THE growing challenge of getting an allotment is set to be investigated by a Scottish Parliament committee.

The Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee is to explore whether council provision of allotments is sufficient as well as looking at how supply and demand varies across the country.

It will form part of the committee’s post-legislative scrutiny of the Community Empowerment Act 2015, which aimed to encourage and promote community participation and engagement in local decision-making.

Part nine of the Act requires local authorities to maintain waiting lists and take reasonable steps to provide allotments if waiting lists exceed certain trigger points.

The Committee now wants to hear from people in communities throughout Scotland about their experiences of getting an allotment and what more could be done to ensure there is adequate provision.

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Committee Convener Ariane Burgess MSP said: “The Community Empowerment Act sowed the seeds for the provision of allotments throughout Scotland. But we already know that in some areas, this has failed to take root and flourish.

“The benefits of allotments have been well documented, not just in terms of health and well-being but also around intergenerational engagement, waste reduction and biodiversity. And the pandemic and the cost of living crisis have put these benefits in sharp relief.

“We will be looking at the availability of land and how it is allocated by local authorities, but we also want to hear about what else could be done to make sure that allotments and their users can thrive.”

Other areas which will be explored by the committee include the impact of the pandemic on the demand and supply of allotment sites and the effect allotment provision has on local community food growing.