Alconbury airfield development: HIA and evaluation of the HIA
The proposed Alconbury airfield development was for a large road and rail freight distribution centre. The Cambridgeshire Health Authority chose Health Impact Assessment to respond to local concerns about health, and to fulfil a statutory obligation.
Initial screening for potential health impacts identified positive and negative consequences for human health and well-being.
The purpose of the HIA was to “identify positive and negative health impacts of the development within the resources available to the group, and produce a report to form the basis of the Health Authority submission at the public enquiry”.
The Alconbury Health Impact Group (AHIG) was formed in January 2000. Its membership included Health Authority and NHS representation, the Developer (ADL), an opposition group (HUNTSNAP), Parish Councils, community groups and local people. A range of expertise was drawn upon during the drafting of the report, as well as literature searches and public involvement techniques.
The following issues were assessed: transport, noise and vibration, air quality, accident risks – construction and road traffic accidents, employment and economic growth, flooding, contaminants, visual impact, as well as impact on emergency and health services.
The following year, an external evaluation of the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) was produced, to evaluate the HIA methodology and review the evaluation process. Most of the key features recommended in the audit protocol were evidenced. The methods used were found to be inclusive with a wide involvement from stakeholders who produced a practical evidence-based report. Limitations were largely around project management and lack of experience.
Author of the evaluation
Owner contact details
Cambridgeshire Health Authority