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Policy GG3 Creating a healthy city

The health of Londoners is, to a large extent, determined by the environment in which they live. Transport, housing, education, income, working conditions, unemployment, air quality, green space, climate change and social and community networks can have a greater influence on health than healthcare provision or genetics. Many of these determinants of health can be shaped by the planning system, and local authorities are accordingly responsible for planning and public health.

The scale of London’s health inequalities is great, and the need to reduce them is urgent. Healthy life expectancy is lower in more deprived areas, and the differences between parts of London is stark – more than 15 years for men and almost 19 years for women. London’s ongoing growth provides an opportunity to reduce these inequalities, and delivering Good Growth will involve prioritising health in all London’s planning decisions.

The scale of London’s health inequalities is great, and the need to reduce them is urgent. Healthy life expectancy is lower in more deprived areas, and the differences between parts of London is stark – more than 15 years for men and almost 19 years for women. London’s ongoing growth provides an opportunity to reduce these inequalities, and delivering Good Growth will involve prioritising health in all London’s planning decisions.

The causes of London’s health problems are wide-ranging. Many of London’s major health problems are related to inactivity. Currently only 34 per cent of Londoners report doing the 20 minutes of active travel each day that can help them to stay healthy, but good planning can help them to build this into their daily routine. Access to green and open spaces, including waterways, can improve health, but access varies widely across the city. Excessive housing costs or living in a home that is damp, too hot or too cold can have serious health impacts. A healthy food environment and access to healthy food is vital for good health. Good planning can help address all of these issues.

The Healthy Streets Approach outlined in this plan puts improving health and reducing health inequalities at the heart of planning London’s public space. It will tackle London’s inactivity crisis, improve air quality and reduce the other health impacts of living in a car-dominated city by planning street networks that work well for people on foot and on bikes, and providing public transport networks that are attractive alternatives to car use. It will also ensure that streets become more social spaces.

The social and environmental causes of ill-health are numerous and complex, and the people who are most affected by London’s health inequalities tend also to be affected by other forms of inequality. Creating a healthy city with reduced health inequalities will make London fairer for everyone. The Mayor plays a pivotal role in bringing together a diverse range of stakeholders from service providers, boroughs, communities and the private sector in order to provide a more integrated approach to promoting a healthy city and reducing health inequalities. The Mayor will co-ordinate investment and focus regeneration initiatives in those parts of London most affected by inequalities, including health inequalities.

GG3

To improve Londoners’ health and reduce health inequalities, those involved in planning and development must:

  1. ensure that the wider determinants of health are addressed in an integrated and co-ordinated way, taking a systematic approach to improving the mental and physical health of all Londoners and reducing health inequalities.
  2. promote more active and healthy lifestyles for all Londoners and enable them to make healthy choices.
  3. use the Healthy Streets Approach to prioritise health in all planning decisions.
  4. assess the potential impacts of development proposals on the health and wellbeing of communities, in order to mitigate any potential negative impacts and help reduce health inequalities, for example through the use of Health Impact Assessments.
  5. plan for improved access to green spaces and the provision of new green infrastructure.
  6. ensure that new buildings are well-insulated and sufficiently ventilated to avoid the health problems associated with damp, heat and cold.
  7. seek to create a healthy food environment, increasing the availability of healthy food and restricting unhealthy options.