Better Health for London: Launch of the report of the London health Commission


Lord Darzi

London Health Commission calls for smoke ban in Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and all parks in the capital, and a raft of other measures

A radical new plan to make London’s parks as well as Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square smoke free was unveiled by IGHI’s Director, Lord Darzi this week.

The plan is part of a major new drive that aims to make London the healthiest major global city – cities with over 5 million inhabitants – within 10 years.

Darzi – a cancer surgeon at St. Mary’s Hospital – was appointed by Boris Johnson to chair the London Health Commission. Over the past year, Darzi has led a panel of experts and involved 15,000 in developing the plan, called “Better Health for London”.  

It proposes a raft of measures, unprecedented in their scope, to combat the threats posed by tobacco, alcohol, obesity, lack of exercise and pollution which harm millions. Together the proposals amount to the biggest public health drive in the world.

Lord Darzi set out 6 steps to a healthier, slimmer, fitter city:

  • Making Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and London’s parks smoke free. Using byelaw powers, London can act to make 40% of the capital smoke free.
  • Mandatory traffic-light labelling on restaurant menus. All chains with more than 15 outlets would be required to show traffic-light labelling on their menus to help Londoners make healthier choices.
  • Oyster card discounts for commuters who walk to work. The scheme – financed by employers – would reward commuters who walk the last mile into work and the first mile home with discounts. 
  • Restrictions on junk food outlets near schools. New planning guidance to prevent new junk food outlets opening within 400m of schools.
  • Pilots for a minimum price for alcohol. The plan would support Boroughs afflicted by problem drinking to use their licensing powers to set a minimum 50p per unit price.
  • Speeding up air quality measures. Measures to reduce pollution to be accelerated to save lives in the capital.

The report says a London Health Commissioner should be appointed reporting to the Mayor to drive through the necessary change.

Lord Darzi said:

“Londoners’ waistlines are expanding, since we eat too much and exercise too little. More than a million Londoners still smoke, and there is significant harm from problem drinking. Too many children get off to too poor a start in life. We can do better: the healthiest choice isn’t always easy and isn’t always obvious. The goal is to make each of those millions of individual decisions that bit easier.”

“A truly great global city is a healthy city. London aspires to be the world’s healthiest major global city. That means a city that helps its people to make healthier choices, it means a city that focuses on improving the health of the most vulnerable and it means providing consistently excellent care for people when they need it.”

Read the full report here

For more information on the London Health Commission, visit their website




Jo Seed

Jo Seed
Institute of Global Health Innovation

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