Local authorities need more power to ban junk food ads, say health campaigners

Health groups call for local authorities to be handed extra powers in junk food crusade

Britain’s local authorities are being urged to follow the example set by London by taking on greater powers to curtail junk food advertising.

Health groups Sustain and Food Active want to see a more localised crackdown that would close existing advertising loopholes such as public telephone boxes, which currently fall outside the responsibility of councils.

Other areas of concern include in-store advertising and shop window displays with campaigners seeking tougher fines to be levied against firms which break the rules more than once over any three-year period.

This is backed by calls to beef up the Advertising Standards Authority so it can adjudicate on advertising close to nurseries, children’s centres, parks, family attractions, and leisure centres – not just schools.

Ben Reynolds, deputy chief executive of Sustain, commented: “Nationally the government has accepted the need to limit advertising of products high in fat, salt and/or sugar, particularly where viewed by children, and yet there are clear loopholes which need to be closed.

“The Advertising Standards Authority refuses to consider junk food adverts outside many settings used by children such as nurseries to be in breach of current rules.”

The fresh crackdown follows a Transport for London ban on food and drinks advertising for products which are high in sugar, salt, and fat such as burgers, confectionery, and fizzy drinks.

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