Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society

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Scottish Government Inquiry into Accessing Allotments

On Friday 6th May 2022, members of the SAGS board met with the Scottish Government to contribute to their inquiry on whether the Community Empowerment Act has reduced the barriers to accessing allotments. The meeting, with representatives from the Local Government, Housing & Planning Committee addressed the current situation of lengthening waiting lists, lack of support for developing groups and looked at the effectiveness of the Community Empowerment Act and what changes should be implemented to improve the ‘landscape’ for community growing.

SAGS trustees provided an insight into the difficulties in using sec 9 of the CEA as a “one size fits all’ tool. The principle reasons for this is the inconsistent approach of Local Authority bodies in Scotland with respect to the provision of land for growing, including repurposing grey field sites and the associated costs in developing infrastructure around community growing facilities and traditional allotments.

SAGS trustees also went into some detail about management of land rights, sighting parts 3 and 5 of the act as examples of legislation already in place to make it easier, not harder, to make land available for growing. Holding local authorities to account on this issue is pressing.

Other aspects of legislation were also discussed, such as the Scottish Government Food Growing Strategy, which requires a major review as many Local Authorities are very late in delivering their draft proposals. SAGS is working with Local Authorities and Scottish Government to bring all Local Authority Food Growing Strategies to at least a draft stage by mid 2022. All parties agreed that this positive line of communication should be developed further and that a review of the CEA (sec9)  is necessary to ensure allotments and community growing can be placed front and centre in the work being done by the Local Government, Housing & Planning Committee.

Anyone with an interest in local food growing can contribute to this inquiry and this is a great opportunity for you to put forward your views and have them heard.

To contribute, simply click on the link below (links to the Scottish Government inquiry page) and fill out the form.