Welsh councillor’s call to make veggie school dinners the only option once a week
Rory Sheehan, Local Democracy Reporter
A Welsh councillor has suggested making it mandatory that vegetarian or vegan meals are the only option on the school dinner menu once a week to help against climate change.
Flintshire council’s first-ever Climate Change Committee has met with members putting forward a raft of suggestions that could be looked at to help the authority to decarbonise.
In 2019 the Welsh Government called for public sector organisations to become carbon neutral by 2030 and Flintshire’s Climate Change Strategy for 2020-2030 aims to meet this target.
The advisory Climate Change Committee has been set up to assist the authority with this, and to promote and support the use of renewable energy opportunities across the council’s estate and wider communities among other functions.
Penyffordd Cllr Alasdair Ibbotson (Lab) chairs the committee and opened its first meeting by laying out the reasons why it is necessary.
He said: “The fact that we are here at all and the fact this issue is far enough up the political agenda to warrant a committee being formed is testament to the efforts of everyone who has battled to get this issue, the future of humanity taken seriously.
“We will never know exactly which person is Flintshire’s first climate change death but what we can say with certainty is that sad milestone has already been passed.
“It is no longer a question of when the first person in Flintshire will die from the effects of climate change, but of when they did.”
Members were invited to put forward issues for the committee to look at, going forward, with Buckley Bistre West Cllr Dan Rose (Lab) tabling a range of suggestions from use of solar panels in council car parks, to ensuring newly-built properties install charging points.
Fellow Buckley Bistre West Cllr Carolyn Preece (Lab) suggested that once a week, only a vegan or vegetarian option should be available on the school dinner menu.
She said: “We need to look at procurement, using local traders and local products for carbon footprint.
“We also need to look at making it mandatory that plant-based products are used at least one day a week – where that is the only choice, it’s vegetarian or vegan – for one day a week in schools.”
Cllr Ibbotson suggested looking at flood resilience, while Argoed and New Brighton Cllr Mared Eastwood (Lib Dem) suggested the committee could look at use of tidal energy.
The council’s cabinet member for climate change, Caergwrle Cllr Dave Healey (Lab) said he welcomed the various suggestions put forward and that it was up to the authority to engage with residents and businesses in the county and encourage them to make changes too.
“Part of our mission has to be to lead by example but also take the rest of the county with us”, he said.
“People do need to make changes and I think we need to be able to give them the advice, in a simplified form.”
The suggestions put mooted by members will be put on the committee’s work programme going forward.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.