Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015: consultation on guidance for local authorities

Consultation on guidance for local authorities regarding legislation on community empowerment and allotments.


The Scottish Government's Programme for Government focuses on the themes of an education system providing opportunities for all, an economy with more jobs and fair work, public services fit for the future, empowering people and communities through strengthened local democracy and safeguarding Scotland's place in the world.

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, was brought forward with the aim of empowering our communities by boosting the rights of community bodies and placing new duties and functions on public sector authorities.

The implementation of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 will help empower communities across Scotland and will increase access to land for food growing purposes, be that on allotments or any other Grow-Your-Own initiatives.


Legislative Framework

Currently allotments are governed by a complex framework of legislation:

1. The Allotments (Scotland) Act 1892 as amended by;
2. The Land Settlement (Scotland) Act 1919; and
3. The Allotments (Scotland) Acts of 1922 & 1950

Part 9 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 updates and simplifies allotments legislation, bringing it together in a single instrument, introducing new duties on local authorities to increase transparency on the actions taken to provide allotments in their area and limit waiting times.

Allotments are defined in Part 9 as land that is owned or leased by a local authority and used wholly or mainly for the cultivation of vegetables, fruit, herbs or flowers, and not for profit.

Policy Framework

In 2009 the Scottish Government published its first National Food and Drink Policy - Recipe for Success. This Policy made a clear commitment to strategically support allotments and community growing spaces. To help Scottish Government meet this end the Grow Your Own Working Group was established in 2009 and one of its recommendations was to amend the legislation governing allotments and specifically to review the duties placed on local authorities.

The SNP Manifesto in 2011 made a commitment to bring forward a Community Empowerment Bill and to update the legislation relating to allotments. This commitment acknowledged the view that the legislation was outdated and recognised that demand for suitable land to allow people to grow their own food continued to be high [1] .

The next phase of Scotland's 'National Food and Drink Policy; Becoming a Good Food Nation' was launched in June 2014. The Policy highlighted the successes of Scotland's first food and drink Policy whilst recognising the continuing challenges within Scotland's food and drink sector. The focus of the Policy is that everyone in Scotland is able to buy, eat and serve food that is affordable, healthy and sustainable.

Grow-Your-Own ( GYO), be it on an allotment or community garden, can increase access to affordable, healthy, sustainable food; a key aspect of our national Policy: Becoming a Good Food Nation

Purpose of Consultation

Part 9 of the 2015 Act brought forward a requirement for local authorities to have regard to any guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers about the carrying out of functions conferred on the authority by this Part.

A consultation is now underway, seeking to inform this guidance.


Email: Robin MacLean,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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