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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 21 October 2016

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

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

Information and news

Ten thoughts on reframing transport policy as a health investment: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2016/10/16/ten-thoughts-on-reframing-transport-policy-as-a-health-investment/

Plans for an electric car charging point in every new home in Europe: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/oct/11/electric-car-charging-point-new-home-europe-renault

The Tallinn experiment: what happens when a city makes public transport free? https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/oct/11/tallinn-experiment-estonia-public-transport-free-citiesSince Estonia’s capital started providing free public transport for residents in 2013, it claims to have turned a €20m a year profit each year. But has the scheme achieved its ambitions of reducing traffic and saving people money?”

It’s no accident some cities have higher well-being – it’s because they discourage driving: https://www.fastcoexist.com/3064484/its-no-accident-some-cities-have-higher-well-being-its-because-they-discourage-drivingPeople who are more active are happier—but it's harder to be active in a city that requires you to sit in your car to get anywhere.”

Welsh government becomes first to secure sustainable fish buying for the public sector:  http://foodcardiff.com/welsh-government-becomes-first-to-secure-sustainable-fish-buying-for-public-sector/It is the first time that a country-wide purchasing organisation for public sector buying has committed to protecting our precious fish stocks by serving only sustainable fish.”

Why the plastic bag charge is working: http://neweconomics.org/search/?lost=true&_sf_s=+++++why+the+plastic+bag+charge+is+workingOne year on, the policy has been an enormous success”

A garden square plan for the edge of Birmingham city centre: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/garden-sqaure-plan-edge-birmingham-12022194“New apartments, commercial units and leisure facilities will be based around the garden square on a 10.7 acre site off Hagley Road between the Plough and Harrow pub and Five Ways Island.“

Is this the world’s most beautiful cycle lane? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/poland/articles/poland-beautiful-glow-in-the-dark-solar-powered-cycle-lane/

5,000 new homes planned for Birmingham and Sandwell: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/blueprint-deliver-5000-new-inner-12044289  

Business benefits: is it take off time for electric vehicles: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/energy-efficiency/business-benefits-electric-vehicles/?WT.mc_id=tmgspk_listfour_1438_AmtLhLB9m0G8&utm_source=tmgspk&utm_medium=listfour&utm_content=1438&utm_campaign=tmgspk_listfour_1438_AmtLhLB9m0G8

Electric vehicles could go first at traffic lights under UK clean air zone plans: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/13/electric-vehicles-could-go-first-at-traffic-lights-under-uk-clean-air-zone-plans

From Ireland – ‘Unnecessary deaths’ caused by low spend on cycling infrastructure: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/unnecessary-deaths-caused-by-low-spend-on-cycling-infrastructure-1.2837200#.WAkQWLUyzSx.twitter  “UN report says 20% of transport budget should be spent in area but just 1% will be in 2016

Morpeth shared-space scheme scrapped over ‘lack of support’: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-37712798

Resources and research

Event: Planning for better health and wellbeing: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/planning-for-better-health-and-wellbeing-tickets-27724628109

Project for Public Spaces. Placemaking Leadership Forum 2016 report: http://www.pps.org/blog/placemaking-leadership-forum-report-now-available/PPS has just launched its online conference report for the Placemaking Leadership Forum 2016.This conference, which came together with Pro Walk / Pro Bike / Pro Place to make up the first ever Placemaking Week, brought over 450 placemakers from around the world to Vancouver, BC from September 14–17 in order to chart the future of placemaking.”

Sustainability West Midlands – Sustainability and mental health conference 12 October 2016. The presentations from this event are now available: http://www.sustainabilitywestmidlands.org.uk/resources/swm-health-networks-sustainability-and-mental-health-conference/

Green space and health: http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/POST-PN-0538 "A range of bodies, including Government agencies, have promoted the possible physical and mental health benefits of access to green space. This POSTnote summarises the evidence for physical and mental health benefits from contact with nature, such as reducing rates of non-communicable diseases, and the challenges for urban green spaces." Link to full report at the bottom of the briefing.

Health in a hurry: https://www.rsph.org.uk/our-work/policy/championing-the-publics-health/health-in-a-hurry.htmlOur report, Health in a Hurry, highlights the impact of travelling to and from work by rail, bus and car (passive commuting) on the public’s health and wellbeing with longer commute times being associated with increased stress, higher blood pressure and BMI, and reduced time available for health-promoting activities such as cooking, exercising and sleeping.

Building affordable homes for the UK:  https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/we-can-solve-poverty-uk4 in 10 homes fail to meet a standard deemed acceptable by the public, according to new research by Shelter. Read JRF’s full recommendations from our strategy to solve poverty in the UK on how to build the affordable homes the country needs.” 

Lethal and legal: London’s air pollution crisis: http://www.ippr.org/publications/lethal-and-illegal-londons-air-pollution-crisis?mc_cid=18812685e5&mc_eid=41ca86f899Air pollution is a huge and growing public health problem for the UK, and for London in particular. Presenting innovative new modelling that illustrates the scale of both the problem and the policy changes required to remedy it at the European, national and local levels, this report presents detailed analysis of the promise and limitations of current clean air measures, and the decisive steps that must be taken next.”

Report: a breath of fresh air: addressing climate change and air pollution together for health: http://www.ukhealthalliance.org/new-report-breath-fresh-air-addressing-climate-change-air-pollution-together-health/The latest report from the UK Health Alliance, A Breath of Fresh Air, makes the case for much more integrated strategies to address air pollution and climate change. It argues that approaches to addressing both challenges simultaneously will create much greater health benefits and cost-savings than strategies which address them separately. Both air pollution and climate change pose serious risks to public health in the UK, but a joined-up approach to tackling them can reap enormous benefits.  This is particularly true for the most vulnerable members of society, and can help cut the associated health burden and costs to the NHS.“

Food security – what is it and why does it matter? http://blogs.wwf.org.uk/blog/green-sustainable-living/green-sustainable-living-food/food-security-matter/When the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was founded on 16 October 1945, it was the first major international organisation with the purpose of ‘ensuring humanity’s freedom from hunger’. FAO celebrates World Food Day every year on 16 October to commemorate this, and to raise awareness about hunger, nutrition and food security.“

Towards environmentally sustainable health systems in Europe: A review of the evidence: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/Climate-change/publications/2016/towards-environmentally-sustainable-health-systems-in-europe.-a-review-of-the-evidence-2016This review provides evidence to illustrate the environmental impact of health systems in Europe, the potential benefits of fostering environmental sustainability in health systems and the barriers to and incentives for such action.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 7 October 2016

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

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

Information & news

Consultation – closes 13 October. Soft Drinks Industry Levy: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/soft-drinks-industry-levyA consultation on a new UK-wide Soft Drinks Industry Levy that will apply to the production and importation of soft drinks containing added sugar.”

Government upholds fracking appeal in landmark ruling: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-37567866 Wide media coverage of this story: http://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/end-of-democracy-government-upholds-fracking-appeal/06/10/ ; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/fracking-lancashire-cuadrilla-sajid-javid-planning-permission-overturned-a7347576.html ; http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/fracking-take-place-lancashire-after-government-overturns-council-rejection-1585100 ; https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/06/uk-fracking-given-go-ahead-as-lancashire-council-rejection-is-overturned

Parks and bike lanes vs cath labs and cancer drugs. The value of different forms of investment: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2016/10/01/parks-and-bike-lanes-and-healthy-folk-on-the-value-of-different-forms-of-investment/ (This is a blog worth following – Sheffield DPH)

Some (academic) rebuttal arguments to the nanny state line: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2016/09/11/some-academic-rebuttal-arguments-to-the-nanny-state-line/For those with a bit of  time and energy, here are some things to read –  some decent academic literature on this topic. This is basically a reading list. These, maybe apart from the first, are academic and rooted in political philosophy and different notions / interpretations of the term freedom or Liberty.“

Climate change and meat consumption: what’s the link? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP9HTWsbUqI&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop . Professor Tim Lang and Tara Garnett from the Food Climate Research Network arguing the case for lowering UK meat consumption.

State of the transition, September 2016: “anyone who does not understand what is going on is not in the right place”.: http://www.jeremyleggett.net/2016/10/state-of-the-transition-september-2016-anyone-who-does-not-understand-what-is-going-on-is-not-in-the-right-place/  “Six hundred multinational companies are now factoring the Paris Agreement into their business plans, according to CDP. Unsurprisingly, utilities and other energy companies lead, but adopters span many sectors. Sign-ups to the corporate 100% renewable power campaign this month include Apple.”

Focus: climate change and the social sciences: http://discoversociety.org/2016/10/04/focus-climate-change-and-the-social-sciences/

Norway unveils plan to develop industrial carbon capture and storage portfolio: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2473254/norway-unveils-plan-to-develop-industrial-ccs-portfolioEurope's embattled carbon capture and storage (CCS) sector has received a much-needed shot in the arm with the news the Norwegian government is to significantly expand its portfolio of carbon capture demonstration projects.”

Rooftop farming counters air pollution: http://www.inherit.eu/idea-5/In Delhi, we can fight air pollution by introducing rooftop plantations all over the city. This will help us to create a fresh, pollution-free environment especially in over-polluted cities like the national capital of India.

No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously: http://www.vox.com/2016/10/4/13118594/2-degrees-no-more-fossil-fuels

Bicycle helmets reduce risk of serious head injury by nearly 70%, study finds: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/sep/22/bicycle-helmets-reduce-risk-of-serious-head-injury-by-nearly-70-study-finds?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Gmail – worth revisiting Ben Goldacre’s and David Spiegelhalter’s BMJ paper on this topic: http://www.badscience.net/2013/12/bicycle-helmets-and-the-law-a-perfect-teaching-case-for-epidemiology/#more-3027

West Midlands Police target drivers too close to cyclists: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-37384899

Piezoelectric roads: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/piezoelectric-roads/ - also worth reading the comments, they extend the discussion with contributions from knowledgeable people.

Reykjavik: the geothermal city that aims to go carbon neutral: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/oct/03/reykjavik-geothermal-city-carbon-neutral-climate

Government accused of ‘victim blaming’ cyclists after road safety video tells them to avoid lorries: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cycling-safety-video-hgv-deaths-government-victim-blaming-hang-back-avoid-lorries-a7330376.htmlThe message should have been directed at the lorry drivers to ask them to stay back from people cycling to avoid them being exposed to the risk of causing a crushing collision

It’s not time to throw away your Fitbit, but it is time to rethink how we do research. //medium.com/@aaroncoleman/its-not-time-to-throw-away-your-fitbit-but-it-is-time-to-rethink-how-to-do-research-94dc498eb63f#.gwt90xvwa">https://medium.com/@aaroncoleman/its-not-time-to-throw-away-your-fitbit-but-it-is-time-to-rethink-how-to-do-research-94dc498eb63f#.gwt90xvwaYesterday the internet spread some exciting new findings in JAMAlike wildfire — the story goes that wearables might actually harm your ability to lose weight. The problem? The device used in the intervention bears no resemblance to a “wearable” as we’d call it today. It was this device, a discontinued, very clunky, very clinical looking arm strap and sensor brick called the Bodymedia FIT Core

Mayor Sadiq Khan floats new plans to ‘green’ East London’s river crossings: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2473007/mayor-sadiq-khan-floats-new-plans-to-green-east-londons-river-crossings

Pioneering cycle project launched in Coventry: http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/whats-on/whats-on-news/pioneering-cycle-project-launched-coventry-11913933

When Paris closed a major road to cars, half its traffic just disappeared: https://www.fastcoexist.com/3064157/when-paris-closed-a-major-road-to-cars-half-its-traffic-just-disappeared 

Cardiff holds first ‘car-free day’ to cut air pollution: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-37431031

Whale carcass on Devon beach to be used for biofuel: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-37529769

Fury over axe to 1,000 country bus services: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/716655/Fury-over-axe-to-1000-country-bus-services

Government upholds fracking appeal in landmark ruling: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-37567866

IGas shale drilling threatened with legal challenge over noise risk to owls: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/10/04/igas-shale-drilling-threatened-with-legal-challenge-over-noise-r/ - also Conservationists deal last-minute blow to ‘unlawful’ fracking bid: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/05/anti-fracking-groups-protest-as-council-mulls-over-shale-gas-drilling

Proposals unveiled to widen transport scheme impact assessment: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/news/article/410/proposals_unveiled_to_widen_transport_scheme_impact_assessment

Tesco the Horsegate villain rides to FSA’s rescue: http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/opinion/columns/leader/tesco-the-horsegate-villain-rides-to-fsas-rescue/542766.article

Resources and research

The effectiveness of average speed cameras in Great Britain: http://www.racfoundation.org/assets/rac_foundation/content/downloadables/Average_speed_camera_effectiveness_Owen_Ursachi_Allsop_September_2016.pdfOn average, the permanent average speed camera sites analysed saw reductions in injury collisions, especially those of a higher severity.…. Fatal and serious collisions fell, by 25-46% while personal injury collisions fell, by 9-22%.”

Local public service reform: NAO insight report and resource guide: https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Local-public-service-reform.pdf – the future of public services and possible responses to reducing budgets and capacity at a time of increasing demand

Food systems and diets: facing the challenge of the 21st century: http://glopan.org/foresightThis evidence-based Report is designed to help policymakers make their food systems more supportive of high quality diets

Ready for Ageing?: http://www.housinglin.org.uk/Topics/browse/HousingOlderPeople/OlderPeopleStrategy/NationalHousingStrategy/?&msg=0&parent=3669&child=9715The House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change published its report on the UK's ageing society in March 2013. The report gave a stark warning that the country is 'woefully unprepared' for the changes to come.”

Does active commuting improve psychological wellbeing? Longitudinal evidence from eighteen waves of the British Household Panel Survey: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743514003144Compared to driving, wellbeing was higher when using active travel or public transport. Use of active travel reduced the likelihood of two specific GHQ12 psychological symptoms. Switching from car driving to active travel improved wellbeing. Wellbeing increased with travel time for walkers, but decreased for drivers.

Mental health and housing: http://www.housinglin.org.uk/Topics/browse/HousingMentaHealth/Good housing is known to have a beneficial impact on maintaining mental health in general and this is reflected in the resources you will find throughout the Housing LIN website.”

Edinburgh Council has made all bike counter data publicly available: http://www.spokes.org.uk/documents/papers-documents/spokes-traffic-counts/

Nerves of Steel: https://b8f65cb373b1b7b15feb-c70d8ead6ced550b4d987d7c03fcdd1d.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com/cms/reports/documents/000/001/195/original/CDP_Steel_2016_FINAL.pdf?1475709721A business orientated view of the need for controlling carbon emissions With governments globally agreeing to limit climate change to 2 degrees Celsius at COP21, the global steel industry will face increasing pressure to reduce its significant emissions profile. The steel industry contributes 6-7% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and has limited potential to reduce its emissions based on currently available technology.”

WMHPG news, information and resources 30 September 2016

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

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


A question from Angela Hands at Coventry University: I am looking for a valid and reliable measure of children's mode of travel to school. There seem to be many measurement scales available and I am keen to establish what other colleagues may have used previously. e.g. do you use the number of days children walk/ cycle/driven/ bus; this week, last week, usually, yesterday, today, most often etc. The data I have found is conflicting depending upon which scales are used, and it would be very helpful to establish a common measure. Any help would be much appreciated. Please send any information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

INHERIT: This Horizon 2020 research project aims to encourage us to modify our current lifestyles, characterized by a ‘take, make, consume, dispose’ models of growth, to formulate scenarios for a more sustainable future, and to design, implement and test inter-sectoral initiatives to achieve the desired change. Click here to view the INHERIT leaflet.

The world passes 400ppm carbon dioxide threshold. Permanently: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/28/the-world-passes-400ppm-carbon-dioxide-threshold-permanently

No fracking, drilling or digging: it’s the only way to save the earth: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/27/fracking-digging-drilling-paris-agreement-fossil-fuels?CMP=twt_gu

Is the climate change academic community reluctant to voice issues that question the economic growth paradigm? http://kevinanderson.info/blog/is-the-climate-change-academic-community-reluctant-to-voice-issues-that-question-the-economic-growth-paradigm/

Even a 14-cent food tax could lead to healthier choices – report from the Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2016/09/even-a-14-cent-food-tax-could-lead-to-healthier-choices

A world without cars: cities go car-free for the day – in pictures: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2016/sep/26/world-without-cars-cities-go-car-free-in-pictures?CMP=share_btn_tw

Public health is a priority for our national parks. https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2016/08/08/public-health-is-a-priority-for-our-national-parks/ PHE blog from Kevin Fenton and Paul Hamblin. “It surprises many to learn that half of the country’s population lives within an hour’s travel of a National Park.  They are generally free at point of access, and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Green cities = calmer minds and stronger hearts: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jad-daley/green-cities-calmer-minds_b_12156284.html

Lots to lose: how cities around the world are eliminating car parks: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/sep/27/cities-eliminating-car-parks-parking?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Messenger

Urban design shapes mental health, researchers say: http://www.eco-business.com/news/urban-design-shapes-mental-health-researchers-say/

Report: half of all EU citizens could be generating their own electricity by 2050: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2472155/report-half-of-all-eu-citizens-could-be-generating-their-own-electricity-by-2050

How much solar could you get for the cost of Hinkley? http://www.neweconomics.org/blog/entry/how-much-solar-could-you-get-for-the-cost-of-hinkleyYou could put a 4kW solar panel on at least 2.9 million households –enough to meet the power needs of the average 3 bedroom home.

Study: Europe’s wind sector to swell by 140GW by 2025: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2472171/study-europes-wind-sector-set-to-swell-by-140gw-by-2025

Oslo’s radical “climate budget” aims to halve carbon emissions in four years: http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-oslo-idUKKCN11Y1RK

Resources and research

The economics of housing and health: the role of housing associations. http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/files/kf/field/field_publication_file/Economics_housing_and_health_Kings_Fund_Sep_2016.pdf

The pseudo-high-risk prevention strategy: http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/06/11/ije.dyv102.full The Rose hypothesis - to quote @harryrutter “It’s absurd how Rose’s lessons get ignored in the cacophony of narrowly focused reductionist claims around complex problems” Many examples of this in how councils approach public health.

Free online course from the Institute of Health Equity and the BMJ - Social determinants of health: what is your role? This free online course will help you to understand health inequalities and how they are socially driven. We will look at how health is affected by wider determinants and how you can make a difference as a health professional to close the health inequality gap. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/social-determinants-of-health

The Lancet special edition – urban design, transport and health: http://www.thelancet.com/series/urban-designWorldwide, the majority of people already live in cities and by 2050, it is estimated that 75% of 10 billion people have cities as an important social determinant of health. Air pollution, physical inactivity, noise, social isolation, unhealthy diets, and exposure to crime play a very important part in the non-communicable disease burden. This 3-part Series explores how integrated multisector city planning, including urban design and transport planning, can be used as an important and currently underused force for health and wellbeing within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals in both high-income countries and low-income and middle-income countries.”

Exploring the housing and household energy pathways to stress: a mixed methods study: http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/13/9/916/htmThis study provides further support for the connections between both health and the built environment and between low socio-economic status populations and net negative health outcomes.”

Recreational physical activity in natural environments and implications for health: a population based cross-sectional study in England: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743516302298Building on evidence that natural environments (e.g. parks, woodlands, beaches) are key locations for physical activity, we estimated the total annual amount of adult recreational physical activity in England's natural environments, and assessed implications for population health.”

Disappearing traffic? The story so far: http://www.onestreet.org/images/stories/Disappearing_traffic.pdfReallocating roadspace from general traffic, to improve conditions for pedestrians or cyclists or buses or on-street light rail or other high-occupancy vehicles, is often predicted to cause major traffic problems on neighbouring streets. This paper reports on two phases of research, resulting in the examination of over 70 case studies of roadspace reallocation from eleven countries, and the collation of opinions from over 200 transport professionals worldwide.

Fossil fuel production in a 2oc world: the equity implications of a diminishing carbon budget: https://www.sei-international.org/publications?pid=3020This discussion brief examines the equity implications of constraining future fossil fuel production as part of efforts to limit the global surface temperature increase to 2°C.”

Healthier food procurement: http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/publications/-/journal_content/56/10180/7931587/PUBLICATION“....partnership between Public Health England, the LGA, the Association of Directors of Public Health and Leeds Beckett University to support councils in designing a whole-system approach to reducing obesity.”

Brighton and Hove Food Partnership – citywide food strategy: http://bhfood.org.uk/food-strategyBrighton & Hove was one of the first cities in the UK to take a citywide, strategic approach to food issues. It is a model that is now being replicated elsewhere across the country.”

Outdoor air pollution exceeds WHO limits for 90% of UK population: http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/2016/09/27/air-pollution/Data released today (Tuesday 27 September 2016) from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that over 90 per cent of the UK’s population lives in areas where levels of air pollution exceed WHO limits.”

WHO Data on air pollution exposure and its health impact by country: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/air-quality/news/news/2016/09/release-of-who-data-on-air-pollution-exposure-and-its-health-impact-by-country


Congestion charge considered for Oxford: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-37470121

Illnesses associated with lifestyle cost the NHS 11bn: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37451773

Nottinghamshire officials recommend go-ahead for shale test drilling: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2472218/nottinghamshire-officials-recommend-go-ahead-for-shale-test-drilling

Birmingham average speed cameras catching 202 drivers every day: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/revealed-how-many-drivers-caught-11928025

How congestion charge for Birmingham could be back on the table: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/road-pricing-plan-cut-pollution-11906704#ICID=nsm

WMHPG news, information and resources 23 September 2016

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

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


West Midlands consultation: Draft Black Country Cycling and Walking Strategy and Implementation Planwe want to know what you think: http://www.blackcountrylep.co.uk/news/Cycling-and-walking-in-the-Black-Country---we-want-to-know-what-you-think?dm_i=HLN,4HGOO,MIZKL7,GKDBB,1 Closing date 16 October.

Dudley Council has adopted two new supplementary planning documents. Black Country Air Quality SPD: http://www.dudley.gov.uk/resident/planning/planning-policy/local-plan/bcaqspd/ . The Revised Nature Conservation SPD:  http://www.dudley.gov.uk/resident/planning/planning-policy/local-plan/naturecons-spd/

Sustrans Policy Scan: http://sustrans-info.org.uk/6EB-4I0OG-612GY4DP79/cr.aspxThis Sustrans Policy Scan includes our reaction to the Scottish Government's Programme for Scotland, and our call for proceeds of the Soft Drinks Levy to enable more children to walk and cycle to school.”

Government house building figures ‘ignore’ 30,000 new builds, say pressure group: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Government-house-building-figures-ignore-30000-new-builds-say-pressure-group/41664

Ethnicity and health: how can we maximise urban green space for health promotion? http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/ethnicity-and-health-how-can-we-maximise-urban-green-space-for-health-promotion

Green spaces worth £2.2bn to public health in England: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37403915outdoor exercise delivers an estimated £2.2bn of health benefits to adults in England each year, a study suggests”.

When designing for mental health, how far can architects go? http://uk.archinect.com/news/article/149969297/when-designing-for-mental-health-how-far-can-architects-go?ukredirect

Dieselgate: Who? What? How? https://www.transportenvironment.org/publications/dieselgate-who-what-howThis report, released on the first anniversary of the Dieselgate scandal, exposes the shocking number of dirty diesel cars on the EU’s roads and the feeble regulation of cars by national authorities that have focused on protecting their own commercial interests or those of domestic carmakers.”

Electric cars are greener in France than in China: http://qz.com/786531/electric-cars-are-greener-in-france-than-in-china/While electric cars on a whole have been shown to be greener than the fossil-fuel-burning masses, the power source that generates the electricity to charge their batteries makes a big difference.

Our roads are choked. We’re on the verge of carmageddon: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/20/roads-car-use-health-driving?utm_term=Autofeed&CMP=twt_b-gdnnewsIt was a mistake – a monumental, world-class mistake. Cars for everyone was one of the most stupid promises politicians ever made.”

Why reducing meat eating isn’t a response to climate change: http://discoversociety.org/2016/09/06/why-reducing-meat-eating-isnt-a-response-to-climate-change/

France bans plastic cups, plates and cutlery: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/france-bans-plastic-cups-plates-cutlery-energy-transition-for-green-growth-a7313076.htmlFrance has passed a new law to ensure all plastic cups, cutlery and plates can be composted and are made of biologically-sourced materials. The law, which comes into effect in 2020, is part of the Energy Transition for Green Growth – an ambitious plan that aims to allow France to make a more effective contribution to tackling climate change.”

Policy briefing: sustainable and healthy eating patterns: http://discoversociety.org/2016/09/06/policy-briefing-sustainable-and-healthy-eating-patterns/ “‘The food system is broken’ says Oxfam. Government scientific advisors warn of a ‘perfect storm’ of global events influenced by, and with, potentially catastrophic consequences for the food system. Organisations are launched to tackle the challenges posed by the ‘food-water-energy nexus.’ Some take a more political stance, and demand ‘food justice’ and ‘food sovereignty.’”

House of Commons Health Committee. Public Health post-2013. Calls for health to be a material consideration in planning and licensing decisions: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmhealth/140/140.pdf

From the Planning Institute Australia – Planning for Healthy Communities Position Statement: https://www.planning.org.au/documents/item/7556The Planning Institute of Australia knows that planners play a key role in shaping the built environment. Given the evidence that clearly links the built environment to wellbeing, planners are in a position to positively influence the health of our communities.”

Agenda spotlight: placemaking and health: http://www.pps.org/blog/placemaking-and-health/

‘No proof’ fitness trackers promote weight loss: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37417018

Beauty of Transport. House of train (Liverpool Road Station, Manchester). “Although this week’s example of transport beauty doesn’t necessarily scream its purpose at first glance, it is in fact one of the most important pieces of transport infrastructure anywhere in the world.” https://thebeautyoftransport.wordpress.com/2016/09/21/house-of-train-liverpool-road-station-manchester-uk/

Look at Life – living with cars 1964: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhSXNr4_hUA&feature=youtu.be

Resources and research

Magnetite pollution nanoparticles in the human brain: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/08/31/1605941113Their presence proves that externally sourced iron-bearing nanoparticles, rather than their soluble compounds, can be transported directly into the brain, where they may pose hazard to human health.” Media coverage here – Toxic air pollution particles found in human brains: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/05/toxic-air-pollution-particles-found-in-human-brains-links-alzheimers

Essential evidence on a page: child pedestrian casualties and deprivation: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-153-child-pedestrian-casualties-and-deprivationTop line: Engineering measures that modify the physical and traffic environments where injuries occur, and wider social policy measures in the places where the casualties live may be most effective in reducing the number of child traffic injuries among deprived socio-economic groups.”

Essential evidence on a page: association between recreational and commuter cycling, changes in cycling and type 2 diabetes risk: https://travelwest.info/project/no-152-association-between-recreational-and-commuter-cycling-changes-in-cycling-and-type-2-diabetes-riskTop line: It seems beneficial to encourage middle and old age adults to engage in commuter and recreational cycling to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in later adulthood.

TED talk. Michael Murphy, architecture that’s built to heal: https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_murphy_architecture_that_s_built_to_heal?language=en#t-603942Architecture is more than a clever arrangement of bricks. In this eloquent talk, Michael Murphy shows how he and his team look far beyond the blueprint when they're designing. Considering factors from airflow to light, theirs is a holistic approach that produces community as well as (beautiful) buildings.”

Recreational physical activity in natural environments and implications for health: a population based cross-sectional study in England: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743516302298Natural environments provide the context for a large proportion of England's recreational physical activity and highlight the need to protect and manage such environments for health purposes.”

Commuting and health in Cambridge: http://www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/research/directory/cahic/We showed that, over time, people living closer to the busway were more likely to increase their cycling, and less likely to use their car, for commuting than those living further away.”

Links between noise and air pollution and socioeconomic status. EU Science for Environment Policy report: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/air_noise_pollution_socioeconomic_status_links_IR13_en.pdfThis In-depth Report presents evidence on whether people in deprived areas are more affected by air and noise pollution — and suffer greater consequences — than wealthier populations.”

Examining local processes when applying a cumulative impact policy to address harms of alcohol outlet density: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829216300545

Examining the role of urban street design in enhancing community engagement: a literature review: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829216300995  

Is it better to invest in place or people to maximise health? Evaluation of the general health impact of urban regeneration in Dutch deprived neighbourhoods: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829216300788

Sharpening our Focus: guidelines on wellbeing frameworks for cities and regions: http://www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk/carnegieuktrust/wp-content/uploads/sites/64/2016/09/Sharpening-our-Focus.pdf “...the OECD and Carnegie UK Trust have come together to develop straightforward guidance for decision-makers on the benefits, challenges and possibilities of regional and sub-regional wellbeing frameworks in policy making.”

Freely available Dutch data on injury by transport mode, age and gender (tip – you can use Google Translate to see it in English, just in case your Dutch is a little rusty): http://statline.cbs.nl/StatWeb/publication/?DM=SLNL&PA=71936NED&D1=a&D2=0&D3=a&D4=a&HDR=T&STB=G1,G2,G3&VW=T

4X4 Manchester 2016: Videos. https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/4x4-manchester-2016-videos/4×4 Manchester wants to challenge how you think about your discipline be that architecture, art, music, urban design, planning etc etc. This is not architects talking about their new buildings or an author promoting their new book; 4×4 promotes real debate about the state of our cities, stimulated by interesting, diverse and provocative speakers.”


Food ‘traffic light’ labelling should be mandatory, councils say: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37389804Food manufacturers should be forced to put "traffic light" nutrition labels on the front of packs, councils have said.”

Losing the plot…  “We need 1m new homes by 2020, but our planning system isn’t up to the job. From new towns to side returns, and even garden sheds, applying to build is a frustrating postcode lottery”: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/losing-the-plot-p9cwmwmtd

Undercover bike cops launch ‘best ever’ cycle safety scheme in Birmingham: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2016/sep/16/undercover-bike-cops-launch-best-ever-cycle-safety-scheme-in-birminghamCampaigners hope the operation, that sees plain clothes police on bikes pull over drivers that pass too close, will be taken up across the country

The plan to make every single council in the UK collect food waste: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/shadow-environment-secretary-calls-for-legislation-to-force-councils-to-collect-food-waste-a7315891.html

Dutch-style cycle route in Enfield will be a ‘disaster,’ say businesses: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/30m-dutchstyle-cycle-route-in-enfield-a-disaster-say-businesses-a3348036.html

Smaller house builders struggling to find land for new homes: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/09/19/smaller-house-builders-struggling-to-find-land-for-new-homes/

SEC probes ExxonMobil over asset values: Financial watchdog investigates reserves and accounting for climate change: https://www.ft.com/content/fb178154-7faa-11e6-8e50-8ec15fb462f4The US financial regulator has launched a probe into ExxonMobil, questioning how the country’s largest oil group reports the value of its assets and reserves, and discloses the potential impact of climate change on its business.”

Public health post–2013 - Second Report of Session 2016–17

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WMHPG news, information and resources 2 September 2016

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Sandwell SHOES conference - free to anyone in the West Midlands. Austerity, poverty and health.  “For the 15th year, we welcome national and international experts to Sandwell for SHOES. This year’s topic Austerity, Poverty and Health, will encourage attendees to think globally, and act locally to improve the health and wellbeing of local peoplehttp://www.lfphwm.org.uk/member/Events/View/event/138 (Limited places left - BOOK NOW).

The Anthropocene epoch: scientists declare dawn of human-influenced age: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/29/declare-anthropocene-epoch-experts-urge-geological-congress-human-impact-earthExperts say human impact on Earth so profound that Holocene must give way to epoch defined by nuclear tests, plastic pollution and domesticated chicken”

Disability and the built environment inquiry: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/women-and-equalities-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/disability-and-the-built-environment-16-17/In this inquiry we explore the extent to which those needs are considered and accommodated in our built environment, and ask whether more could be done to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of both new and existing properties and spaces.” Closing date 12 October 2016

Isle of Wight lays digital plan for smart cycling: http://www.ukauthority.com/smart-places/entry/6406/isle-of-wight-lays-digital-plan-for-smart-cycling#The Isle of Wight Council …. has publisheda prospectusin the search for a partner organisation that could provide the digital information to support cyclists, using technology including GPS, real time travel information, an online or in-app game and online photo sharing and messaging.”

Do cycle cameras make the road any safer? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-37229880

Why is cycling so popular in the Netherlands? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23587916There are more bicycles than residents in The Netherlands and in cities like Amsterdam and The Hague up to 70% of all journeys are made by bike.

How school safety zones are not a priority! http://www.20splenty.org/how_school_safety_zones_are_not_a_priorityBriefing sheet on why 20mph School Safety Zones can have minimum impact on child road safety and will encourage inactive travel to school.”

Country Landowners Association – “delays, inefficiencies and inflexibilities” of the planning system holding back on growth: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/environment/ministers-must-act-on-stalled-planning-reforms-to-help-rural-businesses-1-8086428

Developers accused of deliberately restricting the supply of new houses to keep prices high: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/28/developers-accused-of-deliberately-restricting-the-supply-of-new/A report by Civitas, found that overall more than two million planning permits were issued between 2006 and 2015, a rate which would be enough to build average of 204,000 new homes a year. However, foundations were only been laid on 1.26 million of them, suggesting that developers and land owners are sitting on the permissions rather than building new homes.

Cheap and green energy ‘golden age’ under threat from Government tinkering, industry warns: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/cheap-green-energy-golden-age-under-threat-government-tinkering-lawrence-slade-greg-clark-a7215226.htmlRepeated changes by Whitehall are driving away investors at the dawn of a new era in electricity generation that could drive down prices and cut greenhouse gas emissions”

Britain is only just beginning to exploit its biggest energy resources: offshore wind: http://www.citymetric.com/horizons/britain-only-just-beginning-exploit-its-biggest-energy-resource-offshore-wind-2366

Jonathon Porritt: business leaders are better placed than MPs to drive the green economy: http://www.edie.net/news/7/Jonathon-Porritt-green-business-leaders-will-drive-the-future-green-economy/

National Grid brings ‘exciting new chapter’ for green storage with auction launch: http://www.edie.net/news/6/National-Grid-EFR-energy-storage-auction-launch/ “…developed to bring forward new technologies that support the decarbonisation of the energy industry”

Costa Rica celebrates 113 days of 100-percent renewable energy (and counting): http://inhabitat.com/costa-rica-celebrates-113-days-of-100-percent-renewable-energy-and-counting/Costa Rica is much more than a lush, green tourist paradise; it’s also a green energy pioneer. The small Central American nation has generated 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources for the past 113 days, and the run isn’t over yet. The country, which draws clean energy from a variety of renewable sources, still has its sights on a full year withoutfossil fuels.”

Study finds impact of road transport on air quality not given sufficient priority in UK transport planning: http://www.rgs.org/NR/rdonlyres/F69EB88E-E421-43A3-B5E1-27CC04BDF19F/27268/20160830Studyfindsimpactofroadtransportonairqualit.pdf . Media coverage: Air pollution ‘neglected for road safety’ researchers claim: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37213786the issue of traffic pollution falls between the transport and environment departments, but is neglected by both.”

The slow death of diesel: https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2016-08-26/the-slow-death-of-diesel

Why other cities should copy Nottingham’s revolutionary parking levy: http://www.citymetric.com/transport/why-other-cities-should-copy-nottinghams-revolutionary-parking-levy-2382

Building prosperous cities blog: http://ecosystemsknowledge.net/events/building-prosperous-cities/blogIn the run up to the Building Prosperous Cities conference, we will be releasing one blog each week from our speakers. The conference aims to generate a dialogue about mechanisms for securing funding for green infrastructure and natural capital in cities.”

Eight thoughts on TfL’s “new” walking tube map: http://www.citymetric.com/transport/eight-thoughts-tfl-s-new-walking-tube-map-2394

Resources and research

Self-reported exposure to traffic pollution in relation to daytime sleepiness and habitual snoring: a questionnaire study in 7 North-European cities: http://www.sleep-journal.com/article/S1389-9457(16)30139-3/abstractDaytime sleepiness is associated with traffic pollution and traffic noise, while habitual snoring is only associated with traffic noise. Self-reported traffic exposure should be taken into account when diagnosing and planning treatment for patients with sleep disturbances, because reducing noise and pollution exposure in the bedroom may have a beneficial effect.”

Automotive, construction and entertainment business sector influences on sedentary lifestyles: http://heapro.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/08/25/heapro.daw073.abstract

Commute well-being differences by mode: evidence from Portland, Oregon, USA: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140516302407Results in this study add further evidence that people who bike and walk to work are happier with their commutes and are relatively unaffected by traffic congestion compared to bus and car commuters.”

The impact of climate change policy on competitiveness: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/news-events-and-publications/evidence-briefings/the-impact-of-climate-change-policy-on-competitiveness/Current climate change policies have not damaged the competitiveness of UK businesses, and can increase long-term competitiveness by encouraging greater innovation and efficiency”

A tale of two cities: how place management can shape our assumptions about neighborhoods and their residents: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/a-tale-of-two-cities-how-place-management-can-shape-our-assumptions-about-neighborhoods-and-their-residents Including the ‘dropped letter’ experiment – if you drop a letter in richer and poorer neighbourhoods, which will make it to the postbox?

Fuel poverty statistics: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fuel-poverty-statistics

World Health Organization – Infographic: make physical activity a part of daily life during all stages of life: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/physical-activity/data-and-statistics/infographic-make-physical-activity-a-part-of-daily-life-during-all-stages-of-life

Uncertainty ahead: which way forward for transport? https://t.co/XxdejMwaPh Final report from the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation – “The premise of the initiative is that the transport sector (and indeed society at large) may be in a time of deep uncertainty about the future. We face major challenges, changes and unknowns socially, technologically, economically, environmentally and politically. In this climate, how well equipped is the transport profession to respond?

Funding and financing public transport infrastructure: http://www.cbtthoughtleadership.org.uk/SDGFundingAndFinancingReport.pdf Report from the Campaign for Better Transport

Road traffic collisions and casualties in the North West of England:  http://www.nwhpaf.org.uk/downloads/811361414197200746009032012125421.pdf - appendices include a modelling exercise to estimate the potential for 20mph limits to reduce casualties. “The model indicates that an average of 140 killed or seriously injured child casualties could have been prevented across the region each year (based on 2004-08 averages) if all residential areas (other than main roads) had been designated as 20 mph zones: an improvement of 26% on actual figures.”


Exclusive: councils across England have slashed climate change staff after funding cuts, analysis reveals: http://www.desmog.uk/2016/08/15/exclusive-councils-across-england-have-slashed-climate-change-staff-after-funding-cuts-analysis-reveals

WMHPG news, information and resources 30 August 2016

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

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


Making room: responding to the housing crisis in New York and London: https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/journal-making-room-responding-to-the-housing-crisis-in-new-york-and-london/..draws comparisons between New York and London for lessons on how cities can handle housing shortages

London’s biggest air quality experiment sees thousands of pollution monitoring tags given out: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/techandgadgets/londons-biggest-air-quality-experiment-sees-thousands-of-pollution-monitoring-tags-given-to-schools-a3328036.htmlThousands of pollution monitoring tags will be given away to schools and community groups in what aims to be London’s biggest experiment measuring air quality right down to street level.

Rooftop: http://discoversociety.org/2016/08/02/rooftop/As the human population of the planet approaches 8 billion and with further intensification of urbanised living it seems almost fated that our lives will become starved of natural contact. But need this always be so? That, in large part, is the question my project poses.

Go Pokémon Go! The social life of virtual urban spaces: http://www.pps.org/blog/go-pokemon-go-the-social-life-of-virtual-urban-spaces/

Dropping the plan to ban junk food ads in prime time was a bad move – the UK will regret it: https://theconversation.com/dropping-the-plan-to-ban-junk-food-ads-in-prime-time-was-a-bad-move-the-uk-will-regret-it-64332

If wind and solar power are cheaper and quicker, do we really need Hinkley Point? https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/aug/20/do-we-even-need-hinkley-point-smart-usage-windpower-hi-tech-batteriesnuclear energy’s costs, and a focus on alternative technology, including research on a new generation of hi-tech battery storage, is leading observers outside the green lobby to question the projects value

How will self-driving cars affect your insurance? https://theconversation.com/how-will-self-driving-cars-affect-your-insurance-64253?

What happens when a self-driving car meets a road rage driver? https://theconversation.com/what-happens-when-a-self-driving-car-meets-a-road-rage-driver-37150

Paris is redesigning its major intersections for pedestrians, not cars: https://www.fastcoexist.com/3058685/paris-is-redesigning-its-major-intersections-for-pedestrians-not-cars

Might the fossil fuel industries implode faster than the clean energy industries can grow to replace them? http://energiogklima.no/blogg/jeremy-leggett/might-the-fossil-fuel-industries-implode-faster-than-the-clean-energy-industries-can-grow-to-replace-them/#.V7tTy5HpFtQ.twitter

Is a fracking ban a good idea? http://grist.org/climate-energy/is-a-fracking-ban-a-good-idea/

Green heart of communities: how nature can help build health and happiness: http://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/blog/green-heart-of-communities-how-nature-can-help-build-health-and-happiness

Pedalling towards happiness; 7 mental health benefits of riding bikes: https://momentummag.com/mental-health-benefits-of-cycling/

Without a longer-term view, the Paris agreement will lock in warming for centuries: https://theconversation.com/without-a-longer-term-view-the-paris-agreement-will-lock-in-warming-for-centuries-64169

Resources and research

Evaluation of Walking for Health: https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/Final%20Report_0.pdf

Essential evidence on a page 151: The need to change how people think about the consequences of travelmode – what is most influential: https://travelwest.info/project/ee-no-151-the-need-to-change-how-people-think-about-the-consequences-of-travel “ In addressing the need for change in how people think about the consequences of travel a trustworthy dissemination of research findings is critical. Yet this is itself a challenge given the potential of vested interests to discredit robust evidence and introduce ambiguity about the validity of research findings.

UK Green Building Council. Health and wellbeing in homes: http://www.ukgbc.org/resources/publication/uk-gbc-task-group-report-healthy-homesOur home, both the location and the physical building itself, influences almost every aspect of our lives – from how well we sleep, to how often we see friends, to how safe and secure we feel. If we want to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities, there can hardly be a more important place to start than the home: it is where most people spend most of their life.

Reduced prevalence of obesity in 14 disadvantaged black communities in the United States: A successful 4-year place-based participatory intervention: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303253 . Programmes included environmental and place based interventions.

Health in a hurry: https://www.rsph.org.uk/our-work/policy/championing-the-publics-health/health-in-a-hurry.htmlOur report, Health in a Hurry, highlights the impact of travelling to and from work by rail, bus and car (passive commuting) on the public’s health and wellbeing with longer commute times being associated with increased stress, higher blood pressure and BMI, and reduced time available for health-promoting activities such as cooking, exercising and sleeping.

Physical activity and Pokémon Go. https://www.reddit.com/r/pokemongo/comments/4uo8yu/physical_activity_and_pok%C3%A9mon_go/?dm_t=0%2C0%2C0%2C0%2C0  “Exercise scientists from the Academy of Sport and Physical Activity at Sheffield Hallam University are conducting research to examine physical activity in people who have not used Pokémon Go

Reported road casualties in Great Britain, estimates involving alcohol levels: 2015: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/reported-road-casualties-in-great-britain-estimates-involving-illegal-alcohol-levels-2015

How to get every adult active every day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm9WPF1TuRY


Whitehall ‘must act’ to reduce planning barriers in rural areas: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Whitehall-must-act-to-reduce-planning-barriers-in-rural-areas/41500

Middle classes exploiting ‘Nimby’s charter’ – more neighbourhood plans in more affluent areas (£): http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/middle-classes-exploit-nimby-s-charter-rfrh8bg0q

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WMHPG news, information and resources 12 August 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources and research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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Freeth Street
West Midlands
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Jo Dodd - 07815 490436

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