Tuesday, November 28, 2017

London Bans Fried Chicken

Many councils in the UK have introduced 400 meter fast food exclusion zones around schools. These zones don't apply to existing fast food outlets but do apply to anyone planning to open a fast food restaurant in the future. The purpose of these exclusion zones are to help fight the rise of child obesity.

Later this week the London mayor Sadiq Khan plans to announce a fast food exclusion zone around London schools. You can see the areas that will be affected on Dan Cookson's interactive map London Schools 400m Exclusion Zones. Dan's map places a 400m circle around every school in London to visualize all the places where new fast food outlets will be banned under the new policy.

You can see from the map that huge areas of London will be exempt from new fast food restaurants. For example nearly the whole of the East End will be a fast food exclusion zone. Perhaps the London mayor is unaware of how big an impact this policy could have. London's high density of people (and therefore more schools) means that a 400m fast food exclusion zone affects a huge percentage of inner London.

The bricks & mortar retail sector is already suffering in many areas of London. At the moment fast food is about the only expanding sector of the retail sector, especially in economically deprived areas
like London's East End.

In Fast Food England the Guardian mapped the number of fast food restaurants per 1,000 people in England. The newspaper found that "the poorest areas of the country have disproportionately higher numbers of fast food outlets." Tower Hamlets, which will almost be completely covered by the new fast food exclusion zone, has seen a growth in fast food outlets since 2014. The new exclusion zones will kill this expanding sector of the retail sector. In the long run the consequence of this policy could be the closure of many bricks & mortar shops in London's most deprived areas.

Of course the mayor will probably argue that fast food outlets lead to obesity in a high proportion of people living in economically deprived areas. Therefore this new policy could have wider long term health benefits for London, not just for London's children, but for the population as a whole.

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