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.

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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A study has evaluated three types of media campaign conducted by a large UK supermarket to encourage shoppers to reduce their food waste. These used social media, an e-newsletter and a print/digital magazine, respectively. Although they all appeared to lead to reductions in food waste to some extent, similar behavioural changes were also seen for customers who had not participated in any of the campaigns.

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.

The costs and impacts of intermittency – 2016 update

By Robert Lyons on 27th February 2017

This report updates a previous UKERC study, published in 2006, which reviews the evidence on integrating variable renewable sources such as wind and solar into power systems. The new report argues that the key challenge facing policymakers, regulators and markets is delivering a flexible, low carbon system that makes best use of variable renewables whilst minimising overall cost and enhancing security and reliability.

A new report by the Centre for Sustainable Energy, commissioned by the Welsh Government in 2015, identifies which low income households are the most vulnerable from the detrimental effects of living in cold homes, and which are in the greatest need of a home energy efficiency intervention. The research also tested the potential reach and impact of a new energy efficiency scheme using a number of different annual budgets.

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.

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