Reuniting Planning and Health

Healthy Cities 21st Century

Resource 4: Opportunities to consider health through planning in Northern Ireland

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A healthy community is better able to take advantage of the economic, social and environmental opportunities which are open to it.’

Regional Development Strategy (RDS) 2035

At the time of preparing this resource the Northern Ireland planning system is in a state of flux. From April 2015 Northern Ireland will have 11 new district councils with additional powers, including planning. The Single Planning Policy Statement (SPPS) (currently in draft) will provide the policy framework for Local Development Frameworks developed by district councils. However, the current position is that until a new Local Development Framework is adopted by a council, the existing suite of Planning Policy Statements remains in force.

The existing policies provide opportunities for planners and health professionals to take coherent action, although they are not necessarily written using public health terminology. For example PPS1: General Principles refers to good design, mixed-use development and quality, which are key prerequisites of a healthy environment. Note that the draft SPPS provides a stronger commitment to improving health and wellbeing as a core planning principle.