BRENT Council could ban takeaways operating near schools to help combat child obesity.

It is looking at ways of changing planning rules to limit the number of fast food outlets - removing the temptation for children to gorge on food on their way to and from school.

Plans are still in the early stages and were discussed at a council meeting last night (Wednesday).

Hillingdon Council recently declared a ban on ice-cream vans plying for trade close to schools for the same child health reasons.

But Brent admits it would be difficult to keep fast-food restaurants out of Wembley because of the level of demand from the stadium.

In a briefing note published ahead of the discussion, it said: "Unless a compelling local case can be made for a policy tightly controlling takeaways, then there is a strong possibility that it would be rejected at examination because of the likely level of objection from take-away objectors."

The London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham and

Waltham Forest have already made changes to their planning rules, although it is too early to assess whether these have been successful.

Councillor Chris Leaman, chairman of Brent Council's health select committee, said: "At a previous meeting we discussed the growing problem of childhood obesity.

"We were keen to see what could be done to help in combating it, and one of the areas we wanted to explore further was around takeaway shops near schools.

"We asked for further information about how the council could limit the number of takeaway shops in the vicinity of a school, and in the report we will explain a bit more about how that can be done.

"Limiting takeaways near schools will obviously only ever be a part of a wider approach to encouraging young people, and everyone else, to eat more healthily."