Health Impact Assessments

Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) enable health and wellbeing to be considered in detail as part of the development process, and are outlined as a requirement for major developments in the London Plan and the Local Plan. 

How HIAs can help

They are a useful tool to identify the health impacts of a proposed development and to outline recommendations to maximise the positive and minimise the negative impacts, while maintaining a focus on addressing health inequalities.

By highlighting health considerations, HIAs can add value to the planning process and support the wellbeing of the local population.

Guidance for developers

Currently all major developments are required to submit a HIA. HIAs that do not meet standards and are of poor quality may be rejected.

We have produced Health Impact Assessment guidance for developers which is related to the undertaking of HIAs in Wandsworth.

It is important that developers review and take note of the guidance document so that they are clear about requirements.

Public Health involvement in planning

The link between health and the built and natural environment are recognised in national, regional, and local policies such as the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF, 2021), London Plan (2021) and the draft Local Plan for Wandsworth (2021). Public Health and Planning have worked together in the development of the Local Plan including prioritisation of health and wellbeing policies. 

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA)

The need to support the health and wellbeing of the local population in Wandsworth, including development of a healthy environment, is outlined in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) which considers the health, care and wellbeing needs of the community.

There is a specific chapter in the JSNA on healthy places which describes how the built environment, places we live, work and play, as well as our natural environment and communities can affect our health and wellbeing.

Consulting on major developments

Public Health will only be consulted on major developments which could potentially impact on the health of the local population. Major developments are:

  • Residential and mixed-use developments of 10 or more dwellings
  • Creation or change of use of a commercial development, where the floorspace is 1,000 square metres or more
  • A non-residential development on a site of at least 1 hectare

Responses to planning proposals will be objective, considered, measured, balanced, and informed by evidence. Our priority is to promote and protect the health of Richmond's residents.

Public Health remit

Public Health do not deal with air quality, noise, or land contamination issues. However, Public Health and Environmental Health work closely together where there are specific issues related to health.

Public Health are involved in:

  • Engaging in the planning process to inform planning policy, including policies to support health and wellbeing
  • Responding to major planning applications which are likely to have significant impacts on the wellbeing of the local population
  • HIAs including providing advice to developers on requirements, assessments, and recommendations to the planning authority

Public Health does not have the power or duty to:

  • Refer any applications to the Mayor London or Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to take over a planning application for decision  
  • Make decisions on planning applications
  • Stop, suspend, or rescind a planning application
  • Enforce a planning condition
  • Make requests for healthcare provision (such as GP surgeries and increased hospital capacity). This is the role of South West London Integrated Care Board and local NHS trusts