Professor Jamie Pearce provides evidence to Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

In evidence to the Scottish Parliament, Professor Jamie Pearce has highlighted the opportunity for the National Planning Framework to help address public health challenges in Scotland.

27 January 2022

SPECTRUM researcher, Professor Jamie Pearce, has provided evidence to the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee as part of the development of the Scottish Government’s fourth National Planning Framework.

The National Planning Framework sets out the Scottish Government’s proposed long-term plan for how Scotland’s places and environments will be planned and designed until 2045.

Health and place

Based at the University of Edinburgh, Professor Pearce’s research explores how physical and social environments can influence population health, including how aspects of the natural and built environment can work to improve health.

In his evidence, Professor Pearce noted that the planning system is integral to helping improve the health of the Scottish population and reducing inequalities, with the ability to shape local environments to promote healthy behaviours.

A significant opportunity

Despite a welcome focus on health in the National Planning Framework, there is an opportunity to go further in tackling the public challenges caused by unhealthy commodities, such as alcohol and tobacco.

The availability of such products can have a huge influence on communities’ health and health inequalities, and currently the policy levers to affect availability are very limited. This could be addressed through potential steps in the planning process.

I very much welcome a focus on the planning system and the significant opportunities that it offers us to improve the health of everyone in Scotland ... Alcohol and tobacco are two of the big health challenges in Scotland … But the availability of tobacco and alcohol are not represented within this document. This is an important part of the planning system to make sure that we do support our communities to have those healthy lifestyles that we all aspire to … There are some really good opportunities here to make significant difference.

Watch a short clip from the session

Further information

A recording of the full session is available on the Scottish Parliament website

Watch the full session [starts at 10.55]

The fourth National Planning Framework is out for consultation with a closing date of 31 March 2022

Read more about the National Planning Framework

Professor Jamie Pearce leads SPECTRUM Work Package 5: Shaping The Environment

Find out more about SPECTRUM research in this area