General Reports and Other Publications
WAG: A series of maps showing environmental noise on the major roads & railways in Wales, as well as noise from transport & industry in two large urban areas has been published by the Welsh Assembly Government recently.
The maps will be used to draw up action plans to address the noise climate for major roads & railways as well as in urban areas. The action plans will include descriptions of the measures that will be taken to reduce environmental noise and to help protect quiet areas from an increase in noise.
Press release ~ WAG – Environment & Countryside ~ WAG - Noise monitoring and mapping ~ EU’s Environmental Noise Directive
Defra: Defra has published an epidemiology report into the Avian Influenza outbreak confirmed in Oxfordshire on 4 June 2008. The report concludes that, at the time of writing (11 June), the outbreak is confined to a single premises and there is no evidence of infection in the Protection Zone or of spread to any other premises.
The report suggests that it is possible that the Highly Pathogenic H7N7 Avian influenza derived from a Low Pathogenic strain already present on the farm, analysis & investigations are ongoing and a number of source hypotheses are being considered.
Investigations continue and an indicative timeline to lifting Avian Influenza restrictions in Oxfordshire has been published to help poultry & egg producers and others whose business is affected by disease control restrictions.
CRC: The Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) has responded to the Government’s review of expenditure devoted to the bus industry with regards to possible reforms to the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG). The CRC says that it welcomes an examination of BSOG, particularly the suggestion that it should be more closely allied to climate change targets in relation to fuel efficiency & vehicle emissions.
Nevertheless, they have warned about possible threats to rural bus services should the BSOG paid to operators be reduced. Any overall reduction in the BSOG received by an operator could mean services cease to become financially viable and would need a subsidy to continue.
Press release ~ Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) ~ Closed Bus Subsidy consultation ~ CRC response to the consultation ~ DfT – Rural Bus Services ~ DfT - Options for strengthening bus passenger representation: Closed consultation ~ Local Transport Bill ~
DfT - The Eddington Transport Study
ScotParl: Clarity on the funding of non-NHS cancer treatment drugs has been called for by the Public Petitions Committee. The report into the availability on the NHS of cancer treatment drugs follows the committee's inquiry inspired by the petition brought to it by Tina McGeever and her late husband Michael Gray.
The committee has raised serious concerns about procedures within NHS boards to assess whether a cancer patient can be ‘exceptionally prescribed' a non-NHS drug. A lack of clarity & transparency, with information not being made available to patients at the crucial time of diagnosis, was also revealed in evidence sessions. The procedure was perceived as not working in the best interests of the patient. The Committee has invited a response from the Scottish Government with a timetable for action by 1 September 2008.
Press release ~ 3rd Report 2008: Availability on the NHS of cancer treatment drugs ~
BERR: The Renewables Advisory Board has reported that the UK could generate 14% of its total energy from renewables by 2020 if a set of identified radical policy changes are put into effect quickly. Recommendations include accelerating grid studies, streamlined consenting processes, early introduction of revised support mechanisms and, most importantly, strong political leadership.
The Board has also advised the Government how the additional measures could go on to achieve the full 15% share required by the EU's renewable energy target.
Press release ~ Renewables Advisory Board ~ 2020 VISION – How the UK can meet its target of 15% renewable energy ~ BERR – Renewables ~ Draft European Commission Directive on Renewable Energy
Ofsted: Many teachers, particularly in primary schools, lack the confidence to teach science well because they don't know enough about the subject and have had too little professional training, according to a new report by Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills.
The report, Success in Science, shows that teaching & learning were at least satisfactory in almost all of the schools visited and around three quarters of the lessons were good. Yet standards in science have remained substantially unchanged in recent years and inspections highlight recurring weaknesses, particularly in planning and assessment.
The report looks at why standards in science have not improved significantly in the last three years at Key stages 1 and 2 (pupils aged between 5 and 11). It highlights the strengths & weaknesses of science teaching in primary & secondary schools and gives examples of schools where young scientists excel.
Press release ~ Success in Science ~ Science Learning Centres ~ Association of Science Education ~ Teaching Science - How Do They Do It In Japan? ~ House of Lords Science and Technology Committee: Science Teaching in Schools ~ Royal Society: Who is teaching science and mathematics? Don’t ask the Government ~ Teachernet - Science
MoD: The Ministry of Defence has welcomed the publication of research into homelessness amongst the ex-Service community by York University. The study called ‘The Experiences of Homeless Ex Service Personnel in London’ found that the percentage of Veterans in London's homeless population has reduced from 22 % in 1997 to 6 % in 2007.
Key findings of the report included:
* Homeless veterans have better access to emergency accommodation & resettlement resources than other single homeless people
* Less than one in six of those surveyed cited problems adjusting to civilian life as the cause of their difficulties
* Only a small minority of homeless veterans reported vulnerabilities unique to Service life, such as combat related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
The report has made a number of recommendations to further improve support available to homeless veterans and the MoD will now engage with other Government departments and its external partners to take forward these recommendations.
DH: Research revealing what really matters to NHS staff has been published by the Department of Health. Thousands of NHS staff contributed to the research through focus groups, interviews and a widely distributed survey.
The research identified four themes that summarise what matters to staff:
* The support I need to do a good job
* A worthwhile job with the chance to develop
* The opportunity to improve the way we work
* The resources to deliver quality care for patients
Press release ~ What Matters to Staff in the NHS ~ NHS Social Partnership Forum ~ Is the treatment working? - Progress with the NHS system reform programme ~ BBC News: Violence costs NHS '£100m a year' ~ National survey of NHS staff 2007 ~ Invitation to NHS Staff to submit views
CIOB: Results from a new piece of research by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has revealed that a high proportion of complex construction projects are likely to be finished more than six months late, due to poor time control. The research examined the construction industry’s methods to manage time on projects, in particular the techniques used and the competence of those engaged in the process.
The results also show that more complex projects have a poor chance of being completed on time without advanced methods of project control being employed and those responding to the survey felt that:
* The design team is rarely consulted by the contractor about a time-management strategy
* The contractor is usually held to be predominantly at fault for delayed completion
* Records of resources used & work performed are usually inadequate for effective time control
* Very few projects are currently managed by reference to modern methods of time control
* Delayed progress is not often notified promptly or widely