News In Brief 8 May 2017


DEFRA (the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs) published proposals for dealing with high air pollution levels, after the UK government lost a court case to keep its plans confidential until after the 8 June general election. The draft plan backs avoids requiring charges on old diesel cars entering town centres, or introducing a wide-scale scrappage scheme to remove such vehicles from the road. The government will consult on its proposals and publish a final plan in July.


Non-NHS providers now account for 47% of spending on community services, according to the charity The Health Foundation. Activities such as community nursing, health visiting and occupational therapy, costing more than £10 billion during 2016-17, are being delivered through a range of often short-term contracts, with a substantial role for the private and third sectors and local government. The private sector holds just 5% of the contracts by value, while the NHS holds 53%. Charities were awarded 2%, GPs 1% with the remaining 36% falling into the “other” category of social enterprises, local councils and so forth.


Share Action, a charity that works towards building responsible investment, has gathered a coalition of 71 investment managers, who collectively oversee more than $2 trillion in assets, to warn that excessive use of antibiotics in meat and poultry supply chains could have ‘frightening’ health and financial consequences. The group wants food providers such as restaurants to prevent the routine use of antibiotics by their meat and poultry suppliers, particularly of so-called last line of defence antibiotics, which are vital for human health.


The MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee published a report into the UK’s food waste. It said that the UK is estimated to waste around 10 million tonnes of food and drink each year and that 60% of this waste could be avoided. Among its several recommendations are: the incoming government considers adopting a national strategy to ensure consistent food waste collection across England, rather than the current devolved structure. It said: “Although actions have led to a reduction of 1.6 million tonnes in the UK’s annual food waste arising compared to 2007, there is much more to do. Modelling suggests that, without further intervention, food waste may increase again by 1.1 million tonnes by 2025.”



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