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Local Residents Call on Councils across Yorkshire To Take Climate Action And Commit to Plant-Based Catering


Campaigners unfurling a banner outside Leeds Civic Hall


  • Between 25/04/24 and 29/04/24, local residents local residents and supporters of the Plant-Based Councils campaign across the region have unfurled banners outside council buildings, calling on local councils across Yorkshire to ensure that all food and drink provided at council meetings and events is 100% plant-based [1].

  • Groups have taken action in Leeds, Halifax, Sheffield, and York. 

  • Similar actions have been taken across the country, including in London, Birmingham, and Bristol.

  • Other UK councils have already made commitments to 100% plant-based catering, such as Exeter City, Oxfordshire County, Oxford City and Cambridge City [2].  

In 2019, different local councils across Yorkshire declared a climate emergency. In the years since, local residents who support the national Plant-Based Councils campaign have been calling on these councils to commit to 100% plant-based catering as part of a comprehensive response to this emergency. 


In the run up to the May local elections, campaigners have gathered outside multiple council buildings in the region, reiterating their call that local authorities should take the lead in enabling a transition to a plant-based food system. In Leeds, Halifax, Sheffield, and York they unfurled banners reading “Plant-Based Councils Climate Action on Food” and called on councillors to make this issue a priority.


Local councils across the region have advanced ambitious climate strategies in recent years, with several committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2030 [3]. However, campaigners argue that these plans fall short as they fail to fully account for the different environmental impacts of the food people eat [4]. 


Speaking at one of the events, Liz Readle, 68, retired University teacher, said:


“The evidence is clear that we must substantially reduce the amount of meat and dairy we eat to meet climate change targets and public sector organisations, such as Calderdale Council, are ideally placed to take a lead and adopt 100% plant based catering."


At another event, Evelina, care assistant, argued that:


“Even if we completely banned fossil fuels, we would still not be able to reach the 1.5 °C, or possibly even the 2°C goal set up by the Paris Agreement, if animal agriculture continues to persist. <...> I would like to encourage our local government to follow the clear science about food system emissions and nature clearing, and helping to secure the future for young and future generations.” 


Local residents calling on City of York Council to commit to plant-based catering


Comprehensive research published by Oxford University researchers in 2018 showed that ¾ of the land currently used for the production of food could be freed-up by a global transition to a plant-based food system [5]. Campaigners argue that this land could then be rewilded and begin carbon drawdown, mitigating the worst impacts of climate breakdown.

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 campaign is active in over 45 councils, including 6 in Yorkshire. The group argues that local authorities must follow the current scientific consensus, which acknowledges the environmental benefits of plant-based meals over those containing meat and dairy. 


ENDS.


Word count: 526


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 from the cost of living crisis.   


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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