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More Allotments Please

We’re about to depart for the sunnier lands of Lanzarotte but I promised to post a couple of things before we go so this is it. The  house, cats and garden are in the tender hands of the housesitter and Therese from plot 1 has promised to water the greenhouses on the allotment.

So this will be my last entry for a few weeks – please note new comments may not be approved until we return.

First of all, there’s a petition to try to get the government to provide more allotments. Hopefully they’ll pay attention to it in between checking their expense claims and in-fighting.

Now to back this up,  Margaret and Ian Campbell have produced a really interesting survey on the number of allotments and the waiting lists for them. The really concerning thing is that waiting lists averaged 4 people for every 100 plots in 1996 but now that has risen to 49 people per 100 plots.  Some waiting lists have been closed so the real figure may even be higher.

Margaret has produced a letter template you can use if you want to distract your MP from his discussions with the fees office about having his duck house cleaned on our money,

The easy way to get in touch is to use the Write to Them web site and follow the links in the letter to see the reports for yourself.

Dear [your MP]

In your constituency we are struggling with lack of allotment provision. I would like to draw your attention to a report released this week on a study of allotment waiting lists in England, and to ask you to raise this issue in Parliament.

The report can be found at
http://www.transitiontownwestkirby.org.uk/files/ttwk_nsalg_survey_09.pdf
The individual council responses can be viewed on the website www.WhatDoTheyKnow.com, and a spreadsheet containing the responses is available at www.transitiontownwestkirby.org.uk/files/allotment_waiting_lists_09.xls

Very briefly, the study looked at those sites managed by the principal English councils, and had a response rate of 99%. It showed that on average, for every 100 established plots there are now 49 people on waiting lists. In the last major study in 1997 there were only 4 people waiting for every 100 plots in England.

In response to questions and debates in Parliament, Ministers repeat that councils have a duty to assess need in their area and provide sufficient allotments where neccessary. They point out that the Government issues clear guidelines to this effect and that further Government input is therefore unnecessary.

The increase in demand for allotments reflects the rising interest in locally grown food, and healthy eating. Investment by Local Authorities and Central Government would support these aspirations and be consistent with supporting an economy in recession, offering a productive activity for the unemployed, supporting community cohesion and reducing carbon dioxide emissions through reduced food miles.

This study offers evidence to question the effectiveness of current guidelines and, we hope, an opportunity to put allotments back on the agenda in Parliament.

Yours

[Your name]

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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