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Hertfordshire County Council


The role of health and wellbeing in planningHow Public Health works with planning in Hertfordshire Health impact assessments


Our Public Health service has no statutory planning functions and is not a statutory consultee in the planning process. This means there's no legal requirement to consult Public Health on planning proposals.

Public Health has no statutory duty to respond to planning proposals or applications, but considers it important to engage with planning proposals and ensure they reflect our health and wellbeing priorities. This is reflected in our Public Health Strategy.

Public Health can't engage with every planning application, so it focuses on those it considers to be of sufficient size, scale or type of operation to potentially impact on the health of a population. Public Health may become aware of a planning application itself, or may be contacted by a planning authority or community group.

Public Health can:

  • engage in the planning process to inform planning policy development
  • respond to planning applications and planning policy consultations
  • make recommendations to planning authorities and developers on how to positively incorporate health and wellbeing into proposals.

Responses to planning proposals will be objective, considered, measured, balanced and informed by scientific evidence. Public Health's priority is promoting and protecting the health of Hertfordshire's residents.

Public Health does not have the power or duty to:

  • exercise any form of “call in” on an application or proposal
  • make a decision on a planning application
  • stop, suspend or rescind a planning application
  • enforce a planning condition
  • make requests for healthcare provision (such as GP surgeries and increased hospital capacity). This is the role of Hertfordshire’s Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS England.

Public Health will:

  • recommend that a health impact assessment (HIA) is undertaken for all major plans, policies and development proposals.
  • recommend that all plans, policies and development proposals have regards to our Planning, Health and Wellbeing Guidance.
  • if we consider it necessary, consult independent experts such as environmental scientists at Public Health England to help inform, advise or provide external review of our conclusions and advice.

To discuss a specific issue, email Public Health.


How we work with planning in Hertfordshire

Our Health and Wellbeing Planning Guidance sets out our expectations of developers in terms of the delivery of healthy development and communities.

This focusses on the principle of ‘designing in’ health and wellbeing as an essential part of the planning process, placing specific emphasis on active travel, multi-functional open space and high quality urban environments.

Health impact assessments (HIA)

Hertfordshire County Council Health Impact Assessment Position Statement – Outlines our stance on HIAs in relation to planning. It was produced by our Public Health department and Spatial Planning Unit.

It sets out clear guidance to planners and developers in the absence of national guidelines for HIAs. Our intention is to establish a consistent approach and increase the quality of HIAs submitted with planning applications.

Appendices, produced by the Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit:


For further information, please contact

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