Ban on fast food outlets near schools

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The Independent Online

A council is to become the first in the country to ban new takeaways from within 400m of any of its schools. Waltham Forest Council, in north-east London, is tackling the growing problem of childhood obesity by encouraging more youngsters to take up healthy school dinners.

The ban, out for public consultation, would include proscribing the setting-up of fried chicken outlets, burger bars and kebab bars near schools.

Two years ago, Chris Waterman, chief executive of the Confederation of Education and Children's Services, called for an exclusion zone for takeaway shops around schools. Yesterday, he welcomed the initiative.

He said it was nonsense to encourage healthy eating habits and introduce compulsory cookery lessons if children were lured by the enticements of fast-food shops. The proposed Waltham Forest ban would also be extended to within 400m of its parks. Restrictions would be placed on the number of fast-food outlets in town centres and shopping parades.

Latest figures show the take-up of school dinners has dropped, despite a healthy-diet campaign by TV chef Jamie Oliver, and new government nutritional standards for schools.