EAT less meat, and more fruit and vegetables.

That was the message of Alice Hooker-Stroud, guest speaker at Winchester Action on Climate Change’s meeting last night, held at the United Church on Jewry Street.

Ms Hooker-Stroud, of the renowned Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), explained to an audience of approximately 100 people how reducing the use of land for livestock and industrial purposes, could result in the UK reaching its target of zero carbon emissions by 2030.

The mission, which suggests people eat less meat but more fruit, vegetables and protein substitutes such as tofu and pulses, looked at both energy consumption by appliances, home heating and transport, and land use for livestock and food production, which currently takes up 65 to 70 per cent of the country’s overall land use.

She said: “By changing our diet and the foods that we eat, including less meat, we can reduce agricultural emissions. This means we can use less land producing this livestock, and more land on producing biomass.”

Biomass, as explained briefly in the meeting, is a form of renewable energy which can be produced by splitting water into two different compounds, and creating a synthetic fuel, similar to the gas and oil we use today.

Ms Hooker-Stroud said that by using the land more diversely, the UK would essentially be self-sufficient in reducing carbon emissions.

Members of the public however, said that although they agreed the strategy would work, it would be difficult to implement unless central government is willing to cooperate fully and make it a reality.

The meeting was chaired by Cllr Jan Warwick, portfolio holder for neighbourhoods and environment. She said there are two main factors driving the change – health and finance.

Ms Hooker-Stroud agreed, and said: “We can either wait until climate change forces us to act, or we can act now.”