A report by a campaign group has criticised Dorset Council for a lack of vegan options in public sector menus.

A new report by The Vegan Society has revealed the extent to which councils across the UK are catering for vegan diets.

Dorset Council is among 54 of the local authorities that the society categorised as “red”, meaning that the council have not taken steps to be inclusive of veganism or to address their meat and dairy consumption in order to meet climate targets. 

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Dorset Council has been rated red for vegan inclusivityDorset Council has been rated red for vegan inclusivity (Image: The Vegan Society)

The Vegan Society is urging councils ranked as “red” in the report to reassess their vegan catering provisions and follow the precedent set by councils ranked as “green”.

Claire Ogley, Head of Campaigns, Policy and Research at The Vegan Society, commented on the findings:  

“Our new report reveals which areas are excelling and which are falling behind.

It’s fantastic to see some councils – such as Oxford and Edinburgh – leading the way and taking strong steps to include vegans and acknowledge the urgency of the climate crisis.

"However, for many local authorities – including Dorset Council – there is still a long way to go, and we hope our report will be a useful tool to help people to hold their local areas to account and push for more sustainable options."

A spokesperson for Dorset Council said: "Dorset Council is committed to tackling climate change and protecting our natural environment, and the importance of sustainable food and how it will help achieve environmental goals is highlighted in the council’s recently refreshed Natural Environment, Climate and Ecology Strategy. 

"Last year, the council’s efforts to address the climate impact of food were recognised when it was commended for area-based leadership in Sustain’s Every Mouthful Counts report, a review of how UK councils are tackling the climate and nature emergency through food.

"As part of the council’s climate programme, work is ongoing to support and promote sustainable diets and reduce food waste within our organisation and across the county. 

"Plant-based options are a standard part of our menu at county hall in Dorchester, and many of our schools include plant-based options in their menus.  

"In addition, through the council-hosted Dorset Food & Drink programme, promotion of local producers and retailers also includes promotion of local free-from producers and plant-based recipes."