Opportunities to integrate health into other assessments

Health in environmental assessments

Environmental impact assessment

Environmental impact assessment (EIA) seeks to ensure that the environmental effects of a proposed development are fully considered, together with the economic or social benefits of the development, before the planning application is determined.  As part of EIA, concerns for human health are to be considered however in reality they are assessed poorly or not at all.

Strategic environmental assessment

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) allows the identification and prevention of possible environmental effects from the start and enables environmental objectives to be considered on a par with socioeconomic ones. SEA requires explicit consideration of significant impacts on human health when a development is proposed. SEA is also undertaken much earlier in the decision-making process than EIA, so is therefore a key tool to prevent ill health and tackle health inequalities. IPH has undertaken research to determine the extent human health is considered as part of SEAs.  The research highlights that across the island of Ireland health is not routinely considered as part of the SEA process.  The full research report, findings and recommendations are available here.

Integrated impact assessment

Northern Ireland has developed an integrated impact assessment (IIA) which seeks to support government departments and other public sector bodies to take forward in one exercise a range of policy proofing processes.  IIA has recently been renamed as the Policy Toolkit.  Health is identified as a key assessment.