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Climate Change

  • Gateshead Council has ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its Climate Change Strategy, and has signed up to the Covenant of Mayors commitments on sustainable energy, which provides a commitment to go beyond a 20% reduction by 2020. The Council’s policy framework promotes sustainable development, including urban patterns of development that use resources more efficiently and reducing the energy consumption of new development.
  • Since 2011 Gateshead Council has been developing a district energy network to serve the town centre and Gateshead Quays area. The scheme is based on a gas fired Combined Heat & Power (CHP) energy centre located in Baltic Business Quarter. The network is to be operational from Winter 2015 and will export heat and power to a range of public and private organisations. Once operational it is estimated the scheme will save 4,500 tonnes of CO2 per annum.
  • The number of renewable energy installations in Gateshead has risen. At the end of June 2017 Gateshead had 1,690 domestic Solar Photovoltaic installations, a rate of 187 per 10,000 households compared to 409 and a rate of 44 per 10,000 households in March 2013. [1]  Solar Photovoltaic Installations

    Heatwaves

  • In England we had a significant heatwave in 2006 (when it was estimated that there were about 680 excess deaths compared to similar periods in previous years). A linear relationship between temperature and weekly mortality was observed, with an estimated 75 extra deaths per week for each degree of increase in temperature. Part of this rise in mortality may be attributable to air pollution, which makes respiratory symptoms worse. The other main contributor is the effect of heat on the cardiovascular system. [2]
  • In 2009 there were approximately 300 excess summer deaths in England during a heatwave compared to similar periods in previous years. [2]

  • At-risk groups include older people, the very young and people with pre-existing medical conditions as well as those whose health, housing or economic circumstances put them at greater risk of harm from very hot weather. For example, some medications make the skin especially sensitive to sunlight with potential harm caused by ultraviolet rays.

  • Effective action, taken early, can reduce the health impacts of exposure to excessive heat. Most of these are simple preventive measures which to be effective, need to be planned in advance of a heatwave.

  • See also 'Heatwave Plan for England'

     

    Air Quality

  • Poor air quality is a significant risk to public health and is estimated to contribute up to 200,000 premature deaths nationally per year. It is the third largest contributor to premature deaths in the UK according to a 2014 Air Quality Progress Report for Gateshead Council. [3]
  • Gateshead Council currently monitors Nitrogen Dioxide and Particulate Matter 2.5 (although there is no requirement to monitor this). It does not monitor Sulphur Dioxide or Benzene as there are no significant sources or likelihood of the relevant air quality objectives being exceeded.
  • In 2013 there were no exceedances of the Nitrogen Dioxide annual mean or hourly air quality objectives. Particulate Matter 2.5 levels are below air quality objective and World Health Organisation (WHO) levels at Lychgate Court although there is some concern at the levels on the A1 Dunston as they are at the limit of the WHO annual mean for the second year running.
  • In 2015 3.5% of adult deaths (aged 30+) in Gateshead were estimated to be attributable to particulate air pollution. [Chart - Mortality attributable to air pollution]. [4] Applying this to the number of deaths of those aged 30+ in Gateshead for 2015 (from MYE components of change) means there may have been 76 deaths. However, the methodology for calculating the estimates suggests that the actual proportion could be anywhere between 0.175 and 1.89 times the stated percentage, meaning the actual number of deaths may fall anywhere between 13 and 144.
  • There are currently approximately 1,900 residents and a further 1,000 students within the Gateshead Town Centre Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). The AQMA was established in April 2005 and extended in April 2008 because levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) exceeded the annual objective level. A review of 2013 monitoring data shows that NO2 levels have now fallen back below the annual mean objective level, but the AQMA will remain until a substantial extended period of results below the air quality objective is achieved.
  • See also 'live data on air quality in Gateshead'

     

    Food Safety

  • The Food Standards Agency website shows that out of 1,431 food establishments in Gateshead: [5]
    • 879 (61%) had a food hygiene rating of 5 - UK = 66%
    • 330 (23%) had a food hygiene rating of 4 - UK = 19%
    • 158 (11%) had a food hygiene rating of 3 - UK = 9%
    • 36 (3%) had a food hygiene rating of 2 - UK = 2%
    • 28 (2%) had a food hygiene rating of 1 - UK = 3%
    • 0 (0%) had a food hygiene rating of 0 - UK = 0%Food Establishments by Food Hygiene Rating

    Open Spaces

  • Around 50% of homes in Gateshead are located within 500 metres of an area of accessible natural green space (open spaces that have a natural character – including woodland areas). [6]
  • There are 118 allotment sites in the Borough. [7] Evidence shows only a small number of plots on Council owned sites are vacant at any one time.
  • Gateshead’s 2012 residents’ survey asked for residents’ satisfaction with “Upkeep of grass verges, flower beds, trees and shrubs in streets and public spaces”, and “Parks and green spaces”. Around 38% were satisfied (either “very satisfied”, or “fairly satisfied”) with the upkeep of grass verges, flower beds, trees and shrubs in streets and public spaces, and 59% were satisfied with parks and green spaces. [8]

    [1] DECC quarterly sub national feed in tariff statistics, June 2017 (GOV.uk website)

    [2] Heatwave Plan for England, May 2015 (GOV.uk website)

    [3] 2014 Air Quality Progress Report for Gateshead Council, Apr 2014 (Gateshead Council Document Library website)

    [4] Fraction of all-cause adult mortality attributable to anthropogenic particulate air pollution (measured as fine particulate matter, PM2.5), DEFRA/Air Pollution and Climate Change Group Public Health England, 2015 (PHOF website)

    [5] Food hygiene ratings, Food Standards Agency, 26 Apr 2017 (Food Standards Agency website)

    [6] Homes within 500m of accessible natural greenspace, Gateshead Council, Mar 2015

    [7] Allotments, Gateshead Council, Mar 2015

    [8] Gateshead Residents Survey, Gateshead Council/Ipsos Mori, 2012