Clampdown on takeaways near secondary schools to tackle obesity crisis

PUBLISHED: 09:19 29 September 2016 | UPDATED: 09:38 29 September 2016

Mount Grace headteacher Peter Baker

Mount Grace headteacher Peter Baker

Archant

Plans to make it more difficult for takeaways to pitch up near Potters Bar secondary schools have taken a step forward.

The borough council want to make any fast-food restaurants seeking planning permission in sight of a Hertsmere secondary school to show it “would not undermine any existing or proposed healthy eating policy at the school”.

The policy is one of several designed to tackle childhood obesity, and after being given the thumbs up by a Government inspector, is set to come into force later this year subject to full council approval.

Councillor Brenda Batten, portfolio holder for leisure, culture and health said children are less likely to “load up on fast foods” if they do not immediately encounter takeaways outside school.

She said: “Childhood obesity is a problem for us all because children who struggle with their weight are prone to health issues later on in life.

“It’s important that youngsters are helped to make healthy lifestyle choices. That means encouraging them to eat well, take plenty of exercise and not to smoke or drink.”

Almost a third of 10 and 11-year-olds in Hertsmere are overweight or obese, and excess weight-related health problems nationwide cost the NHS £5billion each year, according to Public Health England.

Councillor Harvey Cohen, portfolio holder for planning and localism, said: “While this policy is unlikely to single-handedly reduce obesity rates in the borough, it is a step in the right direction.

“As a council that cares about the health and wellbeing of our residents, we will use all the powers at our disposal, including shaping our planning policy, to promote positive lifestyle choices.”

Mount Grace headteacher Peter Baker said it would not affect the school as there are few local shops. Dame Alice Owen’s declined to comment when approached by the Potters Bar Edition.

Full council will decide whether to press on with the plans in November.

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