Laura Sharman 09 June 2016

Research shows surge in junk-food restaurants near schools

The number of fast-food outlets within a five-minute walk of a school has increased by 58% in the past seven years, new research has revealed.

Data analysis by Mapmechanics found primary and secondary school children are now in a five-minute walking distance of 15,327 fast-food places, despite a Government pledge to tackle child obesity.

Back in 2009, this figure stood at 9,700 fast-food restaurants.

According to the research, all eleven regions reported a double-digit increase in the number of fast-food places since 2009. Only three - London, the South East and Wales - recorded a slight decrease in the number compared to last year.

London saw the biggest rise in the number of junk food restaurants located within a five-minute walk from a primary or secondary school, increasing by 89% between 2009 and 2016.

Councils have been encouraged to refuse planning permission for burger bars, chip shops and pizza parlours within five minutes’ walking distance of schools. Some councils have introduced a fast-food exclusion zone, while others have banned takewaways near schools.

However, the research shows there are almost 500 more fast food restaurants within a five-minute walk of primary and secondary schools across Britain in 2016 compared to 2015.

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