A MOTION for Basildon Council to end the use of palm oil will be debated.

Independent councillor Kerry Smith wants the use of palm oil products to end at the “earliest possible opportunity” to send a message to suppliers that use of the product is no longer welcome.

Mr Smith said that the use of palm oil has no benefits and is only for “corporate greed”.

He said: “The trouble with palm oil is that it is an ingredient that companies use to reduce costs, despite its destructive properties.

“It contributes to the destruction of the rainforest, which we need for our air, and it is wiping out orangutans. It is not used for our benefit, it is used for corporate greed.”

The World Wild Fund for Nature claims that an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production in countries such as Indonesia.

Mr Smith added: “The important thing here is to send the message out that using palm oil to cut costs in products in not acceptable and it is an unethical product.

“At the moment the council could be purchasing products that use it for things as simple as coffee or confectionary machines.

“I hope other councillors will support this and I haven’t met anybody that have said they are against it.

“I don’t know if any other council have done this yet.

“If we do it, it could be a first for Basildon that will send a message that other councils will copy.”

If councillors back the suggestion at the full council meeting on December 6, council officers will investigate which products purchased by the council contain palm oil and develop a report on how they can end its use.

Mr Smith is hoping the motion will highlight the widespread use.

A Basildon Council spokesman said: “The motion will be debated at full council.

“If councillors are minded to support the motion it will be referred to the relevant committee for further investigation to understand in more detail the effects of palm oil, the extent to which it is used in council goods and services, and what measures could and should be taken”.