Agenda item

Motion submitted by Councillor Taylor

Motion submitted by Councillor Taylor in respect of supporting local farmers.


Councillor Taylor presented his motion regarding supporting local farmers.


Councillor Woollard seconded the motion and it was opened up for debate. Members made comments as follows:

·         Councillor Tierney stated that he is going to support this motion as he thinks it is important that people have the free choice to eat what they want to eat, it is not the job of councils or Government to instruct people on how they should feed themselves and if someone wants to be a vegan, vegetarian or to follow a keto diet then good for them. He made the point that there are all sorts of medical advice which is quite different and they all have experts backing them up but people should read what they can and make their own decisions as adults and for their children for what is best for them. Councillor Tierney expressed the view that whilst it does seem to be coming from the left, the left in this Council Chamber is normally more reasonable than the left seen elsewhere.

·         Councillor Sennitt Clough stated that she fully supports the motion as the minute people’s choice is taken away from them it is a slippery slope.

·         Councillor Carney expressed the view that it is greatly important that a local authority should be seen to supporting its local food and drink producers and as has already been said there is a good number of them in this District. He feels it is important to remember that there is a choice out there and it is good to highlight the fact that this Council does support lesser food miles. Councillor Carney referred to Hertfordshire County Council who were going down the route about a year ago where they were going to be completely plant based which effectively denies people who do not want to eat plant based products so he thinks this motion is the way forward and he does not know what the Council food and drink procurement policy is but he thinks it is worth throwing weight behind it to show that the Council is doing the right thing by supporting its local producers.

·         Councillor Booth stated that he supports the motion, he is a liberal and believes in free choice and the benefits of supporting the District’s local economy is great. He expressed surprise that a few years back the Council looked at its procurement policy and the whole aim of that was to try and buy more locally produced goods but it appears that this might not being achieved.

·         Councillor Woollard stated that being a lifelong Fenlander he appreciates the impact that the farming community has within the area and the Council must be seen to support individual choices and on this particular issue it is important that this Council supports a very key factor within the community which is the farming sector.

·         Councillor Taylor thanked members for supporting the motion and stated that he is working closely with the Countryside Alliance as this is a nationwide problem and there are various councils up and down the country that are already going dairy and meat free. He expressed the view that this Council is not only now leading Fenland but Fenland is now in charge of the whole of Cambridgeshire through this motion.


Members AGREED to

·         recognise and note the huge contribution made by Fenland’s farmers, growers and wider food and drink industry to the local economy, environment and rural communities;

·         commit to further enhancing partnerships with local arable, livestock and dairy farmers to enhance Fenland’s magnificent countryside;

·         commit to supporting local farmers, growers and food and drink sector by, where possible, ensuring that food and drink provided at Council organised events are sourced from local suppliers. If plant based produce is provided, meat and dairy options should also be provided; and

·         as part of furthering environmental priorities, the Council will consider ways to encourage residents, where possible, to shop locally, taking advantage of home-grown, affordable, and nutritious produce, including meat, dairy and plant-based options thus reducing food miles to the table and boosting the local economy.


(Councillors Clark and Humphrey declared that they own land that is farmed but will approach the item with an open mind)


(Councillor Sennitt Clough declared that she does own agricultural land but not in the Fenland District and will approach the item with an open mind)


(Councillor Taylor declared that he is a farmer but will get no benefits from the motion personally as it is concerning the industry)

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