Policy 3.2 Improving health and addressing health inequalities



A  The Mayor will take account of the potential impact of development proposals on health and health inequalities within London. The Mayor will work in partnership with the NHS in London, boroughs and the voluntary and community sector as appropriate to reduce health inequalities and improve the health of all Londoners, supporting the spatial implications of the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy.

B  The Mayor will promote London as a healthy place for all – from homes to neighbourhoods and across the city as a whole – by:

a  coordinating investment in physical improvements in areas of London that are deprived, physically run-down, and not conducive to good health

b  coordinating planning and action on the environment, climate change and public health to maximise benefits and engage a wider range of partners in action

c  promoting a strong and diverse economy providing opportunities for all.

C  The impacts of major development proposals on the health and wellbeing of communities should be considered, for example through the use of Health Impact Assessments (HIA).

Planning decisions

D  New developments should be designed, constructed and managed in ways that improve health and promote healthy lifestyles to help to reduce health inequalities.

LDF Preparation

E  Boroughs should:

a  work with key partners to identify and address significant health issues facing their area and monitor policies and interventions for their impact on reducing health inequalities

b  promote the effective management of places that are safe, accessible and encourage social cohesion

c  integrate planning, transport, housing, environmental and health policies to promote the health and wellbeing of communities

d  ensure that the health inequalities impact of development is taken into account in light of the Mayor’s Best Practice Guidance on Health issues in Planning.

Supporting text

3.8  The living environment has a fundamental impact on the health of a population, whether positive or negative.  Good housing, employment and a good start in life can all and help to reduce health inequalities at the local level; while poor environmental quality, housing conditions or pollution can exacerbate them. Targeted interventions to protect and promote health should help address health inequalities. Where a development or plan is anticipated to have significant implications for people’s health and wellbeing, an HIA should be considered to identify opportunities for minimising harms (including unequal impacts) and maximising potential health gains. An HIA can be integrated into Strategic Environmental Assessment, Sustainability Appraisal or Environmental Impact assessment, where these are required. Borough public health teams are a valuable source of support and advice for planning and critically appraising HIAs and it would be helpful to consult with them early in the process. The London Plan will help deliver Objective 5: Healthy Places of the Mayor‘s Health Inequalities Strategy to ensure new homes and neighbourhoods are planned and designed to promote health and reduce health inequalities.

3.9  The planning system can play a key role in promoting health and reducing health inequalities. Health inequalities are distributed across different population groups, are often geographically concentrated, with poor health closely aligned to poverty and deprivation (see Map 1.3 - Index of Deprivation). The Health and Social Care Act 2012 gives boroughs an enhanced role in improving public health in their area through the emerging ‘Health and Wellbeing Boards’, the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) process and the development and implementation of Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies[1]. This will provide an opportunity to align strategies and programmes, informing plan-making and development management. The new Public Health Outcomes Framework summarises the new public health responsibilities of boroughs and includes outcomes closely linked to planning including air quality, the use of green space, road casualties and fuel poverty.

3.10  The policies in this Plan seek to address the main health issues facing the capital, (including mental health, obesity, cancer, cardio-vascular and respiratory diseases) by seeking to ensure new developments are designed, constructed and managed in ways that improve health and reduce health inequalities (Policy 7.1). The development and regeneration of areas for regeneration (Policy 2.14) and many of the designated opportunity and intensification areas (Policy 2.13) provide the greatest opportunity to improve health and reduce health inequalities.

3.10A  New development should be supported by necessary and accessible health and social infrastructure. Planning obligations should be secured, and the Community Infrastructure Levy should be used as appropriate to ensure delivery of new facilities and services (policies 3.16, 3.17, 3.183.19, 8.2 and 8.3), including places for meetings between all members of a community (see policies 3.1 and 7.1). This Plan also aims to create opportunities for employment and economic development to meet the needs of the community; improve access to green and open spaces and leisure facilities (including using the planning system to secure new provision); support safe and sustainable transport systems (including walking and cycling); reduce road traffic casualties; improve air quality; reducing noise, increase access to healthy foods; create places for children to play; and ensure there is a good range of local services. The principles contained within the Mayor’s Best Practice Guidance (BPG) on Health Issues in Planning[2] will inform the health inequalities impact of a development, and are particularly important for Opportunity Area Planning Frameworks (OAPF) and masterplanning. This BPG will be updated to reflect the new policy and changes to the NHS in London and will include a methodology for undertaking HIAs.

3.11  Housing has a major impact on the health of residents, and the policies in this Plan are intended to enable Londoners to live in well designed, high quality homes, appropriately sized and energy efficient, warm and dry, safe, providing good access to high quality social infrastructure, green spaces, and limiting disturbance from noise, or exposure to poor air quality. The detailed design of neighbourhoods is also very important for health and well-being (see Chapter 7). This can be complemented by other measures, such as local policies to address concerns over the development of fast food outlets close to schools.[3]  Places can be designed to promote health, for example by providing attractive spaces that promote active lifestyles.  The Mayor and boroughs will seek to support the delivery of new and improved facilities for sport, walking, cycling, play and other forms of physical activities, including maximising opportunities associated with the legacy of the 2012 Games.

3.12  The voluntary and community sector has an essential role in tackling health inequalities at the local level, particularly in promoting and supporting community involvement.

[1]     Department of Health, Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies – statutory guidance. DoH, 2013

[2]     Mayor of London. Best Practice Guidance (BPG) on Health Issues in Planning. GLA, 2007

[3]     Mayor of London. Takeaways Toolkit. GLA, November 2012