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.

This thematic issue of Science for Environment Policy presents recent peer-reviewed research examining the impact of AES on European farming, with a particular focus on biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. AES have been shown to benefit a range of animals and plants by increasing the number of individuals and species. However, as with all measurements involving complex ecosystems, the findings and causal links are nuanced, and sometimes difficult to isolate.

Two-thirds of cities experiencing relative economic decline face above average flood disadvantage according to new research by Sayers and Partners for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The report highlights how floods interact with social vulnerability across the UK to create flood disadvantage, an issue which will be exacerbated by climate change.

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Landlines: why we need a strategic approach to land

By Robert Lyons on 14th March 2017

This new CPRE pamphlet argues that the case for a national approach to land use is more pressing than ever by showing that England’s land is under an increasing multitude of pressures. The current, fragmentary approach to land use is failing to address the problems caused by often conflicting demands: environmental degradation, rising costs and harm to health and wellbeing.

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This study is the first to quantify microplastics of any size in river sediments in the UK and links their presence to terrestrial sources including sewage and road marking paints. The study found that many fragments are derived from road marking paints - a previously undescribed source.

This report sets out the work done by the committee, an independent advisory to government, since March 2016. It also makes a series of recommendations to government on developing the 25 year environment plan.

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Environmental tipping points and food system dynamics

By Robert Lyons on 17th January 2017

The Global Food Security (GFS) programme has published a new report providing evidence for the existence of environmental tipping points and exploring potential consequences for global food security.

Key points include:

A new report by the Environmental Audit Committee suggests that protections for wildlife and habitats could be weaker after the UK leaves the EU if the Government doesn’t take action before, or in the early stages of the Article 50 process. The MPs looked at the legislative, trade, and financial issues and make recommendations for action to secure the future of the natural environment. They call on the Government to allow full parliamentary scrutiny of its plans for the future of environmental legislation after Brexit.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia, the University of Exeter and the James Hutton Institute have identified a set of key ‘sticking points’ that they believe inhibit consideration of the natural environment in decision-making. The briefing provides potential solutions. These include the creation of knowledge networks and the use of political ‘windows of opportunity’ such as flood incidents to get messages across. The briefing uses findings from the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, as well as more recent research undertaken by the organisations involved. 

Arctic Resilience Report

By Robert Lyons on 3rd January 2017

This report is the concluding scientific product of the Arctic Resilience Assessment, a project launched by the Swedish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

Housing capacity on suitable brownfield land

By Robert Lyons on 22nd November 2016

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has analysed the Government’s brownfield registers pilot scheme. Employing a variety of conservative methodologies, CPRE now estimates that the available data translates to a minimum of 1.1 million homes on suitable brownfield sites across England. More ambitious methodologies put the figure much higher, towards 1.4 million. This suggests that the Government has previously severely underestimated brownfield capacity.

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