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.