The planning system in place today seeks to address health issues through implementation of national and local planning policies.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF, 2021)1
Read The National Planning Policy Framework.
The NPPF requires public health to be taken into account in both plan-making and decision-taking and states the purpose of planning is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development, with delivery of the social objective of sustainable development being paramount to supporting health.
Paragraph 8b: a social objective - supports strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by ensuring that a sufficient number and range of homes can be provided to meet the needs of present and future generations; and by fostering well-designed, beautiful and safe places, with accessible services and open spaces that reflect current and future needs and support communities’ health, social and cultural well-being.
Links to health can be found throughout, with key areas including policies on delivering homes (section 5), transport (section 9), design (section 12), climate change (section 14), and the natural environment (section 15).
In addition, section 8, Promoting Healthy and Safe Communities, paragraph 92, requires planning policies and decisions to aim to achieve healthy, inclusive and safe places which promote social interaction, that are safe and accessible, and enable and support healthy lifestyles, especially where this would address identified local health and well-being needs.
Paragraph 93 requires planning policies and decisions to provide the social, recreational and cultural facilities and services the community needs, through planning positively for the provision and use of shared spaces, community facilities and other local services to enhance the sustainability of communities and residential environments, taking into account and supporting the delivery of local strategies to improve health, social and cultural well-being for all sections of the community, and guarding against the unnecessary loss of valued facilities and services.
In addition, paragraph 98 recognises the importance of access to quality open space and opportunities for sport and physical activity for health and well-being.
National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG, 2014 to 2019)
Read the National Policy Guidance.
The NPPF is supported by additional guidance set out in the NPPG. The NPPG recognises that the built and natural environment has a major influence on health and wellbeing and states that planning has a role in creating environments that support and encourage healthy lifestyles.
The NPPG describes a healthy place as one which supports and promotes healthy behaviours and environments, and one which reduces health inequalities.
It also describes a healthy place as one which:
- provides opportunities for the community to improve their physical and mental health
- supports community engagement and well-being
- meets the needs of children and young people
- is adaptable to the needs of an increasingly elderly population and those with dementia and other sensory or mobility impairments
The NPPG regards Health Impact Assessment as a useful tool to use where there are expected to be significant impacts.
Local Planning Policy
The City Plan Part 1 (2016), saved policies from the Local Plan (2005), the Waste & Minerals Local Plan and the Shoreham Harbour Joint Area Action Plan comprise the local Development Plan and provide the local planning policy framework. City Plan Part 2 is currently being prepared. Once adopted, this will replace the Local Plan 2005 and sit alongside City Plan Part 1.
Health is a cross-cutting theme that is embedded within City Plan Part 1 which includes the following strategic objectives to support achieving the vision of becoming a “Healthy City”:
SO19: Contribute towards the delivery of more sustainable communities and the reduction of inequalities between neighbourhoods in Brighton & Hove.
- SO20: Contribute towards reducing inequalities experienced by different groups within the city
- SO22: Across the city apply the principles of healthy urban planning and work with partners to achieve an equality of access to community services (health and learning), to opportunities and facilities for sport and recreation and lifelong learning. Ensure pollution is minimised and actively seek improvements in water, land and air quality and reduce noise pollution
- SO23: Ensure that Brighton & Hove is a city where all people feel safe in public places and within their neighbourhoods
City Plan Policy CP18 “A Healthy City” is the key policy that aims to reduce health inequalities and promotes healthier lifestyles.
Key policy points are:
- requirement of HIA on all strategic developments
- requirement for larger developments to minimise negative impacts and maximise positive impacts on health
- encouragement of development to work towards Lifetime Neighbourhood principles
- recognition of the importance of allotments and gardens in providing access to food
- delivering a network of accessible integrated health facilities
Various other policies of both City Plan Part 1 and the Local Plan are also of relevance to health and wellbeing and support achieving many of the social determinants of health; for example provision of open space, encouragement of walking and cycling, and ensuring housing delivered is of an acceptable standard.
The Waste and Minerals Local Plan also includes objectives and policies of relevance to health, including Strategic Objective 4: To protect and enhance the environment, communities and human health.
Although the Shoreham Harbour JAAP does not have a specific objective relating to health, various objectives of the JAAP are relevant including:
- Objective 1 Climate Change, energy and sustainable building
- Objective 5: Sustainable travel
- Objective 6 Flood risk and sustainable drainage
- Objective 7: Natural environment, biodiversity and green infrastructure
- Objective 8 Recreation and leisure
- Objective 9 Place making and design
A list of the various local planning policies of relevance to health can be found in Appendix 2.
National and Local Strategies
There are various strategies which set the context and provide evidence of how the planning system can address health issues and improve health outcomes.
“Fair Society, Healthy Lives”(the Marmot Review) (2010). The review found that individual health is influenced by wider determinants such as income, education, local environmental quality and employment; the ‘social determinants of health’. The review set out 6 policy objectives for reducing health inequalities including ‘to create and develop healthy and sustainable places and communities’.
“Healthy Lives, Healthy People: our strategy for public health in England” (2010). This White Paper sets out the Government’s long-term vision for the future of public health in England. It adopts the Marmot Review’s framework for tackling the social determinants of health, and aims to support healthy communities including by:
- creating healthy places to grow up and grow old in (paragraph 3.4)
- supporting active travel (walking and cycling) and for physical activity to become the norm in communities (paragraph 3.32)
- creating an environment that supports people in making healthy choices, and that makes these choices easier (paragraph 3.62)
“Prevention is Better than Cure” (DoH, 2018). This seeks to improve healthy life expectancy and reduce health inequalities, recognising that various factors influence health including housing, neighbourhoods, education, safety, transport, food, leisure, greenspace and employment.
Brighton & Hove’s Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy (2019). This recognises the various factors that influence health and includes an overarching vision to improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. It states that “Planning of major developments and transport schemes will promote health and wellbeing”.
Brighton & Hove’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment provides local evidence on the health needs of the city and is used in formulating local policy.