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West Midlands Health and Planning group

Background
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 18 August 2017

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

Sustainable development goals

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

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

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

Healthy planning & environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Housing

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

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

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

Climate change & sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel & transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air quality & pollution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food & food security

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

Useful websites for food security information, research and articles:

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

And finally….

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

WMHPG news, information and resources 11 August 2017

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

Sustainable development goals

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

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

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

Healthy planning & environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

Housing

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

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

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

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

Climate change & sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel & transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air quality & pollution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food & food security

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally….

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

WMHPG news, information and resources 4 August 2017

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

Sustainable Development Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Healthy planning & environment

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

How can planning help create a healthier food environment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A selection of recent reports on street play:

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

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

Housing

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

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

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

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

Climate change & sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel & transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air quality & pollution

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

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

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

Food & food security

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally….

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

WMHPG news, information and resources 28 July 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sustainable Development Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Healthy planning & environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Housing

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

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

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

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

Climate change & sustainability

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

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

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

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

From Goldman Sachs – the financiers view: Reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel & transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air quality & pollution

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food & food security

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WMHPG news, information and resources 21 July 2017

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

Sustainable Development Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Healthy planning & environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Housing

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

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

Climate change & sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Active travel & transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air quality & pollution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food & food security

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

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

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

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

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

And finally….

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

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

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.”

Housing

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.

Housing

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.”

Housing

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.”

Housing

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.

Event

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.”

Housing

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

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