Thousands of people in the U.K. are up in arms over rumors that broadcaster BBC could be about to shelve its public archive of cooking recipes as part of a series of spending cuts.
Over 16,000 people so far have signed an online petition to save the BBC's recipe archive which includes a library of over 11,000 recipes freely available to the public.
The petition, set up by an Emma B, comes after a report on the BBC's news website, citing a "BBC source" that said that the BBC Food website is to close as part of a plan to cut £15 million ($21.7 million) from the broadcaster's online budget.
The petition says that the BBC's food recipe website is "is expected to be culled, save for those recipes linked to recently transmitted food programs."
"This is a much loved and used website and a precious resource for people across the country providing easy, free and importantly independent information on a vast range of foods and recipe options. The database provides inspiration for those with a few ingredients to come up with meal ideas and cook from scratch."
Last week, the BBC was ordered to make cost savings following the publication of the government's White Paper, a policy document on the future of the BBC and the renewal of its Royal Charter, an agreement with the government on the BBC's funding and objectives in its role as public broadcaster over the next 11 years.
The White Paper paved the way for more spending cuts at the BBC – generally, a much-loved British institution – as the income it receives from license fee (meant to be paid by all U.K. households that access BBC output) has been frozen at £3.7 billion a year until 2022. As such, savings must be found and the BBC's website was earmarked early on as a possible target for cuts.
Defenders of the BBC's website fear that a wealth of useful know-how will be lost, however, and are pleading with the corporation to keep the recipes. There has been the suggestion that the commercial BBC Good Food website could take some of the recipes on too.
The petition to save the recipes states that it is "madness" to remove a "comprehensive archive which has taken years to create, not to mention time and money" especially at a time when the government is trying to promote healthy eating.
The petition also questioned how much keeping the recipe archive online really cost.
"Whilst maintaining and developing it undoubtedly takes investment, simply retaining the archive in its current form is surely not an overly expensive task, especially measured against the meager cost savings and the loss to the community, as evidenced by the outcry on social media…We plead with the BBC to keep the recipes and find cost savings elsewhere."