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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 6 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.

Healthy planning & environment

Sustainable development knowledge platform: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdinaction/newsletter “The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, was an action-oriented conference focusing on implementation of sustainable development. This newsletter aims to highlight the work carried out by Member States, United Nations system, Major Groups and other relevant stakeholders in implementing sustainable development and leading the way to the Future We Want.”

Sustainable Cities: Health at the Heart of Urban Development: http://www.who.int/sustainable-development/Factsheet-Cities-100617.pdf “Health-focused urban design can roll back the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), making

cities a bedrock for healthy lifestyles – as well as climate-friendly and resilient. WHO’s new Urban Health Initiative provides a model for the health sector to contribute to healthy urban planning and policies.”

The value of SDG-focused business models: http://www.eco-business.com/videos/the-value-of-sdg-focused-business-models/ “What does the chief executive of the world’s largest consumer goods company have to say about the business sense of the Sustainable Development Goals? Listen to Unilever’s CEO Paul Polman in this exclusive Eco-Business interview.”

A review of neighborhood effects and early child development: How, where, and for whom, do neighborhoods matter? http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829216303525 “This paper describes a scoping review of 42 studies of neighborhood effects on developmental health for children ages 0–6, published between 2009 and 2014. It focuses on three themes: (1) theoretical mechanisms that drive early childhood development, i.e. how neighborhoods matter for early childhood development; (2) dependence of such mechanisms on place-based characteristics i.e. where neighborhood effects occur; (3) dependence of such mechanisms on child characteristics, i.e. for whom is development most affected.”

Future drivers of the health of Londoners: http://adph.org.uk/networks/london/programme/future-drivers-of-the-health-of-londoners/ “Aim: To facilitate discussions about the future drivers of health in London among public health teams and system leaders with the aim of informing strategic planning.”

Nature: http://www.intelligenthealth.co.uk/engagement/nature/ “Daily contact with nature is linked to better health, reduced levels of chronic stress, reductions in obesity and improved concentration. Green space moderates the effect of stressful events in children”

Why Nature Matters in Our New Urban World: https://global.nature.org/content/why-nature-matters-in-our-new-urban-world?src=share.nature.global.twitter&utm_content=1498435433& “This is the first in a series, created in partnership by ICLEI – and The Nature Conservancy, making the case for investing in nature-based solutions and explores mechanisms to leverage the funding and political will for such investment.”

A Plant in Government: http://www.monbiot.com/2017/06/27/a-plant-in-government/ “Another deadly tree disease threatens these islands, but the government will do nothing to keep it out.”

How your pile of laundry fills the sea with plastic pollution: https://theconversation.com/how-your-pile-of-laundry-fills-the-sea-with-plastic-pollution-80109 “...Less widely known as a source of microplastic is the breakdown of synthetic fabrics, which forms tiny plastic fibres. Reports now indicate that these are the most common form of microplastic recovered from sediment and water samples. And the vast majority of these are produced during domestic clothes washing.”

Business and Citizen Interests Align When it Comes to Water: http://tsss.ca/water/business-and-citizen-interests-align-when-it-comes-to-water “Our planet is indeed blessed with an abundance of water, but the fact is that less than 1% of it is readily available for humans. With our population expected to reach 8.5 billion within the next 13 years, estimates indicate that the world will face a 40% shortfall between water demand and available supply as soon as 2030. The truth is, water scarcity and lack of access are already here today, and not just in the developing world.”

Urban science must inform policymaking — here’s how: http://citiscope.org/commentary/2017/07/urban-science-must-inform-policymaking-heres-how “This week, a six-month initiative brings together 30 global experts to look into how to create an “urban science-policy interface” for global sustainability.”

Councillors in Preston New Road fracking site blockade: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-40483524 “Three councillors and an ex-civil servant have locked themselves together near a Lancashire fracking site where they claim a drill is due to arrive.”

Fracking inquiry launched after Blackpool tremors: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/05/inquiry-fracking-blackpool-tremors “Investigation to look at how technique can affect drinking water as well as public attitudes”

How a declining German city is reviving itself from the bottom up: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/how-declining-german-city-reviving-itself-bottom

Fixed-odds betting terminal review delayed until autumn: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/30/fixed-odds-betting-terminal-review-delayed-until-autumn “A long-awaited review of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) has been delayed until the autumn, following a rift between the Treasury and the government department responsible for the gambling industry over regulation of the controversial machines. The government’s decision has been further complicated by the fact that MPs in the Democratic Unionist party, which holds the balance of power in parliament, are in favour of cutting the maximum FOBT stake from £100 to as low as £2.”


More homes must be built now, says RTPI: http://www.rtpi.org.uk/briefing-room/news-releases/2017/june/more-homes-must-be-built-now,-says-rtpi/#163961_20170629042436 “The RTPI has urged the UK Government to deliver the Housing White Paper without delay by setting a clear target of a million new homes and by focussing on the practical measures that can be actioned upon relatively quickly.”

Happy Homes: A toolkit for building sociability through multi-family housing design: https://thehappycity.com/resources/happy-homes/ “Modern cities are facing a crisis of social disconnection. But the way we design multi-family housing can nurture local social connections and trust. We’ve gathered evidence from psychology, neuroscience, public health and other fields to identify how design influences sociability in multi-family housing. Use this visual toolkit to identify principles, strategies and actions to boost social wellbeing in multi-family housing.”

‘It’s normal to have damp’: Using a qualitative psychological approach to analyse the lived experience of energy vulnerability among young adult households: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1420326X17708018 “Seeking to promote methodological innovation in fuel poverty research, this paper reflects on the use of a novel qualitative psychological approach known as interpretative phenomenological analysis.”

Energy price cap branded a betrayal of 15m families: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/energy-price-cap-branded-a-betrayal-of-15m-families-ofgem-xh5w53q9p “Theresa May was under pressure last night to honour her pledge to cap energy prices for 17 million families after the regulator published proposals for a watered-down version that would protect just two million households.”

Council leader calls for affordable housing tariff: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Council-leader-calls-for-affordable-housing-tariff/43352 “The Government should give local authorities the power to impose tariffs on developers to provide cash for more affordable housing, according to the leader of Westminster City Council.”

Climate change & sustainability

'Very strong' climate change signal in record June heat: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40449234 “The June heat waves that impacted much of the UK and Western Europe were made more intense because of climate change say scientists. Forest fires in Portugal claimed scores of lives while emergency heat plans were triggered in France, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Britain experienced its warmest June day since the famous heat wave of 1976. Human-related warming made record heat 10 times more likely in parts of Europe the researchers say.”

Major correction to satellite data shows 140% faster warming since 1998: https://www.carbonbrief.org/major-correction-to-satellite-data-shows-140-faster-warming-since-1998?ct=t(Carbon_Brief_Weekly_30_06_2017) “A new paper published in the Journal of Climate reveals that the lower part of the Earth’s atmosphere has warmed much faster since 1979 than scientists relying on satellite data had previously thought.” More media coverage here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/jul/03/bad-news-for-climate-contrarians-the-best-data-we-have-just-got-hotter

Slow climate mode reconciles historical and model-based estimates of climate sensitivity: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1602821 “Looking forward, these results also highlight the fact that the warming current greenhouse gas concentrations commit us to  will evolve according to a slow mode of response that is distinct from present warming patterns.”

Mapped: The world’s largest CO2 importers and exporters: https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-worlds-largest-co2-importers-exporters “Around 22% of global CO2 emissions stem from the production of goods that are, ultimately, consumed in a different country. However, traditional inventories do not include emissions associated with imported goods.”

Editorials: Where UK newspapers stand on climate change and energy: https://www.carbonbrief.org/editorials-where-uk-newspapers-stand-on-climate-change-and-energy  “The most obvious way that newspapers make their stance known is through their unsigned editorials – sometimes referred to as the “leader column”. Often located next to the columnists and letters page within the newspaper’s “op-ed” (opinion and editorial) section, this is where the paper expresses its formal view on the issues of the day.”

Angela Merkel challenges Donald Trump on climate change and trade ahead of G20: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/29/g20-live-merkel-vows-fight-paris-climate-accord/ “Angela Merkel on Thursday set the stage for a showdown with Donald Trump when she announced that next week’s G20 summit in Hamburg will focus on climate change.”

Germany produced record 35 percent of power from renewables in first half of 2017: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-energy-renewables-idUSKBN19N0GQ “Germany raised the proportion of its power produced by renewable energy to 35 percent in the first half of 2017 from 33 percent the previous year, according to the BEE renewable energy association.”

Leading insurers tell G20 to stop funding fossil fuels by 2020: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/30/leading-insurers-tell-g20-to-stop-funding-fossil-fuels-by-2020 “Aviva, Aegon and Amlin issue joint statement urging leaders to build on previous commitments and end subsidies within four years, reports Climate Home”

After Trump’s climate withdrawal, how to add up the flurry of city responses? http://citiscope.org/story/2017/after-trumps-climate-withdrawal-how-add-flurry-city-responses “WASHINGTON — It’s been nearly a month since President Donald Trump announced he would pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, prompting a flurry of hand-wringing, anger — and sudden action on the part of cities across the country. At the individual city level, the outpouring of official responses has been striking. But collectively, how significant is it?”

World has three years left to stop dangerous climate change, warn experts: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/28/world-has-three-years-left-to-stop-dangerous-climate-change-warn-experts “Former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres among signatories of letter warning that the next three years will be crucial to stopping the worst effects of global warming”

Mission 2020: A new global strategy to ‘rapidly’ reduce carbon emissions: https://www.carbonbrief.org/mission-2020-new-global-strategy-rapidly-reduce-carbon-emissions?ct=t(Carbon_Brief_Weekly_30_06_2017)  “In April, a new global initiative called Mission 2020 was launched by Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief who oversaw the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change in late 2015.”

Coal production rises in US, China, India after global 2016 decline, in setback for cutting climate change emissions: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/coal-production-rises-in-us-china-india-after-global-2016-decline-in-setback-for-cutting-climate-change-emissions/2017/06/26/a3f2628a-5a3e-11e7-aa69-3964a7d55207_story.html?utm_term=.a0f42e1685d5 “BEIJING — Coal production rises in US, China, India after global 2016 decline, in setback for cutting climate change emissions.”

Cities can go completely renewable — and here’s how: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/cities-can-go-completely-renewable-and-heres-how “...Enter the Global 100% Renewable Energy campaign, the first international platform advocating for the total reliance on clean alternatives to fossil fuel for cities and regions. Founded in San Francisco in 2013, the campaign is comprised of international organizations dedicated to renewable options. This defiantly optimistic coalition insists that such a transition is very achievable.”

Pavegen unveils world’s first energy-harvesting smart street in London: http://inhabitat.com/pavegen-unveils-worlds-first-energy-harvesting-smart-street-in-london/ A ‘proof of concept’ – but an interesting idea.

$12 Million Says Ocean Power Can Compete In The Big Leagues With Wind, Solar: https://cleantechnica.com/2017/06/19/12-million-says-ocean-power-can-compete-big-leagues-wind-solar/ “Wind and solar power are the heavy hitters of the global clean energy revolution, but the US Energy Department is still focusing an eyeball on ocean power and things just got a little more interesting. Despite the threat of steep budget cuts proposed by President Trump, DOE is forging ahead with a new round of $12 million in funding for ocean power projects, specifically aimed at accelerating the development of “game-changing,” low cost wave energy converters.”

Sea level rise isn’t just happening, it’s getting faster: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/06/26/sea-level-rise-isnt-just-happening-its-getting-faster/?ct=t(Carbon_Brief_Weekly_30_06_2017) “In at least the third such study published in the past year, scientists have confirmed seas are rising, and the rate of sea level rise is increasing as time passes — a sobering punchline for coastal communities that are only now beginning to prepare for a troubling future.”

Karl Ove Knausgaard condemns Norway's Arctic oil plans: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/19/karl-ove-knausgaard-condemns-norways-arctic-oil-drill-plans “Opening up the Arctic to oil companies is ‘shortsighted and stupid’, says leading Norwegian author as he leads campaign to sue the government”

House panel wants to know how climate change impacts the military: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-defense-climatechange-idUSKBN19K007 “U.S. lawmakers on the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee asked the Pentagon on Wednesday to produce a report on climate change and its effects on the military. The report would list each service's 10 most vulnerable military installations at risk of flooding, sea level rise and wildfires or other threats associated with climate change.”

Active travel & transport

Autonomous Vehicles and Public Health: Literature Review: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140517304516 “Even with the trade-offs and many unknown consequences of AVs as an evolving technology, it has the potential to positively impact the overall health of society if is properly regulated and managed by the authorities and the society. AVs could improve public health through improvements to safety, access, personal utility and further improvements in the environment when individuals abandon ownership of private vehicles and fossil fuels.”

Social and built-environment factors related to children's independent mobility: The importance of neighbourhood cohesion and connectedness: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829216303975 “The qualitative component of this research revealed that for NZ European, Māori, Samoan and other Pacific parents, ‘people danger’ was the most common concern for letting their children go out alone, whereas for Asian and Indian parents, ‘traffic danger’ was the most common reason for their concern.”

A Stark Comparison of Parking Vs. Bike-Share Spaces: https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/06/bike-share-dock-parking-space-citi-bike-new-york/531936/ “If you want to see one of the most effective advertisements for bike sharing that wasn’t produced by a bike-share program, look no further than this footage of people swarming a Citi Bike station while cars sit parked right across the street.”

How not to create traffic jams, pollution and urban sprawl: https://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21720269-dont-let-people-park-free-how-not-create-traffic-jams-pollution-and-urban-sprawl “Parking can seem like the most humdrum concern in the world. Even planners, who thrill to things like zoning and floor-area ratios, find it unglamorous. But parking influences the way cities look, and how people travel around them, more powerfully than almost anything else.”

Building a sustainable 'highway of the future': http://www.latimes.com/nation/sns-tns-bc-sustainable-highways-20170619-story.html “The long-term goal is to build the world's first sustainable road, a highway that could create its own clean, renewable energy and generate income by selling power to utility companies, while producing no stormwater runoff or other pollution and eliminating traffic deaths.”

'Eighty per cent of drivers ignore 20mph limits': http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/eighty-per-cent-of-drivers-ignore-20mph-limits-a3578081.html “Eight in 10 drivers ignore 20mph speed limits, according to new data. Figures released by the Department for Transport show that 81% of drivers broke the limit at nine sites across the country - with 15% topping 30mph and 1% travelling at over 40mph in 20mph zones. The report also shows one in 10 drivers exceeds motorway speed limits by at least 10mph, and 1% hitting 90mph.”

Aston Martin is releasing its first electric car in 2019: http://inhabitat.com/aston-martin-is-releasing-its-first-electric-car-in-2019/ “Aston Martin is known for creating some of the sexiest, most powerful combustion engine cars in the world, but times are changing. Today the automaker shoves large gas guzzling V8 and V12 engines under the hood of its models, but in 2019 Aston Martin will introduce its very first electric car: the RapidE.” More here: https://theconversation.com/aston-martin-an-unlikely-ambassador-for-electric-cars-80237

Volvo admits its self-driving cars are confused by kangaroos: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/01/volvo-admits-its-self-driving-cars-are-confused-by-kangaroos “Swedish company’s animal detection system can identify and avoid deer, elk and caribou, but is yet to work against the marsupials’ movements”

Air quality & pollution

Air quality: Challenge against government plan rejected: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40509653 “The High Court has rejected a legal challenge against the government's plans to improve air quality. Campaign group ClientEarth had brought the case, saying draft measures on cutting nitrogen dioxide levels were flawed and "plainly unlawful".”

Nationwide study of U.S. seniors strengthens link between air pollution and premature death: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/u-s-seniors-air-pollution-premature-death “A new study of 60 million Americans—about 97% of people age 65 and older in the United States—shows that long-term exposure to airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone increases the risk of premature death, even when that exposure is at levels below the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) currently established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

MEDACT - Response from Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to our reply to Theresa May’s letter re: Government action on diesel: https://www.medact.org/2017/news/campaign-updates/response-secretary-state-environment-food-rural-affairs-michael-gove-re-government-action-diesel/ “A response has been received from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, to the Doctors against Diesel response to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Letter in March.  Doctors against Diesel’s response included the Prescription For Clean Air.  The letter expressed concern that the new Air Quality Plan failed to tackle emissions at source.”

Consultation on the Central London Ultra Low Emission Zone – Medact response: https://www.medact.org/2017/news/campaign-updates/medact-response-consultation-central-london-ulez/

VW knew its fix would not make a significant difference in the real world: http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/06/30/vw-fix-volkswagen-no-significant-difference-real-world/ “Volkswagen knew that the fix for some cars affected by the emissions scandal would not make a significant difference in the real world, according to leaked internal documents seen by Energydesk and German media.”

Revealed: Why going on a cruise should come with a health warning: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/news/why-going-on-a-cruise-should-come-with-a-health-warning/ “re cruise holidays bad for your health? An investigation by Channel 4's Dispatches, which airs tonight, suggests they could be. The programme claims ultrafine particulate air pollution on some cruise ships is double that of central London, a city regularly slated for its poor air quality.”

Food & food security

Association between distance to nearest supermarket and provision of fruits and vegetables in English nurseries: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829216305445 “Our results suggest that supermarket access may be important for nurseries in meeting fruit and vegetable provision guidelines. We advance a growing body of international literature, for the first time linking the food practices of institutions to their neighbourhood food retail context.”

World food security risks growing, Chatham House says: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-40415756 “he world's food security is increasingly reliant on 14 "chokepoints" for trade, a think-tank report has warned. UK-based Chatham House says more needs to be done to protect key transport routes such as the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal and the Turkish Straits. Almost 25% of the world's food is traded on international markets. This, the report says, makes food supply and prices vulnerable to unforeseen crises or climate change. Infrastructure at the chokepoints is often old and would struggle to cope with natural disasters which are expected to grow in frequency as the planet warms, the report authors add.”

Global Early Warning – Early Action Report on Food Security and Agriculture: July - September 2017: http://reliefweb.int/report/world/global-early-warning-early-action-report-food-security-and-agriculture-july-september “The Global Early Warning – Early Action (EWEA) report on food security and agriculture is developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The report is part of FAO’s EWEA system, which aims to translate forecasts and early warnings into anticipatory action.”

And finally….

Floating Paris gym uses human energy to cruise down the Seine River: http://inhabitat.com/floating-paris-gym-uses-human-energy-to-cruise-down-the-seine-river “Italian architects Carlo Ratti Associati have unveiled a new design for a floating gym powered by human energy. Designed to meander down the Seine River, the 20-meter-long Paris Navigating Gym would be powered by Technogym‘s revolutionary ARTIS exercise machines, which harvest power generated by the fitness enthusiasts inside.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 30 June 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.

Healthy planning & environment

Dementia and Town Planning: http://www.rtpi.org.uk/knowledge/practice/dementia-and-town-planning/ “This practice note gives advice on how good planning can create better environments for people living with dementia. It summarises expert advice, outlines key planning and health policy and highlights good practice case studies. The policy context applies to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the principles of good practice are applicable wherever you work.”

TCPA – Developers and Wellbeing Project: https://www.tcpa.org.uk/developers-wellbeing “The TCPA’s ‘Reuniting health with planning’ initiative has helped local authorities get the right policies in place to create healthy places….  It also aims to enable a positive approach between Local Authorities and Developers to delivering healthy developments. As part of the outputs, TCPA will profile developments as case studies using the 6 Planning Healthy Weight Environments elements as a reference framework.”

It’s nonsense to say fracking can be made safe, whatever guidelines we come up with: https://theconversation.com/its-nonsense-to-say-fracking-can-be-made-safe-whatever-guidelines-we-come-up-with-79946 “Can fracking be safe? A new study suggests how fracking – the process of extracting oil and gas trapped in rocks deep underground by blasting water into the rock at high pressure – can be conducted without causing earthquakes, which is one of the most well known concerns. While this kind of research can help produce guidelines to reduce the risks associated with fracking, ultimately, it makes no sense to talk of fracking being entirely “safe”.”

Noisy cities disrupt heartbeat and could trigger disease, study suggests: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/06/24/noisy-cities-disrupt-heartbeat-could-trigger-disease-study-suggests/ “Researchers from Nottingham Trent University found that constant changes in noise – even at low levels – had an immediate and disruptive effect on the patterns of participants’ normal heart rates. The team says their findings add to a growing body of research which shows how our everyday surroundings could have wider implications for long-term health.”

Brexit 'will enhance' UK wildlife laws – Gove: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40331919 “Any Brexit changes to the UK's wildlife laws will increase - not reduce - environmental protection, Michael Gove has pledged… Environmentalists welcomed his promises, but some are sceptical whether they will actually be met.”

Quarter of England’s rivers at risk of running dry, finds WWF: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/24/quarter-england-rivers-risk-running-dry-finds-wwf “Freedom-of-information data reveals threat of drought that would devastate wildlife, with government slow to act on water management”

Humans have been exploiting the world for so long that there’s a museum about it: http://grist.org/briefly/humans-have-been-exploiting-the-world-for-so-long-that-theres-a-museum-about-it/ “The new Museum of Capitalism in Oakland, California, explores “the ideology, history, and legacy of capitalism.” Surprise! One of the most detrimental legacies of capitalism is … climate change.”

China Has Officially Started Building The World's First 'Forest City': http://www.sciencealert.com/china-has-officially-started-construction-on-the-world-s-first-forest-city “The world's first 'Forest City,' created to fight pollution, is now under construction in Liuzhou, Guangxi Province, China… , the futuristic Forest City will be home to a community of about 30,000 people. It will be covered in greenery, including nearly 1 million plants of more than 100 species and 40,000 trees that together absorb almost 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 57 tons of pollutants, and produce approximately 900 tons of oxygen annually.” – HOWEVER - @thehappycity notes… Aspiration = noble, but feature image in this story = towers in park with no walkable infrastructure or destination. High carbon/Low health.


Research: Shut Out: Households at put at risk of homelessness by the housing benefit freeze: http://england.shelter.org.uk/professional_resources/policy_and_research/policy_library/policy_library_folder/research_shut_out_households_at_put_at_risk_of_homelessness_by_the_housing_benefit_freeze “New research by Shelter identifies a number of reasons why people on low incomes are increasingly unable to find a home and secure a tenancy in the private rented sector.” Media coverage here:

Housing crisis threatens a million families with eviction by 2020: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/24/social-housing-poverty-homeless-shelter-rent “Report shows combination of low wages, freezes to benefits and rising costs of renting could cause more than 1 million households to become homeless”

Right to Buy ‘devastating’ social housing stock, new figures reveal: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Right-to-Buy-devastating-social-housing-stock-new-figures-reveal/43322 “Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to 72 councils found more than 12,000 council houses have been sold off since 2014, to a cost of over £930m, while only 4,309 were built over the same time period.”

Council homes sold off almost three times as fast as new ones are built: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/28/council-homes-sold-off-almost-three-times-as-fast-as-new-ones-are-built “Council homes are being sold off almost three times faster than local authorities can replace them, new analysis has revealed, with some local authorities selling 20 times the number of homes that were built in three years.”

Homes fit for 21st century heroes: the past and future of UK housing policy: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/the-past-and-future-of-uk-housing-policy “For over a century, housing has shaped British political economy and has both consolidated and divided the two major parties, writes Ewan Gibbs. He outlines the centrality of housing policies in British history, and argues that strategic adjustments will be key in adapting future policy to popular morality and structural economic forces.”

Climate change & sustainability

Leaving the European Union: UK Climate Change Policy: http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/LLN-2017-0022 “This House of Lords Library briefing provides an overview of a selection of European legislation which relates to climate change, and outlines how it has been implemented in the UK. The briefing discusses the potential implications of leaving the EU on targets set into UK law and briefly states the UK’s international commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It also provides additional information on greenhouse gas emissions from EU countries and their climate change domestic legislation.”

800,000 years of climate change in a 3 minute cartoon: http://tsss.ca/channels/energy-cities-climate-change/800000-years-of-climate-change-in-a-3-minute-cartoon?platform=hootsuite “There are those who say the climate has always changed, and that carbon dioxide levels have always fluctuated. That’s true. But it’s also true that since the industrial revolution, CO₂ levels in the atmosphere have climbed to levels that are unprecedented over hundreds of millennia. So here’s a short video we made, to put recent climate change and carbon dioxide emissions into the context of the past 800,000 years.”

China just switched on the world's largest floating solar power plant: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/06/china-worlds-largest-floating-solar-power/ “It wasn’t too long ago that China had a reputation as a coal-guzzling, smog-blanketed polluter. But that is changing - and fast. Today, China invests more each year in wind, hydro and solar power than any other country on earth. This week it further underlined its role as the global leader in renewable energy by switching on the world’s largest floating solar power plant.”

Six Million People in China Just Went 100% Renewable for a Week: https://www.inverse.com/article/33426-china-renewable-energy-seven-days “From June 17 to 23, the 6 million people living in the region in Northwest China only used hydro, wind, and solar power as their energy source. Based on local news reports, the trial was used to prove that it was possible to switch from coal-based energy on a large scale. The province used 1.1 billion kilowatt hours of energy during the week, which is equivalent to the power from burning 535,000 tons of coal. It’s a test that suggests China is on a good track to transitioning to renewable energy, and that grid systems can handle fluctuating power sources.”

70% Decrease In Energy Storage Costs By 2030, Says Report: https://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/25/70-decrease-energy-storage-costs-2030-says-report/ “Energy storage costs could decrease up to 70% in the next 15 years, according to a report called E-Storage: Shifting from Cost to Value, by Paul Gardner from DNV GL and other authors. PriceWaterhouseCoopers also contributed cost analysis, along with inputs from 23 experts.”

Storage 'not fundamentally needed' for future power grid, scientists say: https://www.edie.net/news/6/Storage--not-fundamentally-needed--for-future-power-grid--scientists-say/ “The emergence of household batteries, along with small-scale solar photovoltaic and plug-in electric cars, is tipped to transform electricity storage, according to a new state-of-the-art report by European science academies. But experts claim storage is not actually fundamentally needed.”

Here's Why Wind Farms Are Hardly The Bird Slayers They're Made Out to Be: http://www.sciencealert.com/wind-farms-are-hardly-the-bird-slayers-they-re-made-out-to-be-here-s-why “People who oppose wind farms often claim wind turbine blades kill large numbers of birds, often referring to them as "bird choppers". And claims of dangers to iconic or rare birds, especially raptors, have attracted a lot of attention. Wind turbine blades do indeed kill birds and bats, but their contribution to total bird deaths is extremely low, as these three studies show.”

99% Of Seabirds Avoid Collision With Offshore Wind Farms: https://cleantechnica.com/2014/12/18/99-seabirds-avoid-collision-offshore-wind-farms/ “Two recent studies disproved the ideas that wind farms affect health and property values, and now a new review by the British Trust for Ornithology and the University of Highlands and Islands’ Environmental Research Institute has found that 99% of seabirds are likely to alter their flight paths to avoid collision with offshore wind turbines.”

New Energy Outlook 2017: https://about.bnef.com/new-energy-outlook/?src=social “Renewable energy sources are set to represent almost three quarters of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power generating technology until 2040, thanks to rapidly falling costs for solar and wind power, and a growing role for batteries, including electric vehicle batteries, in balancing supply and demand.”

Barclays, Virgin, and Pepsi among big businesses to back FSB climate risk guidelines: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3012814/barclays-virgin-and-pepsi-among-major-businesses-to-back-fsb-climate-risk-guidelines “Over 100 CEOs from some of the world's most successful companies have today publicly promised to publish details of how their business strategies will cope with the low-carbon transition, in the first sign of a major shift in market sentiment following the publication of new disclosure guidelines from the international Financial Stability Board (FSB).”

Mayors of 7,400 cities vow to meet Obama's climate commitments: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/28/global-covenant-mayors-cities-vow-to-meet-obama-climate-commitments “Mayors of more than 7,400 cities across the world have vowed that Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord will spur greater local efforts to combat climate change.”

South Korea to scrap coal and nuclear power: http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/06/19/south-korea-scrap-coal-nuclear-power/ “The new president of South Korea, Mood Jae-in has committed his country to phasing out all coal and nuclear power stations suggesting a major change in energy policy for the Asian state”

World's biggest coal company closes 37 mines as solar power's influence grows: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/coal-india-closes-37-mines-solar-power-sustainable-energy-market-influence-pollution-a7800631.html “Plummeting price of renewable energy puts pressure on fossil fuel firms”

It’s time to wake up to the devastating impact flying has on the environment: https://theconversation.com/its-time-to-wake-up-to-the-devastating-impact-flying-has-on-the-environment-70953 “The first is that aviation is essentially a fossil fuel industry, one which guzzles an eye-watering 5m barrels of oil every day. Burning that fuel currently contributes around 2.5% to total carbon emissions, a proportion which could rise to 22% by 2050 as other sectors emit less. The second problem is, as Air Asia puts it, “Now everyone can fly”. And in “generation easyJet”, those who already fly, fly more than ever. This increasing demand from new and existing travellers means the number of passenger aircraft in our skies is set to double by 2035.”

Eviation Aircraft unveils all-electric plane with 600-mile range: http://inhabitat.com/eviation-aircraft-unveils-all-electric-aircraft-with-600-mile-range/ “…Eviation Aircraft (a member of NASA’s on-demand mobility program) recently unveiled the first prototype of an all-electric aircraft with a range of up to 600 miles (965 km). Presented at the 52nd International Paris Air Show, the prototype could be ready to move into certification and commercialization as soon as next year.”

Paris agreement's 1.5C target 'only way' to save coral reefs, Unesco says: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/24/paris-agreements-15c-target-only-way-to-save-coral-reefs-unesco-says “First global assessment of climate change impact on world heritage-listed reefs says local efforts are ‘no longer sufficient’”

Billions to face ‘deadly threshold’ of heat extremes by 2100, finds study: https://www.carbonbrief.org/billions-face-deadly-threshold-heat-extremes-2100-study “Up to three quarters of the world’s population could be at risk from deadly heat extremes by the end of the century, a new study suggests. The research finds that just under a third of the global population is currently exposed to heat extremes that have resulted in deaths in the past. This will increase as global temperatures rise.”

Queen's Speech: Petrol stations to go electric: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-40352884 “Petrol stations and motorway services will be required to install electric charge points, under plans outlined in the Queen's Speech. The measure forms part of a government push to increase the number of electric vehicles on UK roads. The Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill also contains plans to push driverless car technology”

Scotland Hits 2015 Climate Emissions Target: http://www.stopclimatechaos.org/news/2017/06/13/scotland-hits-2015-climate-emissions-target

France to ban all new oil and gas exploration in renewable energy drive: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/france-ban-new-oil-gas-exploration-stop-granting-licences-macron-hulot-renewable-energy-drive-a7806161.html “France is to stop granting licences for oil and gas exploration as part of a transition towards environmentally-friendly energy being driven by Emmanuel Macron’s government. Nicolas Hulot, the “ecological transition” minister said a law would be passed in the autumn.”

Cities looking to ‘green banks’ to help fund sustainable infrastructure: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/cities-looking-green-banks-help-fund-sustainable-infrastructure “WASHINGTON, D. C.— As President Donald Trump this spring moved toward a decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, the mayor of the U. S. capital city made her own announcement: She would seek to earmark millions of city dollars to lend to developers and others who want to bolster building efficiency, invest in renewable energy and undertake other ways to reduce carbon emissions.”

It’s time for cities to treat climate change like a public health crisis: http://grist.org/article/its-time-for-cities-to-treat-climate-change-like-a-public-health-crisis/ “he Climate Change Adaptation Research Group at McGill University looks at how climate change is impacting human society, and what solutions we can design to protect ourselves. Drawing on evidence from our research into cities in Canada and around the world, we propose that cities will need to integrate climate change concerns into public health and the health-care sector more seriously.”

Active travel & transport

Research - Physical activity, cognitive decline, and risk of dementia: 28 year follow-up of Whitehall II cohort study: http://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j2709 “Conclusion: This study found no evidence of a neuroprotective effect of physical activity. Previous findings showing a lower risk of dementia in physically active people may be attributable to reverse causation—that is, due to a decline in physical activity levels in the preclinical phase of dementia.”

Essential Evidence on a page: No. 161 Traffic-law enforcement & its relationship with risk of death from crashes: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-161-traffic-law-enforcement-relationship-risk-death-crashes “Top line: Traffic-law enforcement effectively reduces the frequency of fatal motor-vehicle crashes in countries with high rates of motor-vehicle use. Inconsistent enforcement, therefore, may contribute to thousands of deaths each year worldwide.”

The ‘vicious circle of decline’: How is congestion affecting the Welsh bus sector? https://assemblyinbrief.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/the-vicious-circle-of-decline-how-is-congestion-affecting-the-welsh-bus-sector/#more-9874 “Bus companies in Welsh cities are struggling with congestion chaos that lengthens journey times and pinches passenger numbers, according to evidence submitted to an Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee’s inquiry into the impacts of congestion on the bus industry.”

This is where the next 20mph roads are coming in Birmingham: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/next-20mph-roads-coming-birmingham-13228593 “Last year the council introduced the 20mph schemes in the city centre, Ladywood, Hodge Hill, Sparkbrook, Moseley and Kings Heath. And next districts to get the reduced 20 mph speed limits, to be introduced in the autumn, are parts of Edgbaston, Harborne and Selly Oak. It means that much of the area within the outer ring road, the number 11 bus route, will be covered by 20 mph speed limits.”

Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy to deliver Healthy Streets: https://healthystreets.com/home/new/ “This week the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, published his draft 25 year transport strategy for public consultation. By applying the Healthy Streets Approach, this ambitious plan reaches beyond the transport system to shape a global city and the lives of millions of people for the better.”

London mayor considers pay-per-mile road pricing and ban on new parking: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/20/london-mayor-considers-pay-per-mile-road-pricing-and-ban-on-new-parking “Sadiq Khan wants to cut 3m car journeys a day and encourage cycling and walking in effort to reduce congestion and air pollution”

The world’s most efficient 5-seater car is powered entirely by the sun: http://inhabitat.com/the-worlds-most-efficient-5-seater-car-is-powered-entirely-by-the-sun/ “A team of students at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) just unveiled an electric car that seats five and is completely powered by the sun. Called Stella Vie, the vehicle stands apart because it’s more efficient than all solar cars before it. Even with fewer solar panels on its roof, the car is capable of a range of about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) on a warm summer day.”

Survey offers ideas for luring drivers out of their cars: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/survey-offers-ideas-luring-drivers-out-their-cars “What would help persuade drivers to give up their cars for cleaner transport alternatives? A recent survey of drivers in 23 cities across 15 countries offers some clues.”

Air quality & pollution

Use congestion charges to improve air quality, says RTPI: http://www.rtpi.org.uk/briefing-room/news-releases/2017/june/use-congestion-charges-to-improve-air-quality,-says-rtpi/ “Congestion charging zones, along with investment in public transport and infrastructure for walking, cycling and electric vehicles, are urgently needed to improve air quality, the RTPI has said. In its response to the consultation on the draft UK Air Quality Plan, the Institute has also called on the UK Government to join up land use and transport planning to ensure new developments prioritise active travel such as walking and cycling, and public transport.”

Fine motorists idling outside schools to cut air pollution, say health watchdogs: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/30/fine-motorists-idling-outside-schools-to-cut-air-pollution-say-health-watchdogs “New official guidance also backs planting trees, supporting cycling and encouraging take-up of electric vehicles to tackle crisis that causes 40,000 early deaths a year”

Latest diesel car models remain highly polluting, tests show: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/23/latest-diesel-car-models-remain-highly-polluting-tests-show “Six new vehicles including Land Rover and Suzuki are adding to air pollution crisis, despite stricter rules coming in months”

Ignore the toxic myth about bike lanes and pollution – the facts utterly debunk it: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jun/16/myth-bike-lanes-congestion-pollution-debunked “To use London as a good example, there is zero evidence that separated bike lanes have worsened congestion. Quite the contrary. Transport for London statistics show that just two weeks after the capital’s two new cycle “superhighways” were open, both routes were carrying 5% per hour more people than previously, a figure set to rise as more cyclists use them. Having given 30% of the space to bikes, these now comprised 46% of people using the roads.”

New cycle superhighway 'will block' major Birmingham junction: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/new-cycle-superhighway-will-block-13192264 “Councillors worried that plans to restrict turning off busy A38 will clog up neighbouring residential streets”

Food & food security

A People's Food Policy - blueprint for a progressive national food policy: http://sustainablefoodcities.org/newsevents/news/articleid/788/a-peoples-food-policy-blueprint-for-a-progressive-national-food-policy “Today sees the launch of A People’s Food Policy – a ground-breaking manifesto outlining a people’s vision of food and farming in England that is supported by over 80 food and farming organisations. The report draws on 18 months of extensive, nation-wide consultations with grassroots organisations, NGOs, trade unions, community projects, small businesses and individuals. It has resulted in a set of policy proposals and a vision for change that is rooted in the lived experiences and needs of people most affected by the failures in the current food system.”

Sustainable Food Cities: Building a Good Food Movement for the 21st Century: https://www.soilassociation.org/blogs/2017/june/sustainable-food-cities-building-a-good-food-movement-for-the-21st-century/ “While there is no doubt it has brought us bewildering choice, knock-down prices and ready convenience, there is a growing consensus that the modern food system - and the ‘fast’ food culture it has fostered - costs more than people, places or the planet can afford.”

‘Shocking’ Study Lays Bare The Reality For Those Forced To Use Foodbanks: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/foodbank-study-2017_uk_5953c940e4b0da2c73204b17? “People forced to rely on food donations face multiple forms of destitution, poor health and household income as low as £320 a month, one of the biggest ever studies into Britain’s foodbanks has found. Almost half of the households involved in the Oxford University study reported their incomes were unsteady from week-to-week and month-to-month. A shocking 78% were severely food insecure - meaning they had skipped meals and gone without eating – sometimes for days at a time.”

Move by UK supermarkets threatens to bring Fairtrade crashing down: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jun/24/fairtrade-crashing-down-sainsburys-tesco-tea-growers-nairobi “Tesco is to join Sainsbury’s in changing the branding of some ‘fairly traded’ products”

One community garden at a time: how New Yorkers are fighting for food justice: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/12/new-york-city-food-justice-community-garden-libertad-urban-farm “Tanya Fields’ Libertad Urban Farm joins a city-wide movement to redistribute resources to poor communities that are systemically deprived of healthy food”

And finally….

This professor made a climate change PowerPoint for Trump, and it will make you smile: http://grist.org/briefly/this-professor-made-a-climate-change-powerpoint-for-trump-and-it-will-make-you-smile/ Very clever – and funny!

WMHPG news, information and resources 22 June 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.

Healthy people and healthy profits? Elaborating a conceptual framework for governing the commercial determinants of non-communicable diseases and identifying options for reducing risk exposure: https://globalizationandhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12992-017-0255-3 “While piecemeal efforts have been established, we argue that mechanisms to control the commercial determinants of NCDs are inadequate and efforts at remedial action too limited. Our paper sets out an agenda to strengthen each of the three governance models. We identify reforms that will be needed to the global health architecture to govern NCD risks, including to strengthen its ability to consolidate the collective power of diverse stakeholders, its authority to develop and enforce clear measures to address risks, as well as establish monitoring and rights-based accountability systems across all actors to drive measurable, equitable and sustainable progress in reducing the global burden of NCDs.”

Healthy planning & environment

Welcome to the Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit (WHIASU) website: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/home.cfm?orgid=522 “Included in this site is information on health impact assessment (HIA) in Wales, news and recent developments. This website aims to provide a resource to those currently practicing HIA and those who are new to it and looking for information. There are details of completed HIAs in Wales since 1997 and other HIA activities from the Unit plus links to other useful resources.”

'Planning for Better Health and Wellbeing' resource: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/news/43389 “Today the Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit (WHIASU) and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) are pleased to publish 'Planning for Better Health and Wellbeing'.  This is a practical resource which aims to support practitioners and policy officers whose work spans the Planning and Public Health systems in Wales.”

Planning processes & healthy cities: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/planning-processes-healthy-cities/ “The way in which we plan our towns can have enormous benefit to our health. Good planning can hardwire “health” into the fabric and infrastructure. Conversely getting it wrong can have adverse consequences. Here are a relatively random set of thoughts on the interfaces for those getting into this space.”

Building natural value for sustainable economic development: Green Infrastructure Valuation Toolkit: http://www.greeninfrastructurenw.co.uk/html/index.php?page=projects&GreenInfrastructureValuationToolkit=true “Now that the project is complete, the Green Infrastructure Valuation Toolkit is being made available as a prototype and free open source resource that can be downloaded from the links below:”

Green infrastructure as part of health impact assessments: http://www.greenblue.com/na/green-infrastructure-part-health-impact-assessments/ “The research into the relationship between green infrastructure and human health is well advanced, and across the world, Healthy Cities initiatives have been implemented and local/municipal authorities across Europe, North America, and beyond are applying green infrastructure to deliver added value and save costs related to health care. It is now more widely accepted that Urban Planners have a role to play in ensuring that schemes brought forward make the most effective use of strategic green infrastructure and LID/SuDs.”

Here’s the list of Sustainable Development Goal targets that have a role for cities: http://citiscope.org/story/2016/heres-list-sustainable-development-goal-targets-have-role-cities “Last year, all 193 countries represented at the United Nations formally agreed to a set of “Sustainable Development Goals.”… One of these 17 goals — SDG 11 — is entirely about cities and human settlements and making them “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” But in one way or another, all of the goals relate to work that happens in cities. So local authorities and the leaders who run them have a vital role to play in this global effort.”

Why the world needs ‘blue urbanism’ — now: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/why-world-needs-blue-urbanism-now “Last week, the United Nations wrapped up its first-ever Ocean Conference with a global call to action. From plastics to overfishing, nations pledged to do their part to deliver a global goal to protect life under water — one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that went into effect last year. Cities were not mentioned in the ocean manifesto. That’s despite the fact that nearly 40 percent of the world’s population lives within 100 km of a coastline — and the majority of those people live in urban areas.”

How urban ‘heat islands’ threaten public health: http://grist.org/article/how-urban-heat-islands-threaten-public-health/ “Western communities, including Los Angeles, are aware that urban heat is a serious and growing threat to public health, and the warming climate only increases the problem. “It’s not as visible as other catastrophes, but the implications can be far reaching,” says Elizabeth Rhoades, who works on climate issues in Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health.”

Britain could slash environmental and safety standards 'a very long way' after Brexit, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg says: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-safety-standards-workers-rights-jacob-rees-mogg-a7459336.html “The MP said standards that were 'good enough for India' could be good enough for the UK”

England round-up: Alok Sharma appointed as planning minister; Burnham releases £21m to make Manchester greener: https://www.theplanner.co.uk/news/england-round-up-alok-sharma-appointed-as-planning-minister-burnham-releases-%C2%A321m-to-make “A round-up of planning news in England: 10 June-16 June, 2017”

Aircraft noise at night linked to high blood pressure: https://theconversation.com/aircraft-noise-at-night-linked-to-high-blood-pressure-79397 “eople who live near airports are at increased risk of high blood pressure, our latest research shows. We found that exposure to high levels of noise, especially during the night, more than doubles the risk of being diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure). We also found some evidence that aircraft noise may lead to an increased risk of heart arrhythmia and stroke.”

Doick et al; The Canopy Cover of England’s Towns and Cities (Research paper): http://www.charteredforesters.org/Resource/doick-et-al-canopy-cover-englands-towns-cities-research-paper “Papers and presentations from the 2017 Trees, People and the Built Environment 3 (TPBE3) Conference. This event was hosted by ICF on 5-6 April at the University of Birmingham.”

U.S. Quietly Removes 17 Sites From UN Biosphere Reserve Network: https://www.ecowatch.com/un-biosphere-reserve-2442151611.html?xrs=RebelMouse_fb&ts=1497542727  “The U.S. has quietly withdrawn 17 sites from the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves program. As first reported by National Geographic, the sites include a number of national forests, preserves and reserves from Alaska to the Virgin Islands (see list below). There were previously 47 biosphere reserves in the U.S.”


Yes, the Grenfell Tower fire is political – it’s a failure of many governments: https://theconversation.com/yes-the-grenfell-tower-fire-is-political-its-a-failure-of-many-governments-79599 “What is evident in this turmoil, is that for several decades no government has focused sufficiently on the need to provide good quality, safe and secure homes for lower-income households. So far as governments have considered housing at all, the focus has been on market-led supply for prospective homeowners.”

What more can be done to build the homes we need? The Lyons Edited Collection: http://www.ippr.org/publications/what-more-can-be-done-lyons-edited-collection “The housing market is broken. That was the stark conclusion of Theresa May in introducing the government’s white paper on housing in February 2017. Its wide agenda and suggested that the government might question previous preoccupations and promote a broadly based approach to housing in order to ‘make Britain a country that works for everyone’. This collection of 12 essays supports that ambition, and urges the government to go further, offering additional thoughts about measures that could promote a sustainable increase in the supply of new homes to closer match prevailing demand.”

Study reveals ‘massive shortfall’ in planning permission: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Study-reveals-massive-shortfall-in-planning-permission/43271 “New research suggests there is a ‘massive shortfall’ in the number of planning permissions granted in areas of England where housing need is highest.”

Value for money over value for people: how material politics can perpetuate inequality: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/value-for-money-over-value-for-people-in-social-housing/ “Social inequality in housing is a pressing issue that takes on a material dimension. To start tackling it, we need to rethink how we talk about housing and design, writes Mona Sloane. She explains how under current processes, attempts to improve the building stock often end up perpetuating wider social inequality.”

Means testing winter fuel payments isn’t worth the fight: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/means-testing-winter-fuel-payments-isn-t-worth-the-fight-7xv68kqcp

The 1st International Social Housing Festival -  Social Housing: looking back, moving forward; we embraced change to deliver the future: https://storify.com/HousingEurope/social-housing-looking-back-moving-forward-embraci “As part of the 1st International Social Housing Festival, Housing Europe- the European Federation of Public, Cooperative & Social Housing and its member, Aedes- the Federation of the Dutch Social Housing Associations, hosted a broad debate on the future of housing.”

Climate change & sustainability

Embedding sustainability as a public health priority: https://betterhealthforall.org/2017/06/07/embedding-sustainability-as-a-public-health-priority/ “There are many good reasons to prioritise sustainability for the health of future generations. Protection of key planetary boundaries such as climate change, air quality, ocean alkalinity and land forestation are crucial to whether our children and grandchildren can survive and have a tolerable quality of life. However, this can be a hard sell to those making key political and economic decisions internationally, for electorates, consumers and shareholders who have come to accept excessive consumption and unequal concentration of wealth.”

Phoenix flights cancelled because it's too hot for planes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40339730 “As temperatures climb in Phoenix, Arizona, more than 40 flights have been cancelled - because it is too hot for the planes to fly.”

The great myth of the global warming ‘pause’: https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/06/the-great-myth-of-the-global-warming-pause/ “While sceptics obsess over a global-warming hiatus, the sea gets steadily hotter”

Why you should take hyperventilating headlines about CO2 with a grain of salt — but still be quite concerned: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/imageo/2017/05/15/take-hyperventilating-headlines-about-co2-with-grain-of-salt-but-remain-concerned/#.WUeiisbTXDc “…That’s because the headline is inaccurate, and the story hypes the crossing of a purely artificial CO2 threshold. This may rile up the readers of Think Progress, but it does little to encourage broader public engagement on the issue of climate change. In fact, it probably does the opposite. Why do I think this?”

Factcheck: Grenfell Tower fire and the Daily Mail’s ‘green targets’ claim: https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-grenfell-tower-fire-and-the-daily-mails-green-targets-claim “The 2012 planning documents cited by the Daily Mail – and studied by Carbon Brief – show that its reporting of their content to be highly selective and misleading. The newspaper’s implication is that cutting carbon emissions to help meet the Climate Change Act was a “key” reason and “top priority” when the council was considering the refurbishment. However, while they do mention reducing carbon emissions as one of the benefits, the planning documents themselves are quite clear what the primary reason was for the building’s overhaul.”

The Bank of England’s response to climate change: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Pages/quarterlybulletin/2017/q2/a2.aspx “Climate change, and society’s responses to it, present financial risks which impact upon the Bank’s objectives.  These risks arise through two primary channels:  the physical effects of climate change and the impact of changes associated with the transition to a lower-carbon economy. The Bank’s response has two core elements.  First, engaging with firms which face current climate-related risks, such as segments of the insurance industry.  Second, enhancing the resilience of the UK financial system by supporting an orderly market transition. Forming a strategic response to the financial risks from climate change helps ensure the Bank can fulfil its mission to maintain monetary and financial stability, both now and for the long term.”

Battery storage and rooftop solar could mean new life post-grid for consumers: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jun/13/battery-storage-and-rooftop-solar-could-mean-new-life-post-grid-for-consumers “The Finkel report offers glimpse of opportunity for consumers and businesses to play the electricity market.”

Climate Change Is Contributing To Globally Surging Diabetes Numbers: http://reliawire.com/climate-change-surging-diabetes “Climate change may play a part in rising diabetes numbers, a new study reports. Based on population data from 2015, the researchers estimate that a 1°C increase in outdoor temperature contributes to more than 100,000 new cases of diabetes each year in the United States alone.”

The European Union Just Voted To Make The Paris Agreement Legally Binding: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/european-union-voted-make-paris-agreement-legally-binding/ “One of the major complaints – fair or unfair – of the Paris agreement is that there is no punishment of any form for countries that fail to meet their greenhouse gas (GHG)-slashing targets. In response to both this and America’s decision to withdraw from the accords, the European Parliament just voted overwhelmingly in favor of making the EU member states' GHG-cutting targets legally binding.”

UK coal collapse plays major role in lowering global emissions: http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/06/14/global-carbon-emissions-stall-again-with-uk-playing-outsized-role/ “Carbon emissions from the UK energy sector have fallen dramatically in recent years, leading to the country playing an outsized role in contributing to the global stalling of carbon emissions”

World Coal Production Just Had Its Biggest Drop on Record: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-13/coal-s-era-starts-to-wane-as-world-shifts-to-cleaner-energy “Production of the fossil fuel dropped by a record amount in 2016, according to BP Plc’s annual review of global energy trends. China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, burned the least coal in six years and use dropped in the U.S to a level last seen in the 1970s, the company’s data show.”

Why China and California are trying to work on climate change without Trump: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/06/why-china-and-california-are-trying-to-work-on-climate-change-without-trump “The new institute was unveiled at an event in Tsinghua with California governor Jerry Brown, who has been in Beijing this week to discuss deepening cooperation with China on climate and clean technology, after branding Trump's withdrawal from Paris as "insane".”

Renewable Energy will reach 49 percent in India by 2040: Report: http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/renewable-energy-will-reach-49-percent-in-india-by-2040-report/59194908 “Wind and solar energy account for 48 percent of installed capacity and 34 percent of electricity generation world-wide by 2040.This is compared with just 12 percent and 5 percent today.”

Comment: Can ocean sanctuaries be humanity’s insurance against climate change: http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/06/13/comment-can-ocean-sanctuaries-humanitys-insurance-climate-change/ “… a team of international scientists have just published new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that concludes that highly protected marine reserves… are a viable, low tech, cost effective strategy that would yield multiple co-benefits from local to global scales”

If cities really want to fight climate change, they have to fight cars: http://grist.org/article/if-cities-really-want-to-fight-climate-change-they-have-to-fight-cars/ “Want to fight climate change? You have to fight cars. In the nation’s largest cities, cars account for about a third of greenhouse gas emissions. Nationally, transportation is now the single largest contributor to carbon emissions.”

Active travel & transport

Birmingham – bids to young active travel fund being welcomed: http://birminghamnewsroom.com/bids-to-young-active-travel-fund-being-welcomed/ “Organisations with ideas on how to encourage parents and pupils to reduce school car journeys are being invited to bid for funds from the Birmingham Young Active Travel Trust. The charity, established by the city council last year, aims to encourage pupils and parents to adopt more sustainable ways of getting to and from school – helping to improve their own health and that of the wider community by reducing traffic congestion and the risk of accidents as well as decreased air pollution from vehicles. Up to £1,000 will be available per proposed scheme, from an overall pot of £100,000.”

Automobility reconfigured? Ironic seductions and mundane freedoms in 16–21 year olds’ accounts of car driving and ownership: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17450101.2017.1331017 “In the light of the ‘peak-car’ thesis, this paper explores the driving-related desires and practices of adults aged 16–21 and their parents from the UK.”

EU Cycling Strategy: https://ecf.com/projects/eu-cycling-strategy “This document is the first systematic review of all EU policies related to cycling, directly or indirectly. It clearly demonstrates that targeted action at European level will bring about a better result compared to action solely at the national, regional and local level.”

Tackling road danger reduction: https://betterhealthforall.org/2017/06/09/tackling-road-danger-reduction/ “The Faculty of Public Health’s Transport Injury Prevention Network will be holding an inaugural workshop at the FPH conference in Telford on 20 June. As well as introducing the aims and objectives of the network, the session will focus on speed reduction as a key road danger reduction strategy. We will be looking at how to improve collaboration in local government between public health and transport teams to encourage active travel and reduce road danger. We will review the evidence around 20mph zones and limits and discuss strategies for their implementation, sharing examples of good practice, tools and approaches.”

Forget about "balance" with cars; we have to prioritize walking, biking and transit: https://www.treehugger.com/urban-design/forget-about-balance-cars-we-have-prioritize-walking-biking-and-transit.html “Speaking in Denver, former Vancouver chief planner Brent Toderian notes that “balance” doesn’t work when the roads are already filled with cars.”

Air quality & pollution

DEFRA air pollution alerts for the West Midlands: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/latest/currentlevels?period=current&region=

Whitehall’s air quality plan will ‘fail’ unless it tackles congestion, campaigners say: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Whitehalls-air-quality-plan-will-fail-unless-it-tackles-congestion-campaigners-say/43254 “Critics of the Government’s air quality plan has said it will ‘fail’ because it ignores the growing impact of congestion on pollution in city centres. A new analysis has found a halving of average city traffic speeds leads to a 50% increase in harmful emissions from larger vehicles as they crawl along busy urban roads. In nose-to-tail traffic, NOx emissions are four times greater than they are in free flow traffic.”

Connect the dots: Air quality, industrial strategy and smart mobility: http://www.ippr.org/publications/connect-the-dots “In this briefing, we set out why the scale of the air pollution problem in the UK requires a bolder and more holistic approach, which involves moving away from diesel vehicles (in favour of petrol and, ultimately, hybrid and electric alternatives), as well as a shift from private car ownership to car sharing schemes, public transport, walking and cycling.”

VW faces 'super claim' over dieselgate as UK and Netherlands motorists join forces: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/06/13/vw-faces-super-claim-dieselgate-uk-netherlands-motorists-join/ “Volkswagen is facing its biggest legal challenge in Europe over the “dieselgate” scandal with a UK class action against the car maker teaming up with a similar claim in the Netherlands.”

From MD of Jaguar Land Rover UK - Air quality debate needs to move on from diesel cars: http://www.just-auto.com/news/air-quality-debate-needs-to-move-on-from-diesel-cars-jlr_id177170.aspx “The debate on air quality in cities has become unhelpfully fixated on diesel cars that are a small part of the overall problem, according to Jeremy Hicks, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover UK.”

Worldwide Air Map: https://air.plumelabs.com/en/  - with local maps – Birmingham: https://air.plumelabs.com/en/live/birmingham

Everest soil polluted by dangerous levels of arsenic, cadmium: https://www.environmentguru.com/pages/elements/element.aspx?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&id=5084269 “A new study has revealed that the soil on Mount Everest contains dangerous levels of arsenic and cadmium. Both heavy metals were found at levels higher than those the US Environmental Protection Agency considers acceptable, says Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh of the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.”

Food & food security

Levels of child hunger and deprivation in UK among highest of rich nations: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/15/levels-of-child-hunger-and-deprivation-in-uk-among-highest-of-rich-nations “Unicef report finds that one in three British children are in ‘multi-dimensional poverty’ and says gaps between rich and poor are widening around the world”

Let’s be bold and ambitious: why every city, country and region needs an integrated food policy: https://blogs.city.ac.uk/foodpolicydispatch/2017/06/16/lets-be-bold-and-ambitious-why-every-city-country-and-region-needs-an-integrated-food-policy/ “We are doing a lot of thinking right now at the Centre for Food Policy about how food policies might actually work for people and planet; policies that enable and empower governments, businesses and people to solve food systems problems in a coherent way. We call these “integrated food policies”.

Do poor people eat more junk food than wealthier Americans? https://theconversation.com/do-poor-people-eat-more-junk-food-than-wealthier-americans-79154 “Because it’s considered relatively inexpensive, there’s an assumption that poor people eat more fast food than other socioeconomic groups – which has convinced some local governments to try to limit their access… What we found surprised us: Poor people were actually less likely to eat fast food – and do so less frequently – than those in the middle class, and only a little more likely than the rich.”

A stronger reshaped CAP can better serve farmers and the environment: http://www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.press-releases.43610 “A reshaped CAP must support farm incomes, deal with market volatility and preserve European agricultural production, also in light of any new trade deals. The income inequality both between rural and urban areas and within the agricultural sector itself should be overcome.”

And finally….

From Al Gore’s Climate Reality group - Climate change explained in 10 cartoons: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-change-explained-10-cartoons

WMHPG news, information and resources 16 June 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.

Event: New Towns, New Cities: Places of Diversity and Innovation. June 28 – 30, Milton Keynes: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/events/milton-keynes-symposium/

Healthy planning & environment

Edging closer to an effective reunion between town planners and public health professionals: https://academic.oup.com/jpubhealth/article-abstract/39/1/6/2968001/Edging-closer-to-an-effective-reunion-between-town “The year 2016 was one of milestones for the planning for health agenda. It began with the House of Lords National Policy for the Built Environment Committee report in February, which made several recommendations on health and the built environment.1 NHS England announced 10 ‘Healthy New Towns’ in March (www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/innovation/healthy-new-towns) and in the same month, the Local Government Association (LGA), Public Health England (PHE) and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) published a report on tackling obesity through planning and development.2 September saw the House of Commons Health Select Committee publish its report on public health post-2013 reforms, which made several recommendations for the planning system to take greater account of health impacts.”

How Urban Design Impacts Happiness: https://blueprint.cbre.com/how-urban-design-impacts-happiness/ “When you walk through a city, does it make you feel happy? That’s the question author and urbanist Charles Montgomery set out to answer while researching his book, Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design. Through various experiments and urban labs, Montgomery discovered that, yes, walking through certain parts of a city can indeed spark joy. But that discovery led to another, more impactful question: How can cities foster happiness through urban design?”

5 new books on global affairs every urbanist should read: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/5-new-books-global-affairs-every-urbanist-should-read “Each of these five new books offers a different perspective on the trends in power, politics and ideology that are behind the decade-long uptick in geopolitical and economic volatility that is felt daily in urban spaces around the globe.”

Green infrastructure for denser cities: http://www.building4change.com/article.jsp?id=2828#.WUEHGMbTXDd “As cities grow and become more dense, we need to promote green infrastructure as a utility that improves resilience and health”

£30m green belt garden given go ahead: https://www.localgov.co.uk/30m-green-belt-garden-given-go-ahead/43231 “Salford’s £30m ‘historic’ garden has been given the go ahead by the Government after concerns were raised about locating it on the green belt.”

Infrastructure planning must be separated from electioneering: http://www.transporttimes.co.uk/news.php/Infrastructure-planning-must-be-separated-from-electioneering-192 “More fundamentally though, political cycles are simply too short for rational infrastructure planning. This is apparently accounted for by the existence of separate transport spending rounds and a National Infrastructure Commission, but even these appear preoccupied with time-limited 'envelopes' of spending and a project-by-project approach.”

Sorting and the City: http://www.centreforcities.org/blog/sorting-and-the-city/ “As more socially liberal, highly skilled people move into dense big cities, transforming and strengthening those economies, so too will they transform the political landscape”

'An embarrassment to the city': what went wrong with the £725m gateway to Cambridge? https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2017/jun/13/an-embarrassment-to-the-city-what-went-wrong-with-the-725m-gateway-to-cambridge “Initially planned by Richard Rogers, CB1 was to be a world-class arrival point, with park, piazza, heritage centre and affordable homes. Instead, it’s ‘a future slum’ plagued by antisocial behaviour and sex-trafficking”

Bloomberg and public health: Did he get it right? http://citiscope.org/partner/2017/bloomberg-and-public-health-did-he-get-it-right “Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former mayor of New York, has launched a global initiative on public health. It includes USD 5 million support from Bloomberg Philanthropies as well as technical support for cities that choose to focus on one of 10 public health issues. Forty cities have joined this initiative and more will follow.”


Grant Sneddon: Poor housing link to asthma must be tackled: http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/grant-sneddon-poor-housing-link-to-asthma-must-be-tackled-1-4471513 “Only by maximising levels of daylight, reducing damp and properly ventilating housing stock in Scotland and the UK will we see an end to this correlation. It’s a challenge for Government, house builders and homeowners to address if we want to once and for all prevent homes from making us ill.”

'Where do you live?' http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/05/23/housing-health-environment-harlem-doctor-000443 “A Harlem doctor explains why housing can be more important to his patients' health than pretty much anything else”

Councils get £1.7bn affordable housing boost: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-get-1.7bn-affordable-housing-boost/43233 “Scottish councils are to be allocated £1.75bn as part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to invest in affordable housing.”

Climate change & sustainability

Chad is the country most vulnerable to climate change – here’s why: https://theconversation.com/chad-is-the-country-most-vulnerable-to-climate-change-heres-why-78423 “Of the 186 countries assessed in a recent survey of climate vulnerability, Chad was rated most in peril. A combination of high poverty, frequent conflicts, and the risk of both droughts and floods means the central African nation is bottom of the list, just below Bangladesh and some way behind Norway, the country least vulnerable to climate change.”

Climate inequalities are moving from North-South to urban-rural: http://citiscope.org/commentary/2017/06/climate-inequalities-are-moving-north-south-urban-rural “Cities have been recognized as key drivers toward the successful governance of resources and as the front line in combating climate change. But the economic divide between the Global North and South that historically has shaped debates on urbanization and climate change could soon be overshadowed by inequalities related to a potentially stronger disparity between rural and urban areas: over carbon emissions.”

Climate change study in Canada's Hudson Bay thwarted by climate change: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/14/canada-hudson-bay-climate-change-study-warm-temperatures “Warm temperatures create perilous ice conditions off Newfoundland, trapping fishing boats and tankers: ‘It’s not something you would expect to see there’”

Don't ignore young people – we're key to fighting climate change: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/jun/13/dont-ignore-young-people-were-key-to-fighting-climate-change “Young people are consumers, employees, employers and future leaders but few NGOs take full advantage of the best space to reach us – social media”

How Trump Could Slow Climate Change Projects Around the World: http://time.com/4813115/paris-agreement-climate-change-trump-green-climate-fund/ “There’s a whole slew of things where the U.S. has become such an important supporter of other countries," says Rachel Kyte, CEO of United Nations-backed initiative Sustainable Energy for All and former World Bank climate envoy. "Certainly there will be cuts. Exactly where the cuts call will be is something we don’t know."

Did Michael Gove really try to stop teaching climate change? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-40250214 - conclusion - probably not.

Active travel & transport

Brutus – for modelling individual travel behaviour: http://www.mobilitymodeling.com/brutus/ From the US – modelling of travel at individual household level.

New Act 'offers hope' as bus passenger numbers fall again: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/New-Act-offers-hope-as-bus-passenger-numbers-fall-again/14163 “According to provisional statistics published by the Department for Transport (DfT) there were 4.45 billion local bus passenger journeys in England in the year to ending in March 2017, down 1.7% on the previous year.”

Scotland records 'deeply troubling' rise in road deaths: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Scotland-records-deeply-troubling-rise-in-road-deaths/14164 “Provisional figures released by the Scottish Government revealed 191 people were killed in 2016, an increase of 23 from 2015, as the devolved nation recorded a very patchy performance on road safety.”

'Uber for bikes': Chinese firm eyes global dominion with launch in Manchester: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jun/12/uber-bikes-manchester-mobike-china-global-ofo “n a move that has the potential to reshape the look and feel of many cities, one of China’s biggest “dockless bike share” companies, Mobike, will announce today that it will officially launch in Manchester and Salford.”

What all urban planners should be asked: would you let your child cycle here? https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jun/15/urban-planners-let-child-cycle-here-denmark “For generations, Danish urban planners have made it a priority for children to be able to ride to school alone. The result is not just more social, cheerful, healthy children – but more social, cheerful, healthy adults”

More bike lanes and 20mph zones as EU draws up ambitious plans to halve serious road accidents: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/news/bike-lanes-20mph-zones-eu-draws-ambitious-plans-halve-serious/ “The key target in the Valletta Declaration on Road Safety is to halve the number of people seriously hurt on the EU's roads by 2030, compared to the figure in 2020. This is in addition to halving the numbers of road deaths in the EU by 2020 from the 2010 baseline – a target that "may not be met" unless "further efforts are made", according to the document.”

London terror attack: cyclists claim security barriers on London bridges are 'unsafe,' hours after they are installed: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/london-terror-attack-cyclists-voice-concerns-over-unsafe-security-barriers-on-capitals-bridges-a3557326.html “Campaigners said the reinforced fences, which have been set up in cycle lanes to shield crowds walking on bridges, were a “crush risk” and showed a “total lack of consideration” for the welfare of cyclists.”

Edinburgh reviews tram safety after death of cyclist: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Edinburgh-reviews-tram-safety-after-death-of-cyclist/14142 “Edinburgh City Council has pledged to review safety in the city’s main street following the death of a cyclist and criticism over the lack of segregated cycle lanes alongside tram tracks.”

£125m bypass ‘fails to meet Active Travel Act’ duties: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/125m-bypass-fails-to-meet-Active-Travel-Act-duties/14157 “Cycling and walking charities claim the Welsh Government could fall foul of its own active travel legislation as a public inquiry gets under way into a £125m bypass.”

Oslo's car ban sounded simple enough. Then the backlash began: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jun/13/oslo-ban-cars-backlash-parking “When Oslo decided to be the first European city to ban cars from its centre, businesses protested. So the city did the next best thing: it banned parking”

Public transport top of local concerns for Cambridgeshire's elected MPs: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/poll-cambridge-transport-health-housing-13155687 “Affordable housing, healthcare and public transport are among the priority issues sitting in the new Cambridgeshire MPs' in-trays, according to News readers. The Cambridge News carried out an exclusive poll of its readers in the weeks during the general election campaign to find out what they think of life in the county and what they want our politicians to focus on.”

Will new EV business model disrupt car ownership sooner or later? http://theamericanenergynews.com/markham-on-energy/will-new-ev-business-model-disrupt-car-culture-sooner-or-later-interview-with-tony-seba-part-2 “Tony Seba says private car ownership will be dead by 2030. Experts say more like 2050 or 2060, but change is coming”

Autonomous cars with no human backup could hit public roads for the first time next year in historic trial: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4580522/Delphi-Transdev-partner-self-driving-buses.html “Autonomous vehicles with no human backup will be put to the test on publicly traveled French roads as early as next year in what may be the first attempt at unassisted autonomous piloting. Automotive electronics and parts maker Delphi and French transport company Transdev plan to use autonomous taxis and a shuttle van to carry passengers on roadways in France.”

Self-Driving Car 'Guardian Angels' Protect You From Yourself: https://www.wired.com/story/self-driving-car-autonomous-guardian-angels “MIT’s hacked Prius has the necessary sensors and software to drive itself without any human input. But it’s designed to test a concept dubbed “parallel autonomy,” where a human still drives, and the car’s computer only takes over when the meatbag behind the wheel is about to mess up. It’s the concept behind today's safety features—like automatic emergency braking or lane departure warning—taken to its most extreme limit.”

How To Kill The Electric Car: Report: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brookecrothers/2017/06/11/how-to-kill-the-electric-car-report/#7c5969a9274e “Want to kill the EV? Denmark shows how it's done. As Bloomberg pointed out this week (and others have in the past), EV sales in Denmark have plummeted since 2015 after tax breaks were phased out. And that's on top of the already-steep taxes on EVs in that country.”

Berlin could build a 6-mile greenery-lined bike path under its U1 subway: http://inhabitat.com/berlin-could-build-a-6-mile-greenery-lined-bike-path-under-its-u1-subway/ “Although still in the early stages, the Radbahn vision is supported by many – especially those who think the city is lacking in bike infrastructure. The proposed cycle path would run almost 6 miles underneath the elevated rail line, which stretches along one of Berlin’s main roads connecting three districts and various neighborhoods. Currently, the space beneath the rail line is completely idle, with the exception of a few illegally parked cars.”

Hyperloop One proposes London to Edinburgh trip in 50 minutes: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/06/07/hyperloop-one-proposes-london-edinburgh-trip-50-minutes/ “Three UK routes are being considered for Europe's first Hyperloop, the high-speed transport technology backed by Tesla boss Elon Musk. Routes from London to Edinburgh, Liverpool to Glasgow, and Cardiff to Glasgow have all been shortlisted by Hyperloop One, one of several companies competing to make the technology a reality.”

Air quality & pollution

Doctors Against Diesel respond to the government’s draft Air Quality Plan: https://www.medact.org/2017/actions/doctors-diesel-respond-to-governments-air-quality-draft-plan/ “Doctors Against Diesel and Medact are pleased to take this opportunity to respond to Defra/DfT consultation on its Air Quality Plan for tackling nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions in the UK.  However, we are very dissatisfied with the draft plan that has been put forward.  The draft plan will not enable the government to meet its legal duty of ensuring that legal limits of NO2 are met in the shortest time possible.  Therefore, the draft plan, if legislated, would lead to the unnecessary prolongation of levels of pollution that continue to threaten the health of everyone of all ages.”

Government's latest air quality plans slammed: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Governments-latest-air-quality-plans-slammed/14172 “Council and professional bodies have accused ministers of passing responsibility for tackling illegal levels of air pollution to local authorities without clarity or adequate funding.”

Air pollution more harmful to children in cars than outside, warns top scientist: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/12/children-risk-air-pollution-cars-former-uk-chief-scientist-warns “Walking or cycling to school is better for children’s health as cars are ‘boxes collecting toxic gases’ says David King”

Transport Network – Clean Air Day special edition: http://p2tre.emv3.com/HM?b=AvasJ6ODuodJbN9-O00sxO0nFhIhUCSwmalfh4Cy3IjQcAd78ohCPdMxaCQSB0-R&c=pDhbSfpCrtsNdzmIU8CmvA

Startling hyper-local air pollution maps reveal how emissions can vary from street to street: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/air-pollution-maps-carbon-emissions “A series of hyper-local pollution maps have revealed how air quality can vary drastically across even the smallest of distances. Using Google Street View cars, engineering researchers at The University of Texas at Austin developed a proof-of-concept that let them analyse pollution levels on a block-by-block basis in Oakland, California. Not only do the results show the differing levels across a relatively small area, they can also help plug the gaps currently seen with traditional air monitoring equipment.”

The Hidden Dangers Of Indoor Air Pollution: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/the-hidden-dangers-of-indoor-air-pollution_uk_593a6cd1e4b0c5a35c9e548f ““We live most of the time indoors and the important thing about this is that the air pollution from outside gets inside, but also inside we generate a different set of chemicals and particles that we breathe in. There has been very little attention paid to what goes on inside buildings, inside our homes, workplaces and schools regarding how it interacts.”

Gove given air pollution hot potato as Grayling keeps transport: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Gove-given-air-pollution-hot-potato-as-Grayling-keeps-transport/14150 “Chris Grayling has kept his job as transport secretary after Theresa May carried out a minor post-election reshuffle, but Michael Gove has returned to the Cabinet as environment secretary.

Food & food security

Guest Blog: 10-a-Day? An Expert View: http://www.foodactive.org.uk/guest-blog-10-a-day-an-expert-view-2/ “A study published in International Journal of Epidemiology last month cause a great deal of controversy after appearing to suggest that we should not be aiming for 5 portions of fruit & vegetables per day, but 10 – Is that what the study actually stated or was this suggestion caused by the way the facts were reported by the media?”

Health Canada considers sweeping ban on junk food ads aimed at children and teens: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/junk-food-ad-ban-1.4153594 “Health Canada is considering a widespread ban on the marketing of unhealthy food to kids under the age of 17. It could cover everything from TV, online and print advertising to product labelling, in-store displays and even end some sponsorships for sports teams.”

Systems Science and Obesity Policy: A Novel Framework for Analyzing and Rethinking Population-Level Planning: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2014.301884 “Conclusions. Although many policymakers acknowledge obesity as a complex problem, many strategies stem from the paradigm of individual choice and are limited in scope. The ILF provides a template to encourage natural systems thinking and more strategic policy design grounded in complexity science.”

And finally….

Hundreds bare all for naked bike ride around Bristol to highlight vulnerability of cyclists on roads: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/hundreds-bare-naked-bike-ride-10558217 “Bristol came out to bare all today as around 200 cyclists took part in the annual World Naked Bike Ride. Riders gathered to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists on the roads on a seven mile route around the city. Full nudity is optional as the dress code is ‘bare as you dare’ but many riders opted for the full Monty, the Bristol Post reports.”

CHIP AND PALM Swedish commuters are paying for train journeys with a microchip embedded in their HAND: https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/3799600/swedish-commuters-are-paying-for-rail-journeys-with-a-chip-embedded-in-their-hand/ “A SWEDISH train company is letting passengers use microchip implants in their hands to pay for train journeys instead of paper tickets. Rail operator SJ claims that up to 100 customers are already the system to board trains, using a tiny flash memory drive surgically embedded under their skin.

WMHPG news, information and resources 9 June 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.


People, Place and Policy 2017: Tackling social and spatial resource inequalities. Sheffield Hallam University, Thursday 22 June. http://store.shu.ac.uk/product-catalogue/students/student-events/people-place-and-policy-2017-tackling-social-and-spatial-resource-inequalities-dsyffac0009

Healthy planning & environment

Nature in the City: A Biophilic Birmingham. https://vimeo.com/217863014 A short film about how Birmingham has emerged as a model of a city addressing interconnected environmental and health-related problems in a comprehensive, integrated way. Birmingham has declared its intention to be green and sustainable city, and is a leader in making connections between health and nature. http://biophiliccities.org/what-are-biophilic-cities/birmingham/

WHO: Urban green space interventions and health: A review of impacts and effectiveness. Full report (2017): http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/urban-health/publications/2017/urban-green-space-interventions-and-health-a-review-of-impacts-and-effectiveness.-full-report-2017 “...this new WHO report provides the results of an evidence review and an assessment of local case studies on urban green space interventions.”

Space Savers: http://www.monbiot.com/2017/06/05/%EF%BB%BF-space-savers/ “Imagine designing one of our great cities from scratch. You would quickly discover that there is enough physical space for magnificent parks, playing fields, public swimming pools, urban nature reserves and allotments, sufficient to meet the needs of everyone. Alternatively, you could designate the same space to a small proportion of its people – the richest citizens – who can afford large gardens, perhaps with their own swimming pools. The only way of securing space for both is to allow the suburbs to sprawl until the city becomes dysfunctional”

UK alcohol laws should look Down Under to tackle crime and disorder: http://www.ias.org.uk/News/2017/30-May-2017-UK-alcohol-laws-should-look-Down-Under-to-tackle-crime-and-disorder.aspx “Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere? compares and assesses alcohol licensing policies in Australia and the UK and offers a series of recommendations on how to reduce and prevent alcohol-related harm based on shared learnings. This is the first comparative study of alcohol availability policies in these two countries, which share similar drinking cultures.”

The changing face of floodplains 2017: https://hub.co-opinsurance.co.uk/flood-plains/ “Conducted over a 12 month period, the study revealed that 90% of floodplains across the country have changed to such a degree, that they no longer work properly.”

Conservative areas ‘difficult’ to get planning permission in, warn developers: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Conservative-areas-difficult-to-get-planning-permission-in-warn-developers/43188 “Property developers are finding it ‘significantly more difficult’ to get new houses built in areas controlled by Conservative politicians, new research reveals.”

Need to create an urban planning agency? Here’s how — and why.: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/need-create-urban-planning-agency-heres-how-and-why “The Guide to Create an Urban Planning Agency is designed to assist cities implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This global framework, which went into effect last year, is aimed at addressing the most severe challenges faced by cities, including poverty, inequality and environmental degradation. Local and national governments will strive to deliver on the 17 goals over the next decade and a half.”

Launch of councillor's guide to planning: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Launch-of-councillors-guide-to-planning/43100 “The Good Councillor's Guide to Neighbourhood Planning has been published by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and Locality, a national network of community organisations.”

Cheshire West and Chester Council refuse seismic testing on land: http://m.chesterstandard.co.uk/mobile/mnews/150900/cheshire-west-and-chester-council-refuse-seismic-testing-on-land.aspx

CHESHIRE West and Chester Council has joined Chester Zoo and a number of farmers in refusing permission for seismic testing on their land. The council was joined on Monday night by Upton Parish Council, which voted to refuse access to all their land for seismic testing by fracking companies. The news also follows Chester Zoo and some farmers refusing access to Tesla, a testing company, to carry out the testing on their land.”


Annual fuel poverty statistics report: 2016: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/annual-fuel-poverty-statistics-report-2016 “The fuel poverty statistics report for 2016 includes: the latest statistics on the number of households living in fuel poverty in England, analysis of the composition of the fuel poor group in 2014, projections of the number of households in fuel poverty in 2015 and 2016”

Fuel Poverty Assessment Tool: http://www.nea.org.uk/fuel-poverty-assessment-tool-home/ “This fuel poverty assessment tool is designed to help front-line home energy efficiency assessors and fuel poverty programme workers to calculate whether a resident is living in fuel poverty.”

Climate change & sustainability

Paris Climate Accord

Following President Trump's announcement of the US withdrawing from the Paris Accord on Climate Change there has been wide media coverage. I have summarised some of the key themes, blogs and articles from different commentators.

CarbonBrief have produced the most comprehensive summary of the responses to the decision from national governments, national and international media and individual commentators. This is in the form of a grid with the key quotes and is themed by the tone of the response (positive, neutral and negative). If you want a single source of information this is the one to use: https://www.carbonbrief.org/global-reaction-trump-pulls-us-out-paris-agreement-climate-change?ct=t(Carbon_Brief_Weekly_02_06_2017)

Other discussion focuses on the reaction in the US, where a number of States, cities, universities and major companies have committed to continuing with the Paris Accord agreements around carbon reduction and sustainability.

Bloomberg delivers U.S. pledge to continue Paris climate goals to U.N. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-climate-paris-idUSKBN18W2DQ “Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg submitted a statement to the United Nations on Monday that over 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, businesses, universities and others will continue to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement abandoned by President Donald Trump last week.”

Despite Trump withdrawal, cities and states will ensure climate action moves forward: http://citiscope.org/commentary/2017/06/despite-trump-withdrawal-cities-and-states-will-ensure-climate-action-moves

4 ways U.S. local leaders are starting to respond to Trump's climate withdrawal: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/4-ways-us-local-leaders-are-starting-respond-trumps-climate-withdrawal

California, Tsinghua to set up U.S.-China climate change institute: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-usa-climatechange-idUSKBN18Z0EJ “A decision by President Donald Trump last week to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate change accord raised concerns that joint initiatives by the world's two biggest emitters of climate warming greenhouse gases would come under threat. But California has promised to step up cooperation, announcing on Tuesday it would work with China's science ministry to develop and commercialize know-how on carbon capture and storage and other clean energy technologies.”

The Conversation website has a range of views from academics on the US withdrawal.

Why Trump’s decision to leave Paris accord hurts the US and the world: https://theconversation.com/why-trumps-decision-to-leave-paris-accord-hurts-the-us-and-the-world-78707 “A race to the bottom to destroy the planet”

How bad could Trump’s Paris Agreement withdrawal be? A scientist’s perspective: https://theconversation.com/how-bad-could-trumps-paris-agreement-withdrawal-be-a-scientists-perspective-78721 “...the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement could have a range of consequences for the United States and for humanity. But how broad will these impacts be?”

Are we overreacting to US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate?  https://theconversation.com/are-we-overreacting-to-us-withdrawal-from-the-paris-agreement-on-climate-78741 “To be sure, the decision to pull the U.S. out of a global agreement is a dramatic one. But we suggest that this withdrawal is a symbolic action with little substantive impact on climate mitigation. As such, it is critical not to overreact and lose sight of domestic issues that could significantly jeopardize future climate policies.”

As always, Jeremy Leggett (The Winning of the Carbon War) has an interesting take on the topic. Trump’s attempt to pull the USA out of the Paris Agreement: a personal reaction from Solaraid   : http://www.jeremyleggett.net/2017/06/trumps-attempt-to-pull-the-usa-out-of-the-paris-agreement-a-personal-reaction-from-solaraid/ “I was barely listening as he delivered his speech. I had heard most of his mantras already. I also knew that he would be unable to complete a US pullout, legally, until his second term. And he surely can’t aspire to one of those now, with all the skeletons that are rattling in his closet. I was thinking instead about what people can do in the face of madness such as this. One of the options is to focus on projects that demonstrate, in a way that is impossible to ignore, that he is wrong. And more, that the belief system he is a symptom of is wrong: rottenly, suicidally, wrong.”

Other sustainability & climate change news

The limits to global-warming mitigation by terrestrial carbon removal: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016EF000469/full “...we conclude that large-scale tCDR is not a viable alternative to aggressive emissions reduction. However, we argue that tCDR might serve as a valuable “supporting actor” for strong mitigation if sustainable schemes are established immediately.”

Rising CO2 emissions may increase global iron deficiency risk: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/rising-co2-emissions-may-increase-global-iron-deficiency-risk “Global iron deficiency—already a significant problem—may increase along with rising levels of human-generated carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. There are 1.4 billion children under age 5 and women of childbearing age in parts of Asia and Africa who face the greatest risk.”

Campaigners win right to appeal fracking decision: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Campaigners-win-right-to-appeal-fracking-decision/43207 “Campaigners have been granted permission to appeal against the decision to allow fracking in Lancashire.”

Bristol named ‘green capital’ of the UK: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Bristol-named-green-capital-of-the-UK/43172 “Bristol has been named the greenest city in the UK as part of research into the country’s most environmentally friendly cities.”

'Spectacular' drop in renewable energy costs leads to record global boost: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/06/spectacular-drop-in-renewable-energy-costs-leads-to-record-global-boost “Renewable energy capacity around the world was boosted by a record amount in 2016 and delivered at a markedly lower cost, according to new global data – although the total financial investment in renewables actually fell.”

Sensors, plants and waste heat: Adelaide hospital's bid to be most energy-efficient: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jun/05/sensors-plants-waste-heat-adelaide-hospitals-bid-to-be-most-energy-efficient “When it finally opens in September, the complex will have the latest energy efficiency technology – but will it be worth the $2.3bn spent?”

Active travel & transport

Longitudinal associations between built environment characteristics and changes in active commuting: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-017-4396-3 “Co-locating residential and employment centres as well as redesigning urban areas to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists may encourage active commuting. Future evaluative studies should seek to assess the effects of redesigning the built environment on active commuting and physical activity.”

Copenhagen cycle jams tackled with electronic information panels: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/31/copenhagen-to-install-information-panels-to-reduce-cycling-congestion

Danish capital last year saw more bicycles enter city than cars, with almost half of residents cycling to work or school” Having just visited Copenhagen I can see why it was voted the most liveable city in the world.

Berkeley duo's plan to solve traffic jams: hyper-fast lanes for self-driving cars: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/03/self-driving-cars-high-speed-lane-berkeley-california “Anthony Barrs and Baiyu Chen’s Hyperlane system proposes clusters of self-driving cars zipping past local traffic at 100mph, controlled by a central computer”

Air quality & pollution

National Clean Air Day: https://www.cleanairday.org.uk/Pages/Category/focus-areas “We’ve joined forces with councils, hospitals, schools, and businesses and councils in six cities across England as part of National Clean Air Day. If you live in or near one of our focus areas, why not get your school or company involved? Or take part in one of the events we’ve organised.”

Air pollution doesn’t just harm humans – it is destroying nature too: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/01/air-pollution-harm-humans-nature-wildflowers-car-exhaust-sparrows “You may never have heard of cow parsley syndrome, yet it’s been visible over much of Britain for the past month – the spectacle of country roads fringed with a dense throng of tall white feathery flowers, three- to four-feet high, which many people now think of as an attractive addition to the landscape. It’s a pity they do, for the point about the syndrome is this: there’s lots of cow parsley, sure. But there isn’t anything else.”

Air pollution fears see demand for diesel cars fall by fifth: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/05/air-pollution-fears-demand-diesel-cars-fall-fifth “Demand for new diesel cars plummeted by a fifth last month amid rising concerns over air pollution. Approximately 81,500 new diesel cars were registered in the UK in May, down 20% on the same month last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. This represented a fall in market share from 50% to 43.7%.”

EU moves to crack down on carmakers in wake of VW emissions scandal: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/29/eu-moves-to-crack-down-on-carmakers-after-vw-emissions-scandal-monitor-testing-fines “The European Union has moved towards cracking down on carmakers who cheat emissions tests by giving the EU executive more powers to monitor testing and impose fines. The European council overcame initial objections from Germany and agreed to try to reform the system for approving vehicles in Europe in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal.”

Birmingham - Proposals to introduce Emission Standards for Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles: https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/place/proposals-to-introduce-emission-standards-for-taxi/ “This is a consultation to seek the views of licensed hackney carriage and private hire vehicle owners, drivers, operators and members of the public on proposals to introduce emission standards for licensed vehicles. “

Campaigners are set to go back to court to challenge 'major flaws' in the Government's latest plan to tackle illegal levels of air pollution from diesel vehicles.: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Campaigners-to-take-Govt-back-to-court-over-air-quality/14118 “Environmental law group Client Earth said the Government’s new draft plan, which is currently subject to a public consultation, does not include measures that it’s own technical data shows are the best way to bring down air pollution as soon as possible - potentially putting the Government in breach of European legislation.”

An oil well off Australia leaked for weeks last year. We just found out about it.: http://grist.org/briefly/an-oil-well-off-australia-leaked-for-weeks-last-year-we-just-found-out-about-it/ “The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority mentioned the leak in an annual report on offshore exploration but revealed no details about who operated the well.”

Food & food security

Early Warnings: Universal Credit and Foodbanks. Report from the Trussell Trust: https://www.trusselltrust.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/04/Early-Warnings-Universal-Credit-and-Foodbanks.pdf “Foodbanks in areas of full Universal Credit rollout to single people, couples and families, have seen a 16.85% average increase in referrals for emergency food, more than double the national average of 6.64%.”

Unreliable food supplies, rather than too much food, may lead to obesity: https://theconversation.com/unreliable-food-supplies-rather-than-too-much-food-may-lead-to-obesity-70104 “Obesity could result from not always having enough food rather than always having too much, our latest research shows. And understanding the evolutionary logic governing our guts helps explain global patterns of obesity and offers clues for tackling it.”

And finally….

Madrid tackles 'el manspreading' on public transport with new signs: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/08/madrid-tackles-el-manspreading-public-transport-with-new-signs

WMHPG news, information & resources 18 May 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.

This will be the last update for a couple of weeks. Normal service will resume on 9th June.

When I get back I will be looking at how the update can be improved. Based on comments I’ve received this may include reviewing the frequency of updates, starting to include more comment around the links and/or developing some blog content. Please send me any comments or suggestions.

First – an interesting question from the network. Chris Woodward in Swindon has asked -  is anyone looking at hotels & proximity to primary schools? A quick google brought up this example from Stockton last year; http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/worried-parents-want-shut-down-11798314 . Concerns appear to be around safeguarding and safety. Any information or thoughts – please email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & cc me in.

Healthy planning & environment

An excellent, and wide, range of resources from the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment.: https://www.iema.net/home/whats-new HIA, EIA, sustainability assessment, biodiversity….

Worldwide Launch of the Global Street Design Guide: https://globaldesigningcities.org/press-packet/worldwide-launch-global-street-design-guide/The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the Global Designing Cities Initiative today announced the launch of the Global Street Design Guide as a globally accessible document that can be downloaded at no cost, allowing urban planners, designers and transportation practitioners in cities around the world to immediately implement tested and life-saving street designs.”

How to move from creating to implementing a national urban policy: http://citiscope.org/story/2017/how-move-creating-implementing-national-urban-policyIf the world’s cities are truly going to embark on a more sustainable path, they’re going to need a lot of advice. That’s where the Coalition for Urban Transitions comes in. A new think tank jointly managed by the World Resources Institute and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the coalition will draw on academic, NGO and private sector expertise to provide evidence-based guidance on how urban growth can benefit both people and the planet. The coalition is a subset of the New Climate Economy, a similar effort aimed at providing research for countries transitioning into more climate-friendly economies.”

Neighbourhood Planning Bill passes into law: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/501/planning_news_-_4_may_2017The Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 contains new powers for the government to direct two or more local authorities to develop joint plans. County councils will also have the power to prepare plans where districts do not have one. It also includes restrictions on powers to impose planning conditions, including on local authority use of pre-commencement conditions, which now require written consent from the developer to be enforced.”

YU Event / Smell and the City: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/events/yu-event-smell-and-the-city/Smell is considered the sense most tightly bound to memory, and in recent years there has been a increasing amount of work undertaken on such things as the ‘design for smell’. Part of the London Festival of Architecture, this event will explore how designing for smell could take a coordinated approach to tackling broader urban issues. Join us for a lively evening of presentations and interactive activities about smells in the city.”

Shared space safety warning as blind NI woman wins kerb height case: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Shared-space-safety-warning-as-blind-NI-woman-wins-kerb-height-case/14072A blind woman has won a High Court ruling that a council breached its legal duty to take the needs of disabled people into account when it reduced kerb heights as part of a city centre redesign.”

Joseph Rowntree Foundation - Inclusive Growth: https://www.jrf.org.uk/cities-towns-and-neighbourhoods/inclusive-growthHow can we ensure that economic prosperity in city regions benefits all? Our work looks at the relationship between economic growth in a city region and the people and places in poverty in that area.”

The Lake District as a world heritage site? What a disaster that would be: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/09/lake-district-world-heritage-site-george-monbiotBritain’s greatest national park is a sheepwrecked monument to subsidised overgrazing and ecological destruction

Councils failing to protect countryside in growth plans: http://www.cpre.org.uk/media-centre/latest-news-releases/item/4592-councils-failing-to-protect-countryside-in-growth-plansThe Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) today shows that councils are failing to apply planning guidance that is designed to protect precious countryside.”

Weed killer ban could add £230m to council tax bills: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Weed-killer-ban-could-add-230m-to-council-tax-bills/43035A local authority ban on the use of chemical-based weed killers in public places could cost the tax payer nearly £230m, new figures reveal.”

Plastic bottles in the Congo – French site but video says it all: http://observers.france24.com/fr/20170509-une-banquise-bouteilles-plastique-recouvre-fleuve-congo-kinshasa


Tiny houses: the big idea that could take some heat out of the housing crisis: https://theconversation.com/tiny-houses-the-big-idea-that-could-take-some-heat-out-of-the-housing-crisis-77295The tiny house is, indeed, tiny. It comes in at less than 25 square metres, but is able to provide comfort and security at minimum cost. These are primarily wooden buildings and can be bought ready-to-use or can be assembled by their future occupant. For as little as £15,000, you can buy a kit, or for up to £50,000 you can get a fully assembled and fitted-out home for two.”

Climate change & sustainability

Top UK fund manager divests from fossil fuels: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/15/top-uk-fund-manager-divests-from-fossil-fuelsOne of Britain’s biggest managers of ethical funds is to dump £20m of shares in fossil fuel companies in one of the biggest divestments so far because of climate change.”

Earth could hit 1.5 degrees of global warming in just nine years, scientists say: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/earth-1-half-degrees-global-warming-nine-years-climate-change-paris-agreement-a7726846.htmlThe full impacts will take decades to play out, but once set in motion they could be hard to reverse

How to fix climate change: put cities, not countries, in charge: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/07/fix-climate-change-put-cities-not-countries-in-charge-oslo-seoulIt can’t be left to dysfunctional nation states to tackle – but as Oslo and Seoul have shown, metropolitan centres can rise to the challenge of global warming

Extreme weather just might encourage us to get our act together on global warming: https://theconversation.com/extreme-weather-just-might-encourage-us-to-get-our-act-together-on-global-warming-76679It is commonly argued that one reason climate change doesn’t have enough psychological or social traction is because it is perceived as distant – in time and space. And so some commentators, including former NASA scientist James Hansen, have predicted that this kind of direct experience of the manifestations of climate science predictions will increasingly bring the reality of climate change home, breaking through established defences, and finally closing the gap between knowing and doing.”

China is planning ahead for life after coal: https://theconversation.com/china-is-planning-ahead-for-life-after-coal-76892In September 2016, China’s cancelled more than 103 under-construction and planned coal-fired power plants, a total of 120 gigawatt hours (GWh) of capacity. In March this year, premier Li Keqiang announced that an additional 50GWh would be shut down or postponed. The coal power stopped in China so far is equivalent to the combined coal power capacity of the UK and Spain. China’s era of one coal-fired station a week is over.”

Partnership to install electric vehicle charging points announced: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Partnership-to-install-electric-vehicle-charging-points-announced/43031Hundreds of new rapid charge points are to be installed across the UK following a partnership between InstaVolt and the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network.”

Smaller, lighter, greener: are micro EVs the future of city transport? https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/may/11/micro-evs-city-transport-suemens-renault-green-air-pollutionA Siemens-backed micro electric car could help reduce urban air pollution and congestion, but it’ll have to win over buyers first

Tesco pledges to go 100 per cent renewable powered by 2030: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3010026/tesco-pledges-to-go-100-per-cent-renewable-powered-by-2030Tesco has become the latest high profile name to join the growing list of major corporations pledging to source 100 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 as part of the global RE100 initiative.”

In Win for Environmentalists, Senate Keeps an Obama-Era Climate Change Rule: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/us/politics/regulations-methane-climate-change.html?src=twr&smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&referer=https://t.co/E9NSD9LaseWASHINGTON — In a surprising victory for President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy, the Senate voted on Wednesday to uphold an Obama-era climate change regulation to control the release of methane from oil and gas wells on public land.”

Active travel & transport

Essential Evidence on a page 131: Induced Motor Traffic: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-induced-motor-trafficTop line: Studies of transport schemes consistently report that increasing road capacity leads to increased motor traffic to a greater extent than calculated in the models underpinning the proposals for such capacity expansion. This creates a vicious spiral of increasing private motorised travel.”

Do new roads benefit the economy? Here's what we know so far: https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2017/may/08/new-roads-investment-benefit-uk-economy-research-New investment in transport infrastructure is seen as a key plank of a modern industrial strategy, and is central to many local economic growth strategies. But what do we know about the economic benefits that such investment delivers, and how do we prioritise different schemes to maximise any positive impacts?

Why there will be no 'Boris Bikes' scheme for Birmingham: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/no-boris-bikes-scheme-birmingham-13016172The new West Midlands mayor has ruled out a Boris Bikes-style cycle hire scheme in Birmingham - because the city centre is not big enough. Andy Street said the hugely-successful project, introduced in London by former mayor Boris Johnson, was a non-starter in the second city.”

Road accidents biggest global killer of teenagers: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39920052Road traffic injuries are the biggest killer of teenagers globally, international data released by the World Health Organization reveals. In 2015, more than 1.2 million adolescents died. Road injuries were to blame for about one in 10 of these deaths. Most of the road fatalities involved males between the ages of 10 and 19.”

Driver jailed for three years for ramming cyclist in north London: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/10/driver-jailed-for-three-years-for-ramming-cyclist-north-london-justine-henshaw-bryanJustine Henshaw-Bryan, 25, used ‘car as a weapon’ after Damien Doughty confronted her about using phone while driving

Green Party pledges £2bn boost for ‘walking and cycling revolution’ https://www.localgov.co.uk/Green-Party-pledges-2bn-boost-for-walking-and-cycling-revolution/43028The Green Party has pledged to create a ‘walking and cycling revolution’ if elected in the upcoming General Election.”

BMA - Transport and health: https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/policy-and-research/public-and-population-health/transportOver the last 60 years road traffic density in the UK has steadily increased and congestion in many urban areas is a significant problem. The most significant change in travel behaviour has been in car use, which is seen by many as their primary means of transportation. Cars have become relatively affordable compared to other transport alternatives and land use policies have prioritised mobility over accessibility.”

'Knife edge' warning as RAC reports shock rise in pothole breakdowns: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Knife-edge-warning-as-RAC-reports-shock-rise-in-pothole-breakdowns/14073The RAC warned that the condition of the country’s roads is on a knife-edge as it reported a 63% increase in pothole-related breakdowns in the first quarter of the year.”

From @cl_morton - Charting the age distribution of the UK car fleet registered between 2001 and 2016 by fuel type using @DfTstats

Air quality & pollution

Review on urban vegetation and particle air pollution – Deposition and dispersion: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231015000758This review revealed that design and choice of urban vegetation is crucial when using vegetation as an ecosystem service for air quality improvements. The reduced mixing in trafficked street canyons on adding large trees increases local air pollution levels, while low vegetation close to sources can improve air quality by increasing deposition.” Media coverage here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39943197

National Clean Air Day – Make a Pledge: https://www.cleanairday.org.uk/pledgeWe're asking people to pledge to take action to reduce air pollution you create on National Clean Air Day.”

Air quality plan: Why is the Government's strategy 'woefully inadequate'? https://www.edie.net/news/11/Air-Quality-Plan--Why-is-the-Government-s-strategy-being-slammed-as--woefully-inadequate--/The Government's proposals to clean up the UK's toxic levels of air pollution have been received with widespread condemnation for being both "toothless" and "wo”efully adequate". Here's the industry response in full...”

Government distances itself from diesel scrappage scheme in air quality plan: https://www.edie.net/registration/regwall.asp?mid=85161&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eedie%2Enet%2Fnews%2F11%2FGovernment%2Dunveils%2Dlong%2Dawaited%2Dair%2Dquality%2Dplan%2D%2D%2F&title=Government+distances+itself+from+diesel+scrappage+scheme+in+air+quality+plan&utm_expid=.EjlSKEBKSTOHzs2vNSWQOg.0&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fgetpocket.com%2F

ADEPT bemoans 'lack of clear strategy' in new pollution plan: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/ADEPT-bemoans-lack-of-clear-strategy-in-new-pollution-plan/14054The Government should not expect local authorities to act in isolation over air pollution from traffic, council directors have said.

'Weak' air pollution plan 'passes buck to councils': https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Weak-air-pollution-plan-passes-buck-to-councils/14051Campaigners have criticised the Government’s new draft plan to tackle toxic air pollution, which puts the onus on councils to consider Clean Air Zones and take action to deal with high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) outside towns and cities.”

Air pollution: who will stand up for our health and environment after Brexit? From the New Economics Foundation: http://neweconomics.org/2017/05/air-pollution-brexit “...despite the government’s own technical report saying that we need 27 new clean air zones, the plan actually proposes no more than the 6 that were outlined in the previous plan. It may be true that the government doesn’t want to anger driving voters so close to an election, but we’ll all pay the substantial price for failing to act now.”

Grey plaque scheme highlights NO2 pollution in London: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/14/grey-plaque-scheme-highlights-no2-pollution-in-londonIn the past week, grey plaques – direct copies of the English Heritage blue plaques identifying the homes of the dead and famous – have been put up on buildings across the capital to identify streets and houses in areas where air pollution threatens public health.”

38,000 people a year die early because of diesel emissions testing failures: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/15/diesel-emissions-test-scandal-causes-38000-early-deaths-year-studyThe global human health impact of the diesel emissions scandal has been revealed by new research showing a minimum of 38,000 people a year die early due to the failure of diesel vehicles to meet official limits in real driving conditions.”

Air pollution kills more people in the UK than in Sweden, US and Mexico: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/17/air-pollution-kills-more-people-in-the-uk-than-in-sweden-us-and-mexicoPeople in the UK are 64 times as likely to die of air pollution as those in Sweden and twice as likely as those in the US, figures from the World Health Organisation reveal.”

Lack of dust makes China's air pollution much worse: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39895558Airborne dust is normally seen as an environmental problem, but the lack of it is making air pollution over China considerably worse. A new study suggests less dust means more solar radiation hits the land surface, which reduces wind speed. That lack of wind in turn leads to an accumulation of air pollution over heavily populated parts of China. The researchers found that reduced dust levels cause a 13% increase in human-made pollution in the region.”

Greater Manchester consulting on introduction of clean air zones: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Greater-Manchester-consulting-on-introduction-of-clean-air-zones/43036Transport bosses in Manchester are considering proposals to tackle air pollution with the introduction of clean air zones in the city centre.”

TfGM looks at Clean Air Zones but Burnham won't 'punish' diesel drivers: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/TfGM-looks-at-Clean-Air-Zones-but-Burnham-wont-punish-diesel-drivers/14074New Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has poured cold water on proposals to charge the most polluting vehicles to enter some areas in the region.”

Food & food security

UK foodbank use continues to rise: https://www.trusselltrust.org/2017/04/25/uk-foodbank-use-continues-rise/UK foodbank use continues to rise as new report highlights growing impact of Universal Credit rollout on foodbanks.”

Food insecurity can affect your mental health: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/317217.phpFood insecurity (FI) affects nearly 795 million people worldwide. Although a complex phenomenon encompassing food availability, affordability, utilization, and even the social norms that define acceptable ways to acquire food, FI can affect people's health beyond its impact on nutrition. A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine determined that FI was associated with poorer mental health and specific psychosocial stressors across global regions (149 countries), independent of individuals' socioeconomic status.”

Why small producers have big concerns about multinationals joining Fairtrade: https://theconversation.com/why-small-producers-have-big-concerns-about-multinationals-joining-fairtrade-73734Becoming a Fairtrade producer – and maintaining required standards – can be complex and ambiguous, with continual market and organisational challenges. And, since Fairtrade started to allow major multinational corporations – including Nestlé and Starbucks – to join in recent years, producers are beginning to question the scheme’s aims.”

Hospital bosses face £1MILLION bill for kicking Burger King out of last NHS site: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/hospital-bosses-face-1million-bill-10413015The fast food giant has a takeaway on the concourse at the world famous Addenbrooke’s Hospital , Cambridge. Addenbrooke’s - an acclaimed cardiac centre - has a 25 year contract with the company that sublets space to the chain which is due to end in 2024. But terminating the contract before then would cost the hospital - whose trust is facing a £56.3million deficit - around £1million in financial penalties.

TV dinners: The hidden cost of the processed food revolution: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-3949018250 Things That Made the Modern Economy highlights the inventions, ideas and innovations which have helped create the economic world in which we live.”

And finally….

Why daredevil skyscraper climbing videos give you sweaty palms: https://theconversation.com/why-daredevil-skyscraper-climbing-videos-give-you-sweaty-palms-76894Have you ever watched a video of someone dangling far above the ground and found that your own hands started sweating? If not, watch this:

If there was one 'weird trick' to weight loss we would tell you, confirm doctors: http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/health/if-there-was-one-weird-trick-weight-loss-we-would-tell-you-confirm-doctors-20160401107704  “DOCTORS have clarified that if there was ‘one weird trick’ to weight loss they would not hate it and would definitely tell you. GPs stressed that, contrary to internet advertisements, they are not prone to irrational loathing of anyone offering successful weight-loss solutions.”


WMHPG news, information and resources 5 May 2017

Public health in 15 years time: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2017/04/29/public-health-in-15-years-time/A few weeks ago I went to an excellent, small but perfectly formed session on “the future”.

It was Chatham house rules, so I won’t spill too many beans. The upshot was fascinating and worth sharing. We spend a lot of time thinking about “the future” of the profession of public health.”

Healthy planning & environment

Event: Environmental Assessment and BREXIT: https://fischersite.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/environmental-and-brexit/An event at the University of Liverpool, 14 June 2017

Six months after Habitat III, is the New Urban Agenda gaining political traction? http://citiscope.org/story/2017/six-months-after-habitat-iii-new-urban-agenda-gaining-political-tractionIn October, tens of thousands gathered in Quito, Ecuador, for the United Nations Habitat III summit, a once-every-two-decades gathering on the future of cities. At a time of rapid global urbanization straining existing cities and requiring planning of new ones, the conference sought worldwide solutions from national and local governments alike.”

Garden Bridge looks dead in the water as Khan refuses guarantees: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Garden-Bridge-looks-dead-in-the-water-as-Khan-refuses-guarantees/14028Sadiq Khan has said he will not provide guarantees for the Garden Bridge across the Thames, which is likely to spell the end of the controversial project.”

Tim Stonor- The role of design in creating a living city: http://www.slideboom.com/presentations/1756227/Tim-Stonor_The-role-of-design-in-creating-a-living-city


'Lego block' buildings: Adaptability essential for building stock to combat climate change: https://www.edie.net/news/12/-Lego-block--buildings--Adaptability-essential-for-building-stock-to-survive-climate-change/The impacts of climate change are exasperating the living conditions of humans, forcing them to be adaptable, a trait that should be mirrored in the global building stock.”

Climate change & sustainability

Analysis: The climate change papers most featured in the media in 2016: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-climate-papers-featured-media-2016Every year, thousands of scientific journal papers are published by researchers across the world, but only a tiny proportion make it into the pages of the newspapers. Using Altmetric, we’ve compiled a list of the 25 most talked-about climate papers of 2016.”

Brexit puts UK nuclear industry 'at risk', warn MPs: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3009278/brexit-puts-uk-nuclear-industry-at-risk-warn-mpsUK's impending exit from European Atomic Energy Community could have severe ramifications for Britain's nuclear power industry, and wider decarbonisation efforts

MPs criticise Government over carbon 'fantasy' for Heathrow expansion: https://www.edie.net/registration/regwall2.asp?mid=84972&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eedie%2Enet%2Fnews%2F11%2FGovernment-criticised-over-carbon--fantasy--for-Heathrow-expansion%2F&title=MPs+criticise+Government+over+carbon+%27fantasy%27+for+Heathrow+expansion&utm_expid=.EjlSKEBKSTOHzs2vNSWQOg.1&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.uk%2FThe Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has criticised the UK Government for refusing to commit to air quality targets in relation to the third runway expansion, labelling the associated carbon calculations as a "fantasy".”

London’s Transportation Sector Turning Electric: https://cleantechnica.com/2017/04/27/londons-transportation-sector-turning-electric/London’s first 75 charging points should be operational by the end of the year. By 2020, there could be 300. The first steps towards London’s transportation sector going electric have been taken.”

Mapped: The world's most eco-friendly countries – where does the UK rank? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/maps-and-graphics/most-and-least-environmentally-friendly-countries/To mark Earth Day (April 22), we've mapped the world according to each country's eco-credentials, as outlined in the 2016 Environmental Performance Index (EPI). Produced by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, the annual ranking is based on an assessment of the policies of 180 nations, reflecting whether they meeting internationally established environmental targets or, in the absence of agreed targets, how they compare to one another.”

Hydrogen gas grid for Leeds moves a step closer: https://www.edie.net/news/8/Hydrogen-gas-grid-for-Leeds-moves-a-step-closer/Plans to convert the gas grid in Leeds to run entirely on hydrogen have moved a step closer to becoming reality after Northern Gas Networks opened an office in the city dedicated to the endeavor.”

The (New York) Times is now publishing climate denial. Scientists are not having it: https://grist.org/briefly/the-times-hired-a-climate-denier-scientists-are-not-having-it/Two weeks ago, the New York Times took on Bret Stephens — who once called climate change an “imaginary” problem — as an op-ed columnist in an effort to reflect more political perspectives. His first column came out on Friday, and — surprise — it casts doubt on the certainty of the scientific consensus on climate.”

Three unintended consequences of Brexit for UK energy and climate policy: https://theconversation.com/three-unintended-consequences-of-brexit-for-uk-energy-and-climate-policy-77049Energy, the environment and climate change were barely mentioned during the EU referendum campaign, and Theresa May has since spent little time worrying about how Brexit will change things. One reason for this oversight is that energy and environment policies are often regarded on the international stage as “low politics” – technical and unimportant issues, compared to the wars and conflicts that represent the “high politics” of statecraft.”

Plastic bottles are a recycling disaster. Coca-Cola should have known better: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/02/plastic-bottles-coca-cola-recycling-cokeThe Coca-Cola Company produced more than 100bn plastic bottles in 2016, Greenpeace claimed last month. This is troubling news, considering how much of the waste ends up outside plastic recycling systems. Separately it has been estimated that, on current trends, by 2050 the plastic in our oceans may weigh more than all the fish.”

Active travel & transport

Physical Activity: Built Environment Approaches Combining Transportation System Interventions with Land Use and Environmental Design: https://www.thecommunityguide.org/findings/physical-activity-built-environment-approachesBuilt environment interventions to increase physical activity create or modify environmental characteristics in a community to make physical activity easier or more accessible. Coordinated approaches must combine new or enhanced elements of transportation systems with new or enhanced land use and environmental design features. Intervention approaches must be designed to enhance opportunities for active transportation, leisure-time physical activity, or both.”

From the Faculty of Public Health: Take action on active travel: http://www.fph.org.uk/uploads/Take_action_on_active_travel.pdfFor the first time, the UK’s leading

organisations working on all areas of public health, including those who shape the environment we live in, have come together to give government our expert views on active travel and health

Transport and health: https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/policy-and-research/public-and-population-health/transportOver the last 60 years road traffic density in the UK has steadily increased and congestion in many urban areas is a significant problem. The most significant change in travel behaviour has been in car use, which is seen by many as their primary means of transportation. Cars have become relatively affordable compared to other transport alternatives and land use policies have prioritised mobility over accessibility.”

Essential Evidence on a Page - No 160: Effective ways to grow the urban bus market: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-160-effective-ways-grow-urban-bus-marketTop line: Experience with major bus system improvements provide findings consistent with the market response evidence – that the largest patronage growth levels are related to increases in service levels and in bus rapid transit and bus priority systems targeting improved reliability.”

Via @RachelAldred - Ride a folding bike in the UK, and take it on the train? An MSc student would like to interview you for her dissertation: https://twitter.com/RachelAldred/status/860456087576870913/photo/1

Cyclists as a minority group? http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369847816302388Compared to motorized road users, cyclists are considered vulnerable road users because they lack physical protection. We argue that such definition does not capture the social and cultural aspects that characterize the membership within the group of cyclists.”

All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group - Cycling and the Justice System: https://allpartycycling.org/inquiries/justice/  “During early 2017 we conducted an inquiry called ‘Cycling and the Justice System’. The select committee styled enquiry took evidence from cycling organisations, lawyers, road safety campaigners, the police and members of the general public on whether the current judicial system is serving all cyclists.”

Police and courts fail cyclists over road safety, says cross-party inquiry: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/02/police-courts-fail-cyclists-road-safety-cross-party-inquiryDangerous drivers are increasingly likely to escape prosecution and more people plead exceptional hardship to avoid ban

Driverless cars trial set for UK motorways in 2019: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-39691540A consortium of British companies has unveiled a plan to test driverless cars on UK roads and motorways in 2019.

The Driven group also plans to try out a fleet of autonomous vehicles between London and Oxford. The cars will communicate with each other about any hazards and should operate with almost full autonomy - but will have a human on board as well.”

Walk to school week is 15-19 may 2017: https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/what-we-do/projects/walk-to-school-weekJoin thousands of children across the country celebrating the benefits walking brings. We know that walking to school makes children feel healthier and happier, while reducing congestion and pollution outside the school gates. Yet less than half of primary school children currently walk to school.”

British Heart Foundation: heart matters walking: https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-magazine/activity/walking

Radio 4 Women’s Hour: Women and Bikes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08njtjjWe celebrate women and cycling at the London Bike Kitchen.”

Poor fitness is a bigger threat to child health than obesity: https://theconversation.com/poor-fitness-is-a-bigger-threat-to-child-health-than-obesity-43653The least fit ten-year-old English child from a class of 30 in 1998 would be one of the five fittest children in the same class tested today. These are the worrying findings of a new piece of research that has crystallised the need to focus on a sharp decline in fitness levels, not obesity, when it comes to improving children’s health.”

Bus Services Act 'to benefit cities and rural areas': https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Bus-Services-Act-to-benefit-cities-and-rural-areas/14027Campaigners have hailed the new Bus Services Act as a great opportunity to improve services that provides real benefit to both cities and rural areas.”

Police and courts fail cyclists over road safety, says cross-party inquiry: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/02/police-courts-fail-cyclists-road-safety-cross-party-inquiryPolicing and the justice system are too often failing cyclists, making the roads too dangerous for people to ride on them, and then not properly prosecuting or banning motorists who commit offences, a cross-party group of MPs and peers has warned.”

Pilot close pass initiative in Scotland already changing driver behaviour: http://road.cc/content/news/221748-pilot-close-pass-initiative-scotland-already-changing-driver-behaviourA pilot close pass initiative in Scotland is already changing driver behaviour, according to Police Scotland. Operation Close Pass sees drivers who pass an unmarked police cyclist too closely pulled over and given advice using a specially designed mat which shows how much space a person on a bicycle needs when overtaking them.”

West Midlands 'bicycle licence' plan to stop cyclists being a menace on the roads: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/west-midlands-bicycle-licence-plan-12596844An online survey asking West Midlands residents what they want a new regional mayor to do has come up with some surprising conclusions - including a new bicycle licence to stop cyclists being a menace on the roads. In return, cyclists would get a network of cycle paths across the region.”

Air quality & pollution

New air quality plan published for consultation: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/airquality/air-quality-plan-for-tackling-nitrogen-dioxide/supporting_documents/Draft%20Revised%20AQ%20Plan.pdf  The draft is open for consultation until June 15, and then the final plan will be published on July 31: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/airquality/air-quality-plan-for-tackling-nitrogen-dioxide/

Air pollution lawsuit set to go ahead despite delayed government plan: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/04/government-faces-class-action-on-air-pollution-in-landmark-caseClass action on behalf of asthma suffers may still go ahead over repeated failure to tackle illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide

Fact Check: Are diesel cars really more polluting than petrol cars? https://theconversation.com/fact-check-are-diesel-cars-really-more-polluting-than-petrol-cars-76241Diesel cars have recently become subject to considerable negative publicity thanks to the amount of toxic emissions they produce. Some governments are planning to discourage their use or even ban them from urban areas altogether. Yet some diesel car owners have reacted angrily, arguing they bought the vehicles because they were supposedly the environmentally friendly option.”

Government confirms draft air quality plan will be released within a week: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3009300/government-confirms-draft-air-quality-plan-will-be-released-within-a-weekNumber 10 has confirmed it will not appeal against last week's High Court decision ordering the government to publish its long-awaited draft air quality plan, paving the way for the controversial consultation to be launched within a week.”

European Union enforces new air pollution limits: https://www.edie.net/news/6/European-Union-enforces-new-air-pollution-limits/The European Union (EU) has today (29 April) approved new air pollution limits, which could save more than 20,000 lives each year by reducing pollution derived from coal-fired power plants.”

India to make every single car electric by 2030 in bid to tackle pollution that kills millions: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/india-electric-cars-2030-fossil-fuel-air-pollution-piyush-goyal-climate-change-a7711381.htmlEvery car sold in India will be powered by electricity by the year 2030, according to plans unveiled by the country’s energy minister.”

Food & food security

Household food waste level 'unacceptable': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39747327The level of household food waste in England is "unacceptable" and householders have a key role to play in reducing it, MPs have said.”

Soil Association: Election Manifesto: http://mailchi.mp/soilassociation/our-key-general-election-manifesto-asks-avian-flu-update-policy-priorities-for-schools-event-educatering-forumThe announcement of a general election in June means that all political parties are producing and promoting 2017 manifestos in the lead up to 8th June. We're urging all political parties to put climate change, public health, soil protection and farm animal welfare at the centre of their food and farming vision - and to adopt the seven policies we've proposed in their 2017 manifestos

UK food sector faces enormous challenges post-Brexit, say peers: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/03/uk-food-sector-faces-enormous-challenges-post-brexit-say-peersLeaving the European Union without a trade deal in place could put up to 97% of British food and drink exports at risk, according to a House of Lords report that lays bare the agricultural industry’s overwhelming reliance on local markets.”

Mayor unveils new London Food Board: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-unveils-new-london-food-boardThe Mayor of London has today announced the group of experts which will help him cut food waste and tackle food poverty across the capital. Members of the new London Food Board – chaired by Rosie Boycott – will advise the Mayor on food policy, the GLA’s own Food Programme, and developing and delivering the new London Food Strategy, which will be published later this year.”

And finally….

Beauty of Transport - HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN (HELIOS HOUSE, LOS ANGELES (CA), USA): https://thebeautyoftransport.com/2017/05/03/house-of-the-rising-sun-helios-house-los-angeles-ca-usa/

WMHPG news, information and resouces 28 April 2017

The use of evidence in English local public health decision-making: a systematic scoping review: https://implementationscience.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13012-017-0577-9There is a need to better understand and respond to the evidence needs of decision-makers working in public health and to work more collaboratively in developing solutions to the underutilisation of research evidence in decision-making.

Evidence-based policymaking is not like evidence-based medicine, so how far should you go to bridge the divide between evidence and policy? https://health-policy-systems.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12961-017-0192-xThere is extensive health and public health literature on the ‘evidence-policy gap’, exploring the frustrating experiences of scientists trying to secure a response to the problems and solutions they raise and identifying the need for better evidence to reduce policymaker uncertainty. We offer a new perspective by using policy theory to propose research with greater impact, identifying the need to use persuasion to reduce ambiguity, and to adapt to multi-level policymaking systems.”

Welcome to the Outcomes Framework Website: http://www.healthscotland.com/OFHI/Resources/Resources_tools.html Useful resources and tools from NHS Scotland – logic models, outcomes frameworks and resources.

Healthy planning & environment

Cities and health: an evolving global conversation: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23748834.2017.1316025The Cities and Health journal sees its launch in 2017. Looking back over half a century of growth and global expansion in economic activity, although there have been societal benefits, negative impacts are starting to take their toll on planetary resources and human health.

Nature for Health and Equity: http://www.foeeurope.org/nature-health-equityThis review of available evidence shows that failing to provide access to nature to deprived communities could entrench health inequality. It points to a strong link between lack of access to nature areas and poor health outcomes and inequality. It associates nature deprivation with higher obesity levels, mental health problems, and mortality rates. It calls for access to nature to be recognised as a fundamental human right, and for increased efforts to provide accessible and well maintained natural areas for particularly disadvantaged groups.”

Health benefits of streets quantified: https://healthystreets.com/home/new/This week Transport for London published the long-awaited Better Streets Delivered 2.  This beautifully presented report illustrates schemes across London that have been implemented over recent years, or are currently under construction, to improve the 10 Healthy Streets indicators. But what sets this report apart from its predecessor – Better Streets Delivered – is that the health benefit delivered by these street improvements has been calculated to show in £’s the human value of improving streets.”

From the United Nations - Benefits of urban trees: http://www.fao.org/resources/infographics/infographics-details/en/c/411348/Large urban trees are excellent filters for urban pollutants and fine particulates. Trees can provide food, such as fruits, nuts and leaves. Spending time near trees improves physical and mental health by increasing energy level and speed of recovery, while decreasing blood pressure and stress. Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and save energy used for heating by 20–50%. Trees provide habitat, food and protection to plants and animals, increasing urban biodiversity...planting trees today is essential for future generations!

Road verges: Last refuge for some of our rarest wild flowers and plants: http://www.plantlife.org.uk/application/files/4514/9261/2387/Road_verges_report_19_April_FINAL.pdfMany verges are effectively fragments of ancient hay meadows and grasslands, white with oxeye daisies, yellow with buttercups and purple with orchids. Wet or dry, acid, neutral or calcareous, each is home to a characteristic suite of species.”

Whitehall must be ‘more ambitious’ in improving access in public places: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Whitehall-must-be-more-ambitious-in-improving-access-in-public-places/42959 “The Government must act to ‘lead the charge’ in improving access and inclusion in the built environment, MPs say. The Women and Equalities Committee has published a new report highlighting the challenges disabled people face in accessing homes, buildings and public spaces.” Full report here: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmwomeq/631/631.pdf

Whitehall’s approach to sustainable drainage ‘sub-standand’, MPs warn: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Whitehalls-approach-to-sustainable-drainage-sub-standand-MPs-warn/42979 “MPs have criticised the Government’s ‘sub-standard’ approach to sustainable drainage (SuDs) for failing to protect communities from flood risk.” – Full report here: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmenvfru/990/99002.htm

Via @BrenToderian - #BetterUrbanismIn3Words. Some examples;

  • Prioritize people walking
  • No blank walls
  • Don’t balance, PRIORITIZE
  • Activate roof tops
  • Bike friendly streets
  • People before cars
  • Copy the Dutch
  • We’re all pedestrians
  • Density with beauty

Comment: Time for the Government to step up on shared space: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Comment-Time-for-the-Government-to-step-up-on-shared-space/14020A cross-party of MPs has today published a report with recommendations, following an enquiry into disability and the built environment.”

On the other hand….

Anti shared space campaigners hail victory after Equalities Committee report: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Anti-shared-space-campaigners-hail-victory-after-Equalities-Committee-report/14018The Government should call a halt to all local shared space schemes pending the urgent replacement of national guidance to take into account disables persons’ views and needs, a group of influential MPs has said


The impact of housing problems on mental health: https://england.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/1364063/Housing_and_mental_health_-_detailed_report.pdfThe research found that GPs spontaneously identified housing issues when discussing factors involved in their patients’ mental health presentations – both as a sole cause and as an exacerbating factor of existing mental health conditions. Where housing was seen as the sole cause, the most commonly cited mental health conditions were anxiety and depression.”

Affordable housing pledges swept under mat: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/affordable-housing-pledges-swept-under-mat-s5r7trv6gDevelopers have reneged on promises to build cheaper homes alongside those being sold at full market rates

Climate change & sustainability

We just hit 410 ppm of CO2. Welcome to a whole new world: http://grist.org/briefly/we-just-hit-410-ppm-of-co2-welcome-to-a-whole-new-world/We just hit 410 ppm of CO2. Welcome to a whole new world. This is not normal: We’re on track to witness a climate unseen in 50 million years by mid-century.

Global Sea Temperatures As High As Never In Last 800,000 Years: http://historyofgeology.fieldofscience.com/2017/01/global-sea-temperatures-as-high-as.htmlThe sea surface temperatures (SST) of the last interglacial, some 129,000 to 116,000 years ago, were similar to temperatures we are approaching nowadays.”

Arctic sea ice could be a thing of the past by the 2030s: http://grist.org/article/arctic-sea-ice-could-be-a-thing-of-the-past-by-the-2030s/Evidence continues to mount that climate change has pushed the Arctic into a new state. Skyrocketing temperatures are altering the essence of the region, melting ice on land and sea, driving more intense wildfires, altering ocean circulation, and dissolving permafrost.”

Britain goes without coal for the first time 'since Industrial Revolution': http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/21/britain-set-historic-first-coal-free-day-since-industrial-revolution/A combination of low demand for electricity and an abundance of wind meant the grid completed 24 hours relying on just gas, nuclear and renewables. Engineers at the company said Friday marked a “historic” milestone in Britain’s shift away from carbon fuels, and that coal-free days would become increasingly common.” More here: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-39675418 And here: http://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/environment/today-first-day-since-industrial-revolution-uk-wont-generate-electricity-coal/21/04/

Revealed: UK provides billions in credit to fossil fuel industry despite clean energy pledge: http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/04/19/uk-trade-billions-export-finance-fossil/The UK government has provided fossil fuel companies with £6.9 billion in financial support since 2000, according to a joint investigation by Energydesk and Private Eye. The vast majority of this support – £4.8bn – has been pledged since 2010, despite a government commitment to back clean technologies “instead of supporting investment in dirty fossil-fuel energy production”.

Divestment: Medical Students call on the British Medical Association to sell fossil fuel investments: https://www.medact.org/2017/news/divestment-medical-students-call-british-medical-association-sell-fossil-fuel-investments/It is nearly three years since members of the British Medical Association (BMA) first called for fossil fuel divestment. Despite passing a resolution on climate change that referenced divestment in 2014, there has been no commitment made to begin the process.    In that period the World Medical Association has called on its members to divest (of which the BMA is one), the Canadian Medical Association has completed the process, and major health institutions worldwide have begun the process. “

Environmental Audit Committee: Government has 'no strategy or vision' to meet Sustainable Development Goals in UK: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/analysis/3008982/environmental-audit-committee-government-has-no-strategy-or-vision-to-meet-sustainable-development-goals-in-ukParliament's Environmental Audit Committee issues withering analysis of UK progress towards UN's 2030 sustainability and climate targets

World’s first green energy boat prepares for voyage around the world: http://www.energybrokers.co.uk/news/energy-efficiency/worlds-first-green-energy-boat-prepares-for-voyage-around-the-world-2Known as the “Solar Impulse of the Seas,” the first self-sufficient boat powered only by renewable energies — and not just the wind in its sails — hopes to make a historic six-year trip around the world.”

The Unfolding Tragedy of Climate Change in Bangladesh: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/the-unfolding-tragedy-of-climate-change-in-bangladesh/A three-foot rise in sea level would submerge almost 20 percent of the country and displace more than 30 million people—and the actual rise by 2100 could be significantly more

Active travel & transport

UK unprepared for surge in electric car use, thinktank warns: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/20/uk-unprepared-for-surge-in-electric-car-use-thinktank-warnsClusters of the battery powered cars could result in 1% of the UK experiencing unplanned drops in voltage – potentially damaging electronic equipment – without action by 2020, the Green Alliance said. The thinktank warned that as few as six electric vehicles located near one another, most likely in an affluent neighbourhood, could lead to such “brownouts”.”

The government just announced a gamechanger for cycling in England: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2017/apr/26/the-government-just-announced-a-gamechanger-for-cycling-in-englandThe new cycling and walking investment strategy is the first legislation of its kind to legally bind the government to long-term funding for cycling and walking provision

'Truly ground-breaking' project to put driverless cars on roads by 2019: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Truly-ground-breaking-project-to-put-driverless-cars-on-roads-by-2019/14014Artificial Intelligence (AI) company Oxbotica has announced an ambitious new project that will deploy fully autonomous vehicles in urban areas and on motorways in the next 30 months.”

Millions of commuters 'walk a marathon every fortnight getting to work': http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/millions-of-commuters-walk-a-marathon-every-fortnight-getting-to-work-a3515931.htmlOne in nine workers – around 3.5 million people in the UK – spend more than 40 minutes a day walking during their journey to work and walk around 2.6 miles per day.”

Stricter punishments for speeding offences in England and Wales: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-39686894Under new guidelines, fines for drivers caught doing 51mph in a 30mph zone or 101mph on a motorway will start from 150% of weekly income, rather than the previous level of 100%.”

How not to create traffic jams, pollution and urban sprawl: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21720269-dont-let-people-park-free-how-not-create-traffic-jams-pollution-and-urban-sprawl

Government publishes £1.2 billion plan to increase cycling and walking: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-publishes-12-billion-plan-to-increase-cycling-and-walkingThe government wants cycling and walking to become the norm by 2040 and will target funding at innovative ways to encourage people onto a bike or to use their own two feet for shorter journeys.”

Extra powers for councils to boost cycling: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/extra-powers-for-councils-to-boost-cycling-g2tsnfprsCouncils could be given powers to ban pavement parking and introduce 20mph limits under reforms to get more people cycling and walking.”

Air quality & pollution

Improving Air Quality in Towns and Cities: http://www.greenerjourneys.com/publication/improving-air-quality-towns-cities/There is an optimistic and a pessimistic scenario for the future health and prosperity of our cities resulting from the introduction of Clean Air Zones (CAZs). The outcome depends on the framework set by Government and how CAZs are implemented by local authorities.” More coverage here: https://localgov.co.uk/Report-argues-diesel-scrappage-scheme-offers-poor-value-for-taxpayers-money/42956

Air pollution: 'Heart disease link found': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39710321Extremely small particles of pollution have the potential to evade the lungs' protective filter system and end up deep in the body, scientists suggest.”

40 million Britons ‘living in areas with illegal air pollution levels’: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/40-million-brits-air-pollution-london-uk-nitrogen-dioxide-no2-dangers-global-warming-climate-change-a7696551.htmlCities including Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds and areas of London all breach nitrogen dioxide laws

Government tries to shelve pollution action plan until after election: http://indalaw.com/news/view/10900/government-attempts-to-shelve-air-quality-plan-until-after-election.htmlMinisters were under a court direction to produce tougher draft measures to tackle illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution, which is largely caused by diesel traffic, by 4pm on Monday. The government’s original plans had been dismissed by judges as so poor as to be unlawful. But following the announcement by Theresa May of a general election on 8 June, ministers lodged a lengthy application to the court late on Friday. It is understood they are asking judges to allow them to breach Monday’s deadline and submit a draft in June – after the general election.”

Air pollution plan cannot be delayed, high court tells government: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/27/air-pollution-plan-election-campaign-bomb-court-governmentThe government has been ordered to publish tough new plans to tackle air pollution after the high court rejected attempts by ministers to keep the policy under wraps until after the general election.”

Laser technology spells end of the road for worst polluters: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/laser-technology-spells-end-of-the-road-for-worst-polluters-v2sgnsddkThe worst-polluting vehicles will be detected by roadside lasers linked to cameras, using technology that will begin road trials in Oxford next week. The system could catch drivers with the dirtiest exhausts and make them pay a charge or fine in clean-air zones planned for dozens of towns and cities.”

Can cities get the global car industry to ‘clean up its act’? http://citiscope.org/story/2017/can-cities-get-global-car-industry-clean-its-act?utm_source=Citiscope&utm_campaign=bbe3461adb-Mailchimp_2017_04_25Last year, consumers around the world purchased 88 million cars, a new annual record. But if cities are to meet their obligations under the Paris climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, municipal officials need the cars on their streets to emit far less carbon dioxide. To that end, they are pressuring car manufacturers by wielding the regulatory and purchasing power of the world’s big cities.”

Reports: EU considers higher road toll charges for most polluting vehicles: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3009050/reports-eu-considers-higher-road-toll-charges-for-most-polluting-vehiclesEuropean Commission considering plans for cars and trucks to pay higher road toll charges the more CO2 they emit. The EU is considering linking the amount cars and trucks are charged to use toll roads with the amount of greenhouse gasses they emit.”

The smog of cynicism?: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/blog-post/3008814/the-smog-of-cynicismAndrea Leadsom yesterday insisted the government regards action on air pollution as a priority, but that is hard to tally with yet another delay to its flagship air quality plan

Food & food security

Rollout of Universal Credit doubling foodbank referrals, warns charity: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Rollout-of-Universal-Credit-doubling-foodbank-referrals-warns-charity/42963The report revealed that foodbanks in areas where Universal Credit was being rolled out have seen a 16.85% average increase in referrals for emergency food. This is more than double the national average of 6.64%.”

Hungry Holidays: A report on hunger amongst children during school holidays: http://www.frankfield.com/upload/docs/Hungry%20Holidays.pdf…Up to an estimated three million children risk being hungry in the school holidays. This group comprises over a million children growing up in poverty who receive free school meals during term time, as well as an estimated two million who are disqualified from free school meals because their parents work for their poverty.” More coverage: MPs call for sugary drinks levy to be used to tackle school holiday hunger: https://www.localgov.co.uk/MPs-call-for-sugary-drinks-levy-to-be-used-to-tackle-school-holiday-hunger--/42966

‘Junk food’ and the consumer blame game: https://theconversation.com/junk-food-and-the-consumer-blame-game-76175People in the UK are hooked on takeaways and microwave meals, or so we are constantly told by TV chefs and the media. This apparent addiction to fast food is leading to an obesity epidemic. But what exactly is “junk food”? And why is the consumer always at fault for failing to resist these hyper-palatable foods?”

And finally….

TRAFFIC CHAOS as three cars arrive at mini-roundabout at the same time: http://southendnewsnetwork.com/news/rochford-traffic-chaos-as-three-cars-arrive-at-mini-roundabout-at-the-same-time/Motorists in Rochford have described ‘a total and utter shambles’ this morning after two-mile tailbacks have developed in all directions from the mini-roundabout by the station.”

WMHPG news, information & resources 7th April 2017

Healthy planning & environment

Noise in Europe, 24 April 2017, Brussels, Belgium: http://www.euconf.eu/noise-conference/index.htmlAt the conference, the World Health Organisation will present the latest scientific evidence of the health effects of noise. Representatives from Member States, public authorities, scientists as well as associations and organisations interested in environmental noise, will have the opportunity to discuss policy options to ensure we strike the right balance between the transport we all depend on, and the healthy lives we want. The event languages for the morning session are English, French, German, Italian and Spanish and the conference will be webstreamed in these five languages.”

On#WorldHealthDay join the #udmhflashmob and #DesignAgainstDepression: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/on-worldhealthday-join-the-udmhflashmob-and-designagainstdepressionFriday 7th April is World Health Day, and this year the World Health Organization has announced the theme, which is depression: let's talk… So, in line with the World Health Day theme, #letstalk about #designagainstdepression.”

Neighbourhood Planning Grants and Support Programme- Final Year: http://mycommunity.org.uk/funding-options/neighbourhood-planning/grants/The Department for Communities and Local Development's £22.5 million Neighbourhood Planning Grants and Support Programme (2015-2018) aims to support local communities that are drawing up a neighbourhood plan for their area.”

Spring Debate: should good urbanists avoid green fields? https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/events/spring-debate-reception/We invite you to join us at this special event in the Academy’s calendar, hosted in London on 26 April 2017

5 reasons everyone needs better information on land use: http://www.sharedassets.org.uk/landexplorer/5-reasons-everyone-needs-better-information-land-use/Information on land is crucial to ensure transparency, understand power structures, ensure good land use, and support a 21st Century economy. We want to make sure land data is accessible to everyone.”

Creating age-friendly environments in Europe. A tool for local policy-makers and planners: http://www.euro.who.int/en/publications/abstracts/creating-age-friendly-environments-in-europe.-a-tool-for-local-policy-makers-and-planners-2016This publication provides a toolbox to guide local policy-makers and planners in developing, implementing and evaluating age-friendly policies and interventions – policies that support people to age actively and healthily and thus both to do the things that are important to them and to contribute to their communities.”

Environmental Barriers to Activity: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/physical-activity-environment/ “…So why aren’t more people making physical activity a daily habit? Myriad reasons keep many people off their feet, but the so-called “built environment” our man-made world, with its cities and neighborhoods, streets and buildings, parks and paths-plays a major role.”

Great Repeal Bill raises environmental concerns for green groups: https://www.edie.net/news/11/Great-Repeal-Bill-raises-environmental-concerns-for-green-groups/The Government's white paper for the Great Repeal Bill has faced criticism from green groups for failing to guarantee that existing environmental laws will be maintained as primary legislation post-Brexit.”

Health Inequalities Assessment Toolkit (HIAT): http://www.clahrc-nwc.nihr.ac.uk/media/Info%20Hub/HIATBooklet.pdfThis toolkit includes questions that can help you to assess whether the work you want to carry out considers the causes of health inequalities and has the maximum possible effect on reducing these.”

Shared Assets – April Newsletter: http://us6.campaign-archive2.com/?u=3f92e811206004e669a01ab11&id=79300fad85To keep you in the loop, we've gathered all the news on parks, policy and resources from around our networks.”

Urban Picnics: A Tokyo mental health opportunity that’s surprisingly subversive: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/urban-picnics-a-tokyo-mental-health-opportunity-thats-surprisingly-subversive

Implementing a  health in all policies approach in the context of a public health strategy: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/what-does-health-in-all-people-policies-really-mean/What does health in all people policies really mean in the context of a  public health strategy?

Drawing Up an Urban Planning Manual for Chicago Teens: https://www.citylab.com/navigator/2017/04/chicago-architecture-foundation-no-small-plans-graphic-novel-teens/521802/The graphic novel No Small Plans aims to empower the city’s youth through stories about their neighborhoods.”

11 Architecture, Design and Urbanism Podcasts to Start Listening to Now: http://www.archdaily.com/868257/11-architecture-design-urbanism-podcasts-to-start-listening-to-nowTo help you in your hour of need, Metropolis’ Vanessa Quirk (author of Guide to Podcasting) and ArchDaily’s James Taylor-Foster (whose silvery tones you may have heard on various architecture and design audio stories) have come together to compile this list of eleven podcasts you should subscribe to.”


Health and housing: building the evidence base: http://www.housinglin.org.uk/Topics/type/Health-and-housing-building-the-evidence-base/Housing and related services can promote integrated care, save the NHS money and improve the patient experience, an evidence review has concluded.”

Climate change & sustainability

New Climate change and health briefing from RCP: http://www.sduhealth.org.uk/news/529/new-climate-change-and-health-briefing-from-rcpThe Royal College of Physicians has published Breaking the fever: Sustainability and climate change in the NHS briefing of the impact of climate change on healthcare in the UK, and how physicians and the NHS can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The renewables revolution rolls on: 2016 in charts: https://www.edie.net/news/10/Global-renewable-energy-revolution-2016-in-charts/New figures from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) have revealed that 2016 was the strongest year yet for renewable energy. Here, edie digs deep into the data to bring you 10 key statistics that chart a record-breaking year for the world's clean energy transformation… The UK is slipping down the list of the top 20 renewable energy nations… The number of annual renewable energy additions in the UK has plummeted

ONS: UK low carbon businesses employ close to quarter of a million people: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3007952/ons-uk-low-carbon-businesses-employ-close-to-quarter-of-a-million-peopleThe importance of low carbon and renewable energy businesses to the UK economy was underlined today with the release of new official figures showing the sector employs over 230,000 people and generates turnover of over £43bnbut update suggests zero growth for the sector

We are heading for the warmest climate in half a billion years, says new study: https://theconversation.com/we-are-heading-for-the-warmest-climate-in-half-a-billion-years-says-new-study-73648Carbon dioxide concentrations are heading towards values not seen in the past 200m years. The sun has also been gradually getting stronger over time. Put together, these facts mean the climate may be heading towards warmth not seen in the past half a billion years

Rapid and significant sea-level rise expected if global warming exceeds 2 °C, with global variation: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/rapid_significant_sea_level_rise_expected_two_degree_plus_global_warming_486na1_en.pdfThe world could experience the highest ever global sea-level rise in the history of human civilisation if global temperature rises exceed 2 °C, predicts a new study. Under current carbon-emission rates, this temperature rise will occur around the middle of this century” 

Large Sections of Australia’s Great Reef Are Now Dead, Scientists Find: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/science/great-barrier-reef-coral-climate-change-dieoff.htmlHuge sections of the Great Barrier Reef, stretching across hundreds of miles of its most pristine northern sector, were recently found to be dead, killed last year by overheated seawater. More southerly sections around the middle of the reef that barely escaped then are bleaching now, a potential precursor to another die-off that could rob some of the reef’s most visited areas of color and life.”

Wisden Almanack warns climate change could mean whole new ball game for cricket: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3007854/wisden-almanack-warns-climate-change-could-mean-whole-new-ball-game-for-cricketGreen campaign groups have been bowled over by the latest Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, which warns climate change and volatile weather patterns in the UK could have major repercussions for the sport.”

How to snatch carbon emissions victory from US climate U-turn: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2126495-how-to-snatch-carbon-emissions-victory-from-us-climate-u-turn/ “…There is an alternative approach, and many think it could lead to faster emissions cuts. It is introducing a global price on carbon, and slapping carbon tariffs on goods from any country that refuses to join in.”

Scotland and California agree joint climate change deal: https://www.edie.net/news/11/Scotland-strikes-joint-climate-change-deal-with-California/Scotland has signed a joint agreement to tackle climate change with the US State of California, in the same week that new figures have highlighted a record month for Scottish wind power generation.”

Analysis: North Sea industry cost UK taxpayers £396m in 2016: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-north-sea-industry-cost-uk-taxpayers-396m-2016The North Sea oil and gas sector became a net drain on the UK’s public finances for the first time in 2016, Carbon Brief analysis shows.”

Londoners wake up to 'biggest ever' coffee cup recycling scheme across the Square Mile: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3007671/londoners-wake-up-to-biggest-ever-coffee-cup-recycling-scheme-across-the-square-mileCosta, Starbucks, Marks & Spencer and financial firms across City of London collaborate in bid to collect five million used coffee cups by end of 2017

Nottingham University's carbon-neutral laboratory receives highest green building accolades: https://www.edie.net/news/6/Nottingham-University-carbon-neutral-laboratory-BREEAM-LEED-green-building/A carbon-neutral laboratory built from natural materials by infrastructure services firm AECOM has become one of the first buildings globally to achieve the highest certifications under BREEAM and LEED standards systems for green buildings.”

A coal museum in Kentucky is switching to solar power: http://grist.org/briefly/a-coal-museum-in-kentucky-is-switching-to-solar-power/The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum, nestled in the heart of coal country, might seem like an odd place for a solar project. But the solar panels currently being installed on its roof will ultimately save thousands in electricity costs.”

Active travel & transport

Essential evidence on a page – No. 159. What could a switch from 30 mph to 20mph achieve across a whole country’s population? https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-159-switch-30-mph-20mph-achieve-across-whole-countrys-populationTop line: If all Welsh 30mph limit roads became 20mph limits, in road casualty terms alone, 10 lives could be saved and up to 2000 casualties avoided each year, at a value of prevention of up to £94M. It could be an extremely important public health intervention.”

Extra traffic prompts longer journey times on widened M25: https://www.transportxtra.com/publications/local-transport-today/news/53100/extra-traffic-prompts-longer-journey-times-on-widened-m25Journey times over parts of recently widened sections of the M25 are now longer than before the capacity improvements were made, an evaluation for Highways England has found. The extra capacity has attracted  thousands more vehicle trips onto the road, resulting in longer journey times for travellers, according to the report by consultant Atkins.

Cycleways and congestion – getting beyond the windscreen mentality: https://cyclableblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/cycleways-and-congestion-getting-beyond-the-windscreen-mentality/A new fact has entered the common psyche, namely that London’s congestion is caused by 18 kilometres of physically protected (as opposed to painted) cycle lanes in central London. An accomplice fact is that these same ‘cycleways’ are also responsible for central London’s pollution.”

Travel to school in Glasgow: analysis of results from the Hands Up Survey: http://www.gcph.co.uk/publications/700_travel_to_school_in_glasgow_analysis_of_results_from_the_hands_up_surveyThis report looks at travel to school in Glasgow, using data from the Hands Up Survey conducted across Scottish schools by Sustrans each year to determine how school pupils travel to school.”

More than 20 million Britons 'physically inactive': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39457993More than 20 million people in the UK are physically inactive, according to a report by the British Heart Foundation.”

Self-driving cars will be much safer but a nightmare to insure: https://qz.com/948494/self-driving-cars-will-be-much-safer-but-a-nightmare-to-insure/ “…But the technology that enables this semi-autonomy is expensive, shooting insurance rates through the roof, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, even as it promises to greatly reduce accident rates over the long term. The debate on who will eventually pay that higher cost—customers, automakers or ride-sharing companies—continues, but for now the consumer still shoulders the burden.”

The market has spoken, and it says electric cars are the future: http://grist.org/briefly/the-market-has-spoken-and-it-said-electric-cars-are-the-future/Ford had a 100-year head start on Tesla, but Elon Musk’s company has caught up. With a market value of $53 billion, Tesla Motors overtook Ford ($45 billion) on Monday, and then passed up General Motors ($49 billion) on Tuesday.”

Air quality & pollution

World Health Organization: Evolution of WHO air quality guidelines: past, present and future (2017): http://www.euro.who.int/en/publications/abstracts/evolution-of-who-air-quality-guidelines-past,-present-and-future-2017This document summarizes key WHO publications in the field of air quality and health since the 1950s, which led to the development of the series of WHO air quality guidelines. It outlines the evolution of the scientific evidence on the health effects of air pollution and of its interpretation, supporting policy and other decision-makers in setting outdoor and indoor air quality management strategies worldwide.”

Sadiq Khan plans world’s first ultra-low emissions zone with new daily charges for swathes of London: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/sadiq-khan-plans-world-s-first-ultralow-emissions-zone-with-new-daily-charges-for-swathes-of-london-a3506561.htmlMore than 150,000 Londoners with the most polluting cars will be hit with a daily charge to drive inside the North and South circulars from 2021, under plans announced today.”

However - Drivers of most-polluting diesel cars will be protected from new environmental fines, Theresa May suggests: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/theresa-may-diesel-cars-drivers-pollution-fines-ultra-low-emission-zone-london-a7667186.htmlTheresa May has indicated she will not punish drivers of old diesel cars if the Government cracks down on the vehicles to protect the environment.” – Watch this space.

Reduce your exposure to air pollution – from Greenpeace: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/climate/clone-why-its-time-clean-car-industryAir pollution is a problem. It won’t go away until politicians and the car industry come together with a plan to make truly clean travel possible for everyone. In the meantime we can protect ourselves and the ones we love by taking steps to reduce our exposure to air pollution.”

Tipping point: revealing the cities where exercise does more harm than good: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/feb/13/tipping-point-cities-exercise-more-harm-than-good?CMP=share_btn_twIn at least 15 cities, air pollution has now become so bad that the danger to health of just 30 minutes of cycling each way outweighs the benefits of exercise altogether, according to new research

Day for action on air pollution announced as 15 June: http://www.sduhealth.org.uk/news/531/day-for-action-on-air-pollution-announced-as-15-juneNational Clean Air Day is the chance to give millions of people across the UK easy-to-remember actions that will help them reduce their exposure to air pollution, and their contribution to emissions.”

Air pollution within legal limits may increase risk of early death: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/air-pollution-within-legal-limits-may-increase-risk-of-early-death/Current limits on fine particulate matter in the air set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may not be sufficient to protect elderly people from the risk of premature death from air pollution, according to a large study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.”

£20 daily toxin tax for diesel drivers: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/20-daily-toxin-tax-for-diesel-drivers-mhkzggdn3Diesel drivers face “toxin taxes” of up to £20 a day in 35 towns and cities across England in a new government crackdown on vehicles that cause air pollution — including private cars.”

Western demand for goods from China is killing 100,000 a year: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23431194-300-western-demand-for-goods-from-china-is-killing-100000-a-year/Chinese-made goods bought in western Europe and the US have, in effect, killed more than 100,000 people in China in one year alone – as a result of the air pollution associated with their manufacture.”

Food & food security

Health Matters: Obesity and the food environment: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2017/03/31/health-matters-obesity-and-the-food-environment/Welcome to the latest edition of Health Matters, a resource for local authorities and health professionals, which focuses on obesity and the food environment.”

Public Health England’s new guideline for the food industry is unlikely to curb obesity: https://theconversation.com/public-health-englands-new-guideline-for-the-food-industry-is-unlikely-to-curb-obesity-75475The guidelines challenge the industry to cut sugar content in nine food categories, including breakfast cereals, puddings and confectionery, by 20% by 2020, and by 5% this year. Are these guidelines fit for purpose, or are they too little, too late?

What if reducing food waste could save your city money?: http://smartcitiescouncil.com/article/what-if-reducing-food-waste-could-save-your-city-moneyCalling it a first-of-its-kind analysis of food waste, The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste study evaluated financial cost and benefit data for 1,200 sites across 700 companies in 17 countries, finding that nearly every site realized a positive return on its investment to reduce food waste.”

Local authorities urged to tackle food waste crisis: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Local-authorities-urged-to-tackle-food-waste-crisis/42867Despite a target to cut household food waste by 5% before 2016, figures from January 2017 reveal that food waste in the UK actually rose 4.4% between 2012 and 2015.”

Urban Cultivation and Its Contributions to Sustainability: Nibbles of Food but Oodles of Social Capital: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/George_Martin6/publicationsThis exploratory study weighs the nutritional, ecological, and social sustainability contributions of urban agriculture by examining three cases-a community garden in the core of New York, a community farm on the edge of London, and an agricultural park on the periphery of San Francisco.”

And finally…

Only in America - Here's How To Use A Roundabout And Not Panic: http://jalopnik.com/heres-how-to-use-a-roundabout-and-not-panic-1793988117 The roundabout as traffic innovation!

Meet the Artist Using Ritual Magic to Trap Self-Driving Cars: https://creators.vice.com/en_us/article/meet-the-artist-using-ritual-magic-to-trap-self-driving-cars?utm_source=tcptwitterus  “Is it a silly prank, a Pagan ritual, or a genius discovery about the next era of mass transit? In a picture posted to Flickr by artist James Bridle—known for coining the term, "New Aesthetic"—a car is sitting in the middle of a parking lot has been surrounded by a magic salt circle. In the language of road markings, the dotted white lines on the outside say, "Come On In," but the solid white line on the inside says, "Do Not Cross." To the car's built-in cameras, these are indomitable laws of magic: Petrificus Totalus for autonomous automobiles.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 31 March 2017

Events - Natural Environment Debate with Mayoral Candidates for the West Midlands: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/natural-environment-debate-with-mayoral-candidates-for-the-west-midlands-tickets-32231317739What does the West Midlands Combined Authority Mayor mean for nature?” “Green growth means fostering economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies. To do this, it must catalyse investment and innovation which will underpin sustained growth and give rise to new economic opportunities.” - OECD (2011) Doors open at 6pm for a 6.30pm start. Event ends at 8.30pm.”

Announcing PPS’s 2017 “Healthy Places” Live Webinar Series: http://www.pps.org/blog/announcing-pps-2017-healthy-places-live-webinar-series/We invite you to join us on Tuesday, April 18, (1:00 – 2:00pm ET) for “Making Healthy Places: The Role of Social Support & Interaction” — the first instalment of the “Healthy Places” webinar series. The focus of this discussion will be the critical role of social connection and community networks in promoting overall health and well-being.”

Healthy planning & environment

Return on investment of public health interventions: a systematic review: http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2017/03/07/jech-2016-208141?rss=1Conclusions 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.”

Article 50: What we know (and don't know) about the environmental impact of Brexit: https://www.edie.net/news/11/Brexit-Article-50-impact-on-UK-environment-and-sustainable-business/As the UK's departure process from the European Union (EU) officially commences with the triggering of Article 50, edie takes an in-depth look at how Brexit could affect Britain's green business community.”

UK told to follow EU environmental rules as article 50 is triggered: http://www.cleanenergynews.co.uk/news/efficiency/uk-told-to-follow-eu-environmental-rules-as-article-50-is-triggeredThe UK will have to adhere to the European Union’s environmental and climate change-related policy if it is to have any future agreement with the trading bloc, according to the first EU response to the triggering of article 50.”

New Environmental Protection Act needed after Brexit: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news-parliament-2015/natural-environment-after-eu-report-published-16-17/MPs are warning the Government that environmental protections must not be weakened during the process of leaving the EU or afterwards. The Environmental Audit Committee is calling on the Government to introduce a new Environmental Protection Act during Article 50 negotiations to maintain the UK's strong environmental standards.”

Article 50: The impacts on nature preservation and climate change: http://uk.blastingnews.com/politics/2017/03/article-50-the-impacts-on-nature-preservation-and-climate-change-001587345.htmlarticle 50 has officially been triggered by Theresa May but with the economic effects widely reported, little has been made of the environmental issues that will follow from Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU). This the first of two parts taking a look at the issues the government will face when negotiating with the EU and the problems when sorting through the legislation and regulation post-Brexit.”

Cities and Mental Health: https://www.aerzteblatt.de/int/archive/article?id=186433Further insights on the interaction between spatial heterogeneity of neighborhood resources and socio-ecological factors is warranted and requires interdisciplinary research.”

West Midlands Combined Authority gives £53m to Black Country LEP for brownfield clean-up projects: https://www.wmca.org.uk/news/west-midlands-combined-authority-gives-53m-to-black-country-lep-for-brownfield-clean-up-projects/The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has awarded £53m to a programme to help landowners and developers redevelop former industrial land in the Black Country. The money will be put towards the first wave of works in a 364 hectare brownfield remediation programme worth £1.4 billion and designed to create more than 12,000 jobs and 13,500 new homes.”

Australian Heart Foundation – Does Density Matter: The role of density in creating walkable neighbourhoods? https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/images/uploads/publications/Heart_Foundation__Does_density_matter_FINAL2014.pdf “a discussion paper for residents, professionals and experts involved in planning and developing neighbourhoods. It highlights that well designed and located, higher density neighbourhoods are desirable and add value to our communities.”

The growing benefits of garden villages: https://www.localgov.co.uk/The-growing-benefits-of-garden-villages/42813In the current housing market, councillors find themselves in a rather awkward position of having to try and allow the delivery of housing to address the affordability issue but also to satisfy local communities that new development is in their best interests.”


'Dog kennel' flats in Barnet will be 40% smaller than Travelodge room: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/27/dog-kennel-flats-barnet-house-smaller-than-travelodge-roomHundreds of tiny studio flats, many smaller than a budget hotel room, are to be squeezed into an eleven-storey block in north London as its developer takes advantage of the government’s relaxation of planning regulations96% of the 254 proposed flats will be smaller than the national minimum space standards of 37 sq metres (44 sq yards) for a single person.”

Lendlease to build first ultra-green homes in central London: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/03/26/lendlease-build-first-ultra-green-homes-central-london/Development​ company Lendlease is to pioneer ultra-energy-efficient homes in central London, monitoring the residents over several years to see how new technology could change the housing market.”

Dementia Friendly Housing Charter: A guidance toolkit for a dementia-friendly approach to housing: http://www.housinglin.org.uk/Topics/type/Dementia-Friendly-Housing-Charter-A-guidance-toolkit-for-a-dementia-friendly-approach-to-housing/Launched at the Housing LIN 2017 annual conference, this Dementia-Friendly Housing Charter is aimed at the full range of housing sector professionals across all tenures, ranging from planners and architects to landlords and developers, housing managers and handypersons.”

3D Printed Houses: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/3d-printed-houses/ “…we are making progress in the technology for 3D printing houses. Business Insider did a review of a San Francisco startup, Apis Cor, that says it built a 400 sq ft. house in 24 hours with $10,134 worth of materials. That is pretty impressive.”

Climate change & sustainability

Our greenhouse gas emissions continue to fall: https://www.pressreader.com/uk/daily-mail/20170331/281895888082587The amount of carbon dioxide produced in the UK fell by 7% last year, according to official figures. The most significant factor behind the drop in emissions of the main greenhouse gas was a steep reduction in the use of coal at power stations

Solar surge: World smashes renewable energy records yet again: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3007494/solar-surge-world-smashes-renewable-energy-records-yet-againGlobal renewable energy capacity increased by 161GW last year setting a new deployment record for the sector, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The Abu Dhabi-based agency estimated that total installed renewable energy capacity topped 2,000GW for the first time late last year, reaching 2,006GW of installed capacity thanks to a surge in solar deployments last year.”

Climate-change sceptics say they should have right to 'mislead public' because of free speech: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-sceptic-mislead-pulbic-inaccurate-statements-free-speech-plea-mps-a7657951.htmlChair of Commons Science Committee says: 'Too often the clever practice of communications overshadows the true advice of experts, and the public are left bewildered, and not knowing who to believe'

Sea ice falls to record lows in both the Arctic and Antarctic: https://www.carbonbrief.org/sea-ice-falls-record-lows-arctic-antarctic?ct=t(Carbon_Brief_Weekly_24_03_2017)The Arctic and Antarctic have experienced record lows in sea ice extent so far in 2017, according to the latest data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC).

Deadly heat stress could threaten hundreds of millions even if climate targets reached: http://theconversation.com/deadly-heat-stress-could-threaten-hundreds-of-millions-even-if-climate-targets-reached-75102Deadly heat stress is projected to affect hundreds of millions more people each year under relatively little additional climate warming… In our latest research, which looked at the impact of global temperature rises on megacities, we found that even if 1.5 is achieved, large increases in the frequency of deadly heat are expected.”

New Everton football stadium could end up underwater thanks to global warming: http://theconversation.com/new-everton-football-stadium-could-end-up-underwater-thanks-to-global-warming-75247Everton Football Club announced a milestone step towards moving from its historic Goodison Park home to a new stadium at Bramley Moore dock in Liverpool. When I saw this news my initial reaction was one of surprise. As a researcher in sustainable business models, surely spending £300m on a waterfront stadium is a significant risk in terms of sea level rise?”

UK National Electricity Grid – on 25 March demand was, for the first time, lower during the afternoon than it was overnight due to high solar PV generation: http://www2.nationalgrid.com/uk/industry-information/electricity-transmission-operational-data/

Aviva chief: It's time to make sustainability a competitive sport: https://www.edie.net/news/6/Aviva-chief-executive--It-s-time-to-make-sustainability-a-competitive-sport/Sustainability should be treated as a competitive sport, driven by public league tables on corporate climate performance to incentivise businesses to strive towards industry climate leadership, Aviva's chief executive has said.”

The world's first zero-emissions hydrogen train is coming: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/03/22/worlds-first-zero-emissions-hydrogen-train-coming/A zero-emissions train that runs on just steam and condensed water has successfully completed its first test run in Germany.”

London Mayor unveils new ‘cleaner vehicle checker’: https://www.localgov.co.uk/London-Mayor-unveils-new-cleaner-vehicle-checker-/42832The Mayor of London has unveiled a new ‘checker scheme’ which will help motorists identify — and avoid — the most polluting vehicles.”

Uber expands London EV plans, despite 'woeful' charging infrastructure: https://www.edie.net/news/8/Uber-expands-London-EV-plans--despite--woeful--charging-infrastructure/Uber is taking steps to overcome the "economic disincentive" of using electric vehicles (EVs) in its fleet, by unveiling a new partnership with Nissan and beginning the construction of a network of chargers to combat London's "woefully inadequate" infrastructure.”

UPS to trial electric vehicle 'smart grid' in London: https://www.edie.net/news/8/UPS-to-trial-electric-vehicle--smart-grid--in-London/Delivery firm UPS is moving onto the "next stage" of the electric vehicle (EV) deployment challenge to trial decentralised power generation and onsite storage systems at its London operating base.”

Waste materials are an underused resource in the construction of Europe’s roads: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/waste_materials_underused_resource_construction_europe_roads_485na2_en.pdfA new study proposes a scenario where 50% of the asphalt for Europe’s roads consists of recycled materials, leading to significant reductions in costs, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.”

Trump signs order undoing Obama climate change policies: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39415631President Donald Trump has signed an executive order rolling back Obama-era rules aimed at curbing climate change.” More here: AS THE WORLD BURNS: Trump’s environmental executive order is everything we feared.: http://grist.org/briefly/trumps-environmental-executive-order-is-everything-we-feared/ . And here: Trump Signs Executive Order Unwinding Obama Climate Policies: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/28/climate/trump-executive-order-climate-change.html?_r=0

Slightly different take from the more climate change sceptical media: Donald Trump declares 'new age of American energy' as he destroys Obama's climate change legacy: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/28/donald-trump-declares-new-age-american-energy-destroys-obamas/  “Mr Trump last night signed a sweeping executive order slashing measures from the Obama era, a move that was welcomed by the oil and coal industries as a bold step to end regulations that were "choking" the economy.“

And this… Data: Coal collapse sparks climate hope: https://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/03/22/coal-fall-2016-china-india-climate-change/The cancellation and retirement of coal power projects in the world’s four key economies is making a profound impact on global efforts to limit climate change to 2C — and thereby stave off its most catastrophic consequences.”

And this… Chair of House Science Committee Says the Journal ‘Science’ Is Not Objective: http://www.snopes.com/2017/03/29/smith-journal-science-not-objective/  “Chairman Lamar Smith dismissed commentary presented during testimony on climate change because it came from the journal Science — one of the oldest and most prestigious scientific publications in existence.”

And yet more… Businesses will defy Trump in low-carbon transition, say climate experts: https://www.edie.net/news/6/US-experts--Businesses-will-defy-Trump-and-play--long-game--in-low-carbon-transition/A backward-looking Donald Trump administration will fail to deter corporations seeking to shift to low-carbon, sustainable business models, a panel of US climate and green policy experts has concluded.”

Active travel & transport

Twenty miles per hour speed limits: a sustainable solution to public health problems in Wales: http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2017/03/23/jech-2016-208859Conclusions Road traffic injuries, air pollution and obesity are an inter-related, interdependent triad. The challenge facing public health today is identifying robust interventions that will have positive effects on all three as a minimum; default 20 mph limits is the solution to increasing public health problems in Wales.

Braess paradox & traffic evaporation: does closing roads increase congestion? http://h2020-trace.eu/news/news-detail/braess-paradox-traffic-evaporation-does-closing-roads-increase-congestion/The thesis referred to as "traffic evaporation" is getting wider scientific resonance. Put forward by the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, has its roots in the Braess's paradox. For more than 10 years, The Paris Region Planning and Development Agency (IAU Île-de-France) has been studying the impact of the closure of urban expressways in the centre of large cities around the world. "Despite the initial fears, the removal of fast lanes does not worsen traffic conditions beyond the initial adjustments," explains Paul Lecroart, urban planner at IAU and a specialist on this issue. "In all the cities studied, the evaporation of traffic is an important element to observe".”

Bike Life - Making urban movement more efficient: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/blog/bike-life-making-urban-movement-more-efficientThis blog is the first of a series linked to the Bike Life project exploring how we need to better make the case for cycling and walking in cities.”

Growth in active travel and construction lorries 'risks casualty surge': https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Growth-in-active-travel-and-construction-lorries-risks-casualty-surge/13933The increase in people walking and cycling and the growth of construction traffic could create a ‘perfect storm’ increase in people killed and seriously injured (KSIs) by lorries, a conference has been told.”

Uber suspends US self-driving programme after crash: https://www.transport-network.co.uk/Uber-suspends-US-self-driving-programme-after-crash/13936Uber suspended its pilot programme for driverless cars after an accident in the US at the weekend, it has been reported.”

Shoppers and how they travel: www.tut.fi/verne/wp-content/uploads/Shoppers-and-how-they-travel.pdf “...we found that retailers overestimate the importance of the car. We also found that they overestimate how far their customers travel and underestimate how many shops each customer visits.”

Watching the brain walk London: http://www.natureasia.com/en/nmiddleeast/article/10.1038/nmiddleeast.2017.51Now, experiments at University College London combine virtual reality, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and techniques from the cutting edge of architecture to show how two parts of the brain, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, work together to understand the topology of street networks, simulate accessible future paths and decide upon a route to a goal.”

Roads face closure within five years due to poor condition, experts warn: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/27/roads-face-closure-within-five-years-due-poor-condition-experts/Roads across the country face closure within the next five years due to their poor condition, industry experts have warned as they say councils are failing to fill in "Swiss cheese" potholes.”

IPPR - Crossroads: Choosing a future for London’s transport in the digital age: http://www.ippr.org/publications/crossroads-choosing-a-future-for-londons-transportThis report explains how positive network effects between new and existing transport services represent an unprecedented opportunity to overcome London’s transport difficulties, providing the mayor with profound scope to improve the city’s spaces and Londoners’ lives.”

Pavement parking: councils call for ban in London to be rolled out across the country: http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/8370187/NEWSLaws allowing local authorities to ban pavement parking in London should be rolled out across the country to crack down on inconsiderate motorists endangering lives, councils say.”

Sustrans Policy Scan: http://sustrans-info.org.uk/6EB-4UBFA-612GY4DP79/cr.aspx

It’s this simple: If car drivers made bicyclists feel safer, we’d all be better off: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/its-this-simple-if-car-drivers-made-bicyclists-feel-safer-wed-all-be-better-off/2017/03/24/a352d154-08de-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html?utm_term=.c4df856b643bIt’s really that simple: Car drivers could reduce the aggravating congestion they face each day if they made bicyclists feel safer rather than doing what they can to make them feel menaced.”

Cities Need Traffic Laws Recognizing Cyclists As The Most Important People On Earth: http://www.clickhole.com/blogpost/cities-need-traffic-laws-recognizing-cyclists-most-811Every day in this country, cyclists are treated like second-class citizens, barely tolerated by careless motorists and lazy pedestrians who refuse to share the streets. It’s time to confront reality and enact new traffic laws that reflect the inarguable truth: Cyclists are better than you in every way possible.”

Act now, or the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy will be empty oratory: http://www.insallandcoe.co.uk/blog/2016/4/7/act-now-or-the-cycling-and-walking-investment-strategy-will-be-empty-oratoryWhile successful, mature active travel societies such as the Netherlands and Denmark have invested in double figures per capita per annum (pcpa) over decades and even Luxembourg is now doing so, we are invited to believe that the "transformative" travel behaviour change government wants to see in England can be achieved at little more than £1 pcpa. “

Bicycle Agenda 2017-2020 – From the Netherlands (in English): https://www.cycling-embassy.org.uk/document/bicycle-agenda-2017-2020Tour de Force, a partnership between governments, market, civil society organisations and research institutes, aims to increase the number of kilometres cycled in the Netherlands with 20 percent over the next decade. This is why they drafted a joint Bicycle Agenda 2017-2020 with several actions to overcome barriers and exploit opportunities in cities, rural areas and in combination with public transport.”

Who does your bike network serve? Get free answers from a new tool: http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/who-does-your-bike-network-serve-get-free-answers-from-a-new-toolA new tool, now in development, will let cities measure the quality of their all-ages bike networks for every neighborhood or Census block.”

Biking and walking soar, collisions plummet along oakland’s protected bike lanes: http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/biking-walking-soar-collisions-plummet-along-oaklands-protected-bike-lanesAlong nine blocks of Oakland's Telegraph Avenue, biking is up 78 percent since protected bike lanes were installed. Walking is up 100 percent — maybe because, thanks to the single lane of through traffic in each direction, the pedestrian yield rate doubled in the mornings and tripled in the afternoons.”

Councils need £12bn to bring roads ‘up to scratch’ – research from the Asphalt Industry Alliance: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-need-12bn-to-bring-roads-up-to-scratch/42818

Air quality & pollution

Listen - Laurie Laybourn-Langton, Research Fellow IPPR: An interview on BBC Radio 5 Live discussing vehicle pollution in the UK: https://audioboom.com/posts/5732013-laurie-laybourn-langton-research-fellow-ippr-an-interview-on-bbc-radio-5-live-discussing-vehicle-pollution-in-the-uk

10 ways to beat air pollution: how effective are they? https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/feb/15/10-ways-to-beat-air-pollution-how-effective-are-they “From particle-zapping bus stops to compact ‘smart’ air filters, we examine the methods that tackle the symptoms of air pollution” – Probably the best way is to improve air quality?

Analysis: why diesel demand is falling in China: https://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/03/24/diesel-demand-china-falling-petroleum-exports/China’s oil use may be growing, but diesel is definitely in decline, according to an analysis of government data. Buried beneath the topline figure that crude consumption rose by 5.5% in 2016 is news that diesel demand actually fell by 5.3%.”

Food & food security

Poorest UK families struggle to put food on the table, survey finds: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/30/poorest-uk-families-struggle-eat-regularly-heathily-food-standards-agency-surveyOne in four low-income households does not eat regularly or healthily because of a lack of money, Food Standards Agency says

Taking the Pulse of Hospital Food: https://www.medact.org/2017/uncategorized/taking-pulse-hospital-food/The survey showed that whilst there is some fantastic work going on that should be celebrated, many hospitals are still falling short when it comes to serving food that is healthy and sustainable for all those who access it.”

Introducing Operation Eagle Eye: https://www.sustainweb.org/childrensfoodcampaign/eagle_eye/Now is a unique moment to change the advertising landscape for good. Help us take a stand against ads and brands which are targeting their sugary products at children.”

Subsidies for healthy foods are a price worth paying to tackle obesity: http://theconversation.com/subsidies-for-healthy-foods-are-a-price-worth-paying-to-tackle-obesity-74726In our research we developed a mathematical model that accurately mimics observed how people behave with respect to food consumption, both healthy and unhealthy. It also predicts how people respond to changes in their circumstances and the environment.”

Contact Us

You can get in touch with us at:

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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