At last, after many years lobbying, the Scottish Government have produced a consultation paper for a new bill which includes allotments.
The new Bill will be called the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill, (CERB). Here are the paragraphs which relate specifically to allotments:
Providing communities with space to grow fruit and vegetables or establish community gardens can lead to better health, environmental and social outcomes. It can also be a tool to building community capacity. Current allotment legislation
dates back to 1892 and although it contains a well defined set of responsibilities and land tenure lease agreements, the language is outdated and there are no set time frames for local authorities to meet their responsibilities. At present, policies and provision of allotments varies across Scotland.
Although there are a number of independently owned allotments, the vast majority are owned by local authorities. According to a survey in 2010 there were 4465 local authority allotment plots across Scotland, but also a waiting list of 3019. In our manifesto we committed to increasing the land available for allotments in Scotland by using unused and under-used public sector land. Our National Food and Drink Policy also seeks to ensure that allotments and 'grow-your-own' projects are strategically supported.
In 2009 we convened the Grow Your Own Working Group to consider how allotments and grow-your-own projects could be supported. One of the Group?s recommendations was to amend the Allotments (Scotland) Act 1892 to provide for a
specified timescale for allotment provision and a specified number of allotments per head of population.
There are two questions which relate to allotments
Q31 What, if any, changes should be made to existing legislation on allotments?
Q32 Are there any other measures that could be included in legislation to support communities taking forward grow-your-own projects
What we need is an actual time scale for Local Authorities to provide allotments where there is a demand and a nation-wide target that by 2028, the density of allotments will be one per 100 of the Scottish population. This is still below the number of allotments during the Second World War when the estimated number was one per 50.
The Public Finance Manual decrees that value for money must be obtained when selling or even leasing land. This needs to be changed to allow more public land to become available cheaply for allotments.
Go to the Government web site http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/06/7786
It's not necessary to answer all of the questions. However, make sure you reply to Questions 31 and 32.
Every plot holder and those on the waiting lists who respond to the consultation can help develop allotments in Scotland for the next fifteen years. Do your bit, you will be making allotments available for our future generations. The Scottish Government has just extended the consultation period to the 26th of September.