Thousands wait years for allotments in Scottish cities

Allotment The Greens surveyed the availability of allotments in Scotland's cities

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Thousands of people are facing waiting lists of up to nine years for a local authority allotment, the Scottish Greens have said.

In Edinburgh the wait can be between four and nine years, while in Aberdeen the wait can stretch up to seven years.

The figures were disclosed in response to freedom of information requests by Green MSP Alison Johnstone to local authorities covering Scotland's cities.

Ms Johnstone called for new "right-to-grow" legislation.

Derelict sites

There were 2,773 people in Edinburgh on the local authority allotment waiting list.

In Aberdeen the figure was 279, while in Dundee it was 340 people.

Glasgow City Council said it did not have its own waiting lists and Highland Council did not respond to the request, the Greens said.

Start Quote

These figures suggest Scotland needs right-to-grow legislation in the same way we have seen community groups being given the right to buy land”

End Quote Alison Johnstone Green MSP

Perth and Kinross Council replied that it did not have any allotments and Stirling Council has only one site which has no waiting list.

Ms Johnstone, MSP for Lothian and food spokeswoman for the Greens, also highlighted official statistics showing that almost 31% of Scotland's population lived within 500m of a derelict site last year.

"These figures suggest Scotland needs right-to-grow legislation in the same way we have seen community groups being given the right to buy land that comes up for sale," she said.

"I will be looking for opportunities in the forthcoming Community Empowerment Bill to give control to the increasing numbers of people looking to grow their own food because the demand is there, the land is there and the benefits are obvious."

Scotland has more than 200 allotment sites, mostly council-owned.

In 2008, the Scottish government asked public bodies to consider how they could free up land to increase the number of allotments in Scotland.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Growing your own food is continuing to grow in popularity and allotments provide a range of benefits such as an opportunity to learn new skills, an understanding of where our food comes from and better health.

"We consulted earlier this year on plans to simplify Scotland's allotment rules, including using unused and underused assets. We are currently considering what changes could be made to the existing legislation and will set out our proposals in the coming weeks. "

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