Worcestershire County Council's Strategic Planning and Environmental Policy team has been named as a finalist at the Royal Town Planning Institute Awards.
The RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence are the most established and respected awards in the UK planning industry. Running for over 40 years, they celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society.
The award nomination recognises a joint venture by Planning and Public Health at Worcestershire County Council, in partnership with Worcester City Council, Malvern Hills District Council and Wychavon District Council to harness the power of planning to reduce health inequalities in South Worcestershire.
The project involved delivery of opportunities under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which gave upper-tier local authorities new duties to improve the public's health. The project sought first to identify the health issues facing the county through the production of a 'Planning for Health' research paper, and identifying further actions to address health issues through the planning system.
It has also seen the secondment of a planning professional within the Public Health Directorate, as well as implementation of Health Impact Assessments and consideration of health in planning applications.
Natasha Friend, Principal Planner at Worcestershire County Council, said: "This award nomination recognises the important work we've done with in partnership with the three South Worcestershire councils to develop a holistic approach to tackling health inequalities.
"The work is playing an integral role in tackling health inequalities, and is resulting in fundamental changes to health and planning in the county."
Frances Howie, Director of Public Health at Worcestershire County Council, added: "People's health is the consequence of where they live as well as of the health services they use. We have a great opportunity to build good health into our built environment and this approach will not only improve people's health outcomes, but also reduce pressures on our hard-pressed NHS."
RTPI President Ian Tant MRTPI said: “Many congratulations to all this year’s finalists, who demonstrate outstanding contributions to planning, producing a positive effect on our communities, the economy and the environment. They have shown how planners can use their passion and skills to meet needs, deliver high quality design and tackle environmental challenges – they should all be proud of their role as a force for good in society.”
The winners will be announced during a ceremony held at Milton Court Concert Hall in central London on 24 April 2019.
The RTPI champions the power of planning in creating prosperous places and vibrant communities. It is the only body in the UK that confers Chartered status to planners, the highest professional qualification sought after by employers. It supports its members – over 25,000 worldwide - throughout their careers.