Councils Project


Of all the things I learned whilst writing my book, this is the most important. This is the one that most requires action. To make the Regrowth model a reality, we need to get every council in the UK to make a commitment to food growing spaces as part of new developments and/or redevelopments.

All councils are required by law to keep certain documents. Amongst these are Development Planning Documents (DPD). These are the documents in which we would ideally want councils to make their commitment. All other planning decisions flow down from DPDs, so a commitment at this level would make food growing a mandatory requirement.

To find out which councils do and do not already have such a commitment, I have spent the past few months sending out Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to every council in the country.

The questions I asked were:

1. What is your town’s overall DPD?

2. Does your DPD contain a specific commitment to food growing, as part of new developments and/or redevelopments?

3. If your current DPD does not contain such a commitment, do you intend to introduce one in your next DPD?

You can view my database of the results HERE.

But I need your help. Have a look at the database, see if your council has made a commitment. If not, get in contact with your council and/or your councillors and ask them to do so. There’s a complete list of all UK councils at Openly Local. You can find your Councillors at WriteToThem. If you want to send an FoI request, I’ve created a form letter based on what I send, which you can view HERE

If they won’t make a commitment at DPD level, ask them to adopt it as supplementary guidance. Brighton and Hove council took this purely advisory approach and, in just one year, they went from 1% of new developments with food spaces, to 38%!

If we all get together and apply pressure on this, we could get every single council to commit. In so doing, we would help the local food agenda take a huge leap forwards!

If you do make contact with your council and/or councillors, please get in CONTACT and let us know.