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Health Impact Assessments and their Importance in Planning

RCA’s Sian Griffiths and Phil Deeley recently completed a course in specialist Health Impact Assessment (HIA) training provided by Dr Marcus Chilaka of GHEM Consultants.  Marcus has significant background experience in the Health sector; a former lecturer in Environmental Health at the University of Salford, he moved into health and HIA consultancy - offering valuable support both in the UK and across the globe.  Marcus’ expertise in the subject matter has provided Sian and Phil with an excellent insight into the strategy and delivery of HIA.    

The ability to understand and deliver HIAs is an increasingly important tool for planners, and is often being requested as part of the validation process for large scale or complex planning applications.  Elsewhere on the content, it is commonplace for HIA to be incorporated within the more familiar EIA process. 

As with EIAs, the process starts with a screening and scoping procedure; for a successful HIA, it is important to identify the key factors that determine health, and in particular, how they interrelate with the planning system. 

While a detailed understanding of relevant guidance and literature is important in undertaking HIAs, the methodology involved also incorporates detailed community and stakeholder engagement.  This ensures that local knowledge and community concerns are factored into the appraisal and subsequent recommendations.

Rather than being a tool to block appropriate developments, HIAs are a method of delivering truly sustainable development.  The recommendations that arise from the process are designed to be realistic and appropriate.  RCA Regeneration’s background in planning and development viability can ensure that the recommendations are also cost-effective.  

For further information about HIAs and how they can positively influence the planning process, please contact Sian (siangriffiths@rcaregeneration.co.uk) or Phil (philipdeeley@rcaregeneration.co.uk) on 01905 887 686.

 

Philip Deeley

Principal Planning Consultant

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