I received this email this morning, thank you Ms Campbell, and thought it of interest to everyone.
There is to be a debate in the Commons on allotment provision on Tues 22nd July.
People may wish to write to their local MPs to ask for support in resolving the waiting list problems.
There is a great service to assist you in contacting elected representatives here
Here follows my letter to my MP if this can be of any use (This provides a good template for you to write your own letter):
Dear Mr Hesford
I am writing to ask for your support in a debate on allotment provision which is to take place in the House of Commons on Tuesday the 22nd July.
Current legislation and guidance on allotment provision is summed up by Iain Wright, MP on behalf of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:
“Section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 places a duty on local authorities (except for inner London boroughs) to provide allotments where they perceive a demand for them in their area. Furthermore, ‘Planning Policy Guidance Note 17: Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation, 2002’ requires local authorities to make provision for all types of open space and requires them to undertake robust assessments of local needs and audits of existing open space, to establish standards for new provision. By implementing the guidance in PPG 17, local authorities should make adequate provision for allotments.” (Hansard 6 May 2008 : Column 737W)
This seems to reflect a national trend. A recent article from The Guardian (22nd March 2008) reports that “Demand outstrips supply most in Yorkshire, where six towns have a combined waiting list of more than 3,500 people. Sheffield has 1,400 on its list. Elsewhere, Manchester has 850 people on the waiting list for allotments, Edinburgh has 1,150, Plymouth 1,000 and Blyth Valley, in Northumberland, has more than 1,200. In Swindon, there is now a five-year waiting list.”
In 1998 the Conclusion of the Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Fifth Report talks of the anticipated future increase in demand for allotments. It mentions that the performance of local authorities with regard to allotment provision is “best described as patchy”. It is “disappointed to be told by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State that allotments are essentially a local issue. We believe that the provision of allotments is a national issue.” It calls for a consolidation of the legislation and a participatory role for central Government. (http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm199798/cmselect/cmenvtra/560/56014.htm)
Allotments combine physical activity with social interaction, learning and skills, recycling and the production of cheap and healthy food. They contribute to the local informal economy and to the principles of environmental sustainability and biodiversity.
It appears that in the UK now, thousands of people are queuing to eat more healthily, take more exercise and live more sustainably. Surely this is a national issue? Is it not time for the Government to participate?