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Leeds City Council Deputation Urges Council to go Plant-based for Climate

  • On 20/3/24 at the Full Council meeting of Leeds City Council, 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].

  • A group of four Leeds residents delivered the deputation to the council, which outlined the climate impacts of meat and dairy consumption, and the positive impact of the council transitioning to 100% plant-based catering [2].

  • Councillors agreed to refer the matter to the Director for Communities, Housing, and Environment, and also the Director for Strategy and Resources [3].

  • Other UK councils have made commitments to 100% plant-based catering, including  Exeter City, Oxfordshire County, Oxford City and Cambridge City Councils [6].  

Leeds resident Jody Fitzgerald presented a deputation to the Full Council meeting of Leeds City Council on 20th March 2024, outlining the urgency of the climate crisis for the Yorkshire region, the outsized role of meat and dairy in this crisis, and the power the council has to make a positive climate impact by transitioning to 100% plant-based catering [2]. 

Speaking to the council on the positive steps Leeds City Council could take, he said:

“Leeds City Council has the power to create change by committing to 100% plant-based food and drink at internal meetings and events and to include and promote plant-based options in schools, leisure centres, and care homes. This would be a step in the right direction for the planet and the city of Leeds.”

Referring to the effects of climate change in Yorkshire, and the role of food in this crisis, he said:

“<...>in 2022 temperatures soared to 40 degrees celsius in the UK, breaking previous records. Storm-related rainfall has intensified in Yorkshire causing homes and businesses to flood, causing stress and mounting costs for many people, businesses, the government and councils.

By encouraging residents to eat more plant-based food and to reduce their meat and dairy intake, we can improve the collective health of the population and the planet. A study in July of 2023 by Peter Scarborough of Oxford University concluded that a plant-based diet resulted in a 75% reduction of climate heating emissions compared to heavy-meat diets.”

This follows a previous deputation in September of last year by Lynda Kinnard, also resident of Leeds, which emphasised to the council the enormous climate impact of meat production [5].

Leeds City Council made headlines in 2020 by committing to offering two plant-based meals every week in the 182 primary schools that fall under the remit of Catering Leeds Children's [6]. 

Plant-based Councils, a campaign supported by Animal Rising, is a national initiative of local residents who are pushing for their councils to adopt 100% plant-based catering [1]. 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.


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[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.   

Oxfordshire County Council votes to serve fully plant-based food at all council-catered events 

Exeter City Council votes to serve 100% plant-based food at catered meetings 

Cambridge City Council votes to serve 100% plant-based food at catered meetings

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