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Local Signatures Collected For Bristol City Council To Take Climate Action



  • On 27/01/24, Plant-based Councils campaigners based in Bristol spoke to locals and gathered signatures for their petition targeted at Bristol City Council outside The Bristol Register Office on Corn Street [1].

  • The group is campaigning for the Council to take climate action by shifting to 100% plant-based catering in their own internal meetings and events and promoting plant-based food in other areas where they have an influence. 

  • Locals involved in the campaign have brought these issues to the Council through questions, statements and protests at recent Full Council meetings in September and December 2023 and January of this year.


On Saturday afternoon, a group of local activists involved in the nationwide Plant-based Councils campaign came together to collect signatures from Bristol residents in support of their campaign targeting Bristol City Council. Many members of the public agreed with the campaigners that the council needs to take urgent action on the climate crisis and the Bristol petition now has nearly 200 signatures. 


Bristol City Council was the first UK city to declare a climate emergency in 2018 and they aim for the city to be carbon-neutral by 2030 [2]. The Plant-based Councils campaigners are calling for the Council to take action on this crisis by shifting to 100% plant-based catering in their own internal meetings and events; making plant-based menu options the default menu option in other external spaces where the Council has an influence; and promoting the climate benefits of plant-based eating to residents [3]. 


Alongside the petition, the group has taken other approaches to influencing the Council. In September and December last year they submitted questions asking the full council to act on the climate emergency they have declared. Similarly in January this year, they attended a full council meeting again, presenting statements that outline the practical steps the council can take to address the climate crisis through a shift to a plant-based food system. 



Plant-based Councils campaigners inside the council chamber last September. Photo: Bristol City Council (screenshot)


The campaigners are working to draw attention to the importance of moving towards a plant-based food system as a key solution to the climate crisis. In July last year, a new study was published by Oxford University researchers which found that a plant-based diet has 70% less environmental impact than a high-meat diet; a high-meat diet produces four-times the amount of greenhouse gases, requires four-times as much land, and double the amount of water [4]. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has also highlighted plant-based diets as critical in mitigating global heating [5]. Campaigners argue that Bristol City Council has a responsibility to lead by example and use its influence to promote plant-based dietary choices in the city. 


Several councils across the country have already passed motions to transition to 100% plant-based catering. Most locally to Bristol, Exeter City Council [6] voted to serve exclusively plant-based food at their council meetings and events in December 2022. They also plan to add more plant-based options to menus at council-run external sites, such as leisure centres, and to showcase plant-based food at external events. Most recently, Camden’s Culture and Environment Scrutiny Committee came out in support of 100% plant-based catering for internal meetings and events just last month [7].


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 [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 councils across the country, with the group encouraging interested residents to sign up to run a local campaign.


ENDS.


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For more information or further comments, please contact info@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 UK councils to encourage the switch from emission-heavy food to plant-based options which are better for our health, the planet, and reducing the impact of the cost of living crisis.



[3] Petition for Bristol City Council to go 100% plant-based: https://democracy.bristol.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=292&RPID=25468836&HPID=25468836 


[4] Study into the environmental impact of various diets, Oxford University, published July 2023: https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-023-00795-w



[6] 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/




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