Council to explore if it could stop city gambling and junk food adverts

Green city councillor Martin Schmierer. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Green city councillor Martin Schmierer. - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Council leaders are to explore what powers they could wield to ban advertisements for fast food, gambling and other "harmful" products around Norwich.

Norwich City Council's controlling Labour cabinet is to consider what City Hall can do to prevent such advertising.

It comes after Green Party councillor Martin Schmierer tabled a motion for the council to devise an advertising strategy stopping such companies and products being advertised in council-owned car parks, in its publications and from sponsoring City Hall-organised events.

Mr Schmierer's motion also called for the council's planning policy to stop new advertising hoardings being installed near schools.

It also asked for the council to work with other organisations to phase out advertising for gambling, alcohol, junk food and environmentally damaging products around the city.

And it called on the council to write to the government calling for a national ban on "unethical advertising".

The motion was amended by Labour, but was unanimously agreed at Tuesday's full council meeting at St Andrew;s Hall.

Council leader Alan Waters said the cabinet would consider the issue and "scope out" what powers the council could use.

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But he warned the council's ability to prevent advertising could be limited - for instance it could be powerless to prevent advertising near schools.

Mr Schmierer said he acknowledged much of the responsibility rested with national government.

But he said the city council taking the lead would send a "powerful message" to other organisations in the city.

The council also unanimously backed a Labour motion to call for the 'Right to Food to be enshrined in the government's National Food Strategy.

Labour councillor Jacob Huntley. Picture: David Hannant

Labour city councillor Jacob Huntley. - Credit: Archant

Labour councillor and foodbank volunteer Dr Jacob Huntley said “We need a change in the law to ensure people no longer go hungry and to hold the government to account on their failings in this area."

A Labour motion, amended by the Greens, to back the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill going through Parliament and to take action to cut carbon emissions in Norwich further was also unanimously agreed.

Matthew Packer, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "It fills me with pride that every city councillor in Norwich has backed this motion calling on the government to take the climate emergency seriously.

"We are at a crossroads and unless this Conservative government fully grasps what the world is facing then I fear for ours and future generations."

But the Greens were angered that Labour moved to the vote without some of them, including Green Lucy Galvin, who proposed the amendment, having a chance to speak on actions needed now.

She said: "Moving the vote to block me speaking took longer than my speech would have. I am really saddened at these petty political games as we face climate chaos and ecological breakdown."