Education chiefs in Fife have been accused of issuing bogus advice over what can be done to stop fast food vans setting up near schools.
St Andrews councillor Jane Ann Liston has slammed Fife Council for its apparent failure to keep up to date on civic licensing issues in relation to food vans and schools.
At present they limit the powers of local authorities to protect youngsters from eating too much of the wrong kind of food. The issue has come to light after the administration and education service insisted the region’s regulation and licensing committee had the power to keep mobile fast food outlets away from school gates.
However, it has emerged a sheriff overturned several burger van “exclusion zones” imposed by North Lanarkshire Council in 2015, saying health was not a material consideration for civic licensing.
Liberal Democrat Ms Liston said: “I am amazed Fife Council education service paid no attention to this pertinent judgment and was continuing to issue erroneous advice, apparently not noticing that regulation and licensing was no longer specifying distances from schools when applications were made for hot food takeaway vans.
“However, now they do know civic licensing cannot be used to protect the health of school pupils, the administration must lobby the government for the power to do so, perhaps through another avenue.
“If they do not, then all talk about combating obesity in young people, from both Fife Council and Holyrood administrations, doesn’t amount to a row of beans.”
The council stressed it will continue to work with the government and schools to promote healthy eating opportunities.