YORK’S restaurants and cafes could help tackle climate change - by offering more vegan and vegetarian dishes.

City of York Council’s new climate change committee invited residents to share their ideas about how to reduce carbon emissions.

And Leah Bennett, speaking at the panel’s second ever meeting, said the local authority should work with restaurants and the food festival to promote dishes that have a lower impact on the environment.

She said agriculture is a major contributor to carbon emissions.

And that York could develop a reputation not just as a destination for good food but also for “greener food”.

She told councillors: “If we’re looking at climate change, [agricultural production of meat and dairy is] one of the major contributors.

“We could encourage some of the cafes and restaurants to actually have a wider range of vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian options.

“Making that move [to eat less meat and dairy] is quite hard - but we could just try to get people to eat a little bit more of a plant-based diet.

“And I think you only really do that by being positive - through education, through the food festivals.”

Ms Bennett added that she thinks there should be more options - rather than trying to simply promote veganism.

She said: “I’m hoping that in the next five years people want to come to York not just for its history - but also for its food and also for greener food.”

Mike Childs, from Friends of the Earth, highlighted the impact of carbon emissions from homes - saying just 36 per cent of York homes are well insulated.

He added the city also needs more trees and said it currently only generates 10MW of renewable energy.

The meeting heard the local authority is planning to put cash into better insulating all council houses.

And that it is currently working on proposals to plant 50,000 more trees as part of the Northern Forest and White Rose Forest programmes.