Research and Resources

Explore sustainability-related research and resources here, including recently released reports, journal articles, online tools and databases. Use the left sidebar to filter resources by theme.

In 2015, 5.9 million children under age five died. The major causes of child deaths globally are pneumonia, prematurity, intrapartum-related complications, neonatal sepsis, congenital anomalies, diarrhoea, injuries and malaria. Most of these diseases and conditions are at least partially caused by the environment. This new UN/WHO report summarises the impact of polluted environments on child health.

A new study published in the journal Environment International for the first time quantifies the global impact by combining data about air pollution in different countries with knowledge about how exposure to different levels of air pollution is associated with preterm birth rates.

Urban green spaces and health: a review of evidence

By Robert Lyons on 9th November 2016

A new report by the World Health Organization summarises evidence on the beneficial effects of urban green spaces, including improved mental health, reduced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, obesity and risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as improved pregnancy outcomes.  It identifies urban green space indicators which are suitable for wide-scale application in the European Region and proposes an indicator definition and data analysis tool kit for universal use.  This measures accessibility of green spaces of defined minimum sizes suitable for physical activity and mental relaxation. 

The aim of the three-year cycle BOOM project, funded by the EPSRC under the UK Research Council’s Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Programme, was to develop a better understanding of how the design of the built environment and technology shapes engagement with, and experience of cycling as people get older and how this affects their independent mobility, health and wellbeing.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has released two reports on the effect of a changing climate in care settings and on public health. Care provision fit for a future climate is one of the first studies to examine the risks of overheating in the UK care sector.  The study found that there are already overheating risks in care homes today, which will be exacerbated by climate change.  It recommends that designers, development teams, care home managers and staff need to recognise that excessive heat as well as cold can be a health risk.  It also recommends enhanced regulations, stand

The Centre for Sustainable Energy’s research team, in partnership with the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), have devised a toolkit to help local organisations assess what difference their fuel poverty schemes make to the health and wellbeing of target users. 

This project, commissioned by Natural England, in collaboration with Dementia Adventure, the Mental Health Foundation and Innovations in Dementia, aims to investigate what the key benefits are from engaging with the natural environment, for people living with dementia, what the barriers are to them doing the; and what changes could be brought in to make the natural environment more accessible for people living with dementia.

A report by the Lancet Commission has highlighted that curbing climate change could be the biggest global health opportunity of the 21st century. Written by experts from around the world, the landmark report warns that the effects of Climate Change are being felt today, and pose a potentially catastrophic risk to human health which has been underestimated. The technologies and finance required to address the problem can be made available, but the political will to connect them is lacking.

A new briefing note outlines evidence on the role of the Public Forest Estate managed by the Forestry Commission in helping to tackle physical inactivity. It draws on research into the health benefits of forests but also greenspace and green infrastructure in which trees are often an important or key component. It argues that the Public Forest Estate in England is extremely versatile and has the potential to contribute to cost effective solutions for the health sector targeted at preventing ill health and also in recovery and treatment programmes.

The Environmental Audit Committee has released a report which follows up on its 2011 report on Air Quality. Since then further scientific evidence has emerged on the link between air quality and health. The European Commission has started proceedings against the UK for failure to meet pollution limits on Nitrogen Oxides.