British Food campaign group Sustain has called on the London Government to introduce planning policies that would restrict fast food outlets opening near schools in the future.
Sustain claimed new hot food takeaways will be springing up over the next ten years.
The organisation, which works to improve food in Britain through a number of directives, claimed it is too easy for takeaways to open near schools and says local authorities lack the appropriate powers to limit where they go.
In a new report, Sustain said fast food giants such as McDonald’s and KFChave considerable expansion plans, which go against the Government’s ambitions to halve child obesity by 2030.
Planning policies to restrict new hot food takeaways near schools are one of the few concrete ways local authorities have to stop their areas becoming even more saturated with unhealthy food.
Yet even these tools are coming under attack, with local authorities lacking capacity to provide adequate evidence to stand up to the resources of multinational chains.
Unlike Government’s aims to halve child obesity – it’s almost as if these businesses want to double child obesity by 2030.
The charity movement said the Government should give local authorities more power and control in deciding where new enterprises are set up.
Recent figures suggest there are around 60,000 fast food sites in Britain. Many are in urban areas, close to where children go to school, or along key travel routes.
Sustain also pointed to material on the McDonald’s and KFC websites that point towards bold plans to open as many as 800 sites (300 from McDonald’s, 500 from KFC) in the next 10 years.
The Food Giants share the ambition to reduce childhood obesity, which is a complex issue, and are committed to helping all our customers to make informed choices.
Almost 90% of our standard menu is under 500 calories, we never market products classified as high in fat, salt or sugar to children in any media channel and we have provided nutritional information for the past 30 years.
A KFC spokeswoman said the 500 figure noted on its website isn’t the number of sites that will be opening, but a list of locations that the development team have in mind.
The fast food chain said it currently has 953 restaurants and hopes to achieve 1,000 by 2020. In 2015, Plymouth City Council banned a new fast food business from opening because it felt residents already had enough options.
The next government needs to provide long-term funding for councils’ vital public health and prevention services, to help reduce health inequalities and as part of a joined-up approach to targeting obesity.
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Well-being Board, said in response that councils need better funding.
Both Public Health England and the Department of Health declined to comment due to the fact the country is in a pre-election period.
iNews UK / ABC Flash Point News 2019.
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