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Volume 493: debated on Monday 8 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to encourage the development of more allotments; what guidance she has provided to local authorities on this issue; and what research her Department has undertaken into the potential contribution of allotments to local food chains and sustainable community agriculture. (278464)

At a meeting between my noble Friend Baroness Andrews and allotment policy stakeholders on 20 February 2009, it was agreed that the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens should be commissioned to update the Local Government Association (LGA) publication “Growing in the Community” and that this should be made available online, to ensure that it reaches a wider audience. “Growing in the Community” is a good practice guide for local authority allotment officers, which assists them in their statutory duty to provide allotments. A free copy was sent to all local authorities following its revision in March 2008 and it is available on request from the LGA.

In respect of research into the potential contribution of allotments, my officials have started discussions with DEFRA about jointly commissioning research to identify and collect evidence on how communities can be engaged and empowered to realise the benefits of urban green spaces (including allotments), which align with key Government priorities.