Taking away obesity and creating good air quality

Oldham Council last night (Wednesday 7 November 2018) heard how we desperately need to create areas free of polluted air and unhealthy food around our schools.

Dr Zahid Chauhan

Prior to the passing of a resolution to create a healthy thriving Oldham, Councillor Dr Zahid Chauhan (Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care) told a full council meeting: “Shall we let out children breathe in dirty air? Shall we carry on feeding our children with unhealthy food at their door step? Shall we let our residents develop respiratory conditions due to poor housing? No colleagues, we will own our problems, we will work to find a solution.”

Under the resolution, any policy, project or programme that does not necessarily have health as its primary objective, will be subject to a robust Health Impact Assessment. This process will then be used to develop Health Improvement Zones in areas where environmental factors have a significantly detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of local communities, developing additional policies where needed.

The resolution could mean that:

  • Restrictions are imposed around schools to prevent parents keeping their engine running while dropping off their child
  • There is a limit on the number of fast food take aways around schools
  • Cafes and restaurants are persuaded to offer healthy options
  • Vaping is discouraged around health zone areas

The resolution was moved by Councillor Chauhan and seconded by Councillor Marie Bashford, who said: “For Oldham to thrive, then good mental, physical and social wellbeing is essential. The quality of our local environments plays a major role in that process and I am delighted we have adopted this motion.”

Councillor Dr Chauhan told the chamber: “We will work with communities, with our partners and with businesses to improve the health of our residents. We will put health and wellbeing in the middle of everything we do from housing to parks to planning to education. We will create health improvement zones to target areas at high risk. This motion will send a clear message to our residents that we are the guardian of your physical, mental and social wellbeing.”