24 Apr 2011

Threat to allotments?

The Government a while back announced a "Review of statutory duties", aimed at identifying and removing duties from local authorities which are a "burden". It closes tomorrow. One of the duties they are considering removing is the duty to provide sufficient number of allotments for people in the area who want one. This means ALL allotments, including existing ones, not just new ones are under threat.

Photos: friends allotments in Exmouth
We could lose many allotments just at a time they have become hugely popular in many sections of the community, and when were are increasingly concerned about the need for more exercise and a healthy diet for individuals, and about food security for the nation. Meanwhile the Whiteshill and Ruscombe Allotments have their official opening in just over a week.

See details of Government consultation and how you can comment here. The survey can be done here. Please also take 30 seconds to speak up for legal protection for wildlife and the environment by signing the 38 degrees campaign at:

Paul Mobbs has a huge long list of other items he is concerned about...not just allotments. This review potentially could remove much that has been fought for....see Pauls' list by clicking on read more.

Local authority duties I'm concerned about:

DCLG_150        Have regard to development plan and other material
considerations in determining planning and other applications.

DCLG_151        By order not to determine applications for planning permission
before end of prescribed period

DCLG_054        Allow public to access certain meetings and documents.

DCLG_061        Have regard to a code of practice on publicity.

DCLG_062        Designate officers as head of paid service and
monitoring officer

DCLG_059        Comply with parish poll rules where a poll is demanded at a
parish meeting.

DCLG_060        Take certain steps in response to reports from the Local
Government Ombudsman.

DCLG_068        Appoint one or more overview and scrutiny committees

DCLG_070        Respond to its own overview and scrutiny committee

DCLG_064        Allocate appointments according to voting strength of political

DCLG_084        Have a petitions scheme (as from 15 June 2010).

DCLG_093        Prepare a written constitution and keep it up to date.

DCLG_136        Allotment authorities (that is, parish councils, or where there
isn't one, district councils) must provide a sufficient number of allotments and
let them to persons resident in the area (where they are of the opinion that
there is a demand).

DCLG_140        Local Planning Authorities to take into account environmental
assessment before granting planning or subsequent consent under a planning
permission for certain categories of development

DCLG_181        Prepare a statement of community involvement

DCLG_071        Prepare a Sustainable Community Strategy and associated duty to

DCLG_073        Adopt a code of conduct for members and co-opted members.

DCLG_058        Comply with rules on meetings and proceedings in Schedule 12 to
the LGA Local Government Act e.g. hold an annual meeting (para 1), record the
names of members present at a meeting (para 40), draw up minutes of
proceedings of a meeting (para 41).

DCLG_158        Have regard to development plan and other material
when deciding whether or not to revoke or modify a planning permission (and
connected procedures under other provisions to be complied with in order to
revoke or modify permission).

DCLG_002        Duty to rehouse residential occupiers displaced by a compulsory
purchase order or housing order where no affordable alternative accommodation
is available.

DCLG_010        To consult tenants before their homes are sold to a private

DCLG_025        Duty to make inquiries into cases of homelessness or threatened

DCLG_027        Interim duty to accommodate in case of apparent need

DCLG_028        Duty to persons becoming homeless intentionally

DCLG_029        Duty to persons not in priority need who are not homeless

DCLG_030        Duty to persons with priority need who are not homeless

DCLG_031        Duties in case of threatened homelessness

DCLG_128        The Audit Commission has the power to require bodies subject to
audit (including local authorities) to provide the Commission with all such
information as the Commission may reasonably require for the discharge of its
functions under this Act. It is a criminal offence not to comply.

Other government departments:

DECC_005        Keeping of public registers of regulatory information

DEFRA_091       To maintain a register

MOJ_049 When public authority receives a request for information they have
two duties under the Freedom of Information Act: 1)The duty to inform the
requestor whether or not they hold the requested information 2) and if they do
hold the information, the duty to provide the information to the requestor.

DECC_003        Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 -- Legal
framework for identification and remediation of contaminated land ( Department
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs responsible for conventional
contamination while the Department of Energy and Climate Change  responsible
for radioactive contamination).

DEFRA_055       Prohibition on unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or
disposal etc of waste

DEFRA_083       Duty to investigate complaints of a statutory nuisance

DEFRA_084       Duty to serve abatement notices where a statutory
nuisance exists
or is likely to occur or recur

DEFRA_088       To serve enforcement notices on those contravening conditions of
an authorisation

DEFRA_082       Duty to inspect the local authority area from time to time to
detect statutory nuisances

DEFRA_160       Some enforcement regulations, similar to those concerning
pesticides. Local health and safety authorities (which in two-tier areas sit
at district level) share with HSE and Environment Agency the enforcement duty
with regard to identification and application of risk management measures.
Local consumer safety authorities (i.e. trading standards, which in two-tier
areas sit at county level) share with HSE, the EA and local health and safety
authorities the enforcement duty with regard to authorisations and

DEFRA_056       Duty to take all reasonable steps to keep controlled waste safe,
and if transferred that it only goes to someone authorised to transport,
recycle or dispose of it safely.

DEFRA_057       To report information on action taken in relation to unlawfully
deposited waste.

DEFRA_069       To make arrangements for the collection of at least two types of
recyclable household waste

DEFRA_078       Local Authority civic amenity sites act as Designated Collection
Facilities for the purpose of collection waste electrical and electronic

DEFRA_106       To require remediation of contaminated land

DEFRA_112       To determine applications for a pollution permit under the
Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010, and to secure compliance with
permit conditions (including securing compliance with various EU Directives
via permit conditions);

DEFRA_114       These duties include assessing damage; identifying an operator;
requiring proposals from an operator on proposed remediation; considering
requests for action and consulting on them; and serving remediation notices.

DEFRA_121       LA's have planning control duties set out in Planning Policy
Statement 9 (PPS9) where they should adhere to key principles to ensure that
the potential impacts of planning decisions on biodiversity, geological
conservation and protected habitats and species are fully considered.

FSA_001 Local authorities (LAs) are designated as food authorities for the
purposes of the Food Safety Act.  The Act allows Local Authorities to inspect
and seize food which does not comply with food safety requirements, issue
improvement and prohibition notices and emergency prohibition notices and
orders, and gives them the right to enter premises. They are given the power
to make prosecutions where appropriate.   Local Authorities must appoint
Public Analysts, may provide facilities for examinations and take samples.
Local Authorities may provide food hygiene training courses and provision for
facilities for cleansing shellfish.  Local Authorities must make returns and
reports to the Minister.

DEFRA_003       Statutory Undertakers, etc: General Duty.  LA's will be expected
to adopt the highest standards in relation to Sites of Special Scientific
Interest (SSSI's) that the own, in order to secure positive management of the
Sites of Special Scientific Interest in accordance with an agreed management

DEFRA_008       Exercise of functions in accordance with the Habitats Directive.

DEFRA_004       Statutory Undertakers, etc: duty in relation to carry out
operations.  LAs have duty to take reasonable steps, consistent with the
proper exercise of the authority's functions, to further the conservation and
enhancement of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI's) special features.
(Through ownership, most LAs also directly responsible for the management of a
number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest).

DEFRA_007       General duty on all public bodies (including LAs) to have regard
to the conservation of biodiversity in the proper exercise of their functions.

DEFRA_009       Natura 2000 sites – statutory duty to assess fully the
implications of development proposals for protected sites. Sites of Special
Scientific Interest (SSSIs) – LAs required to “take reasonable steps” to
further the conservation and enhancement of special features.  Through
ownership, most LAs are also directly responsible for the management of a
number of SSSIs.

DEFRA_016       Hedgerow Regulations 1992 (Made under section 97 of the
Environment Act 1995) -- The protection of important countryside hedgerows (on
or adjoining land used for agriculture or forestry; breeding or keeping of
horses, ponies or donkeys; common land; village greens; Sites of Special
Scientific Interest or Local Nature Reserves) by controlling their removal (in
whole or in part) through a system of notification. Land managers/utility
operators are required to notify the local planning authority of intention to
remove  a hedgerow setting out reasons for this. The LPA  has 42 calendar days
from receipt of notification to decide if the hedgerow is deemed to be
‘important’ and meets the criteria set out in the Regulations. If so, consent
for removal may be refused.

DEFRA_044       Part II of the Act covers duties to record, protect and maintain
the public rights of way network.  Local authorities have a statutory duty to
prepare Rights of Way Improvement Plans but not to implement them.  Local
authorities also have a statutory duty under Part V of the Act to establish
local access forums.

DEFRA_032       Duty to carry out specified works to footpath, bridleway or
restricted byway

DEFRA_035       Duty to keep a register of maps and statements deposited in
relation to rights of way over land.

DEFRA_098       To ensure that information is available in the vicinity of the
bathing water about: the bathing water’s current classification (from 2016);
any advice against bathing that has been introduced; the nature and expected
duration of abnormal situations; sources of more complete information.

DFT_062 To assert and protect the rights of the public to the use and
enjoyment of the highway

DFT_063 To prevent the stopping up or obstruction of the highway where it
would be prejudicial to interests of the area

DFT_065 To take proceedings in response to representations from parish or
community council or meeting

DFT_032 To keep an up-to-date list of highways that are maintainable at
public expense

DFT_060 To keep a register of applications relating to stopping up and
diverting of highway

DFT_061 To give an opportunity to make representations about any order to
stop up private access to highways

DFT_185 To prepare a local transport plan (LTP).  Duty, in developing a LTP
and carrying out functions, to take into account Government policies and have
regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State relating to climate
change and the protection or improvement of the environment

DFT_186 To consult when preparing local transport plan (LTP) and to keep it
under review

DFT_013 Integrated Transport Authority duty, in performing its functions, to
have regard to the needs of elderly or disabled persons

DEFRA_172       On local planning authorities to ensure that applications for
developments which may or do require an Environmental Impact Assessment and
where the  development is likely to affect the marine area for which the Marine
Management Organisation (MMO) has responsibility

DEFRA_017       Duty on commons registration authorities (exercising
functions of
a county council) to keep registers of common land and town or village greens.

DEFRA_023       Requirement on commons registration authority to allow public
inspection and copying of the registers; procedure amplified by r.53 of the
2008 Regulations.

DEFRA_175       Local authorities to make sewer maps available for inspection to
public free of charge and at any reasonable time

DEFRA_185       Highways Act 1980 Section 25(5) Duty to secure the footpath,
bridleway or restricted byway is dedicated in accordance with the agreement

DEFRA_006       Statutory Undertakers : duty in relation to authorising
operations.  If Local Authorities are to permit the carrying out of operations
likely to damage any special features of Sites of Special Scientific Interest,
they must give not less than 28 days notice of the proposed operations to
Natural England before granting a permission.  If afterwards the LA intends to
grant permission against advice it must notify Natural England and the
permission must be deferred for 21 days before operations can commence.  The
Secretary of State encourages discussion and agreement on MOUs between Natural
England and Local Authorities to ensure appropriate management of wildlife on
Sites of Special Scientific Interests for which LAs are responsible.

DEFRA_005       Statutory Undertakers, etc: duty in relation to carry out
operations.  LA's shall give notice to Natural England before carrying out
operations likely to damage the special interest of a Sites of Special
Scientific Interest, even if they would not take place on Sites of Special
Scientific Interest land and  restore a site to its former condition, as is
reasonably practicable, if operations cause damage.  They are encouraged to
consult Natural England over proposals on or affecting Sites of Special
Scientific Interests.  Any Sites of Special Scientific Interest checklist that
Local Authorities will have agreed encourages them to make statements of

DEFRA_011       Planning duties.  The LA has a duty to grant and review planning

DEFRA_002       Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Section 25(1) -- Requires
local authorities to take such steps as they consider expedient to bring the
effect of the provisions in Part I of the Act and any orders made under that
Part affecting the whole or part of their area, to the attention of the public
and school children.  A general provision for raising awareness of (and
presumably encouraging compliance with) national legislation that protects

DECC_002        Home Energy Conservation Act requires all United Kingdom local
authorities with housing responsibilities to prepare an energy conservation
report identifying practicable and cost-effective measures likely to result in
significant improvement in the energy efficiency of all residential
in their area; and to report on progress in implementing the measures.

DCMS_004        To grant public access to any monument under the ownership or
guardianship of the local authority by virtue of Ancient Monuments and
Archaeological Areas Act 1979

DCMS_005        A local authority shall only dispose of an ancient monument
situated in England which has been acquired by agreement, gift or transfer
(i.e. under s11 or 21 Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979)
after consulting with the Secretary of State

DCMS_029        Duty, when determining whether to charge for admission to a
museum or gallery, to take into account the need to secure that the museum or
gallery plays its full part in the promotion of education in the area

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