Trends in Energy
Published Monday, September 7, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0503
Providing affordable, reliable and sustainable energy is a key issue in UK policy. Energy policy can be informed by current energy sector trends and projections into the future. This briefing outlines key trends in energy, the factors driving these changes and future projections. It also highlights the implications and challenges of these trends.
Topics: Climate change, Coal, Electricity, Energy, Energy conservation, Fuel poverty, Nuclear power, Oil, petrol and natural gas, Renewable energy, Science
Securing UK Soil Health
Published Monday, August 24, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0502
2015 is the United Nations International Year of Soils. Soils underpin the global food system and regulate water, carbon and nitrogen cycles but are subject to pressures from population growth and climate change. In England & Wales, soil degradation costs around £1bn per year. This POSTnote outlines the evidence for measures that sustain soils and existing policies affecting soil health.
Published Friday, August 7, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0501
Increasing resistance to herbicides, coupled with a lack of new types of herbicides, has the potential to reduce crop yields. The UK Government’s commitment to increase yields over the next 25 years will require the development of alternative crop protection methods. This POSTnote outlines the challenges of herbicide resistance and reviews the possible approaches to long-term weed control strategies.
Towards 2020 and Beyond
Published Friday, June 19, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0500
This note focuses on policy drivers leading towards 2020 and beyond. It looks at the relationship between UK policy and the following drivers: people (demographics), technological change, climate change, resource security and sustainability, inequality, and governance issues.
Novel Food Production
Published Friday, June 12, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0499
Food production systems worldwide may have to adapt radically to meet the rising global demand for food. Emerging approaches in the food sector include controlled-environment farming, alternative animal feeds, edible insects, and lab-cultured meat. This POSTnote considers these new technologies and summarises their respective advantages and limitations.
Regulation of Synthetic Biology
Published Friday, June 12, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0497
Synthetic biology can be defined as the design and engineering of novel biologically-based parts, devices and systems or the redesign of existing biological systems. It may deliver potential benefits across a wide range of applications. However, some future applications may raise social and ethical issues and challenge current regulatory systems.This POSTnote examines the potential benefits and challenges.
Trends in Political Participation
Published Friday, June 12, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0498
Over the last fifty years in the UK, some aspects of participation in formal politics have decreased, such as political party membership. But new forms of participation, such as online activism, have emerged, which may become increasingly important, especially for younger people. This POSTnote discusses trends in political participation, with a focus on new forms, drivers of these trends and how UK democratic institutions are responding.
Trends in Transport
Published Friday, June 5, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0496
Transport is a key driver of economic growth. It links people to their workplaces and connects businesses. It also affects health, the environment and societal wellbeing. This POSTnote looks at why transport is changing, outlines current trends across and within transport sectors and considers the planning of transport networks.
Published Friday, June 5, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0495
A quarter of adults in the UK are clinically obese and therefore at an increased risk of developing chronic diseases. NHS advice is to eat fewer calories and take more exercise to lose weight. Increasingly, drug treatments and surgery are being considered as a means to lose weight for extremely obese people who have had difficulty in adhering to lifestyle changes. This briefing discusses the current methods used to manage and treat obesity.
UK Broadband Infrastructure
Published Friday, May 29, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0494
The growing use of smart phones and data intensive services (such as video streaming), has increased demand for both fixed and mobile internet. This POSTnote looks at patterns in broadband access and use, and the technical and policy challenges of enhancing UK broadband infrastructure to meet future needs.
Sugar and Health
Published Thursday, May 28, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0493
Sugars can be added to food and drinks or occur naturally in fruit, vegetables and milk. A high sugar diet increases the risk of tooth decay and weight gain, and high consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is associated with type 2 diabetes. This paper describes trends in sugar consumption in the UK, the public health implications and outlines policy options.
Published Tuesday, April 14, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-492
The Government lists energy storage as one of eight great technologies in which the UK can become a global leader. This briefing outlines the roles of energy storage in the electricity, heat and transport sectors and describes the technologies used from the household level up. It also discusses current barriers and policies for energy storage and potential future uptake.
Measuring Living Standards
Published Monday, March 30, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-491
This POSTnote outlines different approaches to setting and measuring thresholds and their strengths and limitations. It also summarises research on recent trends in living standards and the key factors that influence them.
Topics: Benefits policy, Child care, Children and families, Economic policy, Economic situation, Employment, Equality, Family benefits, Fuel poverty, Housing supply, Incomes and poverty, Pay, Pensions, Private rented housing, Social rented housing, Statistics policy, Unemployment, Working age benefits
Published Thursday, March 26, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-490
Biodiversity supports the ecosystem services humans rely on for well-being and economic resources. Areas that have had an audit can make more effective use of ecological data to meet planning and conservation objectives for biodiversity. This POSTnote summarises the data sources used and the advantages of the audit approach for addressing biodiversity loss.
Vegetative and Minimally Conscious States
Published Thursday, March 26, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-489
A POSTnote discussing the medical, legal and ethical challenges associated with the care of patients in vegetative and minimally conscious states.
The darknet and online anonymity
Published Monday, March 9, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-488
A very small proportion of websites use sophisticated anonymity systems, which allow their operators to conceal their identity if they wish to. This part of the web is commonly referred to as the darknet. The darknet helps citizens to protect their security and privacy and to circumvent censorship. It also facilitate organised crime, such as the billion dollar drug market known as Silk Road. This POSTnote discusses the challenge of preventing such crimes without compromising the other uses of anonymity technologies.
Emissions from Crops
Published Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-486
Agriculture contributes 9% of the UK’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions burden and 10-12% globally. Although there is a long-term declining trend from UK agriculture, the sector may account for a larger share of overall emissions in the future as other sectors reduce emissions. This POSTnote focuses on reducing GHG emissions from growing and storing arable and horticultural crops.
Value Based Assessment of Drugs
Published Wednesday, January 14, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-487
This briefing outlines recent proposals to change the current UK drug assessment methods.
Parity of Esteem for Mental Health
Published Wednesday, January 7, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-485
This note looks at the history of and recent developments in efforts to achieve parity of esteem between mental and physical health in care standards .
Catchment-Wide Flood Management
Published Thursday, December 11, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-484
Changing weather patterns have made structural defences less effective at managing flooding. An approach that employs a range of natural flood management measures across a river catchment is likely to reduce the probability of flooding and pressure on structural defences. This POSTnote describes the measures and the challenges of implementing them over large catchments.