UKHACC calls on peers to support a duty on planners to deliver on health and wellbeing
Chair of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, Richard Smith, has written to peers urging them to support an amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill that would place a duty on planning to reduce health inequalities and improve wellbeing
UKHACC has previously written to peers with a policy brief which sets out the evidence on the clear links between the built environment, health, biodiversity, and climate outcomes, and how the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill can support the UK to deliver its net zero strategies and embed climate and nature into planning systems for a healthy future.
Many of the recommendations highlighted in the brief are addressed through the requirements of the proposed amendment, which has the potential to bring multiple co-benefits for general health and wellbeing, reduce health inequalities, and protect the environment. This is further explored in this article.
The levelling up agenda aims to ensure that “geography is not destiny.” Health is crucial to achieving this aim. The physical environment that we live in plays a significant factor in the quality of our lives. Urban planning that includes ample natural spaces and inclusive streets, will establish environments that promote physical activity, health and wellbeing, while also helping to reduce air pollution.
A duty for planners to include policies on health and wellbeing seizes the opportunity to deliver on government commitments to boost active travel, help to achieve the ambition of everyone living within 15 minutes of green or blue space, and to provide homes that meet local health needs. Crucially, it also gives planners a mandate to deliver, and targets for the government to report on.