A Scottish Government minister has called for a moratorium on fast food drive-throughs in Scotland over fears they are fuelling damaging emissions and unhealthy lifestyles.
Scottish Greens MSP Patrick Harvie, the minister for zero carbon buildings and active travel, wants councils to take planning decisions to reverse the trend of food outlets popping up in towns and cities.
The number of drive-throughs in the UK has surged by around 41% since 2015 and critics argue that vehicles idling in queues increases emissions linked to health conditions such as asthma and lung cancer.
Bid to ban drive-throughs
Mr Harvie, who is co-leader of the Scottish Greens, intervened as Glasgow City Council faced calls to become the first part of Britain to ban drive-throughs.
Green councillors on the local authority are pushing for a ban to improve air quality in the city and reduce car use.
But the idea has been branded “anti-business” by political opponents.
Mr Harvie told the Times: “Drive-throughs come with an environmental and social cost, increasing traffic and air pollution for local residents and encouraging unhealthy behaviours.
“National planning priorities have changed to recognise the need to tackle the climate emergency.
“The new draft national planning framework calls for our cities and towns to be models of healthier and greener living and put walking, cycling and wheeling above private car use.
“An expansion of drive-through fast food outlets would have the opposite effect.”
Some parts of Canada and the United States have already banned or restricted new drive-throughs.
Move branded ‘ludicrous’
Graham Simpson, the Scottish Conservatives’ transport spokesman labelled attempts to introduce similar measures in Scotland as “ludicrous”.
“This is just the sort of barking mad policy that we have come to expect from the Greens,” he said.
“People use drive-throughs because they are convenient and they serve the food they want to eat.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said planning applications should be considered on their own individuals merits, taking account of all relevant considerations.
“These would include policy set by a local authority in its local development plan on specific types of development and also national planning policy,” he added.