The forthcoming Public Health England toolkit on influencing the out-of-home food environment should provide a useful basis for the development of evidence-based strategies relating to fast-food provision. The emerging evidence of what works is summarised in Box 9, and includes a range of actions – from supporting retailers to make healthier options available, to making (better) use of local public health data to support planning decisions.

Over 20 English councils have now introduced restrictions on the opening of new fast-food outlets. 3

Box 9: Effective approaches for ‘tipping the scales’ by influencing locally available food and drink options 4

  • Work with existing fast food takeaways to improve the food and drink options available and how these are promoted, through schemes such as the Healthier Catering Commitment in London.
  • Review opportunities to use licensing to improve the food offer, for example of street food vendors (which are not covered by the planning system).
  • Develop planning policies that restrict the opening of new fast food takeaways near schools (or other strategic venues for public health), limit the concentration of fast food outlets in high streets and/or limit the opening hours of fast food takeaways (to exclude times when children are leaving school).
  • Public Health to support planning officers to implement relevant policies, by providing intelligence, contributing to the review of planning applications and learning from effective practice in other areas.

References

  1. A. Ross, “Obesity-based policies to restrict hot food takeaways: progress by local planning authorities in England – final draft consultancy,” 2013
  2. Local Government Association, “Tipping the scales. Case studies on the use of planning powers to limit fast food takeaways,” 2016
  3. A. Ross, “Obesity-based policies to restrict hot food takeaways: progress by local planning authorities in England – final draft consultancy,” 2013
  4. Local Government Association, “Tipping the scales. Case studies on the use of planning powers to limit fast food takeaways,” 2016