Dr Mark Green, from the University of Liverpool’s Department of Geography and Planning, gave oral evidence to the Health & Social Care Committee as part of their Prevention in health and social care Inquiry.
Dr Green was asked to provide evidence to the Healthy Places workstream of the inquiry alongside Julia Thrift, Director of Healthier Place-making at the Town and Country Planning Association.
Steve Brine, MP for Winchester, chaired the session which lasted nearly two hours. Dr Green answered a range of questions from Committee members including providing evidence and examples of the links between health and place, how to achieve healthier neighbourhoods, the issue of skills in policy making, 15 minute cities, vertical farming and affordable food.
Dr Green used Wirral Waters developments in Birkenhead as a good example of a development linking housing, transports parks and green spaces. They also highlighted the need to maintain existing places, making sure we don’t lose vital green spaces and including local councils and communities in delivering policies.
Mark was able to highlight the opportunity offered by academic and public partnerships, showcasing their award winning Local Data Spaces project which helped to build analytical capacity in local authorities in responding to COVID-19.
Dr Green said: “It was an honour to be invited to give evidence at the Health and Social Care Committee for their inquiry on prevention.”
“We know that health and place are intrinsically linked. The UK has some of the widest geographical inequalities in Europe and part of this story is due to the widely different environments people live in. For example, the average UK citizen is just as close to their nearest fast food outlet as they are to their GP.”
“I welcome the UK Government prioritising how we can design healthier places to prevent these stark inequalities. It has been a privileged to play a small part in these discussions.”
“I hope that the health and social care select committee can provide tangible recommendations to the government on creating healthier places. We know that many features of places are modifiable – we can maintain greener environments, improve air quality, or build active travel infrastructure. These represent excellent value for money for improving health and wellbeing across the UK.”
You can watch Dr Green giving evidence at this link > Parliamentlive.tv – Health and Social Care Committee