Working together for a resilient Birmingham.

New multi-million pound flood scheme in Birmingham opened

A new flood scheme that reduces the risk of flooding to more than 200 homes and businesses in Selly Park South was officially opened on Friday 19 January 2018.

The scheme, which cost £2.7million to construct, has been delivered as part of the Environment Agency’s programme of £2.5bn investment into flood defences across the country. The scheme was made possible through a partnership with Birmingham City Council and St Andrew’s Healthcare.

The flood defences include a 500m long embankment on the public open space next to Dogpool Lane bridge. By doing this, the Environment Agency has created a flood storage area which will store water from the River Rea during times of heavy rainfall and then slowly release it back into the river when river water levels go down. The Environment Agency have also built a new flood wall and a higher river bank at the rear of 15 homes which back onto the river.

Mike Adams from the Environment Agency said:

We’re pleased to deliver these flood protection measures for the people of Selly Park South. This community has experienced the terrible effects of flooding and the measures we’ve built here reduces future risk of flooding. We would like to thank local people for their patience and support throughout the building of this scheme.

Councillor Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for the Environment from Birmingham City Council said:

We’ve seen the devastating impact that flooding can have on communities, so I am delighted that these new measures are now in place. These will make a real difference by reducing the risk of flooding to hundreds of homes and businesses in Selly Park South.

Along with flood defences, knowing your flood risk is also important when protecting your family and property from flooding. People can check their risk and register to receive free flood warnings online or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

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Public Summary of Sector Security and Resilience Plans

The Cabinet Office commissions Lead Government Departments (LGDs) responsible for the UK’s 13 critical sectors to produce annual Sector Security and Resilience Plans (SSRPs), which describe:

LGDs’ approaches to critical sector security and resilience;

their assessments of significant risks to their sectors;

their approach to security and resilience in the UK; and

activities they plan to undertake to mitigate and respond to those risks.

To see how the Cabinet Office works with a range of Government Departments to ensure critical functions are secure and resilient in the ‘Public Summary of Sector Security and Resilience plans. Public_Summary_of_Sector_Security_and_Resilience_Plans_2017__FINAL_PDF___1_

 

 

PHE launches Change4Life campaign around children’s snacking

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Public Health England (PHE) is helping parents take control of their children’s snacking by launching the first Change4Life campaign promoting healthier snacks.

This is because half of children’s sugar intake, currently around 7 sugar cubes a day, comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks, leading to obesity and dental decay.

Each year children are consuming almost 400 biscuits; more than 120 cakes, buns and pastries; around 100 portions of sweets; nearly 70 of both chocolate bars and ice creams; washed down with over 150 juice drink pouches and cans of fizzy drink.

On average, children are consuming at least 3 unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with around a third consuming 4 or more. The overall result is that children consume 3 times more sugar than is recommended.

The new Change4Life campaign encourages parents to look for ‘100 calorie snacks, two a day max’ to help them purchase healthier snacks than the ones they currently buy.

Selected supermarkets are supporting the campaign. As part of their wider work promoting good health, Tesco will help parents – instore and online – choose affordable, healthier snacks that are 100 calories or less. Co-op will also provide tasty and healthy snacking products, making it easier for customers to make healthier choices on the go.

Parents can also get money-off vouchers from Change4Life to help them try healthier snack options, including malt loaf, lower-sugar fromage frais, and drinks with no added sugar.

Many of the unhealthy snacks children consume regularly are high in sugar and also typically high in calories, for example:

  • an ice-cream contains around 175 calories
  • a pack of crisps contains around 190 calories
  • a chocolate bar contains around 200 calories
  • a pastry contains around 270 calories

The ‘100 calorie snacks, two a day max’ tip applies to all snacks apart from fruit and vegetables, as children should also be encouraged to eat a variety of these to achieve their 5 A Day.

Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England, said:

The true extent of children’s snacking habits is greater than the odd biscuit or chocolate bar. Children are having unhealthy snacks throughout the day and parents have told us they’re concerned.

To make it easier for busy families, we’ve developed a simple rule of thumb to help them move towards healthier snacking – look for 100 calories snacks, two a day max.

Justine Roberts, CEO and founder of Mumsnet, said:

The volume of sugar kids are getting from snacks and sugary drinks alone is pretty mind-blowing, and it can often be difficult to distinguish which snacks are healthy and which aren’t.

This rule of thumb from Change4Life will help parents make healthier choices, which can only be a good thing.

PHE’s improved Change4Life ‘Food Scanner’ app also shows parents how many calories, sugar, salt and saturated fat is in their food to help make healthier choices easier. It can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

With a third of children leaving primary school overweight or obese, tackling obesity requires wider action and is not just limited to individual efforts from parents. PHE is working with the food industry to cut 20% of sugar from the products children consume most by 2020, with work to reduce calories due to start in 2018.

Cold weather prompts further health warnings from PHE

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Another wave of cold weather, including the chance of ice and snow for some, has prompted Public Health England to urge people to keep homes warm and to keep an eye out for friends, family and neighbours.

The Met Office says that the weather will start to turn much colder from tonight (Friday 5 January 2018) with the cold creeping down the country from the north and that the bad weather could remain until early next week.

Dr Thomas Waite, of the PHE Extreme events team, said:

As temperatures drop it’s really important to think about what you can do to prepare for the cold and protect more vulnerable friends and family from the ill-effects of the cold.

Ensure they wear lots of thin layers, have plenty of warm food and drinks to stay warm and check weather forecasts before heading out. Also wear shoes with a good, slip-resistant grip to prevent any accidental falls and when indoors stay warm and heat homes to at least 18°C.

This advice is important for everyone but particularly important if anyone in the home is very young, 65 or over or has a long term health condition.

Previous updates

27 December 2017

Arrival of cold weather across Yorkshire and the Humber, the North East and North West of England that is due to spread across the rest of the country has prompted further warnings from Public Health England to look out for others and to take extra care during the cold, snowy conditions.

A band of rain, sleet and snow followed by a very cold and frosty period is forecast to spread southeast across the country from today until Saturday. Because every winter cold triggers thousands of illnesses and deaths across the UK, PHE is urging people to wrap up warm and take extra care when out and about.

Dr Thomas Waite of the Extreme Events team at PHE said:

Cold weather like this is part of winter – but just because we’re used to it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take steps to protect ourselves from falling ill. Every winter thousands of people die from illnesses linked to exposure to the cold when indoors and outside – that’s why it’s so important we all look out for each other.

During this Christmas period many people will be out and about more, so it’s important to make sure you’re prepared when leaving the home. Also, there will be a number of people who will have been on their own all this time. If you can, check on family, friends and neighbours who are older, have young children or who have heart and lung conditions. All these groups are particularly vulnerable to cold.

Keep a close eye on weather forecasts so you’re up-to-date with what’s happening in your area, keep homes heated to at least 18°C and remember wearing several thin layers can be more effective than fewer thicker ones.

Steve Willington, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office said:

A band of rain, sleet and snow will slowly clear east during Wednesday, with sunny but cold weather following. However some wintry showers could also move into North Sea coasts. A cold, breezy night follows with widespread frost, and a risk of ice. Thursday will then be cold and sunny, although wintry showers are likely to spread southeast from Northwest England into the Midlands. This will be followed by winds easing, and a very cold, and frosty overnight period. Milder conditions are expected to move across all parts by Saturday morning.

6 December 2017

Weather forecasters are warning that all parts of England could experience cold, snow and ice over the next week, prompting PHE to again warn people to plan ahead.

The change of weather will bring cold air to all parts of England from Thursday and is likely to affect all areas of the country over the weekend says the Met Office. At the same time, the Flood Forecasting Centre has reported a risk of coastal flooding impacts as high tides and strong winds affect the whole of the east coast of England and Cumbria.

Dr Thomas Waite of the Extreme Events team at PHE said:

It is unusual that we are warning about the risks from cold and floods at the same time, but that’s why it’s absolutely critical that people keep up to date with the Met Office’s weather forecasts and the Environment Agency’s flood warnings. There is lots we can do to prepare for cold weather. We can all keep an eye out for family, friends and neighbours who may be at risk.

Those with heart and lung conditions, younger children and older people, are at particular risk during cold weather. Experience shows us that every winter thousands of people are seriously affected and even die from illnesses linked to the cold. That’s why it’s so important that we all play a part in minimising the risks to health this winter.

If your home or business is at risk of flooding, you can sign up for flood warnings by phone, email or text message.

Steve Willington, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said:

Cold Arctic air is expected to spread south across all parts of England through Thursday and Friday. A brisk northerly wind will give significant wind chill. Whilst many areas will remain dry with sunny spells through the day, occasional snow showers are expected giving localised accumulations and icy patches. These are possible anywhere, although most likely in north-west and north-east England, and east coastal areas. A band of rain moving east on Sunday and Monday may turn to sleet or snow in Midlands, and areas northwards, potentially producing further accumulations. This period of cold weather is then likely to continue into next week.

27 November 2017

PHE is issuing further take-care warnings after forecasts have predicted a prolonged cold spell for all of England.

On Friday, the Met Office issued warnings that the north was likely to see colder weather. Today (27 November 2017), they have extended that warning for the whole of England and said that cold conditions could last until Saturday.

Dr Thomas Waite, of PHE’s Extreme Events team, said:

As the weather is going to get colder everywhere in the coming days, this is a really good time to check on those who may be at risk. People with diseases such as heart and lung conditions, older people, and young children can feel the ill-effects of cold weather more than the rest of us.

To stay well this winter, we all need to play a part. Is there someone you know who could be at risk when the weather gets cold? Could you help them out by fetching shopping or prescriptions?

When the colder weather arrives there are several things we can do to keep well: wear several thin layers instead of fewer thicker ones, keep parts of the home you’re using heated to at least 18°C and keep a careful eye on the weather forecasts.

Laura Paterson, Chief Operational Meteorologist for the Met Office, said:

Colder air will gradually spread south during Monday and Tuesday, with overnight frosts becoming more widespread, along with a brisk northerly breeze.

A period of more widespread cold temperatures is then expected from Wednesday onward, whilst showers down the east coast are also expected to be wintry at times with some snow and ice possible.

24 November 2017

Keep warm keep well warnings are being issued by Public Health England (PHE) today (24 November 2017), as weather forecasts suggest the winter’s first blast of cold weather is on its way.

Met Office forecasters have said today that by tomorrow (Saturday) temperatures in the north east, north west and Yorkshire and the Humber will fall below 2°C.

This first drop in temperatures has prompted PHE’s Extreme Events team to remind people all over the country that before cold weather arrives is the best time to prepare.

Dr Thomas Waite of PHE’s Extreme Events team said:

We’re well used to winter in this country so most people know what to do to protect their health before and during cold spells.

But there are people who may not take precautions and who are at a very real risk. We know that every winter thousands of people fall ill and many die because of exposure to cold both in the home and while outdoors.

Those most at-risk include older people, very young children and those with conditions like heart and lung disease. That’s why every cold season we urge people to look out for family, friends and neighbours who may be at risk. Ask yourself if you could check on a neighbour to see if there’s anything they need?

Paul Gundersen, Chief Operational Meteorologist at the Met Office, said:

Colder air has now reached most parts of England, with temperatures expected to fall further by Saturday, when the cold will be accentuated by strengthening winds. Wintry showers are also likely in places, but any snow showers are expected to be confined largely to higher ground. A temporary incursion of warmer air is expected on Monday, with the colder air forecast to return by Tuesday.

Top tips to prepare for colder weather

You should:

  • look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food and drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately
  • try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over
  • stay tuned for weather forecasts, ensure you are stocked with food and medications in advance, have deliveries or ask a friend to help
  • take weather into account when planning your activity over the following days
  • seek entitlements and benefits such as Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments, which are available to some
  • avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold related illness or falls.
  • discuss with friends and neighbours about clearing snow and ice from in front of your house and public walkways nearby

Power and utility companies have schemes which make at-risk groups a priority for reconnection following power cuts. Find out if you meet the criteria and if so, sign up. Visit ofgem.gov.uk for more information.

There’s lots of useful advice on the Stay Well This Winter website.

Dr Waite added:

We know that more deaths occur every winter in the UK than in the summer due to a wide range of causes including cold weather, influenza and other respiratory infections. The flu vaccination is the best protection we have against flu and it’s really important to have it if you are eligible. If we all keep a close eye out for each other over the coming months hopefully we’ll all be able to stay well this winter.

National Flood Forum Bulletin November 2017

 

National Flood Forum’s latest Bulletin November 2017 has been published.

 

The National Flood Forum works in communities and with partners to support people at risk from flooding, and should flooding occur, to help them recover. Communities lie at the centre of this and throughout this bulletin there are examples of people working to take control of the flooding in their lives.

 

Visit www.nationalfloodforum.org.uk to find out more about the work of the National Flood Forum

If you would like to contribute to the next bulletin or have any feedback, please send it to bulletin@floodforum.org.uk

To read the latest copy Bulletin – November 2017

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