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RTPI: Health guidance should stress need to reduce air pollution

Words: Laura Edgar

Measures to reduce air pollution should be encouraged over those that avoid it, says the RTPI.

In its response to draft guidance from public health body the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the institute also said siting buildings away from busy roads would continue to encourage car-based approaches to urban design rather than walking and cycling.

This, the institute said, increases pollution generated by vehicles and runs contrary to best practice urban design.

NICE provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care. It is currently consulting on draft guidance on outdoor air quality and health. It is due to be published in June 2017.

The guidance should facilitate high-density development on main roads with good transport connections and focus on reducing pollution generated by cars and other sources, according to the RTPI.

However, it has welcomed the guidance, which the institute said affirms the link between planning and environmental and public health.

The institute has suggested that the guidance should include best practice examples of new development which have been proved to help residents reduce motorised travel or protect them from exposure to air pollution in high-density environments.

The RTPI has also recommended:

  • Locating new development close to existing towns and jobs rather than poorly connected isolated places.

  • Locating schools away from busy roads but near sustainable modes of transport, such as rail and cycling so that children don’t always have to be driven.

The RTPI’s response can be found in full here (pdf).

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