Ban on fast food and energy drink adverts wins backing from NHS advisers and chiefs

The ban would cover council land and buildings, including hundreds of bus shelters in Brighton and Hove

A proposed ban on the advertising of fast food and energy drinks high in fat, salt or sugar won backing from NHS advisers and chiefs yesterday.

The ban would cover municipal land and buildings, including hundreds of bus shelters where advertising sales are currently handled by a contractor.

The final decision will be made by a committee of senior advisers on Thursday, December 1.

The proposal was debated by Brighton and Hove City Council’s Health and Welfare Board at a meeting at Hove Town Hall yesterday.

The council – made up of advisers, senior NHS officials and community representatives – heard that in Brighton and Hove, one in three 11-year-olds leave primary school overweight or obese.

The figure rises to one in two children in the most deprived areas of Brighton and Hove.

READ MORE: Fast food ads could be banned on city buses and trains

An audit of council-owned advertising sites found that 34% of promotions were for food and drink containing high levels of fat, salt or sugar.

And currently, a survey is underway to examine advertising content along three bus routes to provide detailed information on the percentage of fast food advertisements.

Brighton and Hove would not be the first public body in the country to ban fast food adverts, with Transport for London having already done so.

Councils in places such as London, Bristol and Barnsley have also introduced restrictions on advertisements for food and drink containing high levels of fat, salt or sugar on transport systems and advertising spaces run by the advice.

Public health consultant Katie Cuming, who works for Brighton and Hove City Council, said McDonald’s had continued to advertise – but had changed the content of their adverts.

She said an ad for a chocolate honeycomb frappuccino was replaced with one for iced lattes.

Green Councilor Sue Shanks, who chairs the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “I initially thought it would just stop Burger King advertising.

“What we’re talking about is the image changing – so they always find something to advertise.”

Union adviser Carmen Appich said: “I have a problem with big business chains exporting their profits and not keeping them in the city.

“I would like to limit any advertising to local businesses only or businesses that operate the gold food standards, but that’s not where we are and we rely on that revenue.”

READ MORE: ‘As harmful as smoking and alcohol’ – fast food ad ban draws closer

The council heard that 223 bus shelters in Brighton and Hove carried advertising, including 50 with digital screens.

Fast food advertising is already restricted to within 100 meters of schools, youth clubs, council buildings, leisure centers and NHS buildings.

But advertising in bus shelters brings in £425,000 a year, which goes towards public transport grants.

If fast food advertising were banned and not replaced, 34% of that revenue – or £145,000 – would be lost.

But, the board was told, when Transport for London introduced a ban there was “no significant reduction” in advertising revenue.

The final ban decision will be made by the council’s Policy and Resources Committee which is due to meet at Hove Town Hall at 4pm on Thursday 1 December.

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