Dig in for our allotments

Allotment holders 
nationwide are gathering to safeguard their plots in light of increasing worries that 
allotment land may be sold off.

A recent survey conducted by the National Allotment Society found that 74 per cent of its members are worried that their allotment land will be sold off and redeveloped in the future, while the society itself receives hundreds of calls a year from allotment holders looking for advice on how best to safeguard their plots.

Donna McDaid, national 
secretary for the society, said: “Unfortunately in this day and age, it is too easy for landlords to dispose of allotment land without realising the huge benefits they provide to individuals, communities and the environment.

“Since the Localism Act has come into force, there is now an even greater need to galvanise the interest and support of local communities, especially as planners see allotments as prime development land.”

With National Allotments Week looming, local allotment associations up and down the country are hosting ‘Parties on the Plot’ to help galvanise community support for the allotment movement and in turn safeguard sites from the prospect of development.

More than 35 events are planned throughout the week, ranging from barbecues and plant stalls to cream teas and children’s festivals. The week will showcase the wider benefits of allotment gardening to all.

There are an estimated 330,000 allotment plots in the UK and nearly 100,000 people on the allotment waiting lists, according to the society, with rents ranging from £5 to £120 a year.

The organisation is concerned that if this land was developed, billions of insects and animals would be wiped out, the risk of flooding in towns and cities would increase and air pollution would intensify, not to mention the detrimental impact it would have on people’s health and wellbeing.

To find an allotment near you, call your local council or visit your library which should have a list of allotment sites in the area. Some councils provide literature, run courses for beginners and take part in National Allotments Week.