviser: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/04/fewer-cars-not-electric-cars-beat-air-pollution-says-top-uk-adviser-prof-frank-kelly “Prof Frank Kelly says fewer not cleaner vehicles are needed, plus more cycling and walking and better transit systems”

Pollution charges could be brought in for three Birmingham roads: What leaders have said: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/pollution-charges-could-brought-three-13388858 “Three of Birmingham’s most heavily congested and polluted commuter roads could be targeted with fresh restrictions after the Government launched a £225 million fund to tackle chronic air pollution. The A38 through the city, the A452 Chester Road and the Great Charles Street Queensway and the A38 tunnels appear on a list of the UK’s roads most in need of intervention.”

Mazda boosts petrol engine efficiency in fresh blow to diesel: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/08/mazda-petrol-engine-breakthrough-puts-another-nail-in-the-coffin-of-diesel “Japanese carmaker says from 2019 it will sell cars fitted with engines that largely eliminate need for spark plugs, improving fuel consumption by 30%”

Cheshire East council admits air pollution data was falsified: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/02/cheshire-east-council-admits-falsifying-air-pollution-data “Council apologises for serious errors in air quality readings over three years and says it is reviewing planning applications” : Council reviews planning decisions owing to wrong air quality data: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/514/planning_news_-_3_august_2017  “The investigation’s findings suggest that serious errors have been made in the council’s air quality data for 2012, 2013 and 2014. “It is clear that these errors are the result of deliberate and systematic manipulation of data from a number of diffusion tubes.””

Roads could be covered with 'tunnels' to absorb pollution: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/aug/03/roads-could-be-covered-with-polytunnels-to-absorb-pollution “Highways Agency studies Dutch scheme using ‘cantilevered canopies’ covered with pollution-absorbing material in effort to improve air quality” More here: http://www.airqualitynews.com/2017/08/02/10613/

Food & food security

Inter-sectoral action to support healthy and environmentally sustainable food behaviours: a study of sectoral knowledge, governance and implementation opportunities: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11625-017-0459-8?wt_mc=Internal.Event.1.SEM.ArticleAuthorOnlineFirst “There is increasing attention to the importance of healthy and environmentally sustainable food supply and demand but little empirical research exists on how this might be achieved. This study examines the potential for inter-sectoral policy and action to support consumer adoption of healthy and sustainable food behaviours, focusing on three key themes: (1) sectoral understandings of healthy and sustainable food behaviours”

Chlorine-washed chicken Q&A: food safety expert explains why US poultry is banned in the EU: https://theconversation.com/chlorine-washed-chicken-qanda-food-safety-expert-explains-why-us-poultry-is-banned-in-the-eu-81921 “Why are chickens washed with chlorine in the US? It all comes down to money and efficiency of space. The majority of farmers do care about rearing their birds, but as profit margins can be very tight, animal welfare is sidelined to keep costs down. In the EU, cost is also important, but the law means it can’t come at the expense of the birds’ basic welfare. There is a legal minimum amount of space, lighting and ventilation for EU poultry rearing houses.”

Brexit could leave Britain with a bare larder, farmers warn: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/05/brexit-could-leave-britain-with-a-bare-larder-farmers-warn “NFU says UK produces only 60% of its own food and must increase production to avoid food insecurity after leaving EU”

They say after Brexit there’ll be food rotting in the fields. It’s already started: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/05/brexit-uk-food-industry-eu-fruit-veg-pickers  “Farms in the UK rely on fruit and vegetable pickers from the European Union. But this summer they’re staying away, and the harvest will be hit”

Meat industry blamed for largest-ever 'dead zone' in Gulf of Mexico: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/01/meat-industry-dead-zone-gulf-of-mexico-environment-pollution “A new report shows toxins from suppliers to companies like Tyson Foods are pouring into waterways, causing marine life to leave or die”

How the World Food Programme changes lives: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/world-food-programme/the-wfp-in-numbers-infographic/ “The World Food Programme (WFP) is the leading humanitarian organisation committed to fighting hunger. Here’s a breakdown of its key achievements”

And finally….

The Beauty of Transport - Barnstormer (Barnsley Interchange, South Yorkshire, UK): https://thebeautyoftransport.com/2017/08/02/barnstormer-barnsley-interchange-south-yorkshire-uk/ “Thanks to Jefferson Sheard Architects and the engineering input of Arup, however, I also now know that Barnsley has an eye-catching and award-winning new transport interchange and bus station. Even if Barnsley never quite made the transformation to glowing Tuscan hill-top settlement, the new interchange is a landmark of which the town can be justly proud.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 4 August 2017

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

Sustainable Development Goals

Earth Overshoot Day 2017 lands on August 2: http://www.overshootday.org/ “By August 2, 2017, we will have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the whole year. We use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than forests can sequester.” – Calculate your personal overshoot day - http://www.footprintcalculator.org/#!/

Earth Overshoot Day: From this day on we're using an unsustainable amount of the Earth's resources: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/02/earth-overshoot-day-day-using-unsustainable-amount-earths-resources/ “Today marks Earth Overshoot Day - the day by which the human race will have used more of Earth's natural resources than the planet can renew in the whole year. Put simply, we use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate and this puts the Earth on an unsustainable trajectory. Through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than forests can sequester, humans are demanding more from the earth than it can produce.”

Investigating the impact of the English health inequalities strategy: time trend analysis: http://www.bmj.com/content/358/bmj.j3310 “Conclusion: The English health inequalities strategy was associated with a decline in geographical inequalities in life expectancy, reversing a previously increasing trend. Since the strategy ended, inequalities have started to increase again. The strategy may have reduced geographical health inequalities in life expectancy, and future approaches should learn from this experience. The concerns are that current policies are reversing the achievements of the strategy.”

Consultation from the Office of National Statistics: Our consultation on sustainable development goals (SDGs) is live. The purpose of the consultation is to seek views on ONS’s approach to the measurement and reporting of UK progress against the global indicators that underpin the SDGs. Whether you provide data to feed into these measures, are interested in helping to shape how the SDGs will be reported on to help you with your decision making or are simply interested in how you can help play your part in making global progress, we encourage you to take part. Your feedback will help us effectively measure the UK's progress against the goals and disseminate this information in ways that are meaningful.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks, closing on 21 September 2017 and is available here: ONS SDG Consultation https://consultations.ons.gov.uk/sustainable-development-goals/ons-approach-to-measuring-reporting-sdgs-in-the-uk/

Agenda 2030: Delivering the Global Goals: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/agenda-2030-delivering-the-global-goals “This document provides an overview and examples of how the UK Government is contributing to the delivery of each of the Goals.”

House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee - Sustainable Development Goals in the UK: Ninth Report of Session 2016–17: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmenvaud/596/596.pdf

Is there any hope of aligning the many efforts working on the SDGs? http://citiscope.org/commentary/2017/07/there-any-hope-aligning-many-efforts-working-sdgs “In December, member states firmly declared that the United Nations will need to be reformed in order that all development work centres around the SDGs, also known as Agenda 2030. Wow! What ambition — and what an opportunity for real change. Can the U. N. align these efforts? Has Agenda 2030 helped move the reform efforts ahead? Will the U. N. recommendations for UN-Habitat, due out this week, serve as a guide for future U. N. organization?”

Tracking Progress for Breastfeeding Policies and Programmes: Global breastfeeding scorecard 2017: http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/infantfeeding/global-bf-scorecard-2017/en/ “Countries meeting minimum support for breastfeeding: NONE”. Media coverage - Rich or poor, all countries fail to support breastfeeding: U.N.: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-health-breastfeeding-idUSKBN1AH480 “No country does enough to help mothers breastfeed their babies for the recommended minimum of six months, a U.N.-backed study said on Tuesday, as it called for governments to clamp down on baby-formula marketing and pass laws for paid maternity leave.”

Young innovators sought in drive to meet UN Sustainable Development Goals: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3014526/young-innovators-sought-in-drive-to-meet-un-sustainable-development-goals “1,000 millennials from 115 countries set to attend Denmark 'hackathon' event next month aimed at coming up with new solutions to try and meet UN SDGs”

'Sustainable, inclusive societies,' priority for new President of UN economic and social body: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57264 “I wish to announce that the key priority of my Presidency will be to develop initiatives towards fostering sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies through participation of all,” said Marie Chatardová, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the UN, after her election by acclamation earlier today.”

Healthy planning & environment

Update to the National Planning Policy Guidance – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/health-and-wellbeing  “The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published a new Planning Healthier Food Environments Q&A as part of a revision of the Health and Wellbeing Planning Practice Guidance (HWB PPG), as advised by Public Health England (PHE) in association with the Department of Health (DH). PHE, led by the Healthy Places Team, had been working with DH and DCLG to develop the new Q&A on healthier food environments, with the aim to provide stronger guidance, and support to local authorities that seek to use planning to deliver healthier food environments as part of a whole system’s approach to tackle obesity.”  The text of the new guidance is;

How can planning help create a healthier food environment?

Planning can influence the built environment to improve health and reduce obesity and excess weight in local communities. Local planning authorities can have a role in enabling a healthier environment by supporting opportunities for communities to access a wide range of healthier food production and consumption choices.

Local planning authorities can consider bringing forward, where supported by an evidence base, local plan policies and supplementary planning documents, which limit the proliferation of certain use classes in identified areas, where planning permission is required. In doing so, evidence and guidance produced by local public health colleagues and Health and Wellbeing Boards may be relevant. Policies may also request the provision of allotments or allotment gardens, to ensure the provision of adequate spaces for food growing opportunities.

Local planning authorities and planning applicants could have particular regard to the following issues:

  • proximity to locations where children and young people congregate such as schools, community centres and playgrounds
  • evidence indicating high levels of obesity, deprivation and general poor health in specific locations
  • over-concentration and clustering of certain use classes within a specified area
  • odours and noise impact
  • traffic impact
  • refuse and litter

Planning conditions, section 106 planning obligations and the Community Infrastructure Levy may be potential mechanisms for securing a healthy environment in granting planning permission.

Online learning module – Dementia and Town Planning: RTPI has developed a new online training module that explains how good quality housing and well-planned, enabling local environments can have a substantial impact on the quality of life of someone living with dementia. Through a series of clear explanations, instructive images, short videos, and quizzes the module  guides you through the basics. It can be completed in 1 hour. Access the module here http://rtpilearn.org.uk/  (new login required).

The World Health Organization has published a suite of resources covering green spaces and health.

A selection of recent reports on street play:

Using Minecraft to engage the public and plan better public spaces: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/using-minecraft-engage-public-and-plan-better-public-spaces “But in April 2016, residents of an M-Ward neighbourhood called Gautam Nagar — women, children, and the elderly, all of whom are usually planned for rather than with — were asked to participate in a rare activity: They were asked to design their dream gardens and playgrounds. And to do it, they were handed laptops loaded with the video game Minecraft. The game, popular with children, allows players to design buildings and public spaces in an entirely virtual world.”

Plastic Garbage Patch Bigger Than Mexico Found in Pacific: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/ocean-plastic-patch-south-pacific-spd “Yet another floating mass of microscopic plastic has been discovered in the ocean, and it is mind-blowingly vast.”


Homes for Health - A range of resources on housing and health from PHE – updated today (3 August): https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/housing-for-health . More here – Improving health through the home: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-health-through-the-home/improving-health-through-the-home. And a collection of useful infographics https://app.box.com/s/tc9as2oyyot2cssnejq90nqr4oikirt1

Housing and Health Resource – Chartered Institute of Environmental Health: http://www.cieh-housing-and-health-resource.co.uk/ “This resource can be used by anyone in a local area. It can inform: • The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and Health and Wellbeing Strategy; • Commissioning and the development of integrated health care, social care and housing services; • Local housing strategies, plans and policies; • Elected members in their discussions with local communities about improving health and wellbeing.”

Indoor air quality and its role in health: the inside story: https://www.pbctoday.co.uk/news/health-safety-news/indoor-air-quality-role-health-inside-story/34383 “Poor indoor air quality in UK homes has significant consequences for health and wellbeing. BRE looks at the issue and what can be done to address it”

Thursday briefing: House of cards – Britain's broken property market: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/27/thursday-briefing-house-of-cards-britains-broken-property-market “Britain’s housing market remains distorted 10 years on from the global financial crisis, with first-time buyers struggling to scrape together the much bigger deposits they need today, existing owners unable to “climb the ladder” and a gaping price divide between London and regional cities, according to a report out today.”

Climate change & sustainability

Nature Climate Change – Choices to be made: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v7/n8/full/nclimate3367.html?foxtrotcallback=true “Local and regional authorities are making climate-conscious choices, whilst climate change impacts will soon mean individuals need to make choices to survive.”

Deadly heat waves projected in the densely populated agricultural regions of South Asia: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/8/e1603322?rss=1 “Previous work has shown that a wet-bulb temperature of 35°C can be considered an upper limit on human survivability. On the basis of an ensemble of high-resolution climate change simulations, we project that extremes of wet-bulb temperature in South Asia are likely to approach and, in a few locations, exceed this critical threshold by the late 21st century under the business-as-usual scenario of future greenhouse gas emissions.” Media coverage - Warming to boost deadly humidity levels across South Asia: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40793019 : Heat Waves Creeping Toward a Deadly Heat-Humidity Threshold: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/02082017/heatwaves-deadly-heat-humidity-wet-bulb-human-survivability-threshold

Relative roles of surface temperature and climate forcing patterns in the inconstancy of radiative feedbacks: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2017GL074372/full “These findings suggest the perspective that feedbacks are influenced by efficacies of forcing and OHU is equivalent to the perspective that feedbacks are dependent on the temperature patterns induced by those forcings. Prescribed surface temperature simulations are thus valuable for studying the temporal evolution of radiative feedbacks.”

Less than 2 °C warming by 2100 unlikely: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate3352.html?foxtrotcallback=true “The likely range of global temperature increase is 2.0–4.9 °C, with median 3.2 °C and a 5% (1%) chance that it will be less than 2 °C (1.5 °C). Population growth is not a major contributing factor. Our model is not a ‘business as usual’ scenario, but rather is based on data which already show the effect of emission mitigation policies. Achieving the goal of less than 1.5 °C warming will require carbon intensity to decline much faster than in the recent past.” – More media coverage here: Planet has just 5% chance of reaching Paris climate goal, study says: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/31/paris-climate-deal-2c-warming-study

This video shows the extraordinary trend of global warming in more than 100 countries: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/8/1/16074956/global-warming-visualization-117-years-191-countries “This captivating video created by Antti Lipponen visualizes more than 100 years of temperature change in 191 countries in just 35 seconds.” An interesting, and useful, visual representation of how the climate is warming across the world.

England and Wales record warmest winter since 1910: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/27/england-and-wales-record-warmest-winter-since-1910 “Met Office figures for 2016 also show long-term decrease in amount of frost, while last winter was the second wettest on record across the country”

Factcheck: British Gas and Daily Telegraph make confusing claims over ‘green taxes’: https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-british-gas-and-daily-telegraph-make-confusing-claims-over-green-taxes “The UK’s largest utility is raising its electricity prices by 12.5% and scrapping its dual-fuel discount, adding £76 to customers’ average bills. The claims revive the long-running debate over energy bills and the impact of government policy. This debate typically ignores the significant savings that have resulted from energy efficiency policies to lower demand, focusing only on the smaller costs of supporting the development of low-carbon electricity.”

A different perspective on climate change from the magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries - Fossil fuel subsidies result in health costs six times as high: http://www.theactuary.com/news/2017/07/fossil-fuel-subsidies-result-in-health-costs-six-times-as-high/ “The global health costs associated with fossil fuels are over six times greater than the amount governments pay subsidising carbon-intensive energy sources.”

Major solar power project to provide electricity at night: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/solar-power-project-dubai-acwa-electricity-provide-night-no-sunlight-day-renewable-energy-a7846551.html “Sun's heat is stored in molten salt at up to 490 degrees Celsius”

Revolutionary Power Plant Captures All Its Carbon Emissions, At No Extra Cost: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2017/02/21/revolutionary-power-plant-captures-all-its-carbon-emissions-at-no-extra-cost/#52f7ed2d402d “Green Gas: the Allam Cycle technology promises a future of emissions-free fossil fuels.” More here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/08/02/british-inventor-close-holy-grail-carbon-capture-zero-cost/ and here: Goodbye smokestacks: Startup invents zero-emission fossil fuel power: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/goodbye-smokestacks-startup-invents-zero-emission-fossil-fuel-power

London's hidden gas plant which could heat and power the future: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/28/londons-hidden-gas-plant-which-could-heat-and-power-the-future “A £26m refit of a power station beside Smithfield market has made E.ON’s Citigen the largest urban combined heat and power plant in the UK”

Tidal Energy -- All Renewables Are Not Created Equal: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2017/07/27/tidal-energy-all-renewables-are-not-created-equal/#44fa2eac4f4e “According to Professor Jason Donev at the University of Calgary, tidal power is far more reliable than either wind or solar power as the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. "We know how much electricity we’re going to generate at any given time, but tidal is still intermittent. Although it is very predictable, it’s still non-dispatchable - we can’t choose to turn it on or off like a dispatchable natural gas power plant,”“

Enabling Investment in Established Low Carbon Electricity Generation: https://www.arup.com/publications/research/section/enabling-investment-in-established-low-carbon-electricity-generation?query=enabling “Carried out on behalf of ScottishPower Renewables, this report investigates the potential for enabling investment in onshore wind using the existing Contracts for Difference (CfD) mechanism to provide low cost, clean energy to consumers across the UK.” More coverage here - New onshore wind could be cheaper than gas power: http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/07/24/new-onshore-wind-cheaper-gas-power/

Crystal invented that can turn thin air into fuel and fight global warming: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/crystal-air-convert-fuel-invent-global-warming-climate-change-a7865321.html “Solar-powered material can suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into a source of energy”

Editorial – The integration of infrastructures as a response to climate change: a critical opportunity? http://extra.shu.ac.uk/ppp-online/editorial-the-integration-of-infrastructures-as-a-response-to-climate-change-a-critical-opportunity/ “The resilience of cities to climate change is one of the greatest contemporary academic and policy topics. Its political significance has risen rapidly in the early 21st century, shaping urban policy agendas and territorial governance at multiple spatial scales”

Mapped: Here’s How Many PR Companies Lobby for Fossil Fuels in the UK: https://www.desmog.uk/2017/07/24/mapped-here-s-how-many-pr-companies-lobby-fossil-fuels-uk “There are nearly two dozen PR companies representing various fossil fuel and energy companies in Britain according to a new DeSmog UK analysis. Examining the most recent PR and lobby registry files up to May 2017 shows the scale of the industry’s efforts to influence opinion and policy through the many companies hired to represent corporate interests to both the public and to government.”

Where global warming gets real: inside Nasa’s mission to the north pole: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/27/watching-ice-melt-inside-nasas-mission-to-the-north-pole “For 10 years, Nasa has been flying over the ice caps to chart their retreat. This data is an invaluable record of climate change. But does anyone care?”

How climate scepticism turned into something more dangerous: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/07/climate-change-denial-scepticism-cynicism-politics “Doubts about the science are being replaced by doubts about the motives of scientists and their political supporters. Once this kind of cynicism takes hold, is there any hope for the truth?”

Plugging solar power into our railways: http://www.railtechnologymagazine.com/Comment/plugging-solar-power-into-our-railways “Dr Nathaniel Bottrell, research associate at Imperial College London (ICL), talks about the Renewable Traction Project, which is investigating the use of solar energy to power our rail network – especially in areas where the electricity grid has reached its limit.”

Active travel & transport

Sustrans – Active Travel Toolbox: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/active-travel-toolbox/making-economic-case-active-travel/active-travel-and-economic-performance “The Sustrans Active Travel Toolbox provides guides, resources, tools and case studies to help local authorities and their partners make the case for and improve walking and cycling schemes. The toolbox is also designed to help you plan and deliver walking and cycling schemes in your local area. It was written by Sustrans with support from Dr Adrian Davis, Living Streets and The TAS Partnership Limited. To be notified when new evidence, case studies or tools are added to the Toolbox sign up for updates.”

Chris Boardman appointed Manchester cycling tsar: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-40747959 “Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman has been appointed Greater Manchester's first Cycling and Walking Commissioner.” Interesting view from ‘The Alternative Department of Transport’: Thoughts on Chris Boardman’s appointment as Walking & Cycling Commissioner for Manchester: https://departmentfortransport.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/thoughts-on-chris-boardmans-appointment-as-walking-cycling-commissioner-for-manchester/

Lessons from the fast lane: does this study prove car-pooling works? https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/aug/01/lessons-fast-lane-study-car-pooling-works-jakarta-google “When Jakarta ditched its controversial ‘three-in-one’ car-sharing rule many in the city expected the traffic to get better. It didn’t. A Harvard and MIT study analysed before-and-after Google traffic data to find out what happened”

Shared Surfaces – a campaign by Guide Dogs against the use of ‘shared surfaces’ in shared space schemes: http://www.guidedogs.org.uk//supportus/campaigns/streets-ahead/shared-surfaces “Guide Dogs has undertaken in-depth research in to the problems of shared surface streets and potential ways forward. Guide Dogs has also been campaigning against the use of shared surface streets, supported by organisations representing disabled people across the disability sector, older people and other groups.”

The car has a chokehold on Britain. It’s time to free ourselves: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/01/car-chokehold-britain-polluted-inefficient-transport-system-motor-industry “Our insanely inefficient transport system is in thrall to the metal god. Electric vehicles are not the answer”

Speed hump cuts 'daft', safety groups say: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40788674 “Ripping up speed humps to combat air pollution is "daft and irresponsible", road safety campaigners have said. They are writing to ministers to warn that removing speed bumps will actually increase danger to children. The government said it would fund councils in England to tear out humps because they elevated pollution as drivers surged between them. Campaigners say the risk of accidents from speeding drivers almost certainly outweighs the long-term pollution risk. A government spokeswoman promised that road safety wouldn't be compromised by any changes.”

It’s Official: Japan Now has More Electric Car Charging Spots than Gas Stations*: https://transportevolved.com/2015/02/17/official-japan-now-electric-car-charging-spots-gas-stations/ “One of the first countries in the world to embrace modern electric cars, Japan has long been considered something of a shining example on how electric car rapid charging infrastructure should be implemented.” – *this includes private charging units in houses – but they still have more than the whole of Europe or in the USA.

Air quality & pollution

There has been continued wide coverage of the Government’s clean air plan and banning of petrol and diesel cars by 2040. Much of this covers similar topics as the links in last week’s update. Here are a few links to new perspectives or analysis.

Noise from busy roads might increase heart disease risk, finds new study: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_31-5-2017-17-37-1 “... Now, a group of scientists, led by Dr Yutong Cai from Imperial College London, has investigated the links between air and noise pollution and biological markers in the blood that might predict heart disease in the future. They found evidence that excessive traffic noise and air pollution are in fact both linked to increases in these heart disease risk markers.” – Media coverage here - Live Or Work On A Busy Road? The Truth About Noise Pollution: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/live-or-work-on-a-busy-road-the-truth-about-noise-pollution_uk_5964acf1e4b09b587d61c86d

Biochar could clear the air in more ways than one: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170727102943.htm “Biochar could reduce local air pollution from agriculture by reducing emissions of nitric oxide from soil. Researchers argue that a better understanding of nitric oxide response to biochar will save lives and money, especially on farms near urban areas where agricultural emissions contribute to ozone and particulate matter formation.”

Food & food security

Large rise in takeaway shops highlights dominance of fast food in deprived areas: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jul/25/large-rise-takeaway-shops-highlights-dominance-fast-food-deprived-areas-england “New data shows number of fast food outlets in England has increased by 4,000 since 2014, sparking fears that councils are losing battle to limit obesity levels”

Crop alliance call to address food security: http://www.fruitnet.com/fpj/article/172938/crop-alliance-call-to-address-food-security “Proposed in the latest edition of the journal Science, the scientists say the Global Crop Improvement Network (GCIN) would revolutionise crop research, increasing understanding of crop performance around the world and accelerating the adoption of vital technologies.”

Brexit likely to create a rise in UK megafarms: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/28/brexit-likely-to-create-a-rise-in-uk-megafarms “Smaller farms may be squeezed out if farmers switch to vast, intensive facilities due to the pressures the industry faces from leaving the EU, say farmers and campaigners”

The exposure of households’ food spending to tariff changes and exchange rate movements: https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/9563 “Brexit has the potential to have a substantial impact on the prices households pay for food. Currently around 30% of the value of food purchased by households in the UK is imported, and the major source of food imports is the EU. In comparison, only 17% of overall consumer spending is on imported goods. This means that changes in the costs of imports – for example, through changes to tariffs or movements in exchange rates – are likely to have a particularly big impact on food prices.” More media coverage here: Attention Britain: Your Fruit From Spain Is Going to Get Pricey: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-27/attention-britain-your-fruit-from-spain-is-going-to-get-pricey “British households are in for a rude awakening when they see just how expensive their oranges from Spain and their artichokes from France will become with Brexit. That’s the warning of the Institute for Fiscal Studies in a report about what leaving the European Union will mean for the grocery bills of families already struggling with stagnant wage growth and declining living standards.”

Why chickens matter: http://neweconomics.org/2017/07/why-chickens-matter “The latest argument about US-UK trade shows how Brexit threatens our cherished standards”

How the world’s supplies of grain can be choked off: https://www.chathamhouse.org/publications/twt/how-world-s-supplies-grain-can-be-choked “The map shows eight maritime choke points through which pass huge quantities of maize, wheat, rice and soybeans and where disruption could have a catastrophic effect on food availability.”

The climate crisis could rapidly become a food crisis: http://www.smh.com.au/world/the-climate-crisis-could-rapidly-become-a-food-crisis-20170727-gxkdxs.html “The episode illustrated the fragile nature of the network the world uses to feed its approximately 7 billion people. Now a new report by Chatham House, a London-based think tank, details how climate change further threatens that network, as the type of extreme weather event that knocked out the Russian harvest becomes all the more common.”

And finally….

The ick factor: Dutch project making bike lanes and bottles from used loo roll: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/27/-ick-factor-dutch-bike-lanes-bottles-used-loo-roll-recycled-toilet-paper “A pilot scheme in the Netherlands is sifting sewage for cellulose, which it says can be recycled into valuable products”

WMHPG news, information and resources 28 July 2017

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 couple of major consultations underway –one national and one local to the Black Country.

TCPA: The Raynsford Review: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/raynsford-review “The Raynsford Review of Planning has been set up to identify how the Government can reform the English planning system to make it fairer, better resourced and capable of producing quality outcomes, while still encouraging the production of new homes. It will be informed by a task force chaired by former planning minister Nick Raynsford and will include politicians, housing providers, developers, consultants, academics and the public. Evidence will be collected over an 18-month period (beginning in late June 2017) and formally presented at all major party conferences in autumn 2018.

The task force is keen to hear from a broad range of professionals, public agencies, interest groups and members of the general public. You can respond in the following ways:

  • Submit evidence as text to the call for evidence (maximum 1,500 words per theme).
  • Complete a short survey of public attitudes to planning here.
  • Send a three-minute ‘soapbox’ video on your experiences and insight.
  • Join one of our engagement events and have conversations directly with other stakeholders. Anyone is welcome to attend our events, regardless of their profession or prior knowledge of the planning sector. See our event listings below and register for updates on future events.

Black Country Core Strategy Review & Consultation. The Black Country Core Strategy is a planning and regeneration plan for the whole of the Black Country, which is signed up to by the four Black Country Councils. The Strategy is now being reviewed to meet the new challenges and opportunities for the coming years, up to 2036. The Review will plan for the area's future development needs and ensure the necessary services are in place to meet these local needs, along with making sure that the necessary level of investment is attracted to create jobs and wealth in the Black Country. Between 3rd July and 8th September 2017, we are consulting on an Issues and Options Report and we would welcome your comments. It is important that people have their say so we are all working together to achieve the very best for our communities. http://blackcountrycorestrategy.dudley.gov.uk/

Sustainable Development Goals

Maintaining the momentum for the SDGs: how can we transform societies for good?: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/jul/26/maintaining-the-momentum-for-the-sdgs-how-can-we-transform-societies-for-good “The Guardian’s annual side event to the UN general assembly is back in September to track the progress of the sustainable development goals (SDGs)”

6 memorable quotes from our major Global Goals business forum: https://iccwbo.org/media-wall/news-speeches/6-memorable-quotes-major-global-goals-business-forum/ “The second annual SDG Business Forum took place at United Nations Headquarters in New York this week during the ministerial segment of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development.”

Glasgow Centre for Population Health - Improving Health And Tackling Health Inequalities: Actions For All: http://www.gcph.co.uk/assets/0000/5049/Evidence_narrative_summary_leaflet.pdf “This diagram shows that the needs of individuals and communities need to be placed at the core, and that actions need to be taken across a wide range of areas to support improvements in health. Many of these actions are already being implemented, but the challenge is undertaking these in an integrated and sustained way. The key learning is that it matters both what actions are taken and how things are done.”

Urban planning — linchpin for sustainable urban development? http://citiscope.org/story/2017/urban-planning-linchpin-sustainable-urban-development “Martin Dubbeling: If you look at the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, I come across most of them when I do city planning. In the hard sense, it is infrastructure, it is buildings, it has to do with water, it has to do with energy. But also in a soft sense, you have to deal with society: You’re dealing with economy. You’re dealing with making safe cities for children, women and vulnerable groups.”

Return on investment of public health interventions: a systematic review: http://jech.bmj.com/content/71/8/827 “Conclusions: This systematic review suggests that local and national public health interventions are highly cost-saving. Cuts to public health budgets in high income countries therefore represent a false economy, and are likely to generate billions of pounds of additional costs to health services and the wider economy.”

We can’t go on pretending that poverty is solved by getting a job: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/poverty-jobs-johnes “Chris Johnes argues that getting a job is not necessarily a route out of poverty. Rising costs and falling real wages means that having a job won’t necessarily allow you to make ends meet. What’s worse, the austerity programme is hitting low-income households disproportionately hardest. We must, therefore, rethink the prevailing attitude towards taxes and social justice.”

UN tracks progress on conserving nature as key component of sustainable development: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/un-tracks-progress-on-conserving-nature-as-key-component_us_5975fcffe4b06b511b02c4f0 “Tracking progress is crucial to meeting the goals, and is made possible by indicators provided by international organisations like the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, BirdLife International, and many others. Most of the indicators set the year 2000 as a baseline, and so illustrate changes over the last two decades or so.”

Mapping the oil and gas industry to the Sustainable Development Goals: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/articles/2017/07/24/mapping-the-oil-and-gas-industry-to-the-sustainable-development-goals.html “The report illustrates how the oil and gas industry links to and can contribute to address each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)— by integrating into core business operations and by identifying opportunities for oil and gas companies to collaborate with other stakeholders, and leverage experiences and resources to implement each goal.”

Healthy planning & environment

Councils warned about danger of overgrown verges: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-warned-about-danger-of-overgrown-verges/43484 “Councils have been urged not to reduce the number of times verges are trimmed, after a new poll found two-fifths of drivers reported problems with overgrown foliage on local roads.” – Interesting area for discussion, less cutting of verges can be a benefit for biodiversity, but it needs to be balanced against safety.

Whitehall announces multi-million pound tree planting fund: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Whitehall-announces-multi-million-pound-tree-planting-fund/43485 “The Government has made a £13m fund available to help councils plant more trees and reduce the flood risk to communities.”

'Junk play': urban adventure playgrounds hit by austerity: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jul/19/junk-play-urban-adventure-playgrounds-austerity-london “The oldest adventure playground in Britain is under threat after losing council funding. As public services across the country are cut, is this a sign that cities are becoming increasingly hostile to children?”

Revealed: the insidious creep of pseudo-public space in London: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jul/24/revealed-pseudo-public-space-pops-london-investigation-map “Pseudo-public space – squares and parks that seem public but are actually owned by corporations – has quietly spread across cities worldwide. As the Guardian maps its full extent in London for the first time, Jack Shenker reports on a new culture of secrecy and control, where private security guards can remove you for protesting, taking photos ... or just looking scruffy”

Density Done Well: http://www.sydney.org.au/?portfolio=density-done-better “The Committee has thus embarked on a campaign to find the best examples of higher density development, whether they be in Sydney, across Australia or internationally, so as to learn best practice in design, construction, funding and collaboration and apply this evidence to Sydney to discuss how to achieve optimum results in our city. We accept a basic proposition: density can and must be done well if we are to create a liveable future for Sydney.”

These are the cities with the most trees in the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex7tXgDm40E&feature=share

Children & Nature Network - Download the Green Schoolyards infographics in full color or black and white. http://www.childrenandnature.org/initiatives/draftschoolyards-infographics/?platform=hootsuite

Government confirms microbead ban coming later this year: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3014252/government-confirms-microbead-ban-coming-later-this-year “In his first major speech as Environment Secretary Michael Gove confirms the government will introduce legislation this year to ban microbeads from cosmetic and personal care products”

A Whopping 91% of Plastic Isn't Recycled: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/ “Billions of tons of plastic have been made over the past decades, and much of it is becoming trash and litter… If present trends continue, by 2050, there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic in landfills. That amount is 35,000 times as heavy as the Empire State Building.”

Preliminary Opinion on Potential risks to human health of Light Emitting Diodes: https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/scientific_committees/scheer/docs/scheer_o_011.pdf (Something I hadn’t come across before)


Housing crisis risks causing ‘demographic time bomb’, report says: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Housing-crisis-risks-causing-demographic-time-bomb-report-says/43443 “A new report from the Adam Smith Institute argues unaffordable housing has forced people to have smaller families and delay starting a family until later in life.”

100 tenants a day lose homes as rising rents and benefit freeze hit: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/22/100-tenants-a-day-lose-homes-rising-rents-benefit-freeze “Charities demand action to tackle toll of soaring housing costs, welfare cuts and ‘no fault’ evictions”

Health Secretary suggests NHS could remove council house damp: http://news.sky.com/story/health-secretary-suggests-nhs-could-remove-council-house-damp-10953902 “Mr Hunt's comments came during a discussion of the next stages of NHS reforms known as Sustainability and Transformation Plans. - "Our whole approach is because we believe that improving the nation's health is holistic. "It is about providing green spaces in cities to help improve our mental health, providing cycle routes, a whole range of things, and housing is critical. There are very strong links between poor health and poor-quality housing. "I can see a world, not immediately but in perhaps five years' time, where the NHS pays to sort out the damp in someone's council house."

Thatcher helped people to buy their own homes – but the poorest paid the price: https://theconversation.com/thatcher-helped-people-to-buy-their-own-homes-but-the-poorest-paid-the-price-50133 “Two things stand out from Thatcher’s early days in office: her commitment to upholding “law and order” and support for the police, and her aim to give “ordinary people” the chance to own their own homes. Ultimately, these aims would prove to be self-defeating: Thatcher’s “right-to-buy” policy actually ended up increasing inequality and worsening crime in the UK’s most deprived areas. Here’s how it happened.”

Climate change & sustainability

Climate change and the vulnerability of electricity generation to water stress in the European Union: https://www.nature.com/articles/nenergy2017114 “We show that, despite policy goals and a decrease in electricity-related water withdrawal, the number of regions experiencing some reduction in power availability due to water stress rises from 47 basins to 54 basins between 2014 and 2030, with further plants planned for construction in stressed basins. We examine the reasons for these pressures by including water demand for other uses.”

Britain launches first phase of energy storage investment: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-industry-idUSKBN1A80ZB “LONDON (Reuters) - Business minister Greg Clark will launch the first phase of a 246 million pound investment into battery technology on Monday, part of the government's industrial strategy to boost productivity and spread wealth in Britain.” Range of media coverage - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40699986 ; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/uk-households-electricity-production-batteries-storage-greg-clark-business-secretary-tech-investment-a7856586.html ; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/07/23/uk-power-industrial-strategy-battery-funding-revolution/

Scotland sets renewable energy record as wind power provides equivalent of 118% of nation's electricity: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/scotland-renewable-wind-energy-power-electricity-three-million-homes-118-per-cent-of-households-a7855846.html “In the first six months of 2017 enough power was generated to supply more than all of Scotland's national demand for six days”

Over the Past Year the UK Government Gave Over £1 Billion to Fossil Fuel Projects Overseas: https://www.desmog.uk/2017/07/19/over-past-year-uk-government-gave-1-billion-fossil-fuel-projects-overseas “Britain has provided more than a billion pounds in support for fossil fuel projects abroad in the last year via the UK Export Finance (UKEF) government department and credit agency, which operates alongside the Department for International Trade, the latest accounts show.”

From Goldman Sachs – the financiers view: Reports:

Fracking Companies to Government: We Are 'Suffering' as Financing Dries Up: https://www.ecowatch.com/fracking-uk-2459312819.html “Fracking companies in Britain privately admit they are "suffering" and struggling to secure finance, according to government documents obtained via freedom of information.”

Ten Clear Indicators Our Climate is Changing: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/10-indicators-that-show-climate-change “How do we know our climate is changing permanently, rather than just going through a normal period of flux? Let’s look at 10 major changes scientists have seen in our climate system to help set the record straight.” – A useful article for anyone looking for a good introduction, useful charts & diagrams etc.

How temperature adjustments affect long-term global warming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFO-mfH0SkA&ct=t%28Carbon_Brief_Weekly_21_07_2017%29 “Over the past two centuries the way we measure temperature has changed dramatically. This complicates matters for scientists putting together a long-term, consistent estimate of how global temperatures are changing. Analysis by Carbon Brief comparing raw global temperature records to the adjusted data finds that adjustments have relatively little impact on global temperatures, particularly over the past 50 years.”

Sea level fears as Greenland darkens: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40686984 “Scientists are "very worried" that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet could accelerate and raise sea levels more than expected.

They say warmer conditions are encouraging algae to grow and darken the surface. Dark ice absorbs more solar radiation than clean white ice so warms up and melts more rapidly.”

Here’s How Much Arctic Sea Ice Has Melted Since the ‘80s: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/arctic-sea-ice-melt-since-the-80s-21637 “Arctic sea ice has been melting at a steady clip this summer as it heads toward its annual low point. But a new chart shows that with nearly two months still left in the melt season, sea ice area is already below what would have been a yearly low in the 1980s.”

Rising to the challenge of surging seas: https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms16127 “Amid increasingly extreme projections for future sea-level rise, concerns are mounting that policymakers are struggling to keep abreast of fast-paced scientific developments. To ease this burden and increase the accessibility of published research, we have compiled an editor-curated collection of the most recent sea-level rise articles published at Nature Communications.”

China Is Adding Solar Power at a Record Pace: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-19/china-adds-about-24gw-of-solar-capacity-in-first-half-official “China, the world’s biggest investor in clean energy, is on pace to install record amounts of new solar this year after adding 24 gigawatts of capacity in the first half amid a push by policy makers to locate electricity production near the point where it’s used.”

All hell breaks loose as the tundra thaws: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/20/hell-breaks-loose-tundra-thaws-weatherwatch “A recent heatwave in Siberia’s frozen wastes has resulted in outbreaks of deadly anthrax and a series of violent explosions”

Active travel & transport

Department for Transport – Transport Investment Strategy: Moving Britain Ahead: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/624990/transport-investment-strategy-web.pdf “High performing infrastructure can enable delivery of the Industrial Strategy.  By maintaining and upgrading our transport infrastructure –   an integrated network that underpins not only our daily lives but our economy too –   we can connect communities and businesses and help deliver balanced growth across the country.”

The Law of Traffic Congestion, according to "The Flash!" https://www.planetizen.com/node/53659 “Across the world, city-builders who understand the complex relationship between land-use, car infrastructure and road congestion, struggle to communicate it in a simple way that resonates with the public. It's now well-demonstrated in transportation demand management (TDM) research and practice that you can't build your way out of traffic congestion by building roads, and in fact the opposite is true - the more free-ways and car lanes you build, the more people drive and the more congestion and other negative results there are.”

How traffic jams form: https://twitter.com/MachinePix/status/785558622277296130/photo/1

The impact of the M74 motorway extension on road traffic accidents: http://www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/blog/the-impact-of-the-m74-motorway-extension-on-road-traffic-accidents/ “The 5-mile M74 extension opened in June 2011 in the south of Glasgow, following a three year construction period. The new motorway, which is mainly raised above existing roads and dwellings, travels through relatively poor neighbourhoods of the city. We found that the motorway extension had no impact on the already decreasing trend of road accidents in the local area and wider city region, either during construction or following its opening. Our results also showed that the motorway extension did not increase the number of road accidents either.”

UK's first EV showroom opens for business: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3014303/uks-first-ev-showroom-opens-for-business “The UK's first dedicated showroom for electric cars will open its doors today in Milton Keynes, giving potential buyers a chance to explore the technology first-hand before taking the plunge.”

Do you live in the world's least active country? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40570442 “US scientists have amassed "planetary-scale" data from people's smartphones to see how active we really are. The Stanford University analysis of 68 million days' worth of minute-by-minute data showed the average number of daily steps was 4,961. Hong Kong was top averaging 6,880 a day, while Indonesia was bottom of the rankings with just 3,513.”

Air quality & pollution

There has been wide media coverage of the announcement of a ban on petrol and diesel cars after 2040. Some positive, some less so, and some criticism of the limitations and timescales of the plans.

  • Medact: Comment on the government’s plan to tackle air pollution published today: https://www.medact.org/2017/news/press-releases/comment-governments-plan-tackle-air-pollution-published-today/ “Commenting on the government plan to tackle air pollution published today, Professor Jonathan Grigg said: “Although we support the government’s direction of travel to move away from petrol and diesel cars, this proposal is not ambitious enough since the most toxic vehicles currently on our roads must be removed as soon as possible.  The 2040 target means that several generations of children will suffer the long term consequences of inhaling sooty particles and oxides of nitrogen.  The government needs to act now, with a faster and more robust response to this public health emergency.””

Rush Hour Pollution May Be More Dangerous Than You Think: http://pratt.duke.edu/news/rush-hour-pollution “The first in-car measurements of exposure to pollutants that cause oxidative stress during rush hour commutes has turned up potentially alarming results. The levels of some forms of harmful particulate matter inside car cabins was found to be twice as high as previously believed.”

Cross-party group of MPs call on Gove to adopt clean air bill: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/21/cross-party-group-of-mps-call-on-gove-to-adopt-clean-air-bill “Sixty-five MPs have written to the environment secretary urging him to include the measures in his new strategy to tackle the air pollution crisis”

Are ‘smog-sucking’ solutions solving air pollution? https://dailyplanet.climate-kic.org/smog-sucking-solutions-solving-air-pollution/ “Many of the major strategies tackling air pollution encompass taxes and limits, pedestrianising inner cities, investing in public transport or encouraging electric vehicles, but over the last couple of years, more unusual approaches – from smog-sucking towers and engineered moss to anti-pollution paint — have emerged.”

How City Noise is Slowly Killing You: http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a10295155/noise-detox/ “Loud street noise is now considered the number-two threat to public health, after air pollution. Now the question becomes, how much are you willing to pay for the luxury of silence?”

Food & food security

Consultation - APPG on Hunger launches inquiry into hunger amongst the elderly: http://sustainablefoodcities.org/newsevents/news/articleid/801/appg-on-hunger-launches-inquiry-into-hunger-amongst-the-elderly “he All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger has launched an inquiry into the extent and causes of hunger amongst older people in Britain. The findings are due to be published by Christmas. The deadline for written submissions is Friday 20th October. The Group is concerned that, despite the significant reduction in pensioner poverty that has taken place under successive governments, there are some older people who, for one reason or another, struggle to keep themselves both fed and well-nourished.”

Food Environment Assessment Tool (FEAT): http://www.feat-tool.org.uk/ The Food environment assessment tool (Feat) has been developed by CEDAR and the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge. It allows for detailed exploration of the geography of food retail access across England. Feat is underpinned by the latest scientific evidence about how food access in our neighbourhoods affects our dietary choices, body weight and health. It will allow you to map, measure and monitor access to food outlets at a neighbourhood level, including changes over time. It is designed around the needs of professionals in public health, environmental health and planning roles, locally and nationally. Use it to: Generate local evidence for use in the development of Obesity Strategies, Local and Neighbourhood Plans, JSNAs and Strategic Planning Documents. Support planning decisions. Compare food access between neighbourhoods, and see where is changing fastest. Target interventions, and test the effectiveness of planning policies

A Food Brexit: time to get real: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/newsandevents/2017/publications/food-brexit “The report, by leading food policy specialists Professor Erik Millstone (University of Sussex), Professor Tim Lang (City, University of London) and Professor Terry Marsden (Cardiff University), concludes that leaving the European Union poses serious risks to consumer interests, public health, businesses and workers in the food sector.”

Food, the UK and Brexit: an even messier reprise of Corn Laws politics? https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/tim-lang/food-uk-and-brexit-even-messier-reprise-of-corn-laws-politics “If Brexit is supposed to improve Britain, then it must do so for food.  In astonishing arrogance or myopia, British politicians collectively ignored food in the run-up to the 2016 Referendum, other than to draw upon decades of pillorying the Common Agricultural Policy to knock the EU and, in the Tories’ case, to promise to continue CAP farm subsidies till 2020 (now extended to 2022).”

Large rise in takeaway shops highlights dominance of fast food in deprived areas: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jul/25/large-rise-takeaway-shops-highlights-dominance-fast-food-deprived-areas-england “New data shows number of fast food outlets in England has increased by 4,000 since 2014, sparking fears that councils are losing battle to limit obesity levels”

Fast food England: does putting a cap on takeaways improve people's health? https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jul/25/fast-food-england-does-putting-a-cap-on-takeaways-improve-peoples-health “…But there’s a hitch. Although the council’s own figures suggest its fast food policy has made an impact, as yet it doesn’t appear to have had any significant effect on its residents’ health.”

For some kids school holidays mean hunger and isolation: https://theconversation.com/for-some-kids-school-holidays-mean-hunger-and-isolation-73574 “...for around 39 weeks of the year, 14% of children from low income families across England have access to healthy, free school lunches. Some children also have breakfast at school, which has led to the rise of breakfast clubs. But of course for many families, this can stop during the holidays when school food isn’t available.”

Half of children needing summer food bank support are in primary school: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/25/half-of-children-needing-summer-food-bank-support-are-in-primary-school “Half of the children needing help from food banks last summer were in primary school and more than a quarter were under the age of five, according to research. The UK’s biggest food bank network, the Trussell Trust, has revealed that 67,500 three-day emergency food packages went to children in July and August 2016 – 4,000 more than in the preceding two months. The research shows that 47% of the children receiving supplies from food banks were aged 5-11, while 27% were under five and a fifth were aged 12-16.”

People in poverty don’t just need feeding. They should have the dignity of a good meal: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/15/people-in-poverty-dont-just-need-feeding-they-should-have-the-dignity-of-a-good-meal “The word “dignity” rarely features in the rhetoric around food poverty, but it should. The people who utilise street kitchens and food banks apparently occupy an entirely different category from those of us who are more fortunate”

Food industry seeks Brexit 'transition': http://www.thescottishfarmer.co.uk/news/15424492.Food_industry_seeks_Brexit___39_transition__39_/ “In a joint letter to the Government, signatories from 26 UK food and drink supply chain bodies laid out their key priorities for the ongoing negotiations with the EU, stressing the need to protect the UK’s food security.”

Government has 'no plan' for post-Brexit food as Gove comments branded a 'disgrace': https://www.fginsight.com/news/government-has-no-plan-for-post-brexit-food-23183 “The Government has been told it is time to ’get real’ with accusations it has no plan for post-Brexit food policy.”

Michael Gove asked me to a meeting to share my expertise. I declined. Instead, I’ve given him a piece of my mind.: http://www.jayrayner.co.uk/news/michael-gove-asked-me-to-a-meeting-to-share-my-expertise-i-declined-instead-ive-given-him-a-piece-of-my-mind/ “A few weeks ago, I was approached by an official at the Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs. She told me the Secretary of State was holding a round table discussion for ‘innovative thinkers’ on July 25 to give him ‘food for thought in the early days of the new job’. He had asked for me to be invited.”

Farm subsidies 'must be earned' - Michael Gove: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40673559 “Farm subsidies will have to be earned rather than just handed out in future, the Environment Secretary Michael Gove has said in a speech. Farmers will only get payouts if they agree to protect the environment and enhance rural life, he will say. The move is part of what he calls his vision for a "green Brexit".”

What is wrong with chlorinated chicken: http://www.beuc.eu/blog/what-is-wrong-with-chlorinated-chicken/ TL:DR it’s more about why the chicken needs chlorinating – because producers in the USA are not required to prevent infection during production or processing. All the interventions are in the final processing before point of sale. Varied media coverage – including this from the Adam Smith Institute: Don't cry fowl play — concessions like chlorine chicken are worth it for US trade: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/24/dont-cry-fowl-play-chlorine-chicken-worth-us-trade/ - and this from the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jul/24/us-chlorinated-chicken-not-ruled-out-by-no-10-in-pursuit-of-trade-deals

IKEA’s 7 imperatives for scrapping food waste: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/ikeas-7-imperatives-scrapping-food-waste “Last month, IKEA, which serves hot meals, take-home products and coffee to 650 million annual visitors at nearly 400 of its stores in 48 countries, publicized its goal of halving the food waste from those operations by August 2020. The "Food is Precious" initiative trains employees to use an electronic "smart scale" and data analysis tool to identify what is being wasted (and why) and to find creative solutions to reclaim the profit.”

What a city in Spain learned from Sweden about promoting local food and healthier eating: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/what-city-spain-learned-sweden-about-promoting-local-food-and-healthier-eating “How Garcia and the municipality of Mollet del Vallès set out to adapt Södertälje’s “green diet” approach is a story of how innovative urban policies these days can travel quickly across borders, starting in the context of one city and changing to suit another. It’s also a story of how even small cities can make big changes when they think creatively and share ideas.”

Food environments in Malta: Associations with store size and area-level deprivation: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306919217305584 “Highlights - This is the first study to objectively characterise the food environment in Malta. Large grocery stores offer a more healthful environment than small stores, No significant differences in food availability or price by area-level deprivation, Confectionery store density is associated with higher risk of childhood overweight, There is a significant price premium for healthy versions of certain popular foods.”

Farming the suburbs – why can’t we grow food wherever we want? https://theconversation.com/farming-the-suburbs-why-cant-we-grow-food-wherever-we-want-80330 “While good planning will be key to a healthier, more sustainable food system, planning’s role in allocating land for different uses across the city also constrains suburban agriculture.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 21 July 2017

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

Sustainable Development Goals

Life expectancy rises 'grinding to halt': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40608256 “Rising rates of life expectancy are grinding to a halt after more than 100 years of continuous progress, according to a leading health expert. University College London expert Sir Michael Marmot said he was "deeply concerned" by the situation, calling it "historically highly unusual". He said it was "entirely possible" austerity was to blame and said the issue needed looking at urgently.” – Wide media coverage: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/07/17/life-expectancy-stalls-britain-first-time-100-years-dementia/ , https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/18/rise-in-life-expectancy-has-stalled-since-2010-research-shows

WHO estimates cost of reaching global health targets by 2030: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/cost-health-targets/en/ “The SDG Health Price Tag, published today in The Lancet Global Health, estimates the costs and benefits of progressively expanding health services in order to reach 16 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) health targets in 67 low- and middle-income countries that account for 75% of the world’s population.” Q&A here: http://www.who.int/features/qa/sdg-price-tag/en/

Why should companies be interested in sustainable cities? Here are 3.7 trillion reasons.: http://citiscope.org/commentary/2017/07/why-should-companies-be-interested-sustainable-cities-here-are-37-trillion “The Sustainable Development Goals will help produce more stable and equitable markets for business to prosper — and their implementation in cities could generate tremendous private-sector opportunities.”

Unearthing the value of sustainable agriculture: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf/blog2017/week19 “The beauty of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) is the interdependence and mutuality of the goals. Progress against one goal generates progress for all. Nowhere are these linkages more evident than in SDG2 on Zero Hunger. Tackling SDG2 outcomes on food, nutrition and land-use will help deliver progress across all 17 goals - from improving health to addressing gender equality to climate change.”

Why should companies be interested in sustainable cities? Here are 3.7 trillion reasons: http://citiscope.org/commentary/2017/07/why-should-companies-be-interested-sustainable-cities-here-are-37-trillion “The Sustainable Development Goals will help produce more stable and equitable markets for business to prosper — and their implementation in cities could generate tremendous private-sector opportunities.”

UN’s economic advice ‘proven accurate’ and applicable for sustainable development, review finds: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57174 “Economic analysis by the United Nations over the past 70 years has proven to be accurate and can help countries navigate through a difficult current world economic situation and implement the new global development goals, an in-depth review of the analysis has found.”

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires investments in innovation, says new UNDP report: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/articles/2017/07/12/achieving-the-sustainable-development-goals-requires-investments-in-innovation-says-a-new-undp-report.html  “At today’s launch of the report, Spark, Scale, Sustain: Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals, the Innovation Facility shared examples of how emerging technologies and new approaches can help to make development more impactful, citing more than 40 case studies including examples from Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, China, Lebanon and Serbia.” Full report here: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/development-impact/spark-_-scale-_-sustain---2016-year-in-review.html

No sustainable development without tackling corruption: the importance of tracking SDG 16: https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/no_sustainable_development_without_tackling_corruption_SDG_16 “Corruption represents a major obstacle to reaching all the SDG goals as it hampers economic growth and increases poverty, depriving the most marginalised groups of equitable access to vital services such as healthcare, education and water and sanitation. Nor is corruption only an issue for low-income states; rich countries must take action on cross-border corruption, foreign bribery, tax evasion and related illicit financial flows which collectively deprive developing countries of around US$1.26 trillion per year.”

The e-waste mountains - in pictures: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/gallery/2016/oct/18/the-e-waste-reduce-waste-old-technology-mountains-in-pictures “Sustainable development goal target 12.5 is to reduce waste. But with a planet increasingly dependent on technology, is that even possible? Kai Loeffelbein’s photographs of e-waste recycling in Guiyu, southern China show what happens to discarded computers”

Healthy planning & environment

TCPA: The Raynsford Review: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/raynsford-review “The Raynsford Review of Planning has been set up to identify how the Government can reform the English planning system to make it fairer, better resourced and capable of producing quality outcomes, while still encouraging the production of new homes. It will be informed by a task force chaired by former planning minister Nick Raynsford and will include politicians, housing providers, developers, consultants, academics and the public. Evidence will be collected over an 18-month period (beginning in late June 2017) and formally presented at all major party conferences in autumn 2018.

The task force is keen to hear from a broad range of professionals, public agencies, interest groups and members of the general public. You can respond in the following ways:

  • Submit evidence as text to the call for evidence (maximum 1,500 words per theme).
  • Complete a short survey of public attitudes to planning here.
  • Send a three-minute ‘soapbox’ video on your experiences and insight.
  • Join one of our engagement events and have conversations directly with other stakeholders. Anyone is welcome to attend our events, regardless of their profession or prior knowledge of the planning sector. See our event listings below and register for updates on future events.

Health and environmental impact assessment: guide for local teams: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-and-environmental-impact-assessment-guide-for-local-teams “This document identifies 3 areas where Directors of Public Health (DsPH) and public health teams can take action. The areas are: practical actions; build up knowledge; shape future practice”

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.”

Health professionals: please fill in this short survey on health impact assessments for IS global: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/health-professionals-please-fill-in-this-short-survey-on-health-impact-assessments-for-is-global Health specialists: do you know anything about health impact assessments? Is this something you have ever used, or not? Our friends at the Barcelona​ Institute for Global Health​ (ISGlobal) seek health researchers and practitioners to participate in their short survey to obtain an international perspective surrounding the understanding, training and use around the health impact assessment (HIA) in the urban design context.

Accessibility Ratings – a project to develop an app that allows the public to rate and comment on locations, venues and shops on their accessibility. https://app-movement.com/95ky5g

Beauty spot or landscape blot? Computer trained to judge scenery: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jul/19/beauty-spot-or-landscape-blot-computer-trained-to-judge-scenery “Computer trained to determine what makes places beautiful could help design new towns and decide which areas should be protected, say researchers”

In pictures: 2017 Riba Stirling prize shortlist: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40659667 “Six buildings are on the shortlist for the 22nd annual Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building.”

The world’s plastic problem, in two charts: https://qz.com/1033477/the-worlds-plastic-problem-in-two-charts/ “Since the end of World War II, plastics have proliferated, becoming a part of nearly everything we use in nearly every aspect of daily life. Yearly production has grown from 2 million metric tons of plastic in 1950 to 380 million metric tons in 2015.”

We need more environmental activists to save our green spaces: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/19/environmental-activists-save-green-spaces “Cuts have decimated council funding for parks but, as a new report shows, there is a great green blob of people who want to get involved – let’s use them”

Green Infrastructure: A Primer: https://edrplus.squarespace.com/blog/2016/7/7/green-infrastructure-a-primer “How can we design our infrastructure to be more adaptable, more responsive and more performative than what we currently have? Ecological systems are inherently flexible so that they can absorb natural fluctuations and perturbations in the environment. Biological diversity increases resiliency. By mimicking this flexibility and embracing flux, we can create more resilient infrastructure that can thrive in the face of change.”


More than half a million social homes in England do not meet basic health and safety standards: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-social-housing-health-and-safety-standards-failures-england-a7845961.html “More than half a million social homes in England fail to meet basic health and safety standards, an analysis of official government data by The Independent has revealed. Just weeks after the Grenfell Tower fire raised serious questions about the state of housing in the UK, new statistics show that 525,000 social homes currently do not meet the national Decent Homes Standard – almost one in seven of all social homes in England.”

Mayor Khan announces £2bn deal with housing associations: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Mayor-Khan-announces-2bn-deal-with-housing-associations-/43434 “London’s mayor yesterday announced a deal to build nearly 50,000 affordable homes to rent and buy over the next four years.”

Climate change & sustainability

The Annual Global Carbon Budget: https://public.wmo.int/en/resources/bulletin/annual-global-carbon-budget “ach year since 2005, a community of researchers for the Global Carbon Project produce and report a global carbon budget quantifying CO2 emissions for the prior year, then apportioning that carbon to the atmosphere, the ocean or the land. This careful accounting of human disturbance of the natural carbon cycle, accompanied by quantification of uncertainties in each source and sink term, allows the research community to understand and monitor major components of and processes within the global carbon cycle.”

Inaction on climate change risks leaving future generations $530 trillion in debt: https://theconversation.com/inaction-on-climate-change-risks-leaving-future-generations-530-trillion-in-debt-81134 “By continuing to delay significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, we risk handing young people alive today a bill of up to US$535 trillion. This would be the cost of the “negative emissions” technologies required to remove CO₂ from the air in order to avoid dangerous climate change.”

Doomsday scenarios are as harmful as climate change denial: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/doomsday-scenarios-are-as-harmful-as-climate-change-denial/2017/07/12/880ed002-6714-11e7-a1d7-9a32c91c6f40_story.html “It is in this environment of defeat and despair that we’ve witnessed a dramatic rise in the prominence of climate doomism — commentary that portrays climate change not just as a threat that requires an urgent response but also as an essentially lost cause, a hopeless fight… Such rhetoric is in many ways as pernicious as outright climate change denial, for it leads us down the same path of inaction. Whether climate change is a hoax (as President Trump has asserted) or beyond our control (as McPherson insists), there would obviously be no reason to cut carbon emissions.”

Third-hottest June puts 2017 on track to make hat-trick of hottest years: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/19/third-hottest-june-puts-2017-on-track-to-make-trifecta-of-hottest-years “June 2017 was beaten only by June in 2015 and 2016, leaving experts with little hope for limiting warming to 1.5C or even 2C”

Support local action now to build a cleaner energy future: http://neweconomics.org/2017/07/clean_energy_future/ “Community groups around the world are taking action on climate change and driving initiatives towards cleaner and more affordable energy.”

Climate Change Is Claiming yet Another Victim: https://futurism.com/climate-change-is-claiming-yet-another-victim/ “Researchers have found that climate change is disrupting the seasonal clock of nine species of North American migratory songbirds, putting them under threat of dwindling numbers due to an inability to successfully breed. It's just the latest example of the impact of climate change on the world's creatures.”

Why Antarctic ice shelves the size of countries are disintegrating: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/revealed-why-antarctic-ice-shelves-the-size-of-countries-are-disintegrating-a7845066.html “Sea level rise could be ‘disastrous for coastal regions and displace hundreds of millions of people worldwide’, scientist warns”

I’ve studied Larsen C and its giant iceberg for years – it’s not a simple story of climate change: https://theconversation.com/ive-studied-larsen-c-and-its-giant-iceberg-for-years-its-not-a-simple-story-of-climate-change-80529 “We’ve been surprised by the level of interest in what may simply be a rare but natural occurrence. Because, despite the media and public fascination, the Larsen C rift and iceberg “calving” is not a warning of imminent sea level rise, and any link to climate change is far from straightforward.”

Methane Seeps Out as Arctic Permafrost Starts to Resemble Swiss Cheese: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/18072017/arctic-permafrost-melting-methane-emissions-geologic-sources-study “Measurements over Canada's Mackenzie River Basin suggest that thawing permafrost is starting to free greenhouse gases long trapped in oil and gas deposits.”

Congress declares climate change a national security threat: http://nypost.com/2017/07/14/congress-declares-climate-change-a-national-security-threat/ “The Republican-led House decisively approved a defense policy bill on Friday that declares climate change a national security threat, demands rigorous oversight of the Pentagon’s cyber operations and rejects the Trump administration’s bid to close military bases.”

Jeremy Leggett - The Test: Chapter 1 of my latest serialised free-download book now available http://www.jeremyleggett.net/2017/07/the-test-chapter-1/ “Two extracts from the first chapter of my new book set out its premise. Like the previous book, it will be a live serialised linear narrative, telling a vital story of our times as it unfolds. The two scenes in the first chapter are in the Albert Hall, London, and at the 2017 Expo in Astana, Kazakhstan.”

That French plan to attract climate scientists? It’s working: http://grist.org/briefly/that-french-plan-to-attract-climate-scientists-its-working/ “After his election, French president Emmanuel Macron created a program setting aside $69 million to fund researchers, especially from the U.S., to ply their trade in France. “Here, you are welcome,” Macron told scientists via Twitter, in a not-so-subtle jab at President Trump.”

Big Oil Just Woke Up to Threat of Rising Electric Car Demand: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-14/big-oil-just-woke-up-to-the-threat-of-rising-electric-car-demand “The world’s biggest oil producers are starting to take electric vehicles seriously as a long-term threat. OPEC quintupled its forecast for sales of plug-in EVs, and oil producers from Exxon Mobil Corp. to BP Plc also revised up their outlooks in the past year, according to a study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance released on Friday.”

Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/18/fossil-fuel-companies-getting-10m-a-minute-in-subsidies-says-imf “‘Shocking’ revelation finds $5.3tn subsidy estimate for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments”

Electric Vehicle Outlook 2017: https://about.bnef.com/electric-vehicle-outlook/ “Our global long-term Electric Vehicle Outlook (EVO) forecasts passenger EV adoption out to 2040 and the impact that electrification will have on automotive and power markets, as well as on fossil fuel displacement and demand for key materials.”

Electric car chargers could be switched off remotely at peak times: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/electric-car-chargers-could-be-switched-off-remotely-at-peak-times-svz5zrhhp “Electric car chargers could be switched off remotely or turned down by energy companies if owners refuse to use them at off-peak times. UK Power Networks, which delivers electricity to 18 million people in London, the southeast and the east of England, is calling for the right to remotely control vehicle charging as a “last resort” to prevent power cuts.”

Indian startup pioneers new battery swapping system for electric buses: http://inhabitat.com/the-indian-startup-pioneering-new-battery-swapping-system-for-countrys-electric-buses/ “One of the hassles associated with electric vehicles is how long it takes to charge them. But in India, an energy infrastructure startup has partnered with the country’s second biggest truck manufacturer to pioneer a solution: a battery swapping system. They’ll start with electric buses, which could stop at stations reminiscent of today’s petrol pumps to quickly swap out batteries and be on their way.”

Factcheck: How much power will UK electric vehicles need? https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-much-power-will-uk-electric-vehicles-need “Electric vehicles (EVs) could grow more than twice as fast over the next 10 years as expected just a year ago, potentially posing major challenges for the UK’s electricity grid… In the UK, this growth “will have a significant impact on [electricity] demand,” the report says, adding: “If not managed carefully the additional demand will create challenges across all sections of the energy system, particularly at peak times.””

A $5.25 Million Self-Powered Hydrogen Boat Has Set Off on a 6-Year Trip Around the World: http://fortune.com/2017/07/15/a-5-25-million-self-powered-hydrogen-boat-has-set-off-on-a-6-year-trip-around-the-world/ “A multi-million-dollar boat that powers itself without any fuel has set off to begin a 6-year trip around the world in hopes of launching a movement of emissions-free travel.”

Comment: Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2017/jul/17/neoliberalism-has-conned-us-into-fighting-climate-change-as-individuals “Stop obsessing with how personally green you live – and start collectively taking on corporate power”

100 companies creating market change: RE100 past, present and future: https://www.theclimategroup.org/news/100-companies-creating-market-change-re100-past-present-and-future “As 100 leading businesses transition to 100% renewable power through RE100, The Climate Group’s Sam Kimmins reflects on the growing corporate movement for renewable energy and its impact on the global economy.”

RSPB loses legal fight against £2bn offshore windfarm in Scotland: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/19/rspb-loses-legal-fight-2bn-offshore-windfarm-scotland-neart-na-gaoithe “Neart na Gaoithe project on east coast likely to go ahead after long-running court battle despite claim it threatens seabirds”

GCHQ Says Hackers Have Likely Compromised UK Energy Sector Targets: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/9kwg4a/gchq-says-hackers-have-likely-compromised-uk-energy-sector-targets “A UK cybersecurity authority has issued a warning about hackers targeting the country's energy sector, and says that some industrial control system organizations are likely to have been successfully compromised, according to a copy of the document obtained by Motherboard.”

Active travel & transport

Transport Investment Strategy: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transport-investment-strategy “Sets out the Department for Transport's priorities and approach for future transport investment decisions.”

New resource – Global-PA-Net – a free global communication network for physical activity: http://www.globalpanet.com/newsletter “A fortnightly e-communiqué is complemented by a dedicated GlobalPANet website and knowledge base. The E-news distils, translates and shares the latest physical activity evidence, successes and best practice with you every two weeks to scientists, practitioners and policy makers.”

The slow lane: Dutch app allows elderly to 'hack' traffic lights: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jul/12/dutch-app-elderly-hack-pedestrian-crossings “With sensors and smartphones to make roads more flexible, Tilburg is addressing the question: how can a city become safer for less able residents?”

Fans get moving at UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 with the Active Match App: http://healthystadia.eu/fans-get-moving-uefa-womens-euro-2017-active-match-app/ “Fans and staff travelling to UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 fixtures in the Netherlands are being encouraged to walk and cycle to host stadia in a bid to boost heart health, burn calories and protect the environment.”

How do we build an inclusive culture for disabled cyclists? https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2017/jun/20/how-to-build-inclusive-culture-disabled-cyclists “A new survey confirms the use of bicycles as mobility aids and the frustration felt when disabled cyclists are told to dismount”

Healthy Streets: Cars, streets and child health: https://healthystreets.com/home/new/ “The strong focus on childhood obesity and the role of food and drink in driving that growing health crisis means that the important role of everyday activity is all too often overlooked.  Enabling children to walk, cycle, scoot, play and explore in the streets around where they live is so important for their happiness, resilience, independence and healthy growth.”

'Parking pain' costs UK economy £30bn a year: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Parking-pain-costs-UK-economy-30bn-a-year/43432 “While 71% of drivers said there isn’t enough parking available, occupancy for spaces can be as low as 50%. We have an information problem more than a parking problem. A problem that technology can help fix.’” – Alternatively – we could design places and infrastructure to reduce the need for people to drive.

Air quality & pollution

Global anthropogenic emissions of particulate matter including black carbon: https://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/17/8681/2017/ “This paper presents a comprehensive assessment of historical (1990–2010) global anthropogenic particulate matter (PM) emissions including the consistent and harmonized calculation of mass-based size distribution (PM1, PM2. 5, PM10), as well as primary carbonaceous aerosols including black carbon (BC) and organic carbon (OC).”

In-depth: The challenge of using biofuels to cut transport emissions: https://www.carbonbrief.org/in-depth-the-challenge-of-using-biofuels-to-cut-transport-emissions “Liquid biofuels still have a significant role to play in meeting the UK’s climate change targets, a new report says.”

Daimler accused of selling over one million cars with excess emissions: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-daimler-emissions-idUSKBN19X2N5 “German carmaker Daimler (DAIGn.DE) has been accused of selling over a million cars with excessive emissions in Europe and the United States, Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said on Wednesday, citing a search warrant issued by a Stuttgart court. Two months ago Stuttgart prosecutors searched Daimler sites in Germany following allegations of false advertising and the possible wrongful manipulation of exhaust gas treatment systems in diesel cars.”

3 million Mercedes cars got recalled over emissions concerns: http://grist.org/briefly/that-french-plan-to-attract-climate-scientists-its-working/ “Nearly every Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicle bought in the U.K. since 2011 needs its engine adjusted to reduce pollutants, according to the recall.”

Polluted air 'poisoning thousands' across north of England, warns report: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/18/polluted-air-poisoning-thousands-across-north-of-england-warns-report “Air pollution is ‘the tobacco of the 21st century’ says report, which calls on government to introduce radical measures to improve air quality”

End game for diesel as more drivers plan to go green: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/07/15/end-game-diesel-drivers-plan-go-green/ “The number of diesel cars on the road could halve in a little over a decade as green vehicles overtake traditional forms to become the dominant mode of transport.”

Tube passengers 'breathe in 12m toxic air particles a minute'... and could be at risk of dementia: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/tube-passengers-breathe-in-12m-toxic-air-particles-a-minute-and-could-be-at-risk-of-dementia-a3583446.html “Tube travellers could be at risk of developing dementia as it emerged passengers can inhale more than 12 million toxic air particles a minute on the Underground. Monitors placed on the Tube network by Transport for London found that "nanodusts" comprised mostly of iron oxides surge with the movement of trains.”

Food & food security

A Food Brexit: time to get real: A Brexit Briefing: https://www.sussex.ac.uk/webteam/gateway/file.php?name=foodbrexitreport-langmillstonemarsden-july2017pdf.pdf&site=25 “The implications of Brexit for food are potentially enormous. This verdict applies, whether there is a ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit. The UK food system, consumer tastes and prices have been thoroughly Europeanised. This will be impossible to cut out or back by March 2019 without

enormous consequences.  The UK food system faces real challenges on food security”

How Brexit threatens Britain’s food security: https://theconversation.com/how-brexit-threatens-britains-food-security-61716 “The situation created by the British vote to leave the European Union is momentous for UK food. It is on a par with the Repeal of the Corn Laws of 1846 when Britain decided its Empire could feed it, not its own farmers. And it is as important as the creation of the Agriculture Act of 1947 when after two bruising wars in which the population faced serious risk of starvation, the country decided to put its food house in order – to produce more of what it could and look after the land.” More here: https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/economy/agriculture/news/87576/government-sleepwalking-post-brexit-food-security-problems

Maize, rice, wheat: alarm at rising climate risk to vital crops: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/15/climate-change-food-famine-study “Governments may be seriously underestimating the risks of crop disasters occurring in major farming regions around the world, a study by British researchers has found.”

Is ‘Food Evolution’ propaganda? No! Just an accessible presentation of a tough topic: http://news.berkeley.edu/berkeley_blog/is-food-evolution-propaganda-no-just-an-accessible-presentation-of-a-tough-topic/ “Food Evolution is a documentary about GMOs. It is an excellent film that mixes a few compelling stories with interesting interviews that inform viewers without losing their attention. As someone that has worked in agricultural biotechnology for 30 years, I find the contents accurate and insightful.”

And finally….

Trainy McTrainface: Swedish railway keeps Boaty's legacy alive: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/19/trainy-mctrainface-boaty-mcboatface-legacy-lives-on-in-swedish-train “Winner of public vote to name new engine on Stockholm-Gothenburg line echoes UK poll choice for polar research ship”

Chain-reaction crash with minor injuries, except for the slime eels: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/us/slime-eels-oregon.html “A single hagfish can fill a 5-gallon bucket with slime, seemingly instantly - Picture the scene from the 1984 ‘Ghostbusters’ movie in which Dr. Peter Venkman, played by Bill Murray, complains about being slimed. Then multiply that a thousandfold, and you’ll get some idea of what happened on a coastal highway in Oregon” Warning – do not watch this before going to bed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8FVpj0p-iU

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