Fast food advertising will be banned on the entire Transport for London (TfL) network from 25th February 2019 under measures designed to tackle child obesity, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has confirmed.
The decision follows a public consultation launched in May which, according to Sadiq Khan, found support from Londoners for a ban, covering all adverts for food and non-alcoholic drinks which are allegedly high in fat, salt and / or sugar, and considered “less healthy” under Public Health England guidelines.
Examples of products that would not be accepted are products such as cheeseburgers, chocolate bars and salted nuts, while unsalted nuts and raisins would be accepted.
Food and drink brands, restaurants, takeaways and delivery services will only be able to place adverts which promote its ‘healthier’ products, rather than simply publicising brands.
The restrictions will apply to advertisements on all modes of transport controlled by TfL, including the Underground, Overground, London buses, TfL Rail, trams and river services.
The Mayor’s online Talk London platform, which offers Londoners the chance to have their say on issues in the capital, received 1,500 consultation responses with 82% supporting the proposals.
A report published earlier this year by Cancer Research UK found that young people who recalled seeing so called ‘junk food’ adverts every day were more than twice as likely to be obese.
Khan believes it is a ‘scandal’ that so many children are overweight or obese in a city as prosperous as London. He, said: “Child obesity is putting the lives of young Londoners at risk and placing huge pressure on our already strained health service.
“It is absolutely imperative that we take tough action against this ticking timebomb now, and reducing exposure to junk food advertising has a role to play in this – not just for children, but parents, families and carers who buy food and prepare meals.
“It’s clear that advertising plays a huge part in the choices we make, whether we realise it or not, and Londoners have shown overwhelming support for a ban on adverts for junk food and drink on our transport network.
“It’s completely unacceptable that in a city as prosperous as London, where you live and the amount you earn can have a massive impact on whether you have access to healthy, nutritious food. I’m determined to change this.”
Jamie Oliver, chef and campaigner, said: “This is an amazing move from the Mayor and TfL, and they’ve got overwhelming support from Londoners who’ve said loud and clear they want a transport system with healthier ads and messages. Yes London!”
Claire Pritchard, chair of the London Food Board, said: “The London Food Board has worked hard highlighting the importance of making it easier for all Londoners to eat more healthily, so I am delighted that the Mayor is taking such a major step to help tackle child obesity in London.”