Cultivating the Capital: Food growing and planning systems in London

Date published: 
06 January 2010

Our report Cultivating the Capital calls for changes to the planning system to exploit the capital’s potential to become more self-sufficient. It highlights the need for amendments to the London Plan and local authority planning policies to encourage food growing in London.

The capital currently produces more than 8,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables, including grapes, aubergines, potatoes, cauliflowers and cabbages as well as around 27 tonnes of honey, meat, milk and eggs. But London could produce so much more; the report found that much of the “agricultural” land around London – around 15 per cent of the capital’s total area, mostly in the Green Belt - is not actively farmed.

The report calls on the Mayor to make specific amendments to the London Plan to remove barriers to the viability of farms and highlight food growing as a particularly desirable use in the Green Belt. The Mayor should also integrate urban agriculture into waste, water and energy policies and empower boroughs to encourage growing spaces on housing developments, rooftops and vacant land. Other recommendations include:

  • Removing barriers to commercial viability
  • Encouraging more farmers markets and distribution channels
  • Tackling crime on farms
  • Assessment of further available sites for food growing.

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