New London Plan: draft for public consultation

The Mayor of London has launched a consultation on his new London Plan which sets the planning policy framework to shape how London evolves and develops over the next 20-25 years.

The population of London is projected to increase by 70,000 each year, reaching 10.8 million in 2041. In response to this population growth, the draft plan aims to increase the supply of new housing from 42,000 to 65,000 new homes each year and sets a strategic target of 50 per cent of all new homes being affordable. It introduces new borough housing targets. Most boroughs will see their targets increase, but the largest increases are in outer London which, if delivered, will place additional pressure of existing infrastructure.

Underpinning the draft plan are six ‘Good Growth’ policies which seek to ensure that growth is sustainable, is supported by sufficient infrastructure and benefits all Londoners. One of the Good Growth policies aims to create a healthy city which will improve Londoners’ health and reduce health inequalities. It advocates the use the Healthy Streets Approach to prioritise health in all planning decisions and requires that the potential impact of development on the health and wellbeing of communities is assessed, for example through the use of Health Impact Assessments.

Other key policy requirements include:

  • Support for NHS service and estate transformation and the delivery of new or enhanced infrastructure, advocating the use of the HUDU Model to help calculate costs and developer contributions.
  • Introducing polices for new growth corridors (Crossrail 2, Elizabeth Line, HS2, Trams Triangle in South London) which extend beyond London’s boundaries
  • Making better use of land by maximising housing density, with new minimum housing space standards
  • Annual borough benchmarks for specialist older persons housing
  • Guidelines for increasing green infrastructure, delivering 50 per cent green cover across London
  • Promoting active travel, including doubling the current amount of cycling provision in many new developments
  • Commitment to make London a zero-carbon city by 2050
  • Restricting new takeaways within 400 metres walking distance of an existing or proposed school

HUDU has contributed to the drafting of the new policies during the informal consultation stage and will be responding to the draft Plan on behalf of London CCGs. Further details on the consultation can be found here.

HUDU Model Update

The HUDU Planning Contributions Model (the HUDU Model) provides a standardised and transparent approach to help calculate potential developer contributions and plan for future health infrastructure requirements. Its use is advocated in the draft London Plan.

We have refreshed the model by updating the default data on population projections, housing completions, health activity and build costs. The model can be used to assess the impact of single developments and the cumulative impact of housing and population growth in an area. In addition to GLA and ONS population projections, users are now able to manually add a population projection profile.

More information on the model can be found here

Mayor of London draft Health Inequalities Strategy: Consultation on Better Health for All Londoners

The Mayor of London has launched a consultation on his draft Health Inequalities Strategy ‘Better Health For All Londoners’  which aims to help create a healthier and fairer society and to make the healthier choice easier for everyone, including the most disadvantaged.

The draft strategy has five goals:

  1. Every London child to have the best possible start in life
  2. All Londoners share in a city with the best mental health in the world
  3. A society, environment and economy that promotes good mental and physical health
  4. London’s diverse communities to be healthy and thriving
  5. To make the ‘healthy choice’ the easy choice for all Londoners

The London Plan commits the Mayor to working in partnership with other key stakeholders to reduce health inequalities by supporting the spatial implications of the Health Inequalities Strategy. In particular, the planning system has a key role to support the aims of the strategy to create healthy places, healthy communities and promote healthy habits.

The consultation runs until 30 November 2017 and further details can be found here.

Spatial Planning for Health: An evidence resource for planning and designing healthier places

Public Health England have published a review of evidence examining the links and strength of evidence between health and the built and natural environment. It provides key messages illustrated in diagrams for five aspects of the built and natural environment to help improve communication and engagement between public health and spatial planning practitioners and help shape local planning policy and decisions.

The study identifies gaps in the evidence and make recommendations for further research. However, it notes that the causal links between built environment and health are often complex and difficult to demonstrate, but a lack of evidence reviews and quantitative research does not mean that the link does not exist. Instead, a ‘whole system’ approach is needed combining different interventions based on the ‘precautionary principle’.

The report can be found here

Health and Environmental Impact Assessment: A Briefing for Public Health Teams in England

Public Health England have produced a guide to help Directors of Public Health and local public health teams engage in the Environmental Impact Assessment process. Recent changes to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations clarify that ‘population and human health’ is a topic that should be considered when assessing the impact of large scale development and infrastructure projects.

There is an opportunity for public health professionals to be more engaged in the process from the screening and scoping stages onwards, and to work closely with planners and EIA professionals. It is also important for local public health professionals to work with environmental health officers when engaging in the EIA process and for the relationship between EIA and Health Impact Assessment (HIA) to be clarified, as HIA involves a wider assessment of health issues and impacts. At a national level, Public Health England has a role to comment on scoping reports and Environmental Statements linked to nationally significant infrastructure projects.

The briefing can be found here.

New versions of Healthy Urban Planning Checklist and Rapid HIA Tool published

HUDU has published new versions of the Healthy Urban Planning Checklist and its Rapid Health Impact Assessment Tool. The new versions incorporate changes to relevant planning policy and other documents since they were first published in March 2014 and Jan 2013 respectively. One of the key changes is to update all the London Plan references to reflect the further alterations to the Plan adopted in March 2015. The Checklist and the Rapid HIA tool offer different ways of helping to promote healthy urban planning and mainstream health issues and impacts into the planning process depending on the scale and nature of development proposed. For more information visit the Health Impact Assessment page.