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homeSunday 17th December 2017

London Plan combats obesity

Stuart Spear30/11/2017 - 10:50

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School children enticed into unhealthy takeaways
School children enticed into unhealthy takeaways

New takeaways should not be permitted within 400 metres of an existing primary or secondary school under new guidelines published this week in the draft London Plan.

This is the first time that the London Plan, the capital’s overall planning strategy, has introduced direct proposals to cut the number of takeaways opening up near schools.

It is estimates that a quarter of the UK’s takeaways are within a 5-minute walk of school gates with any of their business models hoping to exploit a demand from school children for cheap food high in fat and salt at lunch and after school. There are more than 8,000 fast-food outlets in London.

Where a new takeaway is granted planning permission it will be required to sign up to the Healthier Catering Commitment, a scheme promoted by local authorities and supported by the Mayor to encourage healthier cooking practices such as adding less salt, grilling and baking instead of frying.

‘There are some areas of the capital with up to 40 fast food outlets within half a mile of schools, enticing children by reducing costs at the same time as they are leaving school,’ said Rosie Boycott, Chair of the London Food Board. 

‘By encouraging existing takeaways to switch to healthier options and cracking down on new takeaways near schools, we can start to tackle the damage being done to our children’s health.’

London local authorities such as Islington, Barking ad Dagenham and Waltham Forest have already taken measure to restrict the opening of takeaways including chicken and chip outlets near schools.

The Mayor’s latest proposal to change planning rules to boost the construction of affordable housing under the London Plan have been met with cautiously welcomed by the CIEH with the caveat that new developments should not compromise existing environmental and air quality commitments.

The London Plan calls for 25,000 new homes to be built each year on smaller plots of land adjacent to existing residential and commercial properties.

‘We call on the mayor to provide urgent clarity on how this plan will impact his existing environmental and air quality strategies, and whether services and infrastructure in the designated areas will be properly resourced to meet the greater population density in the capital,’ said Tamara Sandoul, policy manager at CIEH

Following the Grenfell Fire tragedy the London Plan also addresses fire safety in the capital. The London Plan will require development proposals to go beyond the minimum and achieve the ‘highest standards’ of fire safety standards with plans and feature to stop fires spreading and aides to escape, resuce and evacuation incorporated into building design from the outset.

‘My new draft London Plan will, for the first time, require that the “highest standards” of safety are set out at the planning stages of new developments in the capital, so that they can be incorporated into the design and build, and to give Londoners confidence that they will be as protected as possible should an emergency unfold,’ said London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

In a bid to reduce the number of pubs and club closing across the capital the draft plan will place the onus on developers of new properties to ensure they have provided sufficient sound insulation to ensure residents do not suffer noise nuisance from local pubs, clubs and music venues rather than prohibitive costs falling to the owners of entertainment businesses.

The plan also contains detailed guidance on the provision of more public toilets across the capital available to shops, leisure facilities and public spaces along with more free drinking fountains where appropriate.

Toilets should also be built to meet the diverse needs of Londoners and visitors.  Changing Places toilets are designed for the needs of people with physical disabilities including spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.

For the first time, the London Plan also calls for the provision of gender-neutral toilets, to help trans and non-binary people feel more comfortable.

chief executive of Stonewall, Ruth Hunt, said: ‘We're pleased the Mayor has used the London Plan to call on councils to create more gender neutral toilets, and so help meet the needs of all Londoners and the city’s many visitors. ‘Gender-neutral toilets are a practical solution for many people, for many reasons and it's a powerful demonstration of acceptance that has benefits for everyone.’

 

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