This study examines whether there is active planning for health improvement in the English spatial planning system and how this varies across two regions using a combination of telephone surveys and focus group interviews in 2005 and 2010. The spatial planning profession was found to be ill-equipped to consider the health and well-being implications of its actions, whilst health professionals are rarely engaged and have limited understanding and aspirations when it comes to influencing spatial planning. Strategic Environmental Assessment was not considered to be successful in integrating health into spatial plans, given it was the responsibility of planners lacking the capacity to do so. For their part, health professionals have insufficient knowledge and understanding of planning and how to engage with it to be able to plan for health gains rather than simply respond to health impacts. HIA practice is patchy and generally undertaken by health professionals outside the statutory planning framework. Thus, whilst appropriate assessment tools exist, they currently lack a coherent context within which they can function effectively and the implementation of the Kiev protocol requiring the engagement of health professionals in SEA is not to likely improve the consideration of health in planning while there continues to be separation of functions between professions and lack of understanding of the other profession.
- Health planning
- Health impact assessment
- Health promotion
- Health improvement
- Strategic environmental assessment