Public health and spatial planning

The health and wellbeing of individuals and communities is affected by a wide range of factors including the built and natural environments within which people live work and play.

Spatial planning and transport planning can influence these environments to make a positive contribution to a number of public health issues such as air quality, physical inactivity, social isolation and obesity.

Planning policy

The National Planning Policy Framework (external link) states that planning policies should "enable and support healthy lifestyles, especially where this would address identified local health and well-being needs – for example through the provision of safe and accessible green infrastructure, sports facilities, local shops, access to healthier food, allotments and layouts that encourage walking and cycling."

Lancashire County Council's director of public health, through the Health Equity, Welfare and Partnerships Service, is working with Lancashire's local planning authorities (which sit within district councils) and Lancashire County Council Transport planners to address local health issues through the provision of relevant evidence and advice.

We can't advise on every planning application, so our main focus is to recommend policies at a strategic level which will promote health and wellbeing. We also support the local planning authorities by putting forward public health advice throughout the local plan consultations, and appearing at local plan hearings to give evidence and justification for our recommendations.

We have completed a number of public health advisory notes aimed at local planners and decision makers.

Public health advice

Our advisory notes have been drafted on behalf of the director of public health and wellbeing and seek to address specific issues which can be influenced by the planning process.

The public health advisory note: Hot Food Takeaways and Spatial Planning (PDF 2MB) is concerned with the increasing number of fast food outlets across Lancashire and the impact that widespread access to unhealthy food is having on our obesity levels.

Active Design and Spatial Planning (PDF 1MB) has also be produced to promote Active Design principles, which were developed by Sport England and Public Health England with the intention of creating environments that enable and encourage physical activity.

The Healthy High Streets Discussion Paper (PDF 2 MB) does not make specific policy recommendations, but aims to promote discussion to explore how communities, businesses, policy makers and others can collectively work towards creating healthier high streets across Lancashire, highlighting evidence that is available to support them in doing so.