• Rapid response

    Immunising children against COVID-19

    As the UK COVID-19 immunisation programme reaches all adults, the Government has announced an update to its policy on using a COVID-19 vaccine in children. So, how does COVID-19 affect children? What will the impact of vaccinating children be on preventing disease and minimising associated risks? And what do we know about public attitudes to using COVID-19 vaccines in children?

  • POSTnote

    Mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on adults

    The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is a significant public health concern, with a growing body of research describing the effects on the population since March 2020. This POSTnote summarises the key findings from research, highlights the groups most affected and their mental health outcomes, and the limitations of current knowledge. It also discusses policy approaches to protect mental health and how healthcare services can adapt to improve outcomes.

  • Horizon scanning

    International Trade Committee announces its first Areas of Research Interest: UK Trade Policy

    The International Trade Committee has published five Areas of Research Interest (ARIs) for 2021 to help support the Committee’s scrutiny of UK trade policy. Each ARI comes with a series of questions aiming to further break down the broad areas. The ARIs focus on UK trade policy and include: Trade negotiations, Gender and trade, Food standards, Developing countries, and Foreign Policy and Trade.

  • POSTnote

    Coastal management

    The UK coastline is shaped by interactions between complex social, ecological, and physical processes. Increasing coastal flood and erosion risk is a major climate adaptation challenge. This POSTnote examines coastal management in England, associated issues and how an adaptive approach can better prepare the country for uncertain future sea level rise under climate change.

  • Rapid response

    COVID-19 vaccine coverage and targeted interventions to improve vaccination uptake

    The COVID-19 vaccination programme launched in January 2021. All adults over 18 have now been offered the vaccine, although it was reported that 1.3 million people who had been offered a vaccine had not received it. Some people are vaccine hesitant whilst others experience barriers to accessing vaccines. Targeted interventions have been promoted locally and nationally to improve vaccine uptake.

  • POSTnote

    Regulating product sustainability

    Products can be designed to maximise life cycle energy- and resource-efficiency, from raw material extraction to end-of-life treatment. This POSTnote outlines key aspects of, and consumer attitudes towards, sustainable products. It considers challenges associated with their design, production, regulation and supporting business models as part of a circular economy. ‘End-of-life’ treatment and value recovery, through reuse, recycling and other methods, are discussed.

  • POSTnote

    Low-carbon hydrogen supply

    Hydrogen could play a significant role in tackling climate change. Using it does not produce carbon dioxide, so it could replace fossil fuels in a range of applications. It may also provide valuable energy storage. However, almost all hydrogen production currently results in greenhouse gas emissions. Methods of producing it that do not emit greenhouse gases would need to increase for it to contribute to climate change mitigation. Governments and industry in the UK and abroad are aiming to increase low-carbon hydrogen supply. The UK Government will publish a Hydrogen Strategy in 2021.

  • POSTnote

    Effective biodiversity indicators

    The UK is committed to targets under international biodiversity agreements to value, conserve and restore the variety of life on earth (biodiversity). Progress towards targets is tracked using indicators, which are designed to summarise complex monitoring data. This POSTnote reviews indicator use and development in the context of the post-2020 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Global Biodiversity Framework.

  • POSTbrief

    Biodiversity indicators

    This POSTbrief summarises the different suites of indicators at both the
    devolved- and UK-level and complements POSTnote 644, which describes
    the challenges surrounding the effective use of biodiversity indicators in the context of the post-2020 CBD Global Biodiversity Framework.

  • POSTbrief

    Water supply resilience and climate change

    The resilience of water supplies and the water environment to climate change and the impacts of drought are areas of concern for the UK. Definitions of resilience vary, but in this POSTbrief it is the ability of the water supply system to recover from shocks. Projected changes in weather patterns and climate (increased temperatures and greater variability in rainfall) will reduce water availability. Increased water demand due to population growth means that, without action, water shortages could occur in future. These will impact the environment, society and the economy.

  • POSTnote

    Developing essential digital skills

    Digital skills are increasingly important for day-to-day life, including for communication, accessing services and employment. However, around a fifth of the population do not have essential digital skills for life as defined by the UK Government. While research suggests the number of people with basic digital skills has increased in recent years, concerns remain about those who lack them. Experts have highlighted that digitally excluded people may experience various negative impacts, including poorer health outcomes and social isolation This POSTnote gives an overview of digital skills in the UK, the impact of a lack of digital skills on outcomes in areas such as employment and health, and initiatives in place to improve digital skills.