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.

Losses, inefficiencies and waste in the global food system

By Robert Lyons on 27th February 2017

A new paper published in Agricultural Systems examines system losses quantified from primary production to human food requirements. The study finds that 44% of harvested crops dry matter was lost prior to human consumption. The highest loss rate was in livestock production, but the largest losses were before harvest. Over-eating is also at least as large a contributor to food system losses as consumer waste.

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A new report by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee argues that the government needs to set out new modelling on air quality following the High Court’s latest ruling and a new approach to air quality post 2019; an emissions reduction strategy that will allow the UK’s carbon budgets to be met; and effective noise mitigation measures enforced by an Independent Aviation Noise Authority. The Government must not allow our air quality standards to be watered down as a result of leaving the EU.

Brexit: environment and climate change

By Robert Lyons on 15th February 2017

A new report by the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee was published on 14 February. The Committee concluded that one of the key challenges in this area will be that of effectively maintaining environmental protection through the Great Repeal Bill, given the complex and extensive nature of environmental legislation.

Overheating in Buildings: Adaptation Responses

By Robert Lyons on 15th February 2017

This Building Research & Information special issue explores the unintended rise in internal temperatures during warm weather, which can lead to heat stress and constitutes a public health problem.  Many countries do not currently rely on air conditioning for comfort.  However, the inability to create comfortable buildings in many temperate climate zones such as the UK where air conditioning was not necessary will have a perverse outcome by increasing summer electricity usage and create a dependence on air conditioning.

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.

The Urban Heat project examined the potential role of the local voluntary and community sector (VCS) in the development of local climate resilience. The final report provides a snapshot of the UK ‘heatwave planning’ and ‘community resilience’ national, regional and local policy and practice landscapes. The reports also offers a compelling, evidence-based analysis of the untapped potential of the VCS to contribute more fully to local planning and practice in climate resilience and emergency planning. 

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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Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2016

By Robert Lyons on 30th January 2017

This report is an indicator-based assessment of past and projected climate change and its impacts on ecosystems and society. It also looks at society’s vulnerability to these impacts and at the development of adaptation policies and the underlying knowledge base.

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This new book brings together material from the Symposium on Sustainable Development Research at Universities in the United Kingdom organised by Manchester Metropolitan University, in cooperation with a number of institutions of higher education active in this field, from across the country. The event involved researchers in the field of sustainable development in the widest sense, from business and economics, to arts and fashion, administration, environment, languages and media studies.

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A recent paper looks at the ‘New Urban Agenda’ taking shape as a result of the UN-HABITAT III conference, which enshrined the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) with an exclusively urban focus. SDG 11, as it became known, aims to make cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable through a range of metrics, indicators, and evaluation systems. The paper raises questions around the potential for reductionism in this new agenda, and argues for the reflexive need to be aware of the types of urban space that are potentially side-lined by the new trends in global urban policy.

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