The Birmingham Brief

The Birmingham Brief - intelligent thought on policy issues.

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Tuesday 15th February 2011

Gambling: The debate we should be having

Description
Britain now has one of the largest and most diverse gambling markets in the world. Gross takings after paying out winnings are in the region of £10bn annually. I argue in my book, 'An Unsafe Bet?', that gambling has been allowed to expand without proper public consultation and debate. Constraints on commercial gambling provision were progressively eased in the 1980s and 90s, culminating in the liberalising Gambling Act of 2005. Intense lobbying for de-restriction on the part of gambling operators was an important element, but lack of consideration of the dangerous, addictive nature of gambling products also played a part.
Date:
Tuesday 15th February 2011
Categories:
Life and Environmental Sciences
Wednesday 22nd December 2010

Is festive stress really so bad for our health?

Is festive stress really so bad for our health?
Description
Christmas is perennially highlighted as one of the most stressful times of the year with the natural assumption being that stress is always bad for our physical health. However, our research is showing that the picture may be rather less clear and that there may be health risks inherent in not reacting to stressful situations.
Date:
Wednesday 22nd December 2010
Categories:
Life and Environmental Sciences
Thursday 16th December 2010

Was anything achieved in Cancún?

Was anything achieved in Cancún?
Description
Unlike the previous meeting in Copenhagen a year ago, the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancún, which finished last Saturday, did produce an agreement. In the words of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, 'The beacon of hope has been reignited and faith in the multilateral climate change process to deliver results has been restored'. The key question is - is it good enough?
Date:
Thursday 16th December 2010
Categories:
Life and Environmental Sciences
Tuesday 13th July 2010

Air pollution – hot and dirty

Description
As poor air quality is associated with poor health, rising levels of air pollutants are a cause for legitimate concern. Air pollution is a mix of gases and particles which arise from natural sources, industry and, most importantly, motor vehicles. Air pollution episodes usually occur during periods of high pressure especially when pollutants are trapped close to the ground not allowing upwards escape to the atmosphere.
Date:
Tuesday 13th July 2010
Categories:
Life and Environmental Sciences, Research
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