Radio 5 live: giving EHPs a voice on Sunday 1st May at 1100

I wrote recently below about Professor Steve Tombs’ new book and the coming release of ‘Better Regulation: Better for whom?’ – the pamphlet summarising  his research on EHPs and its policy implications by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and The Open University’s Harm and Evidence Research Group.

I attended the second talk in Liverpool yesterday evening and the pamphlet hasn’t yet been released because Radio 5 Live recorded the first London event for its ‘5 Live Investigates’ programme – hosted by Adrian Goldberg – which airs on Sunday 1st May 2016 at 1100.

There are no further details yet on the Radio 5 Live website, but the current link to the programme is:

Further, it should be available for all as a podcast after broadcast and I will provide further details and the link to the pamphlet here soon. In the meantime a summary of Tombs’ main argument is available here:

I hope this broadcast helps to stimulate a long overdue and critical national debate about what’s happening out there to environmental health services, why it’s happening, why it’s endangering the public’s health and what we could do about it.

Many thanks and best wishes,


Celebrate Public Health Week with SAGE

SAGE Publishing is celebrating National Public Health week with free article release from the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) for a limited time. These articles are from Health Education & Behavior, Health Promotion Practice, and Pedagogy in Health Promotion – some of which are of interest to environmental health.

To access, click here.

Better Regulation: Better for whom? Free launch in London & Liverpool soon…

My review of criminologist Professor Steve Tombs new book – Social protection after the crisis: regulation without enforcement – has just been published in the April edition of Environmental Health News. I have asked for permission to reproduce it here for those who are not CIEH members, but very briefly Tombs looks behind the ‘cuts’ headlines by using research to explore what’s been happening to us for decades, why it’s happening and what we could do about it.

Rejecting simplistic explanations like deregulation, Tombs instead argues we are in a period of ‘re-regulation’ characterised by the gradual marketisation of state agents, including EHPs, and increasing inter-dependencies with the private sector via initiatives like Better Regulation and the outsourcing of public services. 

Chapter 6 in particular charts the decline in law enforcement activity across environmental health regulators and is amplified by the results from research into Merseyside EHPs. These include an investigation of their attitudes towards Better Regulation, an exploration of the impacts of cuts on their capacity to protect public health and important critiques of the Primary Authority scheme and outsourcing.

I will write more about the book soon, but at its core it reminded me why I became an EHP – i.e. to maintain and improve public health, not to promote economic growth!!

The coming launch of ‘Better Regulation: Better for whom?‘ – a pamphlet summarising the book – by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and The Open University’s Harm and Evidence Research is therefore very timely, not least with the Cabinet Office’s recent announcement of its Cutting Red Tape review of local authorities (see: and the CIEH’s call for case studies to be included in their submission.  

The pamphlet will be launched at two free events in London and Liverpool on the 26th and 27th April respectively. For more details and to book your place please visit:

London –  

Liverpool –  

Current Government policy and past reviews (e.g. Hampton, Rogers) suggest that we need all the help we can get, I hope that EHPs at all levels will make the time to engage with Tombs’ work. Please watch this space….              

With best wishes, Rob

How does our housing make us feel?

Martin Hodges, Health & Housing Programme Lead at Care & Repair England tells us:

“Spinal cord injury has a devastating impact on individuals and their family members. One of the challenging elements to adjustment is the suitability of the home in respect of accessibility and use of facilities. This study undertaken by Loughborough University and Aspire Housing examined people’s experience of living in adapted and un-adapted housing drawing out the value of home modifications in respect of the ability, or otherwise, of being able to undertake the activities of day to day living. The report also makes recommendations to address some of the issues revealed through interviews.”

With this reminder that housing is about our lived experience and quality of life, housing adaptations across the life-course have always been a fundamental environmental health role and with population ageing comes new challenges around staying in our own homes. For environmental health to place itself more centrally in public health we need to take a wider remit and work more creatively with others. With this in mind I am pleased to report that Stewart et al (2014) Ageing at home: meeting housing, health and social care needs, was one of the Journal of Integrated Care’s most downloaded articles for 2014-15 and is currently available free of charge – click here.

We also have other things in press around older people and housing – more information to follow another time. These publications show how we can all write up elements of our work for publication to help promote environmental health roles. There are multiple opportunities.

Don’t forget that I am constantly updating our housing open access resources pages. Please do let me know of anything else you think I can add and do circulate this link to anyone you think may be interested.

On another note, focusing on housing need can be no more acutely felt than for those sleeping on the streets. This article in The Guardian serves as an uncomfortable reminder of why we all need to do more. It’s about our nation’s health, after all.


Itching to publish?

Are you secretly (or otherwise) fascinated by a public or environmental health pioneer from history? Is there someone who made a real difference to health near to your home or work who is worthy of recognition?

History is important to us because it helps us makes sense of where we are at now and some of the evidence that underpins contemporary environmental health strategies and interventions.

The Journal of Environmental Health Research will be running a special edition in December 2016  focusing on the heroes and heroines of our profession.

We already have authors pencilled in for Dr William Henry Duncan, Thomas Fresh, George Cadbury, Christopher Addison, Margaret McMillan, Norman Dodds and Joseph Bazalgette.

We are looking for experienced and also new authors for Edwin Chadwick, John Snow, Josephine Butler, Ada and Alfred Salter, Peter Fyfe, J.C Dawes. George Smith, William Hesketh Lever and many others.

The timeline is:

  • By 15th April – email Jill Stewart (see details on attached PDF) with detail on whom your are interested in writing about and their contribution – we will review all expressions of interest and get back to you with confirmation and further information by 22nd April
  • By 31 July – your script to be submitted to the editor of JEHR.

For more information, click here p30 EHN02_JEHR .

Don’t forget that this can contribute up to 10 hours toward your CIEH CPD.

I very much look forward to hearing from you.


Lords Built Environment Committee calls for better health connection

This message is reproduced with kind permission from Care and Repair. Jill

The House of Lords Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment has published the report summarising its findings, Building Better Places .

One of the Committee’s conclusions is that ‘the link between people and place is lost in decision-making concerning the built environment. ……..and exert a long-term negative impact upon health and wellbeing’.

It goes on to recommend ‘…. a number of strategies for improvement to streets, highways and the public realm, combined with additional measures intended to promote greater joint working between health and planning professionals and better local monitoring of health impacts resulting from the built environment.’

Other recommendations include appointment of a Chief Built Environment Adviser to integrate policy across Government and champion change.