Housing development and sustainable water supply in the Cambridge area

denversluice08:08 Tuesday 5th January 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: The headlines have been dominated by the devastation that flood waters have brought to the North of England over the last few weeks. Cambridgeshire has been spared the heavy rainfall this year, but one Cambridge academic has warned that instead of floods, the greatest challenge facing this county could be chronic water shortages in the coming years. Of course Cambridgeshire hasn’t always escaped flooding. In 1947 much of Fenland was inundated as rivers and drains broke their banks. These people remember what happened.
ONE: The Sunday night was very bad. Wind, the men had to rope themselves together on the banks to stop from falling into the river. Yes I were out on them banks and breaching them up with sandbags.
TWO: I went up to Earith because I’d heard rumours the bank had blown. When I got there it was really frightening. The bank was really shaking.
THREE: The one journey that I really recollect is the night that I was called out to go to Hilgay. The water in the river was so high that it was coming over.
DOTTY MCLEOD: There were also of course the terrible East Coast floods of 1953, when 300 people died, and as a result of that, a large scale flood protection scheme was introduced. Since then the flooding we’ve experienced in Cambridgeshire, although it’s always awful for anyone whose home is affected, it has normally been fairly localised. Dr Bob Evans is a Visiting Fellow at the Global Sustainability Unit at Anglia Ruskin University. Morning Bob.
BOB EVANS: Good morning.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Are we prepared then for the kind of deluge that we’ve seen in the North of England here in Cambridgeshire?
BOB EVANS: Well the North of England has had about three times its average rainfall in December. That is fairly rare.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Its average annual rainfall?
BOB EVANS: No no. Average for December.
DOTTY MCLEOD: OK.
BOB EVANS: So it’s an enormous amount of rainfall. We’ve had just over the average. So one of the reasons is we’ve had a lot less rainfall, and at the moment we’re coping. The river levels, I cross Jesus Green nearly every day and they’re not very up at all. And that’s been so for quite a long time.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Suppose we did have that kind of level of rain that they’ve seen in places like Cumbria, three times the average. Would we just be inundated here?
BOB EVANS: We would I think be more like what you’ve just been saying on the radio, that it would be local. Because it would be a question of how quickly you could shift the water through the system. And generally when we’ve had big floods it’s because the water can’t get out quickly, because the sluice at Denver is not allowing the water to go out to sea, because the tidal levels are very high. So you’d usually need two things to get really massive flooding. So I think you’ll just get local flooding, which as you say is fairly horrendous for the people who are affected. It won’t be massively around the Fens.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Now you say that actually water shortages are something that we’re more at risk of in the long term.
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Loneliness and ill health go hand in hand

loneliness08:27 Monday 31st November 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: We mentioned earlier on the issue of loneliness, and a new study has found that being alone is just the tip of the iceberg for some older people. This is a report from academics at Anglia Ruskin University. It found that many older people who are suffering from loneliness are more likely to suffer also from a long term illness or disability and have an overall low enjoyment of life. Dr Claire Preston is a Research Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University and is based in Cambridge. Morning Claire.
CLAIRE PRESTON: Good morning.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Do you know which causes which here? Is it more likely that being lonely makes you ill, or does an illness make you more likely to be lonely?
CLAIRE PRESTON: It’s actually both, and it works at its worst in a vicious circle, where the two things feed into each other. There are particular aspects of health where there’s a weight of evidence persuading that actually loneliness causes that health condition.
DOTTY MCLEOD: So what kind of things?
CLAIRE PRESTON: That’s actually cardiac problems.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Seriously?
CLAIRE PRESTON: Yes. And I think the mechanism is to do with stress. So cardiac and vascular problems, there is evidence out there. A researcher in America called Cacioppo , and you might have heard earlier this year there was a lot of research about obesity, and he was saying it’s worse than obesity. Loneliness is worse for your health than obesity. And because of that work there’s now a recognition that it is a public health issue.
DOTTY MCLEOD: And this study that you’ve carried out, it was looking at a phone line, wasn’t it? This is quite an interesting way of going about it.
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Rohan McWilliam on Jeremy Corbyn

corbyn_tie08:08 Monday 14th September 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: He inspired nearly 60% of the voters in the Labour leadership election. Has Jeremy Corbyn inspired you? We’ll be talking Corbyn-mania and Corby-nomics as he starts to build his team on the Opposition benches. Here’s what Labor MP Daniel Zeichner who represents Cambridge had to say earlier.
DANIEL ZEICHNER: Obviously I was disappointed for Yvette. I thought she was the right person for the job. But it was a huge mandate for Jeremy, and it’s really important that Labour MPs like me respond positively to that mandate.

——

DOTTY MCLEOD: The Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has made the main appointments to his new top team, giving Shadow Cabinet jobs to close allies and political rivals. Probably the most significant decision he’s made is to put his campaign manager and fellow left winger John McDonnell into the key position of Shadow Chancellor. The man who came second to Jeremy Corbyn in the Leadership contest Andy Burnham has been made Shadow Home Secretary, while Hilary Benn will stay on as Shadow Foreign Secretary. Tony Blair’s old friend Lord Falconer has been made Shadow Justice Secretary. Several Labour MPs have expressed disappointment that the most prominent roles have gone to men, among them John Mann.
JOHN MANN: Jeremy is going to have to learn what leadership is about. And so some of his mates now today won’t get jobs, because he’s going to have to put some women in instead. And I think what he needs to make sure as well, he’s appointed three women from London. He needs to ensure that the whole country is represented, and it’s not just a London-led leadership.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Well Jeremy Corbyn’s team insist there will be a majority of women in the Shadow Cabinet. Angela Eagle is the new Shadow Business Secretary, and she’ll stand in for Mr Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions. Meanwhile Heidi Alexander who’s only been an MP for five years is promoted to the front bench, taking charge of health. Dave Prentice from the union Unison is pleased with the appointments so far.
DAVE PRENTICE: They’re really experienced Labour politicians of the middle ground. Andy Burnham, Hilary Benn, Lord Falconer, Angela Eagle, these are experienced people that Labour MPs have worked with over the years, who’ve been in government, and also been in opposition. And I think this Shadow Cabinet bodes well for the future. Also worth a look at who is not in Jeremy Corbyn’s team, two of his other rivals for the Leadership for a start, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall They decided they couldn ‘t serve him. And several of the old Shadow Cabinet have also walked away, Chuka Umunna said he was leaving the front bench by mutual agreement, after deciding he had too many disagreements with Jeremy Corbyn. Many are concerned about his reluctance to speak out in favour of the European Union, and his criticisms of NATO. ..
DOTTY MCLEOD: Rohan McWilliam is at Anglia Ruskin, a Professor of Modern British History and Director of the Labour History Research Unit. Gosh, quite a big weekend I’d have thought in your line of work Rohan.
ROHAN MCWILLIAM: Oh absolutely. A momentous day on Saturday, an extraordinary moment which I don ‘t think many of us would have expected two or three months ago.
DOTTY MCLEOD: So why is it momentous?
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Music Therapy and Dementia Care in the 21st Century

orchestral17:40 Thursday 3rd September 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

CHRIS MANN: A major conference is being held in Cambridge this weekend, examining how music therapy can help people with dementia. It’s taking place at Anglia Ruskin University. Let’s find out more now and speak to Professor Helen Odell-Miller, who is the Head of Music Therapy at Anglia Ruskin. Hello
HELEN ODELL-MILLER: Hello. Hello Chris.
CHRIS MANN: Welcome to the programme. How can music therapy help people with dementia?
HELEN ODELL-MILLER: For people with dementia, music therapy can help particularly reduce their agitation. People very often feel confused. They can’t remember things, and actually active music making, singing, finding a way of communicating with people, can help calm them, and also lift their spirits and improve well being.
CHRIS MANN: OK. As it does for all of us I suppose.
HELEN ODELL-MILLER: Yes. Sure. Absolutely.
CHRIS MANN: Whatever state we’re in. (THEY LAUGH) Can people remember music better than other things, when they have dementia?
HELEN ODELL-MILLER: Quite often. So with a little trigger like the beginning line of a song, someone who hasn’t been able to hold a clear conversation can often break into song and sing a whole song through, all the words correct. And that can sometimes lead them to have a discussion with their loved ones afterwards, in a way that hadn’t previously been possible. It’s often only in the moment that these things happen, but we’ve researched and found now internationally that there are some trends arising, and we’ve got some data to show.
CHRIS MANN: What kind of music works the best with people?
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Winners test Trumpington eco-home free

07:40 Friday 23rd January 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: What would you do to live in a house rent or mortgage free, generally bill free, for a whole year? That is exactly what the Rayner family is doing right now in Trumpington, after winning a newspaper competition. It’s not any old house though. This is zero-carbon. It’s an eco-home, built from the ground up using the latest green technology, not only to clean up the environment, but also to help them save lots of cash. Well, not to be out-done by the latest technology, our reporter Waseem Mirza went along to take a look at this new zero-carbon house in his zero-carbon car.
(TAPE)
WASEEM MIRZA: Ok, so I’ve arrived outside the Rayners’ house, and I’m going to plug the car, which is electric, into the charging spot right in front of their front door. Ok, so all plugged in. Time to meet the family. (DOORBELL) Hello Mr Rayner. Good to meet you.
MR RAYNER: And you.
WAZSEE MIRZA: So you’re going to take me on a bit of a tour. Let’s begin.
MR RAYNER: Excellent. Right well let’s go straight up to the first-floor, because the most important room in the house is the children’s. When we first came into the house the children just loved it. They ran straight up to their bedroom. Got their big chalk wall to play on. They draw on the walls, and trying to stop them drawing on the other walls is a bit of a challenge. But apart from that it is brilliant.
WASEEM MIRZA: And a lovely view outside as well. Very large windows. A lot of glass there. One would have thought that there’d be an opportunity to lose a lot of heat because of the size of the glass, but that’s not the case.
MR RAYNER: With the triple-glazing it’s amazing. You could stand there. It’s just like a solid wall. And the other thing is we live in quite a built-up area, so even though you can’t hear anything. There’s planes flying past and cars, and you just wouldn’t know where you were. it’s amazing.
LORNA RAYNER: I’m Lorna Rayner. So we moved in on 12th January. First of all we were just bowled over, because it’s such a lovely house. Really excited to move in and get settled really.
MR RAYNER: When we first moved in it felt like a hotel, if I’m honest. It was amazing walking around. It didn’t really sink in until the second day when we sat here and we thought, we actually are living here, rather than on holiday.
WASEEM MIRZA: This zero-carbon eco-home was built by the housebuilder Hill. Alex Rice is a consultant.
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Social security and megatrends – transparency and open discussion

atacama17:40 Thursday 13th November 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

JOZEF HALL: A report by one of our region’s best known universities is warning we’ll need to drastically change the way we manage natural disasters over the next hundred years or we could end up in trouble. Dr Aled Jones from Anglia Ruskin University has written a dramatic report for the ISSA. I spoke to him earlier.
ALED JONES: The ISSA is the International Social Security Association. So it’s the collection of all the social security departments at governments around the world. They work together to look at trends, and how they manage social security, whether it’s health or employment benefits or all the things that come within that area.
JOZEF HALL: What have they asked you to look at, and what have you written?
ALED JONES: So we’ve written a chapter for their new Megatrend report, looking at natural resource trends and climate change. So in effect natural disasters and availability of energy and food, and what that could potentially mean for societies, wherever they are around the world.
JOZEF HALL: I’m probably wrong here, but some scientific soothsaying, looking ahead, modelling, looking back on what’s happened historically, that kind of thing?
ALED JONES: What we’ve been trying to do is looking at emerging trends. So where people have been impacted by flooding, we’re looking at the impact on mental health, where people have been impacted by rising energy prices, what that potentially means for society going forward, the increased number of food banks in the UK and food price rises, what’s likely to happen over the next hundred years and shorter term. And then what does that mean for government responses.
JOZEF HALL: OK. In a nutshell, give us the good news.
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Labour councillors in marginal constituencies back Miliband

ed_miliband17:52 Tuesday 11th November 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

JOZEF HALL: A political poll carried out by a history lecturer at nearby Anglia Ruskin University suggests that Ed Miliband still has strong support as Leader. The survey by Dr Richard Carr was answered by 202 Labour Party councillors in key marginal constituencies. They include councillors from the 106 target seats Labour have in their sights for 2015, as well as the 50 Labour-held seats most vulnerable to a Conservative swing. Richard Carr is on the phone now. Richard, good evening.
RICHARD CARR: Good evening Jozef.
JOZEF HALL: Clearly you haven’t been reading the papers or watching the news.
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The value of wetland in Cambridgeshire

wicken_fen07:18 Thursday 30th October 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: A study conducted at Wicken Fen near Ely has found the value of wetland is greater per hectare than farmland. Compared to use as intensely farmed arable land, restored wetland could be worth nearly £130 more per hectare, in part because of its ability to reduce flooding and carbon emissions. It also provides grazing and can be used for recreation and tourism. Dr Francine Hughes is a Reader in Wetland Ecology and Conservation at Anglia Ruskin University, and is an author of the research. Now this came as a surprise to me Francine, because we hear so often that arable farmland in Cambridgeshire is more valuable than land in the middle of London, but wetland you say is even more valuable.
FRANCINE HUGHES: Yes. Well you have to look at it in terms of both the cost and the benefits of the two land uses that we’re talking about here. So arable crops are very very valuable, and especially in the Fens, where the soils are wonderfully fertile. But the cost of producing those crops is also very high. On the other hand, the wetland’s overall value is actually a little lower, but the cost is much lower. So when you look at the net difference, then we find that the value of the wetland per hectare is higher. So it is important that you look at the costs and the benefits of both types of land use.
DOTTY MCLEOD: So who gains from wetland?
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