Housing sector urged to prioritise healthy homes

The Healthy Homes Pledge launches today in a bid to protect millions of people from harmful housing conditions. Organisations from across the built environment sector are pledging their support for healthy homes and demanding to see clear political commitment to ensure that all new homes are healthy and secure and that more genuinely affordable homes are built.

Poor quality homes are being built under current planning policies and regulations, with at least one in ten people in the UK living in sub-standard homes. New homes are not legally required to meet national space standards and over 91% don’t have basic accessibility features. Buildings converted into homes under Permitted Development Rights don’t even have to meet minimum rules on structural safety, damp, accessibility, or overheating.

Healthy homes radically reduce costs to the NHS and to wider society. People living in sub-standard housing are twice as likely to have poor health, costing the NHS and wider society at least £18 billion every year.

The Heathy Homes Pledge asks individuals and organisations across the built environment sector to commit to going beyond bare minimum housing protections and promote better outcomes for people and the environment. It requires signatories to adopt 12 ‘Healthy Homes Principles’, a benchmark for new housing developments to secure higher quality homes that support residents’ health and wellbeing.

The pledge is part of the TCPA’s Campaign for Healthy Homes, which is funded by the Nationwide Foundation. Several organisations have already pledged their support, including: Alliance for Sustainable Building Products, the Chartered Institute for Housing, CPRE: the countryside charity, Good Homes Alliance, Housing LIN, Quality of Life Foundation, Renters Rights London, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), TrustMark and Wates.

Helen Bunch, Managing Director, Wates Residential said: 

“The Healthy Homes Principles align really well with Wates’ own values and so I am incredibly proud that we have become the first major development partner to make this pledge. Homes must be places where people can thrive, and we have long been committed to ensuring the wellbeing of the communities and residents we work with. Signing the Healthy Homes pledge underscores that commitment and I hope that other companies across the industry will follow our lead to ensure that all homes are healthy homes. 

Jonathan Lewis, Programme Manager at the Nationwide Foundation, said:

“A decent, safe and secure home is critical to every aspect of our lives – it profoundly impacts our physical health, mental wellbeing and overall quality of life. As proud funders and supporters of TCPA’s Campaign for Healthy Homes, we are committed to ensuring everyone has access to a home that nurtures their health and wellbeing, allows them to thrive in school or at work, and that provides a refuge from the pressures of everyday life.”

Rosalie Callway, Campaign for Healthy Homes manager, TCPA, said:

“We urgently need  more homes. But it’s not good enough to just look at increasing supply. We have to get the quality of our homes right. The current system is failing too many people. We are seeing far too many tragic cases of people housed in conditions that are making them sick. A Healthy Home is safe, secure and connected. Everyone deserves to live in a healthy home and we call on the entire sector to get behind this pledge to deliver real change.”

Portia Msimang of Renters Rights London said:

Every week, Renters’ Rights London hears from people living with hazardous disrepair. That could be water ingress, dripping into a socket, rendering electrical circuits unsafe so unusable. Repeat infestations of vermin where there are gaps in skirting boards or holes in walls are even more common. Then, the hard to heat buildings which leave families paying ‘market rents’ and retired elders suffering in cold, damp homes. Home is deeply personal so living in poor conditions affects renters’ physical and emotional health most adversely.  Last Autumn, the GLA found that poor housing in London cost the NHS alone around £100m per year.

Richard Broad, Projects and Communications Manager for the Good Homes Alliance, said:

We wholeheartedly support the aims of the Healthy Homes Pledge. Everyone has the right to live in a healthy and comfortable home which is free of harmful damp and mould and is resilient to climate change. The Pledge builds upon the important work of the TCPA, Good Homes Alliance and others in industry to accelerate the delivery of affordable, high-quality and healthy homes for all.”

Daniel Black, Programme Director, TRUUD research consortium, said:

“Our health has long been impacted by the quality of our local environment. The challenge now is to prevent avoidable non-communicable diseases, which are linked to both our local and global environment. We want to help government and industry make healthy homes and places by prioritising planetary health from the earliest possible stages of the development process.”

Jeremy Porteus, CEO of Housing LIN, said:

“We are proud to give our support to the Healthy Homes Pledge. To aid policy formation, we are committed to evidencing the individual and community benefits of healthy homes and neighbourhoods for healthier lives.”

Sign up to the Healthy Homes Pledge here.

Share this post


Related posts

The seven deadly mistakes of planning reform

As we approach the next general election, the TCPA’s Director of Policy Hugh Ellis reflects on the biggest mistakes of…