How does local government use the planning system to regulate hot food takeaway outlets? A census of current practice in England using document review.
Health & place 2018 ; 57: 171-178.
PubMed ID : 31055107
PMCID : PMC6686733
Takeaway food outlets typically sell hot food, ordered and paid for at the till, for consumption off the premises due to limited seating provision. Growing numbers of these outlets has raised concerns about their impact on diet and weight gain. This has led to proposals to regulate their proliferation through urban planning. We conducted a census of local government areas in England with planning power (n = 325) to identify planning policies specifically addressing takeaway food outlets, with a 'health', and 'non-health' focus. We reviewed planning policies using content analysis, and developed a typology. One hundred and sixty-four (50.5%) local government areas had a policy specifically targeting takeaway food outlets; of these, 56 (34.1%) focused on health. Our typology revealed two main foci: 'Place' with five targeted locations and 'Strategy' with four categories of approach. The most common health-focused approach was describing exclusion zones around places for children and families (n = 33). Non-health focused approaches primarily involved minimising negative impacts associated with takeaway food outlets within a local government area boundary (n = 146). To our knowledge, this is the first census of planning policies explicitly focused on takeaway food outlets in England. Further work is required to determine why different approaches are adopted in different places and their acceptability and impact.