Regulator tells ESRI how good planning can influence health and well-being

Planning at a local level must be aware of addressing issues such as access to green spaces, availability of recreational activities and proximity to places of employment, the Planning Regulator, Niall Cussen has said today.

Addressing the Economic and Social Research Institute of Ireland’s (ESRI) conference; “Value of the local environment for health and well-being: planning implications,” the regulator outlined the growing awareness of the significance that spatial and physical planning can have on people’s health and well-being.

Speaking at the event, Mr Cussen said;

“Planning at local level is becoming more conscious of the need to address inequalities in the quality of places from a health and well-being perspective.

People want to live closer to physical amenities, employment, cultural and heritage attractions. They want to avoid long car-based commutes so that they have more time for families. I think that the popularity of TV programmes like “Operation Transformation” signal the societal wish for healthier living.

By ensuring that development plans include elements such as adequate green spaces, housing which is closer to employment sources and good public transport links, we can help people live better, healthier lives.”

Mr Cussen also pointed out that:

“every local authority in Ireland will soon be reviewing their own development plans and local plans, inviting ideas and proposals from the public. This will be a tremendous opportunity for the public to have its say in ensuring a greener community and place-centred approach”.

In addition, the OPR will conduct independent assessment of these statutory plans to ensure they properly taken on board national and regional planning objectives

Also speaking at today’s conference were: Dr Gianluca Grilli (ESRI), Prof. Mark Scott (University College Dublin), Dr Ronan Lyons (Trinity College Dublin), Tom Gillespie (NUI Galway), Dr Seán Lyons (ESRI) and Dr Matt Crowe (Director of the Office of Evidence and Assessment, Environmental Protection Agency).

Caption: left-right: Professor Alan Barrett, ESRI and Niall Cussen, Planning Regulator