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Haringey deputation urges council to take climate action on food by switching to plant-based catering



  • On 14/3/24 at the Full Council meeting of Haringey Borough, local residents and campaigners with Plant-based Councils urged the council to take climate action on food by switching to 100% plant-based catering for internal meetings and events [1] [2].

  • 11 Haringey residents signed the deputation outlining the climate impact of meat and dairy and the benefits of switching to fully plant-based catering at internal council meetings [2].

  • Jim Edwards, a local, said that Haringey has the opportunity to lead the way on climate action to address the environmental impacts of our food [2]. 

  • This follows public questions to Full Council in March 2023 and again in November 2023 where the council was asked to switch to plant-based catering to address the climate and ecological emergencies [3][4].

  • Other UK councils have made commitments to 100% plant-based catering, including  Exeter City, Oxfordshire County, Oxford City and Cambridge City Councils [5]. 


Haringey resident Jim Edwards presented a deputation, signed by ten other residents, at Haringey Borough’s Full Council meeting on 14th March 2024, where he outlined the impact of meat and dairy compared with plant-based foods on the climate and ecological emergencies [2]. He said:


“Global heating continues to deliver extreme temperatures, wildfires, floods, and crop failures as well as fuelling the biodiversity crisis.


The current scientific consensus is clear: meat and dairy are driving the climate emergency and are the primary cause of biodiversity loss globally. Research from Oxford University published in 2023 showed that a plant-based diet was more environmentally friendly than the most sustainable meat-eater diet in terms of emissions, water and land use.” [2]


Edwards went on to say “Whole, plant-based foods can be healthy, cheap, and can support local farmers and the local economy. Plant-based catering takes away any guess-work in feeding those who might have any number of motivations for avoiding particular foods, such as religion, culture, animal, environmental or health-related concerns.” [2]


After the meeting, Ruby Sleigh, also a resident of Haringey, said:


"It would be inspiring to see Haringey take on the forward-thinking next step of switching to plant-based catering for internal meetings and encouraging borough schools, cafes, leisure centres and libraries to do the same. They call themselves the Rebel Borough and have an established target to be carbon net zero as a council by 2027 - they should be stepping up and showing the way for other councils.


This follows the public question from Jim Edwards in March 2023. In his official response, Cllr Mike Hakata said Haringey would switch to plant-based catering for internal meetings and events within the year [3]. Cllr Hakata said:


We’re also speaking with the schools about how we can help facilitate and work with them in terms of moving to a plant-based diet. As the biggest employer in the borough it’s important that we take steps to reduce the massive impact that food processes have on emissions.”[3]


In November 2023 a similar question was asked of Cllr Mike Hakata at Full Council. In response, he said: 


The council does not have an internal catering service.”


Food and drink was provided for all attendees at the Full Council meeting on 14th March 2024.


Pro-Palestine campaigners were forcibly removed from the meeting last night as they called for Haringey Council to divest from pension fund investments linked to the supply of weapons to Israel.


Plant-Based Councils, an Animal Rising campaign, is a national initiative of local residents who are pushing for their councils to adopt 100% plant-based catering. The group claims that local authorities have a responsibility to follow the current scientific consensus, which acknowledges the environmental, health, and cost benefits of plant-based meals over those containing meat and dairy. The campaign is active in over 45 councils, with the group encouraging interested residents to sign up to run a local campaign.


ENDS.


Word count: 634


For more information or further comments, please contact press@plantbasedcouncils.org


NOTES TO EDITORS:


[1]  The Plant-Based Councils campaign aims to address the climate emergency starting with the food on our plates. Working with councils across the UK to encourage them to lead the way in the switch from emission-heavy foods to plant-based ones that are better for health, our planet and reducing the impact of the cost of living crisis.   



[3] Question to Haringey Full Council 27/3/24 01:42:00


[4] Question to Haringey Full Council 20/11/23 


Oxfordshire County Council votes to serve fully plant-based food at all council-catered events  https://news.oxfordshire.gov.uk/plant-based-food/ 

Exeter City Council votes to serve 100% plant-based food at catered meetings https://news.exeter.gov.uk/council-pledges-to-raise-awareness-of-the-benefits-of-plant-based-food/ 

Cambridge City Council votes to serve 100% plant-based food at catered meetings https://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?ID=5423




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