The National Health Service in England is considering reducing the amount of meat on hospital menus in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint, according to press reports.

The NHS will publish detailed proposals about how to reduce emissions later today (Tues, 27 Jan), according to Channel 4 News.

The NHS accounts for more than 3% of all carbon emission in England and needs to become more environmentally-friendly.

The theory is that cutting meat consumption will help the environment because the livestock industry is a major source of greenhouse gases.

The NFU told Channel 4 News that it was disappointed by the proposals and the NHS should look at getting more sustainable versions of red meat and dairy products, rather than removing them from the menu.

“The NHS should be about saving lives first, and the planet second,” said a spokesman.

In a statement the NHS said: “The strategy calls more use of seasonal food, more use of local food, more use of sustainable and nutritionally valuable produce such as fish. Doing this will, of course, reduce the reliance on meat and other products but will not remove them from the menu.”