I WAS amazed by figures released this week that said the UK diet contains around 16% meat because I thought it would be much higher.

I mean, everybody likes a good steak or a roast beef dinner and the nation seems to live on chicken curries at weekends.

But the report, which was called Livewell, said 16% was far too much. We should be aiming for only four percent if we wanted to reduce greenhouse gasses and help save the planet.


That would be a very small sirloin steak.

The report was released by wildlife charity WWF and the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health. And it said we should cut our meat consumption if we want to achieve 2020 climate change targets.

Instead we should eat more fruit, vegetables and cereal. A diet change would even be cheaper, it claimed, reducing a person’s weekly food bill from £32 to £28.

While I am all in favour of saving the planet, I shall not be changing my diet when China and India – with populations of over a billion apiece – are polluting the Earth for fun.

While the United States, with a population of 300 million and 250 million motor cars, competes with them to gas the world.

I don’t see my bacon butty, ham sandwich and meat pie registering on the Richter Scale of planetary disaster, although it might have an effect on my waistline. Oh, and by the way, I eat my share of fruit and veg, as well.

This is another well-meaning report that purports to tell us how to live our lives.

Like the less well-meaning move in Oldham where chip shops, curry takeaways and fast food outlets may be asked to pay a £1,000 fat tax before they can open.

Health chiefs say takeaways "contribute to a poor diet" in the town, where the level of obesity in children is higher than the national average. The money raised would be used to promote healthy eating campaigns and litter-picking.

If it works, the tax could be introduced elsewhere in the country. Of course it could.

I suspect this has very little to do with health concerns but could be a good way of raising money for the council.

They will be taxing fresh air next. Shush. I shouldn’t have said that, in case someone thinks it a good idea.

Everybody hates being told what to do by council or Government. How soon will it be before persuasive reports, tax liabilities and health campaigns are replaced by laws as stringent as those in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan?

This is the place that is trying to ban tobacco and become the first smoke free nation.

All very laudable except that a Buddhist monk now faces jail for possession. True. He was caught with 72 packets of chewing tobacco.

Can you imagine that happening here?

"You had concealed upon your person a packet of 20 Benson and Hedges and will go to prison for six months. For possession of a packet of Rizzla papers, you will serve three months concurrent."

How long before the Health Police charge you for possession of a Mars Bar with intent when they find you within six feet of a deep fat fryer?

Believe everything you read and apocalypse now could be caused by a sausage sandwich.

I am careful about how I behave towards the planet, which is more than can be said for certain members of the Government.

This week, I read that when cabinet ministers get an official car, they have the choice between a £40,000 Jaguar XJ or the environmentally-friendly Toyota Prius costing £24,000.

Yes, you guessed it. Eight cabinet ministers opted for the Jag.

And I’ll bet they are not on a four percent meat diet, either