Environment

Last updated: 2018-03-06 11:15:52
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1. Summary

 Issue number

1 = highest priority

Strategic issue?

What needs to be done?

      1 Local Air Quality requirements currently met, but standards due to increase and the threat of poor air quality remains, contributing to many chronic conditions
Convert the Council’s vehicle fleet to clean fuels and electric, and support for Tees Valley wide shift
 
Available match funding to assist in securing external investment in electric vehicles and supporting infrastructure
      2 Variations in the quality of urban development, public realm and streetscene have a negative impact on public health and wellbeing
Investment, masterplanning and design strategies need to be developed for areas with poor streetscape, poor infrastructure, low housing quality and poor urban environment
      3 Not all residents derive the same level of benefit from Green Infrastructure due to variations in quality, quantity, accessibility and connectivity
Continue to develop and enhance green infrastructure
 
Facilitate greater community participation in the development and on-going management of local green infrastructure
 
Develop and support activities that increase use of natural environment
      4 Rising fuel poverty levels in -Stockton-on-Tees and lack of access to affordable warmth increase cold related health conditions
Continue to invest in Warm Homes Healthy People
 
Further support promotions to encourage tariff switching and low energy costs
 
Investigate the feasibility of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council becoming an energy provider
 
Support the implementation of district heating initiatives
 
Continue to encourage investment in works to improve the thermal properties of homes across tenures 
 

 

Last updated: 06/03/18

2. Introduction

The ‘environment’ is considered as the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates. The environment is made up of three main elements; the natural environment, the physical or built environment and the social / cultural environment. The interactions between the environment and human health are highly complex but there is a wealth of evidence that demonstrates how the local physical and natural environment can have a profound effect on the health and wellbeing of the population. The quality of the air to breathe, the water that we drink, the availability of healthy food and our ability to enjoy the outdoors are all examples of the importance to quality of life. Many aspects of the environment are interacted with on a daily basis such as air and water quality, public safety, the standard of dwellings in which people live, while others may be engaged with more infrequently but have equal importance such as the availability of parks, countryside and green space, and availability of sustainable transport which again contribute to an individual's health status.

Human impacts on the environment and predicted future changes must also be taken account. For example seasonal temperature changes and occurrence of extreme weather (excess cold/heat, storms, heavy snowfall, flooding) as a result of climate change are predicted to impact on health and well-being. The impacts arising from issues such as these can be felt unequally across certain groups of society, for example poorer air quality can have a greater impact on those who are elderly, or very young while issues such as fuel poverty can impact more severely on the long term sick, disabled or those living on low incomes. This puts increased, but avoidable, pressure on our health and social care services. How severely a person will be affected will depend not just on their level of exposure but how well they are able to cope with and respond to such conditions.

In addition to the 4 priority issues described in section 1, other aspects of the environment in Stockton-on-Tees that have an influence on public health and well-being include:

-       contaminated land and incidences of noise pollution

-       access to active travel and sustainable transport

-       effects of climate change and flood risk

-       waste and recycling

-       water quality

It is important to note that the complexity of the environment agenda, and the level of interconnectivity between individual themes, makes it extremely difficult to prioritise individual themes in this JSNA but also results in interdependent priorities not being considered. Air Quality, urban development, green infrastructure and fuel poverty are all of such significant priority to the well-being of individuals and communities but are equally dependent on issues such as climate change.

With the environment theme being so broad and encompassing all aspects of society, it has strong links to almost all JSNA topics, but most particularly those listed in the table below:

Other JSNA topics this topic closely linked to:

Housing

Poverty

Physical inactivity

Transport

 

Last updated: 06/03/18

3. Data and Intelligence

Air quality

According to Public Health England, poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK1. Evidence from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that older people, children, people with pre-existing lung and heart conditions, and people on lower incomes may be most at risk2. Air quality has improved significantly in recent decades. UK emissions some harmful gases including those from car exhaust fell by 19% between 2010 and 2015. Whilst air quality will continue to improve thanks to the action we have already taken, there are still challenges to tackle. In Stockton-on-Tees there has been consistently good air quality compared to national objectives. As a result there has been no need to declare an ‘Air Quality Management Area (AQMA)’ to improve conditions.

Indicators such as fine particles in the air in Stockton-on-Tees  is lower than national averages and the mortality attributable to particulate matter is also lower than national averages.

An index looking at the quality of the environment including information based on levels of air pollution (Defra 2015) shows varying air quality across the Borough. There is a high proportion of neighbourhoods in Billingham scored relatively poorly compared to the rest of Great Britain for this index.

Source: Access to Health Assets and Hazards from the Consumer Data Research Centre

Urban development and public realm

There is no relevant data and intelligence directly related to urban development and public realm. Other information in this section is indirectly related.

Green infrastructure

There is significant and growing evidence on the physical and mental health benefits of green spaces. A wealth of research shows that access to good quality green space is associated with better health outcomes and income-related inequality in health is less pronounced where people have access to green space.

The Borough’s Open Space Assessment (2017) reveals variations in the quantity, quality and accessibility of all categories of open space within the Borough:, and as the following map shows there is a higher concentration of poor quality open space in areas of high health deprivation.  People living in these areas will therefore have less opportunity to gain the health benefits of green space compared with people living in the least deprived areas.

Improving the quality of green space in areas of high health deprivation, and/or improving access to good quality green space, is likely to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities. It would also bring other benefits such as greater community cohesion and reduced social isolation.

Meanwhile, the further development and enhancement of green infrastructure networks will have wider benefits, e.g. reducing urban temperatures, improving drainage and improving air quality, reducing the risks to health associated with heat waves, flooding and poor air quality.

Fuel poverty and affordable warmth

At 12.3% the estimate of fuel poor households for Stockton-on-Tees is the joint second lowest amongst the North East authorities along with South Tyneside.  Only North Tyneside at 11.1% currently has lower fuel poverty estimate.  Northumberland was the only North East authority to see a down ward shift in fuel poverty estimate from 2014 to 2015.

Within the Tees Valley sub region, Stockton-on-Tees has had the lowest estimated level of fuel poverty consistently over recent years.  The 2015 estimate shows a significant rise from 10.7% in 2014 to 12.3% in 2013, and is a larger rise than that seen regionally and nationally.

The figure below illustrates the fluctuations in fuel poverty estimates for Stockton-on-Tees, the wider Tees Valley, North East and UK from 2011 to 2015.     

Ward level fuel poverty estimates suggest that the 3 wards with the highest estimated fuel poverty are Parkfield and Oxbridge, Newton and Stockton Town Centre which is consistently the case.

Environmental health – Contaminated land and noise

There were 14.9 noise complaints per 1000 residents in Stockton-on-Tees in 2014/15 which is higher than the England average of 7.1 per 1000 residents and higher than all but one of the North East Local Authorities. This position differs from the previous 2 years when the rate of complaints in Stockton-on-Tees was lower than the England average.

There are many sites in the borough that may require remediation to develop due to the contamination of land. Planning policy is in place to ensure any contamination will be removed before development can occur. There are also sites where there may be existing contamination due to historic uses such as landfill. The map above plots current and historic landfill sites across the Borough overlaying deprivation and shows a concentration of historic sites along the river Tees from Stockton to Billingham where deprivation is relatively high.

Active travel and sustainable transport

In total there are 70 miles of cycleway and 117 miles of public rights of way which are shown in Stockton-on-Tees

However, some parts of the borough have limited access to this active transport infrastructure, particularly in some of the more densely populated urban areas of the Borough, and more remote rural areas. In addition there are significant variations in the quality and attractiveness of these routes, and in some cases a lack of connectivity.  In both cases this is likely to discourage use of local path networks. 

Rural areas are also less likely to have access to the bus network so sustainable transport options are particularly limited in these areas.

Climate change

Climate change is a large-scale, long-term shift in the planet’s weather patterns, and widely recognised by governments as the greatest long-term threat to our lives, health and well-being, economy and natural environment. National and local data analysis provides an insight into trends and potential future scenarios in Stockton-on-Tees, including hotter drier summers and milder and wetter winters as well as changes in extreme events with an increase in very hot days and more intense downpours of rain during winter months. The evidence from the Met Office from local weather data since 1962 is shown in the next two graphs.

As such, these extreme events can impact on health and well being, particularly the most vulnerable. For example the Office for National Statistics observed “an unusual peak in mortality around 19 July 2016”, a period when there were higher than average temperatures. On 19 July itself, when a high of 33.5C was recorded there were 1,661 deaths, whereas the five-year average number of deaths on that date was 1,267. Elderly people, infants and those with pre-existing respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are most at risk of death in a heatwave.

Waste and recycling

The proportion of waste that ends up at landfill in 2015/16 was 8% which is lower than then national figure of 20%. Stockton-on-Tees has a higher proportion of waste which is incinerated to generate energy than national averages but a lower proportion is Recycled / Composted.

Water quality

The majority of drinking water in the Borough comes from the River Tees and its tributaries and is supplied by Northumbrian Water, which currently meets a 99.95% compliance standard for drinking water quality.

The Environment Agency monitors certain rivers and streams to classify small sub-catchments, termed waterbodies, as either ‘bad’, ‘poor’, ‘moderate’, ‘good’ or ‘high’ status based on a series of ecological and chemical indicators.  The figure below provides the status of the 10 water bodies monitored by the Environment Agency that are located or partly located within Stockton-on-Tees Borough boundary

There are numerous reasons why a waterbody may not be at ‘good’ status. Pollution of water may be caused by a wide variety of activities, ranging from effluent discharged from a pipe (a point source), to rainwater run-off from agricultural land (a diffuse source).

The objectives for all waterbodies are set out in the ‘Northumbria River Basin Management Plan’. Achieving these objectives is dependent on measures being taken to address the issues, and this relies on funding and land manager willingness, particularly on diffuse problems where direct regulation is difficult to apply. Catchment partnerships have been formed to help tackle these issues and improve our waterbodies taking a whole catchment based approach.

Source: Environment Agency – Data Catchment Explorer (Scores refer to Cycle 2)

Last updated: 06/03/18

4. Which population groups are at risk and why?

Age

Natural England’s Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey (2009-12) shows that nationally people aged 65 or over are less frequent (and more rare) visitors to the natural environment compared to the rest of the adult population.  As a result they are less likely to accrue the physical and mental health benefits associated with access to green space:

Frequent = at least once a week /  Rare = fewer than 3 visits per year

http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5309811965034496

Older people are at increased risk of death in winter months compared to other times of year and other age groups. Fuel poverty and a lack of affordable warmth affects older people more than other age groups and contributes towards excess winter deaths. The “very young” are also an at risk group in terms of air quality and pollution.

It is commonly the most vulnerable members of our communities that are most at risk of fuel poverty including older people, as their health conditions worsen in the cold, and young families

Gender

Female residents are getting less active than males.  According to the 2015 Ipsos Mori Residents Survey male residents are significantly more likely to do 150 minutes or more exercise per week  (51% versus 44%).

Socioeconomic status


People on lower incomes tend to live in areas where there is a higher exposure to environmental risk factors such as air pollution, noise pollution and where the quality of the built environment and greenspace is limited.

As a high quality environment with better quality air, water, land etc is highly desirable, higher quality areas result in higher house prices which means people with lower incomes are less likely to be able to afford to live in these areas.

Natural England’s Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey (2009-12) shows that nationally people from DE social-economic groups (i.e. those on lowest incomes) and those living in urban deprived areas are less frequent (and more rare) visitors to the natural environment compared to the rest of the adult population.  As a result they are less likely to accrue the physical and mental health benefits associated with access to green space:

Frequent = at least once a week /  Rare = fewer than 3 visits per year

http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5309811965034496

Mental health

There is a growing body of evidence which tends to demonstrate a positive association between a) population level exposure to natural environments and b) individual use of natural environments, and a variety of positive mental health outcomes. Impacts appear to differ according to socio-economic status and other demographic factors such as age or gender. The Natural England Evidence Information note at the following link provides useful context:

http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5748047200387072

while the following evidence briefing summarise evidence of the relationships between the natural environment and mental health:

http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/4513819616346112

Ethnicity

Natural England’s Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey (2009-12) shows that nationally the black Asian and minority ethnic population are less frequent (and more rare) visitors to the natural environment compared to the rest of the adult population.  As a result they are less likely to accrue the physical and mental health benefits associated with access to green space:  

Frequent = at least once a week /  Rare = fewer than 3 visits per year

http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5309811965034496

10.4% of white people were living in fuel poverty in England in 2015 compared to 16.4% of ethnic minority people.

Disability

12.7% of people with a disability in England in 2015 were living in fuel poverty compared to 10.2% who weren’t disabled.

People with long term illnesses or disabilities are more likely to suffer from fuel poverty

When accounting for variations in the frequency of visits to the natural environment, disability has been shown to be the most significant demographic factor.  This is according to Natural England’s Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey (2009-12), which shows that nationally people with a disability or long-term illness are less frequent (and more rare) visitors to the natural environment compared to the rest of the adult population:

Frequent = at least once a week /  Rare = fewer than 3 visits per year

http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5309811965034496

Household Composition

Rates of fuel poverty amongst lone parents with dependent children in England in 2015 at 23.6% were 4 times higher than rates amongst couples under 60 with no dependent children.

 

Last updated: 06/03/18

5. Consultation and engagement

Issue number

1 = highest priority

Strategic Issue

1

Air Quality

The measurement of air quality is a quantitative process through formal monitoring at particular locations

 

The Council seeks views and determines priorities for action through co-operation with the four neighbouring Tees Valley authorities and the Combined Authority.

 

These include measures that generally impact on vehicle emission reductions and changing transport attitudes such as working with transport operators, encouraging cycling schemes, lowering council fleet emissions, and installing renewable energy technologies

2

Urban development

17% of Stockton-on-Tees residents cited Affordable decent housing as a key area requiring improvement (IPSOS Mori 2015), with 17% citing Clean Streets and Facilities for Children

 

Road and pavement repairs was the most common factor with 30% citing this required improvement.

 

The same survey highlighted that social tenants and private renters are less likely than average to be satisfied with their home (86% and 89% versus 95% of owner occupiers), as well as the choice / quality of local housing.

 

Those living in the Western locality are more likely to be satisfied with both their own home and the general quality of housing. Those in the Central locality are less likely to be satisfied with their home, or the choice/quality of housing.

3

Green infrastructure

 

According to the 2015 Ipsos Mori Residents Survey two in three residents believe they are in good health, while a quarter have a long-term illness, health problem or disability. 47% say they are getting the recommended 150 minutes per week of exercise (significantly lower than the national average of 56%), while 22% get less than an hour’s exercise per week.

 

The 2015 Ipsos Mori Residents Survey also shows that 78% residents are satisfied with local parks and green spaces.  However, the survey does not provide sufficient detailed analysis to show local variations in satisfaction which may then be reflected in levels of use.  That said, the Marmot Review (2010) concludes that across the country variations in levels of use are very likely to be due to both the low availability and bad quality of green space in deprived areas.

 

The Council’s 2013 Viewpoint survey on Healthy Eating, Weight Management, Exercise and Physical Activity asked if residents would know where to go for a leisure cycle ride, run/jog or walk in their local area. Between 17% and 20% respondents said they would not.

 

The 2014 Viewpoint Survey on Parks and Green Spaces and Outdoor Recreation revealed that while overall satisfaction levels with these spaces was high (85% satisfied), there was limited knowledge of the full range of parks and spaces available in the Borough.   Furthermore, 47% respondents said they did not have a good knowledge of where local footpaths and cycleways were.

4

Fuel Poverty and Affordable Warmth

9% of residents stated that in the 12 months previously they had struggled to pay their fuel/energy bills (Ipsos Mori 2015).

 

The main mechanism for consultation and engagement on fuel poverty is through the Housing, Neighbourhood and Affordable Warmth Partnership which determines the interventions to be delivered 

 

Last updated: 06/03/18

6. Strategic issues

Issue number

1 = highest priority

Strategic Issue

1

Air Quality

Local Air Quality requirements currently met, but standards due to increase and the threat of poor air quality remains, contributing to many chronic conditions.

2

Urban development

Variations in the quality of urban development, public realm and streetscene have a negative impact on public health and wellbeing.

3

Green infrastructure

Not all residents derive the same level of benefit from Green Infrastructure due to variations in quality, quantity, accessibility and connectivity.

4

Fuel Poverty and Affordable Warmth

Rising fuel poverty levels in -Stockton-on-Tees and lack of access to affordable warmth increase cold related health conditions.

 

Last updated: 06/03/18

7. Evidence base

Issue number

1 = highest priority

 

1

Source

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and Department for Transport (2017)

Title incl. web link

UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations: An overview (July 2017)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/air-quality-plan-for-nitrogen-dioxide-no2-in-uk-2017

Summary

The statutory air quality plan for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sets out how the UK will be reducing roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. This document and zone plans set out the governments approach to meeting the statutory limits for nitrogen dioxide, and the policy background.

Source

2017 Air Quality Annual Status Report (ASR) In fulfilment of Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 Local Air Quality Management

Title incl. web link

https://www.stockton.gov.uk/media/875469/stockton-on-tees-asr-2017.pdf

Summary

The report measures, reviews, assess and reports progress against air quality objectives in Stockton-on-Tees, and highlights local actions to reduce the impact of air quality on the environment and public health

2

Source

Landscape Institute (2013), Public Health and Landscape: Creating healthy places

Title incl. web link

Public Health and Landscape: Creating healthy places

https://www.landscapeinstitute.org/PDF/Contribute/PublicHealthandLandscape_CreatingHealthyPlaces_FINAL.pdf

Summary

Landscape Policy Institute produced a ‘Settlement Health Map’ on page 4 of position statement, scheme examples from page 14 and evidence summary for each principle/project from page 37.

Source

Gore, T., Ozdemiroglu, E., Eadson, W., Gianferrara, E., and Phang, P. (2013) ‘Green Infrastructure’s contribution to economic growth: a review: A Final Report for Defra and Natural England

Title incl. web link

http://sciencesearch.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&Completed=0&ProjectID=19056

Summary

Provides an insight into how green infrastructure and natural capital can have a positive influence on health and economic growth

3

Source

Pretty, J., Peacock, J., Sellens, M. and Griffin, M., (2005)  The mental and physical health outcomes of physical exercise.  International Journal of Environmental Health Research October 2005; 15(5): 319 – 337

Title incl. web link

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/56e9367020c64742fe062659/t/56fd0b864c2f854d2718c791/1459424159834/mental+and+physical+Green+exercise+%28Pretty+et+al+2005%29.pdf

Summary

There is a significant international evidence base to demonstrate that high quality, connected green infrastructure has a positive impact on physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Source

Mitchell R, Popham F (2008) “Effect Of Exposure To Natural Environment On Health Inequalities: An Observational Population Study” The Lancet 372:1655-1660.

Title incl. web link

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(08)61689-X/abstract

Summary

Their findings suggest that exercise in pleasant environments may have a greater effect than exercise alone on blood pressure, an important measure of cardiovascular health, and on measures that are relevant to mental health:

Source

Marmot Review (2010) Marmot, M 

Title incl. web link

Fair Society Healthy Lives (2010)

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/fair-society-healthy-lives-full-report.pdf

Summary

The Marmot review states that access to good quality green space has a clear effect on physical and mental health and well-being. It identifies many studies which show the positive effect of good quality green space, highlighting how it helps decrease blood pressure and cholesterol, improve mental health and the ability to face problems, and reduce stress levels.   The report also emphasises that green space encourages social contact and reduces social isolation, provides space for physical activity and play, improves air quality and reduces urban heat island effects. 

Given the strong evidence of the relationship between green space, health and well-being, it raises concerns about the significant difference in the frequency of different social groups visiting green spaces, with more deprived groups making significantly fewer visits.  The report suggests this is likely to be due to both the low availability and bad quality of green space in deprived areas.

Source

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (2016)

Title incl. web link

POSTnote 538:  Green space and health

file:///C:/Users/ClinganG/Downloads/POST-PN-0538%20(1).pdf

Summary

Summarises the evidence for physical and mental health benefits from contact with nature.   It states that the physical and mental illnesses associated with sedentary urban lifestyles are an increasing economic and social cost.   Also that the risk of mortality caused by cardiovascular disease is lower in residential areas that have higher levels of ‘greenness’.

Source

World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe (2016)

Title incl. web link

Urban green spaces and health: a review of evidence

http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/321971/Urban-green-spaces-and-health-review-evidence.pdf?ua=1

Summary

Provides a comprehensive summary of the health benefits of green space in urban areas including  psychological relaxation and stress reduction, enhanced physical activity and a potential reduction in exposure to air pollution, noise and excessive heat.

The report refers to numerous relevant studies including: 

Mitchell & Pophams (2008) – which demonstrates the association between green space and mortality rates in England.  It found that populations exposed to the greenest environments had the lowest level of health inequality related to income deprivation.  

Lachowycz & Jones (2014) - which confirmed an association between green space access and reduced cardiovascular mortality but only amongst the most socioeconomically deprived groups.   

Mitchell et al. (2015) – which found that socioeconomic inequality in mental well-being was 40% narrower among respondents reporting good access to green space, compared with those with poorer access.

4

Source

Cutting the cost of keeping warm – a fuel poverty strategy for England( DECC March 2015)

Title incl. web link

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/408644/cutting_the_cost_of_keeping_warm.pdf

Summary

This is the fuel poverty strategy for England published in 2015 – It sets a mandatory target to reduce fuel poverty by 2030 and interim targets for 2020 and 2025

Source

BEIS Sub-Regional Fuel Poverty England - this data released in June 2017 relates to year 2015

Title incl. web link

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/sub-regional-fuel-poverty-data-2017

Summary

Within the document Table 3 - Fuel Poverty by LSOA the specific records on lines 1356 to 1475 relate to Stockton-on-Tees

 

Last updated: 06/03/18

8. What is being done and why?

Air Quality

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council continues to work with partners in delivering wide ranging, and significant sized, projects aimed at improving air quality across Stockton-on-Tees and the wider sub region of the Tees Valley. The measures include 28 individual schemes of which seven are now complete, such as personal travel planning delivered to over 8000 households, major investment in Electric Vehicle infrastructure resulting in over 70 charging points (SBC_16 and 17) and securing no less than £1.2m for feasibility in developing large scale District Heat and Power (SBC_22), which is currently enabling this scheme to now move to techno economic feasibility stage. In addition to those measures listed in the DEFRA report, there are 9 additional programmes such as promotion of public transport through the Connect Tees Valley website, the provision of secure indoor cycle parking in Stockton Town Centre, and significant Local Growth Fund expenditure being used to for public transport, cycling and walking improvements to link housing sites to key employment sites.

Urban development

NPPF: Paragraph 17

SBC SPD 1: Sustainable Design Guide

SBC Delivery Framework Documents

SBC Emerging local plan: Strategic Priority 8, 9 and 10; Polices SD5, SD8, H2, H3, TI1, TI2, EV1-7, HE1, HE2

There is extensive information available on the health benefits delivered through parks and green spaces, but one quite useful, recent summary has been published by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology in 2016:

http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/POST-PN-0538?utm_source=directory&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=PN538

Green infrastructure

The Council’s Green Infrastructure Delivery Plan has recently been reviewed and updated. It includes a wide range of projects and proposals set out under the themes of countryside / natural environment, parks and amenity green space, access and play / informal sports provision.  Numerous schemes have been delivered in recent years which have extended and enhanced the Borough’s green infrastructure networks.  Many of these schemes, such as new play areas, outdoor gyms, cycleways and improved footpath networks, have provided the necessary infrastructure to enable people to become more physically active, while other improvements to the natural environment and urban green space is likely to have had a positive impact on people’s overall physical and mental health and wellbeing.  The current Green Infrastructure Delivery Plan identifies several projects and proposals, which are prioritised against a number of key criteria.  Going forward the JSNA process will help to inform future project development, ensuring that wherever possible projects help to achieve improved health outcomes alongside other corporate priorities. 

Other strategies and plans such as the Local Transport Plan and supporting documents such as the Rights of Way Improvement Plan also contribute to the development of the Borough’s cycling and walking network.  While organisations such as Tees Valley Wildlife Trust have improved access to nature reserves at Bowesfield, Preston Farm, Portrack and Hardwick. 

Alongside improvements to green infrastructure the Council and other organisations deliver activities which encourage active use green space and path networks, and facilitate greater community involvement in the management and development of these assets.  For example, Sustrans have developed active travel hubs (funded by Public Health) and run guided cycle rides and walks; while the Council’s Sport Development team have delivered highly successful programmes aimed at encouraging women and girls to run.  Tees Valley Wild Green Spaces project is developing the skills of local groups and volunteers with the aim of increasing the community’s capacity to manage local green spaces and in doing so have a positive impact on health and wellbeing. .

Fuel Poverty and Affordable Warmth

Stockton’s Housing, Neighbourhood and Affordable Warmth Partnership oversee the preparation and delivery of The Affordable Warmth Strategy (AWS).  The AWS recognises the links between the health, economic and environmental impacts of cold homes/fuel poverty and aims to strengthen the concerted effort between partners to tackle the health inequalities associated with fuel poverty. The Affordable Warmth Strategy and its accompanying Action Plan are intended to be entirely complimentary to Stockton’s joint Health & Well Being Strategy (2012-18) and Seasonal Health and Well Being Strategy (2013-16). The added value of the Affordable Warmth Strategy and Action Plan are the partnership efforts to tackle the wider socio-economic effects of fuel poverty.

https://www.stockton.gov.uk/media/8082/affordable-warmth-strategy-and-action-plan-2017-2.pdf

Warm Homes Healthy People (WHHP) - is a specific intervention that is funded by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Public Health Team. WHHP aims to provide help and support to some of the Borough’s most vulnerable residents at a time when it is most needed during October to March each year.  A key element of the WHHP offer is income maximisation since 2012 this service has identified and secured previously unclaimed benefit entitlement being brought into the Borough.

The Big Community Switch - Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council has actively promoted the Big Community Switch (BCS) each autumn since 2013 and as a trial a low-key promotion in February and June 2017. The Big Community Switch is a national campaign to secure value for money deals for residents on gas and electricity by the power of collective purchasing. The average household saving across the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees produced by the October 2017 switch is estimated to be £167.59.

Energy Champions - SDAIS have since 02.10.2017 targeting households within four neighbourhoods across the borough of Stockton-on-Tees.  The offer is intended to help reduce domestic fuel poverty and includes:

  • energy efficiency advice
  • practical help to switch to a cheaper tariff e.g. via The Big Community Switch
  • a full income maximisation service
  • promotion of energy grants and discounts
  • support to manage energy bills/debt
Last updated: 06/03/18

9. What needs are unmet?

Issue number

1 = highest priority

Unmet need

1

Air Quality

Despite the significant range of initiatives across various sectors including housing, transport and energy generation, contributing to improving air quality, other external factors threaten that improvement. This includes increasing car ownership, economic growth and development and environmental degradation.

 

Thus there remains a challenge in targeting the potential negative impact from future significant vehicle movements, economic growth etc. For example, the large scale decentralised heat and power scheme will significantly reduce CO2 and reduce NOx but will not contribute to reduced particulate matter. While electric vehicle infrastructure becomes more widely available, there remains a need to significantly hasten the conversion of vehicle fleets to EV.

 

As air quality standards are due to increase and become stricter we will need to assess our future monitoring compliance. SBC has the appropriate amount of monitoring at present for current standards however there is no future proofing for future higher standards.

2

Urban development

There has been a chronic reduction in available resource to invest in existing areas to improve streetscape, quality of urban environment and connect places to improve well-being.  Although the range of policies, guides, plans and strategies seeks to improve the design, quality and aesthetics of new urban development, and protect existing high quality places, there remain issues with poor streetscape, poor infrastructure, housing quality and urban environment in other areas. This requires investment, masterplanning and design.

3

Green infrastructure

Despite some major improvements to green infrastructure across the Borough the 2017 Open Space Assessment identified a number of green spaces as being ‘poor quality’, with a high proportion of these located in the most deprived parts of the Borough. Enhancement of these spaces would ensure they better meet the needs of local communities and help to deliver improved health outcomes.

 

To maximise the health and wider benefits of green infrastructure interventions are needed to facilitate public participation and encourage community use. The Tees Valley Wild Green Places project demonstrates the value of targeted support for volunteers and community groups and how this can help to transform local green space in ways which meet the needs of local communities and facilitates a high degree of  ‘community ownership’.

4

Fuel Poverty and Affordable Warmth

The cost of using traditional marketing methods to reach all households in Stockton-on-Tees prohibits a blanket approach to assist in reducing household fuel bills. The Big community switch will never reach all households to ensure lowest possible energy costs, therefore potential for other interventions such as Council becoming energy provider, district energy schemes etc.

 

Reducing government support and funding programmes for energy efficiency measures and housing retrofit result in inability to increase overall SAP ratings of domestic dwellings.

 

Government has removed incentives to develop new dwellings to higher energy efficiency standards and as such is sole responsibility of LA’s to try and secure ‘betterment’.

 

Last updated: 06/03/18

10. What needs to be done and why?

Issue number

1 = highest priority

What needs to be done?

Why?

1
Convert the Council’s vehicle fleet to clean fuels and electric, and support for Tees Valley wide shift
 
Available match funding to assist in securing external investment in electric vehicles and supporting infrastructure
Direct contribution to reducing emissions of pollutants in order to improve local air quality, and demonstrate leadership
 
Wider contribution to red
ucing Tees Valley emissions of pollutants in order to improve local air quality
 
Stimulate the take up of low emission vehicles across public and all sectors to contribute to improving air quality
2
Investment, masterplanning and design strategies need to be developed for areas with poor streetscape, poor infrastructure, low housing quality and poor urban environment
 
These issues contribute to poor public health, particularly poor mental well-being, in certain geographical areas and affect particular sections of society.
 
3
Continue to develop and enhance green infrastructure
Facilitate greater community participation in the development and on-going management of local green infrastructure
Develop and support activities that increase use of natural environment
 
To create attractive, safe and accessible local environments which encourage people to be physically active, and have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.
Enabling people to play an active role in the development and management of green infrastructure can have a very positive impact on physical and mental health and wellbeing.
 
 
 
 
Events and activities which utilise the outdoor environment can increase levels of physical activity, have a positive impact on mental health and help reduce social isolation.
4
Continue to invest in Warm Homes Healthy People
 
Further support promotions to encourage tariff switching and low energy costs
 
Investigate the feasibility of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council becoming an energy provider
 
Support the implementation of district heating initiatives
 
 
Continue to encourage investment in works to improve the thermal properties of homes across tenures 
Delivering emergency heating reduces cold related illnesses and protects health
 
Reduces the number of households in fuel poverty and reduces risk of cold homes
 
 
Potential to protect household energy costs and reduce fuel poverty
 
 
District heat and power will reduce energy costs where connected to domestic properties, and improve air quality
 
Reduces the number of households in fuel poverty and reduces risk of cold homes

 

Last updated: 06/03/18

11. What additional needs assessment is required?

There have been no further needs assessments identified.

Last updated: 06/03/18

12. References

Public Health England, ‘Estimating local mortality burdens associated with particulate air pollution’, 2014

www.gov.uk/government/publications/estimating-local-mortality-burdens-associated-with-particulate-air-pollution

World Health Organization, ‘Review of evidence on health aspects of air pollution – REVIHAAP Project’, 2013

http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/193108/REVIHAAP-Final-technical-report-final-version.pdf?ua=1

Forest Research, ‘Benefits of green infrastructure’, 2010 

https://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/urgp_benefits_of_green_infrastructure.pdf/$file/urgp_benefits_of_green_infrastructure.pdf

Natural England, ‘Green space access, green space use, physical activity and overweight’ 2011

http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/40017?category=127020

The Wildlife Trusts / University of Essex, ‘Wellbeing benefits from natural environments rich in wildlif’e, 2015 

http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/sites/default/files/r1_literature_review_wellbeing_benefits_of_wild_places_lres.pdf

Landscape Institute, ‘Public health and landscape: creating healthy places’, 2013

https://www.landscapeinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/PublicHealthandLandscape_FINAL_singlepage.pdf

Public Health England / UCL Institute of Health Equity, ‘Local action on health inequalities: Improving access to green spaces’, 2014

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/355792/Briefing8_Green_spaces_health_inequalities.pdf

Last updated: 06/03/18

13. Key contact

Name: Paul Taylor

Job title: Principal Environment Officer

Organisation: Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Phone number: 01642 – 526 596

Contributor/s: Andy Burge, Graham Clingan, Jonathan Kibble, Steph Landles, Ant Phillips, Stephen Shaw, Claire Spence

Last updated: 06/03/18

Email: paul.taylor@stockton.gov.uk