Health Impact Assessment

We deliver Human Health EIA chapters and rapid Health Impact Assessments to assess the potential effects of a project on the local community.

Image credit: Wolters Partner, Coesfeld, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What is a Health Impact Assessment?

We assess the potential health impacts that might arise from development to show the effect they will have on local communities and suggest recommendations to maximise positive impacts and minimise negative ones.

National and local planning policies (including the National Planning Policy Framework and the Planning Practice Guidance) have been placing greater focus on supporting healthy lifestyles and safe communities, hence HIAs are increasingly needed and taken into consideration within the planning process. A HIA helps to support planning applications as they set out local health and well-being needs and address how they will be potentially impacted by projects or developments.

Learn more about the benefits of an economic impact assessment >

The Importance of Understanding Health Impacts

Identifying the health impacts of a project/development is important to determine beneficial and negative factors that affect the local community. There are a number of health and wellbeing indicators which are assessed such as: age, unemployment, qualifications, life expectancy, mental health, asthma/lung disease. A number of wider determinants of health are also assessed which include:

  • Housing design and affordability
  • Access to health and social care services
  • Access to open space and nature
  • Air quality, noise, and neighbourhood amenity
  • Accessibility and active travel
  • Crime reduction and community safety
  • Access to healthy food
  • Access to work and training
  • Social cohesion and inclusive design
  • Minimising the use of resources
  • Climate change

HIAs are able to clearly communicates health benefits of a project/development and enhances communication with planning authorities to support the local community.

Learn how a health impact assessment helped support a planning applications for Bridgemere Land Ltd. >

Our Methodology for Health Impact Assessments

Our HIA assessment utilises best practice methods, latest-available baseline data and project-specific data to identify potential impacts associated to local health and wellbeing. We conduct evidence appraisals of the local policy environment of the project/development and produce a profile of local health conditions which inform our assessment. We also deliver an evidence review of the possible wider determinants of health that are relevant/specific to the project/development.

Our assessments helps to identify positive impacts associated with the development and delivers recommendations to improve health outcomes in the local area where mitigation need has been identified.

A broad outline of the HIA process is:

  • Screening: Determining whether a HIA is needed and justified subject to anticipation of health impacts on population groups.
  • Scoping: Identifying the potential health impacts and target population groups to assess.
  • Assessing: Looking at the significance of health impacts, through qualitative and quantitative assessments of the costs and benefits, identifying how health varies in different circumstances, across different populations and any alternatives.
  • Reporting: Engaging all relevant stakeholders and recommending preventative and mitigation actions to deliver the greatest possible health gain.
  • Monitoring and evaluating: setting out processes and resources for the local authority and/or with the planning applicant to undertake and act on results of regular monitoring.

Service Lead

Joshua Harding-Jones

Senior Consultant

  • Cambridge Discovery Campus: Socio-economic Impacts

    HJA were commissioned by Bridgemere Land Ltd to support a planning application for a proposed innovation centre – the Cambridge Discovery Campus (CDC) – in Hauxton, South Cambridgeshire. Outline planning approval was granted in April 2024.

  • Delivery of Socio-Economic Impact Assessments: Cheltenham retail and mixed-use development

    HJA supported a successful planning application for a food retail and mixed use development at Grovefield Way, Cheltenham through delivering a Socio-economic Impact Assessment. The Impact Assessment formed part of the development's wider Environmental Impact Assessment.

  • Aldi Store Gillingham, Dorset

    HJA supported a successful planning appeal for the development of an Aldi Store in Gillingham, North Dorset.