Looks like the Healthstapo are invading the London Borough of Haringey…
By Tom Goodenough
They have long been linked with an unhealthy lifestyle and causing damage to people’s health.
But now one London council is taking drastic measures to try and stop its residents from indulging in fast food.
Haringey Council is set to become the first in the country to limit the number of pizza, burger and kebab shops on its streets in an attempt to improve the health of its poorest residents.
It is hoped the scheme could even help to increase life expectancy in the area – with research suggesting that those living in a neighbouring area of London with less junk food outlets could live up to nine years longer.
In Tottenham Green where there are 14 fast food takeaways life expectancy is 72.5 years while in Fortis Green there are just three and life expectancy is 81.5.
A draft scheme is in place for the restrictions which would see planning applications for venues considered alongside the need to keep the number of takeaway’s strictly limited.
New outlets could also be banned from within 400 metres of schools, youth clubs, or parks.
A spokesman for Haringey Council said they were keen to press ahead with the scheme to improve the lives of locals:
‘This planning programme is aimed at giving communities a greater influence over the proliferation of hot food takeaways, particularly when they are located near schools.
Eating significant amounts of fast food could lead to a reduction in life expectancy, according to a council report
‘Hot food takeaways represent a popular service and can play a complementary part in town and local centres including their contribution to the night time economy.
‘Nethertheless it’s recognised that over proliferation of hot food takeaways can have a detrimental impact on residential areas and on the feel of a locality and that a greater variety of food and more choice is preferable.
‘This is particularly important in areas where a range of lifestyle choice and social issues contribute to lower life expectancy.’
Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum and chair of the Child Growth Foundation, welcomed the move – but said while local government was moving in the right direction Parliament needed to do more to make food healthier.
He said: ‘We absolutely welcome this. There are other councils which are going down the same route.
‘The choice on the high street is limited and is getting more limited every day and certainly we would agree that fast food should be banned from anywhere around public buildings and particularly where children are involved. We would give this our full backing.’
‘It is beyond dispute that such fast food outlets should be curbed in areas of high deprivation where life expectancy is low and men are dying nine years younger than more affluent areas.
‘In time, if our children are not to die prematurely, the way in which fast food itself is manufactured and prepared should be controlled.
‘The banning of fast food joints is theoretical though as there are huge sections of the population which depend on this kind of food to stay alive.
‘What’s hugely needed is that the government actually moves for the manufacturers to take out excess levels of salt, fat and sugars.
‘If they did that there would be no particular reason to ban fast food outlets because they would be selling good food.’