Allotments: duty to prepare a food growing strategy - guidance for local authorities

Statutory guidance for local authorities to assist them in their duty to prepare a food growing strategy, as set out in part 9, section 119 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.

Annex B - Advisory Bodies and Delivery Partners

The following list of advisory bodies and delivery bodies, which is not exhaustive, may be of help to local authorities as they develop their food-growing strategies.

Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS)

EPS provides environmental advice and policy updates on areas including air quality, land quality, noise and other environmental issues.

Environmental Health or Contaminated Land Officers

Environmental Health or Contaminated Land Officers, available within each local authority area, can provide a wealth of knowledge and guidance on potential land contamination and how to make sites safe and useable for food-growing. They can signpost community groups towards sources of funding to allow new sites proposed for food-growing to be investigated to ensure that they are free of contamination, or to advise on remediation work to make the site safe for food-growing.

greenspace scotland

greenspace scotland is a social enterprise and an independent charitable company. They work with a wide range of national and local partners to improve the quality of life of people living and working in urban Scotland through the planning, development and sustainable management of greenspaces as a key part of the green infrastructure of our towns and cities. Their goal is that everyone living and working in urban Scotland has easy access to quality greenspaces that meet local needs and improve their quality of life.

greenspace scotland developed the Our Growing Community toolkit to help Scottish communities explore new places and more ways to grow their own food and has since supported Twechar Community Action (East Dunbartonshire) to develop a growing map and action plan for Twechar – Edible Twechar. More information is available at:

greenspace scotland has worked with Aberdeen City, Clackmannanshire, Dundee, Falkirk, Glasgow and East Dunbartonshire Councils to support the development of their Food Growing Strategies. A suite of learning notes based on this work will be available here:

Grow Your Own Working Group

The Scottish Government established and continues to support the Grow Your Own Working Group. The terms of reference for the group were to take forward the aspects of the National Food and Drink Policy 'Recipe for Success' relating to growing your own food. This included:

  • Ensuring that allotments and GYO projects are strategically supported, and the objectives of the projects are, too;
  • Providing practical advice and best practice guidance that would appeal to public bodies, communities and individuals to help them develop local GYO initiatives.

The group was set up in December 2009 and produced a Recommendations Report [72] in February 2011. The report detailed 27 recommendations under six themes – planning, legal, skills, community land, guidance and funding.

In September 2016, the Grow Your Own Working Group delivered a national food growing strategy event[73] aimed at local authorities and the third sector to explore the details of Section 119 of the Act. Elements of that event, for example discussions around identifying land, increasing provision and working in areas of socio-economic disadvantage have helped to shape this statutory guidance to local authorities.

Members of the Grow Your Own Working Group can be found on the Organisation page of the Grow Your Own website. Membership of the group as at October 2018 is:

Any organisations wishing to enquire about participating in, or contributing to, the Grow Your Own working Group should contact Social Farms & Gardens[74].

Keep Scotland Beautiful

The Climate Challenge Fund, administered by Keep Scotland Beautiful on behalf of the Scottish Government, has funded community-led organisations across Scotland since 2008. As at September 2018, the Climate Challenge Fund has supported 497 projects involving food which aim to reduce carbon emissions associated with food by encouraging the growing and consumption of local food.

Through keep Scotland Beautiful, local authorities may have the opportunity to open communication channels with these groups to tap into the wealth of knowledge, experience and skills directly related to the process of developing and encouraging food growing on a local community scale, and to learn from their experiences.

Planning Advice Scotland (PAS)

PAS is a volunteer-led organisation supported by a network of over 400 specialist volunteers, including professionals from across the built environment sector. PAS provides impartial advice and skills training and supports communities to develop and deliver their own aspirations for their place.

Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS)

REHIS promotes the advancement of environmental health by stimulating interest in, and promoting education and training in environmental health.

REHIS also maintains high standards of professional practice and conduct of Environmental Health Officers in Scotland.

Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)

The RTPI champions the power of planning in creating prosperous places and vibrant communities. The RTPI shapes planning policy, raises professional standards and is the only body in the UK to confer chartered status to town planners, the highest professional qualification.

Scottish Allotments & Gardens Society

The Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society works for allotment sites and allotment holders throughout Scotland to:

Protect sites by:

  • Networking among allotment associations;
  • Campaigning nationally and locally;
  • Raising awareness of the planning process and new legislation.

Preserve skills in gardening and design through:

  • Recording the ongoing history of allotments;
  • Coordinating the conservation of seeds and plants.

Promote the value of allotments for:

  • Healthy activity and good food;
  • Celebrating our open air communities;
  • Saving the ecosystem and enhancing biodiversity.

The Scottish Allotments & Gardens Society produced Scotland's Allotment Site Design Guide in 2013.[75]

The society also produced the Finding Scotland's Allotments[76] report in 2007 which recorded that there were 6,300 allotment plots in Scotland. Recent research indicates there are now in excess of 10,000 allotment plots in Scotland.

Through individual and association subscribing members plus affiliation of Federations and Forums in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee, Scottish Allotment & Gardens Association seeks to represent the majority of allotment holders in Scotland.

The Society, with support from the Scottish Government, has produced a series of Galvanising Grassroots[77] guides to assist and inform both existing plot holders and potential new plot holders with their ongoing development in the context of the new allotments legislation.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

SEPA can provide advice and guidance in relation to waste management issues (for example, re-use or disposal of waste soils). They also work in partnership with local authorities and others in relation to flooding and land contamination and may be able to provide further support and information on these matters.

Social Farms & Gardens

Social Farms & Gardens, created through the merger of the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens and Care Farming UK, is a registered charity working across the UK to support, represent and promote community-managed farms, gardens, allotments and other green spaces, creating opportunities for local communities to grow.

In Scotland, Social Farms & Gardens has over 170 members as at September 2018. Membership is free to community managed organisations and works to help empower local people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to build better communities, often in deprived areas, and to make a positive impact on their surrounding environment.

Social Farms & Gardens provides core services including the provision of training, advice and publications. Specialist services include the Community Land Advisory Service, Growing Together, and Care Farming. Their members cover a total of 130 acres of land, employ over 200 people, give opportunities to approximately 4,000 volunteers, and host approximately 100,000 visitors a year.

Sustainable Scotland Network

The Sustainable Scotland Network consists of sustainable development officers and advocates from Scottish local authorities. It is Scotland's network for public sector professionals engaged in sustainability and climate action. The network showcases action taken to reduce emissions and they support deeper commitment and innovation on climate change and sustainability.

The network's strategic partners involve those engaged in climate change duties, including NHS Scotland, EAUC Scotland (Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges Scotland), and COSLA.

Trellis Scotland

Trellis is a national organisation for therapeutic gardening and supports over 376 projects that help people to transform their lives through growing activities and green spaces.

Their garden projects work to tackle health inequalities, poor diet and many health conditions including depression and stroke. Over 90% of these projects dedicate part, or all, of their growing space to food.

Trellis provides information services, training, advice, good practice exchange, a collective voice and hands-on support in the field to help garden projects succeed, maximising health benefits for more than 9,000 people every week.

Tripartite Group

In 2016, a Tripartite Group was established by Scottish Ministers to develop constructive dialogue with key allotment stakeholders and to monitor the implementation of Part 9.

The group consists of:
1. Local authority representatives (primarily allotment officers);
2. Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society (SAGS) members;
3. Scottish Government officials.

The Group meets quarterly and is accountable to the Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment.


Email: Pamela Blyth

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