Is this really Europe? Some voices from the Calais ‘Jungle’

One of the wonderful (and worrying) things about working in environmental health is (in the words of one of the Johannesburg EHPs in my PhD) ‘you get to see the world as it is, behind the closed doors…’

Lunch with my colleague Surindar last week was largely taken up with her recollections ‘behind the barbed wire fence’ during a field trip to the ‘New Jungle’ of Calais. She is working with colleagues from  the University of  Birmingham on an ESRC funded project to document environmental health conditions within the camp and their initial findings are summarised in the following article published last night in ‘The Conversation’ via:

I think this is exactly the research that EH professionals like us should be engaged in and I can’t wait to receive Surindar’s next update as their data analysis continues.

Some friends recently raised the problems of Calais in conversation but spoke only of its impact on their travel and holiday plans and their fear of being attacked by ‘migrants with crowbars’. When I raised Surindar’s work, recalled some of the conditions she had seen and one of the stories she had been told, I succeeded only in changing the conversation immediately to the ‘safer world’ of summer holiday plans.

This response reminded me why I rarely talk about my own similar past environmental health experiences but also why we EHPs, alongside journalists, fellow health professionals etc, should be doing much more to give voice to the most vulnerable in our societies. All credit therefore to Surindar, Thom and Arshad for doing so.

With best wishes,


HOUSING AND PUBLIC HEALTH Kings Fund Event 21st October 2015: Call for integrated policy or practice examples

The King’s Fund would like to hear about examples of local policy or practice (evaluated or promising) at this event if it is an example of better integration between housing, health and public health and/or social care, and if it fits under one of the categories below:

  • promotion of health and wellbeing, through the workforce and/or community centred approaches
  • helping improve the economic wellbeing of residents as a means to improving health and wellbeing
  • improving conditions and/or suitability of housing in the private sector and its consequences for health
  • focused initiatives improving the lives of vulnerable groups and people experiencing health inequalities
  • activity contributing to Public Health England’s national priorities: alcohol; obesity; dementia; best start in life; tuberculosis.

Oral and poster presentations are welcome.

Oral presentations will be grouped under one of the following life courses:

  • start and develop well
  • live and work well
  • age well.

You will be asked which of these life courses your example is particularly relevant to when you submit your example.

For more information click here.

PhD opportunity

This may be of interest and an opportunity to embed environmental health!:

Research studentship
University of BedfordshireSouth East
£14,057 a year


For further details click here.

Call for Papers: Publish Your Paper Open Access in Public Health

This may be of interest:

Public Health is now offering an opportunity for open access publishing and for authors who select to publish Open Access, read and download here.

On behalf of the Royal Society for Public Health, Public Health published original papers, reviews and short reports on all aspects of the science, philosophy, and practice of public health and if of interest to academics and practitioners in public health.

Some examples of open access articles relevant to environmental health include:

Milton et al (2014) Why do local authorities undertake controlled evaluations of health impact? A qualitative case study of interventions in housing

Reddy et al (2014) Prioritising public health guidance topics in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence using the Analytic Hierarchy Process

Reis et al (2013) Integrating health and environmental impact analysis

Tannahill and Kelly (2013) Layers of complexity in interpreting evidence on effectiveness

And there are many more besides.

2015 political manifesto poverty audit

I’m just about to break the promise I made to myself not to write anything here about Thursday’s general election. Therefore my apologies to all reading this, but I’ve just come across the poverty audit of UK political party manifestos produced by the UK representatives of Academics Stand Against Poverty ( Written by some of the UK’s leading public health academics in a very short space of time it makes for fascinating reading and covers most environmental health related areas. The report can be downloaded via:

Owen Jones recent plea for people to vote is also well worth a few minutes of viewing, via:

With best wishes for Thursday, then Friday, maybe Saturday…,


Declaration of interests: member of the Green Party

Housing and human rights

This new report referred to in The Guardian – Just Fair – about high UK rents, unhealthy housing conditions and homelessness, is definitely worth a read.

So is this (In the Shadow of the Tower), from Tom Wall of EHN Online

Following the last blog, this link to food and obesity (also from EHN Online) is also good and a reminder of the constant pressures of marketing, but personally I would add how much the housing environment affects food access and choices.

Food (and housing) for thought, once again.