§ Norman Baker
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms exist to assess(a) the health benefits and (b) the potential savings for the NHS in the regulatory impact assessments undertaken by (i) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and (ii) Department of Trade and Industry on proposed environmental protection measures. 
§ Mr. Hutton
[holding answer 23 February 2004]I understand all regulatory impact assessments (RIAs) undertaken by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department for724W Trade and Industry include details, where appropriate, of not only the obvious costs and benefits of the proposal but also the wider economic, social and environmental impacts. This includes health benefits and, where appropriate, public sector impacts, including savings. Information regarding the costs and benefits analysis of policy proposals is contained in the Cabinet Office guidance, Better Policy Making: A Guide To Regulatory Impact Assessment.
Within DEFRA, use of the integrated policy appraisal screening tool is also encouraged, which provides a checklist of questions on potential impacts of a proposed policy, including a question on access to National Health Service services.
Analytical work within DEFRA also covers the quantification and valuation of health benefits and costs to inform policy making and feed directly into the RIA process. For example, considerable work has been undertaken on quantifying and valuing the health benefits of improved air quality, on valuing the benefits of improvements to bathing water quality and on valuing the "intangible" impacts of flooding, that is the health and stress effects associated with flooding.
DEFRA will be shortly issuing further guidance to operating authorities on the application of the results of research on the health and stress impacts of flooding for use in project appraisal.