Sadiq Khan would restrict fast food outlets from opening next to schools

Sadiq Khan would restrict fast food outlets from opening next to schools

New fast food outlets would be prevented from opening up within 400 metres of schools under new plans unveiled by Labour Mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan.

The Labour MP and leading London Mayoral candidate has announced he would limit the number of new fast food outlets opening up around schools as part of a series of measures designed to tackle childhood obesity in London.

This comes as new data uncovered by the Labour Mayoral frontrunner exposes the growing problem of childhood obesity across the city.

Figures show that London has higher rates of childhood obesity than the rest of the country, with one in 10 five-year-olds classed as obese, increasing to one in five of 11-year-olds.

Childhood obesity is also a bigger problem in some parts of London than others, with eight boroughs reporting over a quarter of eleven year olds as obese.

Evidence shows that obese children are more likely to have heart attacks and strokes in later life.

The Mayor of London has responsibility for public health yet little has been done by the current Mayor to tackle childhood obesity.

Sadiq will use London Plan planning guidance to support local authorities in introducing tighter controls on opening junk food shops within 400 metres of schools.

This will form part of a wider package of measures to promote healthier living in London which Sadiq will introduce if he becomes Mayor.

Other proposals include: 

-       seeking the power to levy ‘sin taxes’ as part of any future devolution package to London

-       improved signage at tube, train, tram and DLR stations to encourage walking between stops, including distance, time taken to walk and calories this would burn off

-       work with local authorities to install open air gyms across the city to promote healthier activity

-       exploring using the Oyster card system to reward those who choose to get off public transport a stop early and walk

Commenting on his proposals, Sadiq Khan said:

"The Mayor has an important responsibility for London’s public health and it’s about time he started using it. If we don’t start doing something now to tackle the growing problem of childhood obesity then we’re storing up a whole host of problems down the line.

"We need to do more to discourage fast food shops opening up around schools and colleges and I want to give local authorities the power to put a stop to this. And I want to get Londoners thinking about changing their routine so that they do more to be active and fight the flab. A healthier London benefits everyone.

“Health inequality is often forgot about, but in London it’s a huge problem and one I’m determined to tackle if I become Mayor."


See the London Evening Standard's coverage of this issue here.


Notes to Editors

1.     This data came from a parliamentary question asked by Sadiq Khan MP which you can find here:

2.     The data for the proportions of children that are obese in England and London is below:





Aged 4-5


51,748 (9.83%)

9,461 (11.64%)


55,673 (9.48%)

10,244 (10.82%)

Aged 10-11


93,695 (18.74%)

15,817 (21.85%)


98,190 (19.09%

17,608 (22.39%)

3.     Data for London boroughs shows that 24 out of 33 have above average numbers of 4-5 year olds that are obese. The only boroughs below average were:

·       Wandsworth

·       Sutton

·       Richmond on Thames

·       Merton

·       Kingston on Thames

·       Harrow

·       Hammersmith and Fulham

·       Bromley

·       Barnet

4.     Data for 10-11 year olds shows that 29 out of 33 London boroughs have levels of obesity above average. Only 4 boroughs are below average:

·       Sutton

·       Richmond on Thames

·       Kingston on Thames

·       Bromley

      In 8 boroughs, over a quarter of 10-11 year olds are obese. The boroughs are:

·       Southwark 26.68%

·       Barking and Dagenham 26.22%

·       Hackney 26.08%

·       Westminster 25.64

     Greenwich 25.41%

·       Tower Hamlets 25.14%

·       Newham 25.13%

·       Lambeth 25.05%

5.     In 2014, the London Health Commission, led by Lord Ari Darzi, published their report Better Health for London

6.     The Mayor’s response to the London Health Commission can be read here:

Additional notes

1. The recommendation on limiting fast food outlets opening near schools was first made in the Lord Ari Darzi's London Health Commission report "Better Health for London" in 2014:
2. The report reveals there are over 8,000 fast food outlets in London, many close to schools. According to the London Health Commission report, this number is increasing by 10% every year. A single typical fast food meal contains nearly 60% of recommended daily calories, half of recommended salt and saturated fat, and no portions of fruit and vegetables.
3. The London Health Commission report highlights that some London local authorities have begun to take action. Waltham Forest issued a new policy stating ‘Planning permission will not usually be granted for Class A5 shops which fall within a 10 minute walking distance (~400m) from the boundary of either a school facility, any youth facility or any designated parks’. Waltham Forest has been able to refuse some 82% of planning applications for fast food outlets. Barking and Dagenham has followed suit, and Tower Hamlets has restricted takeway outlets to specific areas, where they cannot exceed 5% of total shops. However, in some areas there have been legal challenges and councils have only won appeals on the basis of over- concentration and likely anti-social behaviour.

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