Healthy Streets in the London Plan

London plan pic

‘Use the Healthy Streets Approach to prioritise health in all planning decisions’

This week the 25 year spatial development strategy for London, the London Plan, was published for consultation. The Healthy Streets Approach is a key theme, recognising the central role that the planning system plays in creating a healthy city.

The relationship between Healthy Streets and spatial planning was set out earlier this year in  Healthy Streets for London:

“Developing housing around stations and improving connections to town centres will mean more people have the things they need within walking or cycling distance, while destinations further afield will be easily accessible by public transport. By establishing clear policies in the London Plan and by working with developers and local authorities, we can ensure that new development and regeneration embeds the Healthy Streets Approach from the outset.”

“… embedding the Healthy Streets Approach here will ensure that it becomes an integral part of future land use planning policy. Land owners and developers will be required to contribute to the health of their neighbourhoods when planning and building their developments. City planners will be required to prioritise walking, cycling and public transport use through high-density, mixed-use developments with good public transport access. The London Plan will ensure that the health and wellbeing of Londoners are essential considerations as the city develops in the future.”

Given this commitment it is fantastic to see that up front the London Plan makes it a requirement that those involved in planning and development must ‘Use the Healthy Streets Approach to prioritise health in all planning decisions’

The transport chapter starts provides a more detailed description of Healthy Streets and set out the Healthy Streets Policy T2:

A Development proposals and Development Plans should deliver patterns of land use that facilitate residents making shorter, regular trips by walking or cycling.

B Development Plans should:

1) promote and demonstrate the application of the Mayor’s Healthy Streets Approach to: improve health and reduce health inequalities; reduce car dominance, ownership and use, road danger, severance, vehicle emissions and noise; increase walking, cycling and public transport use; improve street safety, comfort, convenience and amenity; and support these outcomes through sensitively designed freight facilities.

2) identify opportunities to improve the balance of space given to people to dwell, walk, cycle, and travel on public transport and in essential vehicles, so space is used more efficiently and streets are greener and more pleasant.

C In Opportunity Areas and other growth areas, new and improved walking, cycling and public transport networks should be planned at an early stage, with delivery phased appropriately to support mode shift towards active and public transport travel. Designs for new or enhanced streets must demonstrate how they deliver against the ten Healthy Streets Indicators.

D Development proposals should:

1) demonstrate how they will deliver improvements that support the ten Healthy Streets Indicators in line with Transport for London guidance.

2) reduce the dominance of vehicles on London’s streets whether stationary or moving.

3) be permeable by foot and cycle and connect to local walking and cycling networks as well as public transport.

This policy will mean planners and developers will have to carefully consider health and health inequalities in their decision making. They will need to demonstrate they are delivering improvements against the 10 Healthy Streets Indicators. Many other policies in the Plan will also serve to deliver the Healthy Streets Approach. There are important policies in the transport chapter on car and cycle parking, freight and servicing. More broadly policies throughout the plan will influence how London functions and its ability to deliver the 10 Healthy Streets Indicators. For example mixed landuse, higher residential density, social infrastructure such as community health services and public toilets, active frontage of buildings and protection of heritage all contribute.

Coordinated efforts are needed by all those who have a role in shaping the city and this plan will be extremely valuable in making it happen in London.

If you would like, you can share your views on the London Plan here 

Go here to learn more about how the Healthy Streets Approach is being embedded in policy