How far should fast-food takeaways be from schools?

Health experts and campaigners want fast food restaurants to be located further away from schools in Fishponds due to a high percentage of overweight children in the area.

Public health advisors  presented a proposal to Bristol City Council last Friday suggesting that fast-food takeaways should be located 800 metres away from schools and youth facilities, and not the current 400 metres radius.

Sally Hogg, Public Health Consultant and Claire Lowman, Public Health Principal, presented a Health Impact Assessment which also recommended restricting the hours of operation of hot food takeaways within 400 metres of schools.

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Hot food takeaways like Lick’n Chich’n are classified as A5 and are the focus of the report. Credits: Harley Hodges.

Takeaways (classified as A5) are differentiated from restaurants because they raise different environmental issues such as litter, longer opening hours, and extra traffic and pedestrian activity, from those generally raised by restaurants and cafés (classified as A3).

Campaigner Mike Jempson said: “They are cynically seeking to relocate their outlets in residential areas close to schools. Fast foods encourage unhealthy diets and have contributed to obesity in the area and throughout Britain.”

The proposal also looks to restrict any takeaways (Fish and Chips, Pizzerias, Chinese/Indian) to 10 per cent in town centres and 15 per cent in neighbourhood and local centres.

Jempson said: “There are already 31 takeaway outlets in Fishponds, plus 8 cafes, 12 restaurants and 13 pubs mostly selling food, so we are not short of food outlets. We welcome the proposed study which we hope will result in a change of policy by Bristol City Council.”

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The most recent study from Bristol City Council reveals the areas where the highest numbers (25% to 30%) of Year 6 children have been recorded as very overweight. Credits: Malva Torres.

According to Hogg and Lowman, “National mapping shows that Bristol has high levels of hot food takeaways, which have a correlation to levels of obesity.”

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