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Good planning
for good food

How the planning system in England can support healthy and sustainable food.

This report explores how local authorities and communities can use planning policy and decisions to create more local and sustainable food systems.

Cities and the countryside have been shaped by how we produce, distribute and store our food. Planning is therefore integral to achieving a healthy and sustainable food system.

This might be by protecting land for food production, planning support for local infrastructure such as wholesale markets, or retaining food retail diversity that ensures everybody can buy affordable and fresh fruit and vegetables. 

Planning policy often fails to recognise the importance of food and the role to be played by the planning system to ensure sustainable production and consumption of food.  Sustain and the Local Action on Food network are therefore supportive of the following:

  • explicit and formal recognition of the need to incorporate food in policy guidance in the same way that other essential services such as water, waste, energy and housing are considered
  • targeted policy guidance from government on food on how planning authorities should routinely include food in their remit.      

Consultation responses on food and planning

As part of Sustain's work on planning and food we are engaging with the government and local and regional authorities to ask them to incorporate sustaimable food into their planning systems.  The following are some recent links to Sustain's consultation responses on food and planning issues:

  • Response to the review on Use Class Orders (September 2011) [download 54kb PDF]
  • Response to the London Plan (January 2010) [download 176.26kb PDF]
  • Response to the London Assembly's Review of Measures Designed to Support London's Local and Neighbourhood Shops [download 39.13kb PDF]
  • Response to London Borough of Tower Hamlets Core Strategy Consultation (October 2009) [download 37kb PDF]
  • Response to the London Assembly's Review of the Role of Commerical Agriculture in London (September 2009) [download 27PDF]
  • Response to the "Planning Policy Statement 4: Planning for Prosperous Economies" (July 2009) [download 52kb PDF]
  • Response to "Initial proposals for the revision of the London Plan" (June 2009) [download 230kb PDF]
  • Response to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) "Spatial Planning for health: Local authorities and primary care trusts" (May 2009) [download 50kb PDF]
  • Report on how London's planners can improve access to healthy and affordable food (2005) (download PDF)

We have also worked extensively with borough councils and London government on food and planning policies relating to the London area. Details are shown on the London Food Link food policy action page.

For more information please contact Suzanne Natelson at Sustain: 


Local Action on Food: The Local Action on Food network was run as part of the Big Lottery funded Making Local Food Work programme, 2007 to 2012. It has now closed.

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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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