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Health and Wellbeing

Chapter 17: Health and Wellbeing of the PEIR considers the effects of the Project on health and wellbeing and draws from other technical topic assessments (most notably: traffic and transport; air quality; noise and vibration; and socio-economic effects).

The assessment applies a broad socio-economic model of health that encompasses conventional health impacts such as disease, accidents and risk, along with wider socio-economic health determinants vital to achieving good health and wellbeing.

Environmental health determinants (such as changes to air quality and noise exposure) are likely to have a more local impact where potential change in hazard exposure is limited by physical dispersion characteristics. As a result, the local study area for health-specific baseline statistics relating to population and human health effects focuses on the local authority districts of Crawley, Reigate and Banstead, Tandridge, Mid Sussex, Horsham and Mole Valley, using regional and national averages as comparators.

The socio-economic health determinant study area remains consistent with the largest study area and comprises the County areas of East Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Brighton and Hove (five authorities area).

The desk study approach to defining the baseline conditions involved collation and interpretation of published demographic, socio-economic and existing public health and healthcare capacity data. Reports such as the relevant Joint Strategic Needs Assessment reports have been analysed to provide additional context on local health circumstances, inequalities and public health priorities (health protection, health promotion and health care). These reports partly draw from the open source websites and datasets detailed above.

The age structure in the local and wider study areas is relatively top-heavy, with a higher proportion of the population aged 5 to 14 years and aged 40 to 80+ years, and a lower proportion of the population aged 15 to 34 when compared to the national average. Total population growth in the local and wider study areas between the years of 2011 and 2019 have exceeded the national average by 0.7% and 0.6%, respectively. 

Male and female life expectancy and healthy life expectancy (ie the amount of years spent in good health) in the local study area are both higher than the regional and national averages. Life expectancy and healthy life expectancy for males and females in the wider study area are also higher than the national average but are more comparable to the regional average.

The existing airport has an airport based paramedic on-site between the hours of 06.00 and 00.00. The paramedic is supported by 290 staff members who are trained to provide first aid. This figure excludes first aiders located in every commercial outlet with between 5-50 members of staff. In addition, there is a total of 56 Automated External Defibrillators located within the airport. As such, the airport is well prepared to respond, treat, and if required call for emergency assistance from the South East Coast Ambulance Trust. An example of the existing effectiveness of treatment is that Automated External Defibrillators treatment success rate is more than six times greater than the national average.

Generally, mitigation focusses on limiting environmental precursors to preclude adverse health outcomes. As a result, any adopted mitigation measures are detailed within the relevant topic sections, including the Code of Construction Practice.

On-site health care would be provided for construction workers to avoid any potential adverse impact on the local health care system. As mentioned previously, enhancement measures implemented as part of the Project would include a series of training, employment and procurement initiatives that would aid in addressing existing local barriers to a range of employment opportunities locally.

Overall, no significant health and wellbeing effects (adverse or beneficial) have been identified during the initial construction phase for the range of determinants assessed. Potential health and wellbeing effects from changes in environmental health determinants assessed (ie air quality and transport nature/flow rate) are considered to be minor adverse on the basis that impacts would generally be temporary, intermittent and managed through the implementation of best practice construction methods. In addition, health and wellbeing effects from changes in exposure to temporary lighting have been explored but predicted to have no change on the basis that no residential receptors would be impacted.

The first full year of runway opening (2029) and the interim assessment year (2032) would include a combination of construction and operation-related health and wellbeing effects. However, health and wellbeing effects associated with environmental determinants (ie air quality, noise and transport) would remain not significant. Similarly, there would be no significant change in exposure to temporary or permanent lighting for residential receptors. Health and wellbeing effects from changes in lifestyle factors would remain minor beneficial and not significant in both assessment scenarios.

The significance of health and wellbeing effects from changes in socio-economic factors (ie employment) would increase from minor beneficial in the first full year of opening (2029) to moderate beneficial in the interim assessment year (2032), which is considered significant in EIA terms. This is primarily due to the magnitude of indirect and induced job opportunities expected to be provided.

Finally, the design year (2038) is an operation only scenario. Health and wellbeing effects associated with environmental determinants would remain not significant. Operational employment opportunities (direct, indirect and induced) would reach their peak and continue to have moderate beneficial health and wellbeing effects, which are considered to be significant. There would no longer be a construction workforce, so any changes to healthcare capacity would be limited to emergency call outs associated with increased passenger throughput which would not be significant on the basis that any change is intended to be managed internally.

Based on the information available regarding other proposed developments at this stage, no potential for significant cumulative effects has been identified.

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