Local authorities all over Britain are planning to ban takeaway food outlets from setting up near schools, in a new attempt to help curb child obesity.
This summer, a judge ruled that Tower Hamlets Council in East London had 'acted unlawfully' when it allowed 'Fried & Fabulous' to open just 500 yards from a secondary school.
The ruling clarified that councils were within their rights to protect the health and wellbeing of schoolchildren by rejecting planning applications from takeaway outlets, and a survey has found that many councils are planning to adapt their planning policies accordingly.
Waltham Forest Council, also in East London, last year became the first local authority in the country to ban fast food outlets from opening within a 400m exclusion zone around schools, leisure centres and parks. Barking and Dagenham has made similar planning rules.And now dozens of other local authorities are adopting the same polices. More than half of 50 councils who were surveyed said they had already revised their planning rules or were in the process of looking at them again. Councillors in Medway, Kent, Birmingham, Hackney and Bristol are all considering the new measures.
Studies have shown how junk food outlets target pupils with child prices and multi-buy deals and promotions on products such as pies and pizza slices which drastically undercut prices in school canteens.
A separate study from London Metropolitan University involving pupils at two secondary schools found that youngsters were visiting local takeaways and convenience stores more than twice a day on average.
And recent research from the School Food Trust found that secondary schools have an average 23 junk food outlets in their neighbourhoods, with some surrounded by as many as 46.
While it welcomed the measures, the School Food Trust believes that these measures will take a long time to have an effect.
Changes in planning policies can only apply to applications for new outlets, although councils can act against existing firms which are operating without planning permission.
Sensible or silly? We want to hear what you think about these new measures.
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