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Takeaways targeted in London food plan

The Mayor of London will consult on a wide-ranging new food strategy for London which includes restrictions on hot food takeaways opening near schools.

The draft London food strategy is built around six ambitions: to reduce food insecurity and hunger; to improve London’s food environment to make healthy, affordable options more widely available; to serve good food in public institutions; to improve food in early years’ settings; to encourage community growing; and to produce good food for the environment.

Among the standout proposals are restrictions on new hot food takeaways from being permitted to open within 400 metres of an existing or proposed primary or secondary school, and a ban on advertising of food and drink that is not healthy across the TfL estate, including bus stops and train stations.

Retailers and restaurants are being encouraged to promote more sustainable options to help Londoners reduce their reliance on meat and increase their intake of fruit and vegetables, by signing up to initiatives such as Sugar Smart and Peas Please.

And all food operators are urged to donate more surplus food to food redistribution charities, although the strategy notes that it is important to target a decline in the need for such services and not treat food banks as a long-term solution to food poverty.

Other proposals include:

  • Reduce school holiday hunger in London by improving provision of holiday food for children from low-income families.
  • Encourage London boroughs to develop good food retail plans to ensure that a wide variety of healthy food is available for Londoners in disadvantaged areas.
  • Public Health England and other partners should continue to work with hot food takeaways, cash-and-carry operators and convenience stores to improve access to healthier, affordable food.
  • Provide funding for a programme of work to include introducing a water refill scheme so that Londoners can reuse their bottles to top up free tap water from local shops and businesses.
  • Promote healthy, sustainable food in the GLA Group through the food it sells in staff restaurants, supporting initiatives such as Food for Life Served Here, Fairtrade, Peas Please, Sustainable Fish Cities and Good Farm Animal Welfare.
  • Encourage local authorities to offer better waste recycling services across London, including separate food waste collections, to help meet the 65% overall municipal waste recycling target.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he wanted to put good food at the heart of London’s approach to healthy living. “Good food can improve people’s lives in many ways, from addressing the rise of diet-related diseases to supporting start-ups and building stronger communities. It can bring high streets back to life, protect the environment, boost tourism and attract inward investment. Emerging food technologies can also give us fresh ways to solve London’s evolving food needs.”

The strategy will now go out for consultation until 5 July.