Number of fast food outlets in Leeds is on the rise, figures reveal

Fast food is typically higher in salt, calories and saturated fat.
Fast food is typically higher in salt, calories and saturated fat.
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Over 200 new fast food outlets have opened across the city over the past eight years, according to the latest figures.

New analysis of government figures has revealed there are currently 565 takeaways in Leeds ­– a rise of 205 from the amount in 2010.

Cllr Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for health, wellbeing and adults

Cllr Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for health, wellbeing and adults

While the data shows the proportion of the Leeds’s total eateries which sell fast food has decreased slightly over the eight years – from 49 per cent in 45 per cent – the city has seen a rise in the density of takeaways per 100,000 people.

This year, the city’s 565 fast food outlets represent a rate of 72 per 100,000 people - up by nearly a quarter (24 per cent) on the 2010 rate of 49.

Read more: Poorest communities are fast food hotspots, figures reveal.

This is slightly below the national average rate increase of 30 per cent over the past eight years.

The figures were compiled by the BBC’s Shared Data Unit using information published by the Office for National Statistics on the numbers of takeaways or mobile food stands and unlicensed restaurants and cafes.

It comes as the UK has one of the highest proportions of overweight and obese children in the European Union and nationally, the rate of severe obesity among children aged 10 to 11 is at a record-high, up by more than a third since 2006 to 4.2 per cent, according to Public Health England.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “Many councils are challenged with striking the balance between a vibrant high street and a healthy one.

“However, it’s difficult to make healthier choices when our neighbourhoods are saturated with takeaways, restaurants and cafes.

“Everyone has a role in tackling obesity. Councils can help address the growth of fast food outlets and we’re working with the food and drink industry to make everyday products healthier.”

Cllr Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for health, wellbeing and adults said: “The council has been actively consulting on how current planning policies can best be used to protect against all types of adverse impacts created by hot food takeaways. We already take health into account with planning and have taken decisions to refuse permission for fast food outlets.

“We are also delivering acknowledged good practice, although we know more will be possible in coming years as we build health into our planning processes. The increase in takeaway numbers has slowed considerably, and there is also much greater variety in what they offer, as shown in the Leeds Kirkgate market, where a range of healthy hot food is on offer.

“We are committed to improving the health of the poorest fastest and we are making sure people and communities have their voices heard and their influence felt when long term decisions and plans are made as Leeds continues to grow.”