Events Sustainable Food Places

Devolution, the rising powers of Metro Mayors and food

Online workshop Thursday 27 June 2024 10:00 11:00

Join this learning session on the history and outlook of devolution in England, the growing powers and influence of Combined Authorities and Metro Mayors and how to engage.

By 2025, combined authority areas will represent 57 per cent of England’s population, 60 per cent of its economic output, and 42 per cent of the land area. Metro mayors are becoming increasingly powerful and influential figures. Several metro mayor candidates made food-related pledges central to their campaigns at the last local elections, including pledges on free school meals (Sadiq Khan in London and Richard Parker in West Midlands), and healthy food advertising in their transport networks (Kim McGuinness in the North East).

This session is aimed at organisations working to transform the food system at a local, regional or national level including food partnerships, Sustain alliance members and councils. It will help to increase knowledge on how combined authorities work and how to engage, including:

  • History of devolution
  • Four levels of devolution framework and key powers
  • How food can co-exist across key areas
  • The growing influence of mayors
  • Tips for engaging with officers in combined authorities and metro mayors
  • Links to information and resources


Chair: Sofia Parente – Head of Local Action, Sustain

History of devolution and how food fits across key areas in Combined Authorities (20 min) - Christopher Yap PhD, Research Fellow, Centre for Food Policy, City - University of London Presentation

An inside view of food policy and action (10 min) – Sarah Mellor, Head of Sustainable Production and Consumption and Elaine Morgan, Principal for Strategy Reform, Greater Manchester Combined Authority Presentation 

Limitations from working solely at a local authority level and engaging senior officers in West Yorkshire Combined Authority (10 min) – Ben Fletcher, Bradford Sustainable Food Partnership, Sonja Woodcock, Food Wise Leeds and Aine Douglas, Calderdale Food Network

Q&A (20 min)

Further reading

Leveraging knowledge-policy interfaces for food systems transformation in the UK: Lessons from civil society 

Getting food policy on the Mayoral table: a comparison of two election cycles in New York and London - ScienceDirect

The Role and Engagement of Mayors in Local Food Policy Groups: Comparing the Cases of London and Bristol - ScienceDirect

Published Thursday 27 June 2024

Sustainable Food Places: The Sustainable Food Places Network helps people and places share challenges, explore practical solutions and develop best practice on key food issues, so if you are working to drive positive food change or are interested in developing a programme, please do get in touch.

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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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