In a move dubbed by campaigners as a “rural common-sense revolution”, Wiltshire Council has become the latest local authority to vote in support of a Countryside Alliance campaign to support farmers and stop councils from banning meat and dairy at council events.

On Tuesday, February 20, councillors passed a motion introduced by Conservative Councillor Nabil Najjar, ensuring that all catering at council-organised events is sourced from local suppliers.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Najjar said: “On the face of it, this motion is purely aimed at supporting farmers but the reality is that it goes so much further than that.

"This is a motion which empowers the custodians of our countryside, it is a motion which shows our support for the people who invest their time and money in retaining the natural beauty of our landscape and providing the food that we eat.”

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The motion received cross-party support.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Paul Sample said: “My father was a farmer, I grew up on a farm. I spent the first 16 years of my life looking after animals.

"I am delighted that this motion has been brought today and I fully support it, and am enthusiastic about it. I’d like to see us all aware of our great food heritage.

"When it comes to our food recipes, I’d really like to see the council working with the farmers on what constitutes a Wiltshire menu using Wiltshire produce and old Wiltshire recipes.”

It will also commit the council to be “vocal in opposing attempts to diminish the role our meat, dairy, and arable farmers play in our rural way of life”.

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In addition, the motion also commits the authority to encourage residents to shop locally when possible, taking advantage of home-grown, affordable, and nutritious produce, aiming to reduce food miles to plates.

Wiltshire now becomes the seventh council to defy campaigns elsewhere, which have seen several councils- including Oxfordshire and the London Borough of Enfield- ban meat and dairy products at their events, while pushing for the public to adopt plant-based diets.

Wiltshire joins Dorset, Fenland, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Cornwall, and North Northamptonshire councils who have all voted to keep meat and dairy on their menus.

Following a debate in the council chamber, the vote passed with 70 councillors voting in favour and three abstaining.