IPH welcomes the opportunity to respond to the consultation on the National Planning Framework held by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (ROI). Spatial planning policy impacts on health in many ways; The National Planning Framework provides an opportunity to initiate a more health-oriented spatial planning approach. To support this, our response focused on issues we feel need to be taken into consideration to maximise health and wellbeing opportunities.
- Spatial planning policy impacts on health in many ways; the National Planning Framework has a pivotal role to play in ensuring that the health and wellbeing of people across Ireland are central to future development.
- IPH would welcome a requirement under the National Planning Framework for regional and local planning authorities to work with public health leads and health organisations to help ensure planning processes take into account opportunities and barriers to improving health and wellbeing and creating healthier communities.
- The National Planning Framework provides an opportunity to address the impact of the physical environment on obesity through three domains: Facilities for physical activity; Land use and transport policy and practice and; A food environment that supports access to healthy, fresh and nutritious foods.
- As well as the broad physical activity measures needed to tackle the obesogenic environment, the National Planning Framework provides an opportunity to consider actions at national and local authority level with regard to incorporating physical activity into planning, development and design of the built and natural environments.
- IPH recommends that the National Planning Framework commits to playing its part in achieving the goals of government policy on reducing alcohol-related harm.
- IPH welcomes the recognition in the National Planning Framework of the links between health and wellbeing and place but calls for a more holistic approach whereby positive mental health is integrated throughout the Framework.
- The National Planning Framework should broaden its recognition of the role of spatial planning in supporting population health and wellbeing. Policies and priorities for action within the NPF should articulate health objectives in a holistic and coherent way. Moreover potential health impacts of policies should be routinely conducted using robust and appropriate evidence and approaches. Future planning policies should recognise and address the potential health impacts of land use and community design in an integrated way. While there is growing recognition of the benefits of active travel in helping to achieve goals across a range of sectors including health, environment and transport, the mismatch between economic, transport and housing policy has created unhealthy and unsustainable patterns of car dependency for a significant proportion of the population.
- The National Planning Framework presents an opportunity to contribute to changes in the social as well as physical environment by improving the liveability of streets and neighbourhoods. IPH recommends that future planning polices to protect, enhance and maintain both the natural and built environment consider and include the added value to health of such policies.
- IPH calls for greater recognition of the distributional impacts of planning policies on the health of different groups within the population.
- IPH welcomes the proposal within the National Planning Framework of an interdependent approach between rural and urban areas and agree for the need to balance development with the protection of the natural and built environment.