Allotment laws in Scotland are set to change. The Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society (SAGS) have been working very hard on your behalf to influence the new legislation to protect allotments. A whole section of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act, section 9, has been devoted to allotments and so far we are reasonably pleased with the way the legislation has evolved but there is still a lot more work to do and we need your help.
The law’s been passed but secondary legislation and guidelines must follow.
The value of allotments today is recognized in the main legislation offering some protections for existing allotments and incentives for councils to tackle long waiting lists. This means that in theory everyone who has a plot can keep their plot and everyone who wants a plot should be able to get one, albeit not immediately. However at the moment this new law cannot be implemented until secondary legislation along with guidance notes and guidelines for local authorities is developed. At the moment the Scottish Government is consulting on these aspects and SAGS committee members are working hard to make sure everything ties up to benefit plot holders. We need your help and support for this.
We need to be vigilant.
According to the Act there should be an opportunity for everyone who wishes it to have a plot of land to cultivate. This is undeniably positive but we need to keep onto things. Land is desirable and we must make absolutely sure our right to a plot of land is nailed down. History shows the plot can be lost. In 1950 legislation was brought into force giving people the right to a plot of land however almost immediately another piece of legislation, The Housing Act, trumped it. Over the next twenty years the number of plots fell dramatically. Lets ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Lets really empower our plot-holding community.
The whole thrust of the Community Empowerment Act is about partnership and co-production so let us join together as partners and see this legislation enacted on the ground. Lets make sure the secondary legislation and all guidelines support the intentions of the headline legislation. We want to see allotments in every new development, regeneration area and in existing settlements across Scotland but we need action and commitment in all our local communities keeping the pressure on. Making law is a long process, we are more than halfway there. SAGS committee members will continue to do our best but everyone involved in allotments, those who would like their own allotments and those who believe in allotments must help. Environmentalists, foodies, community councilors, families, plotholders, those on waiting lists and others come and join us. You can find out more at our annual conference held in Dunblane on the 18th of June.
What we can do.
These are the things we need help with so please get in touch. Every little bit of time and effort helps. Give and much or as little as you can of you’re brainpower, skills and networking. The elements of the law we must see acted on:
The law says that all local authorities have a duty to assess demand for plots by keeping proper waiting lists. Let us make sure this is happening across the country.
- The law says that all local authorities must ‘take reasonable steps’ to offer plots of a required size at a fair rent. Lets check what is happening and how every local authority is implementing this.
- The law says that all local authorities must prepare a food growing strategy and identify land suitable for allotments. Lets ask them, lets check.
Lets be fair.
Local authorities have a tough job just now. Austerity, funding cuts, loss of jobs all impact on the workers and the managers. Land isn’t just sitting there for the taking; there are contamination issues, legal issues and planning issues to contend with. However our vision of everyone who wants a plot having one, of a food growing future and of a happy healthy and sustainable community relies on us working with local authorities to overcome these issues.
We have a great opportunity but WE NEED HELP from existing and potential plot - holders. Please come to the Annual Scottish Allotments Conference or send your interest and contacts to firstname.lastname@example.org. We need a network of active existing and potential plot-holders across the country to set up groups in the local areas to share information and give support.
Remember SAGS a voluntary organisation without any paid staff. We need active members to be strong and effective. If you can help in any capacity please contact us.