BLACKBURN with Darwen has lost its unwanted crown of ‘takeaway capital of England’ but it is still among the worst in England for its number of fast food outlets.

The borough, along with Burnley and Hyndburn, features high up the list published by Public Health England.

New figures show Burnley has the third highest concentration of fast food outlets in the country, with a rate of 168 per 100,000 population.

This is followed by Hyndburn in 11th which has a rate of 150.5 per 100,000 population and Blackburn with Darwen with 147.5 in 13th.

Meanwhile, Rossendale at 121.8 outlets per 100,000 population, Pendle at 119.3 and Ribble Valley at 101.9 rank lower.

Figures from Public Health England will be seen as an improvement by Blackburn with Darwen Council bosses after it was revealed last year that the borough was found to have had the highest proportion of fast food takeaways in England.

There were 236 takeaways in the borough then compared to 219 in the latest data.

Around two thirds of adults in the borough are classified as either overweight or obese.

The research also reveals England’s poorest areas tend to be fast food hotspots, with five times more outlets found in these communities than in the most affluent.

Blackburn with Darwen council bosses said it has adopted tougher planning policy since 2016, which restricts the number of fast food outlets within 400 metres of nurseries, schools, madrassas and colleges.

Cllr Brian Taylor, executive member for health and adult social care at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “The increased availability of high sugar and high fat products is a growing national challenge and in 2016 we adopted a planning policy which restricts the number fast food outlets within 400 metres of nurseries, schools, madrassas and colleges.

“Planning permission will only be granted if there are fewer than five existing fast food outlets and the new business will not be allowed to open during school hours – which we think strikes a balance between the needs of business owners and protecting children and young people.”

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health and wellbeing for Lancashire County Council, said: “Research shows that there is a strong link between the number of hot food takeaways in an area and obesity levels in the local community. Whilst we are concerned about some hot-spots highlighted by PHE, we’re pleased at the lower numbers of fast food outlets in Ribble Valley and West Lancs.

“We’d encourage districts to use the guidelines we’ve provided when making planning decisions and fast food outlets to take measures such as reducing salt in products to make their food more healthy.”

Blackpool now has the most takeaways with 232.2 per 100,000 people, followed by the borough of Camden in London.