Savills plc

11/02/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/02/2021 03:29

In plain English: Health Impact Assessment (HIA)

There are several factors which influence health and wellbeing. These include environmental factors (such as air quality and noise), social factors (such as the accessibility of local amenities, opportunities for physical activity and maintenance of social networks) and economic factors (such as being in good-quality and consistent employment).

HIA is used to investigate how predicted changes in environmental, social and economic factors associated with a proposed project will affect people's health and wellbeing. In addition to investigating, addressing and assessing the potential negatives, HIA seeks to identify and communicate potential positive impacts.

HIA can also be applied to investigate and address community risk perceptions, explaining how potential hazards are addressed through the regulatory assessment process to prevent and manage risk, and setting any residual risk into context.

Mitigation measures and monitoring typically focus on early indications and warning signs, thereby enabling intervention prior to any adverse impacts. HIA can also be used to address underlying issues that might result in a disproportionate outcome or widen inequality, and inform actions that enhance opportunities that will improve health, and facilitate healthy, vibrant and cohesive communities, reducing, removing and delaying the need for clinical intervention and care.

The single most important stage to setting a robust yet proportionate HIA, maximising the health promotion opportunities and facilitating collaboration with health stakeholders, is scoping. This ensures the scope, focus, methods and approach are appropriate, geared to the decision making process it is intended to inform, sets clear objectives and confirms the necessary outputs. Effective scoping delivers objective and process-led HIAs that will stand public and planning scrutiny.

Further information

Contact Tara Barratt