December 11 2013 Latest news:
by Meyrem Hussein
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Fast-food joints are to be banned from opening near schools as shock new figures show Islington to be among the worst local authority areas in the country for the number of takeaways.
The borough’s Labour-run council is to ban the setting up of new fast-food outlets within 200 metres of a primary or secondary school.
The local authority will also prevent any fish and chip shops, kebab takeaways or pizza joints opening in a street already full of such businesses.
The announcement of the measure coincided with new statistics from the National Obesity Observatory revealing that Islington has nearly one-and-a-half fast-food joints for every 1,000 people – putting it third in England and second in London for the number of takeaways per person.
Cllr Janet Burgess, the council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, said: “I think there are more than are needed.
“We are not going to be shutting any down, but we are going to limit new ones opening.
“This would include new takeaways – such as fried chicken shops – within 200 metres of a primary or secondary school and also if there are already too many in one area.
“This will help with obesity.”
Cllr Burgess denied that the town hall was acting like “Big Brother”, saying that residents normally want the council to take action against potentially harmful businesses.
The figures show there are 270 fast-food outlets in Islington – 139 for every 100,000 of the borough’s 194,080-strong population.
Obesity contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease, which accounts for 33 per cent of all deaths in Islington.
Personal trainer Murat Gecmen, 33, who runs MG Fit in Fitness in Balmes Road, Islington, said: “It is a good idea if they can limit the number of takeaways, but more education is key. Mums wake up in the morning and just cut up a croissant and give it to their kids. The government also needs to think about who is buying fast food. It’s people who can’t afford organic food. People with high earnings don’t buy chicken and chips.”
Aiamudin Amiri, manager of Crown Fish and Chip Bar in Chapel Market, Islington, said the fast-food market was already saturated in Islington.
He said: “If an area already has a lot of fast-food shops, there shouldn’t be any more, because business is already hard.”
The new council policy will come into force early next year, provided it is ratified by the Planning Inspectorate.
The council is also urging shops to make their food less fatty and salty through measures such as providing smaller salt shakers with finer holes and using healthier oils at higher temperatures, so that less is absorbed by the food.