Havering Council agrees on unhealthy ads ban

Unhealthy food and drinks ads are to be banned on Havering Council property.

On Wednesday September 13, cabinet agreed a new advertising policy that will restrict any advertising that could “harm the health” of Havering residents.

The policy will no longer allow advertisements that promote unhealthy foods, gambling, cosmetic surgery, alcohol, smoking or breast milk substitutes.

The council hopes this will encourage residents to live healthier lives, with seven in ten adults in the borough being overweight or obese, significantly higher than the London average of 56 per cent.

Havering’s director of public health Mark Ansell told cabinet that Transport for London (TfL) and several other local authorities have introduced similar policies.

The council says TfL has not seen a loss in revenue from taking a more “socially responsible approach” to its advertising policy.

Cabinet member for adult social care Gillian Ford said: “Some of the businesses that we identify as having the poor dietary offers, I don’t think there’s anything to stop them advertising the good dietary offers that they have made, you know, the salads that they’re producing and that type of thing, so we wouldn’t lose out on those options.”

Havering only makes about £50,000 per year from advertising but plans to soon introduce a tender for “small format advertising panels” at 61 sites that currently have posters.

A report on the new policy said: “The new contract will actively support a move to digital units and once completed the contractor will be able to update the units remotely.

“Via the procurement, we will also be able to assess the advantage of the widely used and latest LED digital boards and their impact on the environment including the latest dimming technology.

“Each new digital board installation will need planning consent and that will be the responsibility of the contractor.”

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter