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Appendix 1

Health Impact Assessment Screening Guide

The issues and questions included in this screening assessment can be used as a guide to undertake an HIA for Major proposals as required by LDP Policy HC1. They may also be used to consider whether non-major proposals should include HIA.

The issues and questions should also assist the HIA scoping stage. In many cases, these may be adequate as a basis for an HIA submission to accompany a planning application. However, the scoping exercise may also determine that a more detailed HIA is required.

The issues and questions raised are purely to assist consideration of potential health impacts and should be tailored to take account of the development proposed. The issues/questions are not exhaustive and, conversely, not all will be of relevance to all proposals.

HIA matters can be considered as part of any Pre-Application Discussion (PAD) with the Planning Service.
Whilst HIA primarily relates to Policy HC1, health and wellbeing will be influenced by many policies in the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy (May 2023) and applicants should also consider the LDP’s overall aims and policy objectives.
Note that other assessments or statements may be required to address other policy provisions in the LDP Plan Strategy.

The Planning Service’s Application Checklist sets out the information that is required when a planning application is submitted.

 Theme Health Issue(s) Key Question
Accessibility and Inclusive Design Good design means that everyone has the potential to benefit from a building, place and environment. Conversely, poor accessibility can exclude many groups, having an impact on physical and mental health.

How will the proposals promote inclusive design to ensure the development is accessible to all? This may include particular age groups and those with disabilities or particular needs.

Cross reference may be made to the design and access statement where relevant.

Open and green space

Access to open space has a positive impact on health and wellbeing. Living close to areas of green space, parks, woodland, and other open space can improve physical and mental health regardless of social background.

Access to nature and biodiversity contributes to
mental health and wellbeing. New development can improve existing, or create new,
habitats or use green design solutions such as green roofs (living walls) to enhance biodiversity.

Does the development proposal encourage and promote healthy play and exercise?

Do the proposals include open space areas to meet the needs of occupants?

Are there opportunities to enhance connectivity to existing nearby open and green space areas?

Will the development result in the loss of open space?

Does the proposal contribute to nature conservation and biodiversity?

Public services Population increases associated with new developments and other demographic changes can increase pressure on public services which are important for both physical and mental health (e.g., education, health, cultural and leisure services).

Could the proposal improve access to local services (e.g., through an improved walking route)?

Are there opportunities for enhancement of local services?

How accessible is the site to public transport?

Physical activity

Regular physical activity has been shown to mitigate the health impacts of obesity as well as reduce the risk of various conditions including cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It has been shown to benefit mental health.

Opportunities for physical activity can exist within a building itself, for example welcoming and accessible stairways can offer an alternative to the lift.

Good, well-lit routes to local shops and services can encourage people to walk or cycle short trips and connect to other walking routes and cycle lanes. Open space, amenity space and play space are also important in encouraging physical activity and as places of relaxation.

How will the development promote physical activity (internally and/or externally)?

What are the opportunities and/or barriers?

What facilities for cyclists will be available (including nearby cycle routes as well as cycle storage)?

Are there any barriers to accessing open space or sports centres locally?

What open space/play space/amenity space will be provided on-site?

Are there opportunities to create or improve access to greenways and other recreational/active travel facilities?

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