Sustain Planning Food Cities Getting started

What could local food groups do?

Does your planning authority have up to date planning policies but nothing on the food system?

If you cannot find any specific planning policies for community food growing or access to food in the adopted policies, ask the planning policy team if there are any other relevant policies and consider using one of the other areas of the planning system outlined in this online toolkit.

The “adopted” policies are the policies that have been formally agreed by the local planning authority/the Council and have been through an examination by a planning inspector. They are used to assess planning applications.

Is no local plan review underway?

Authorities must carry out an assessment of whether their local plan remains relevant and effectively addresses the needs of the local community, or whether policies need updating. If a review is definitely not underway you may need to explore other opportunities. This toolkit touches on some of these in the sections on

Is a review underway?

If there are no specific planning policies for community food growing or access to food in the emerging documents - Look in the relevant sections of this online toolkit to see how you might get involved.

Is there no interest or support for a good food environment?

If you find there is a lack of interest in community food growing or a good food environment, do not despair, you can:

  • Rely on higher level policies – eg national policies in your National Planning Policy Frameworks in particular guidance on health and food, and, in London, the London Plan where there are supportive policies. (see Making the case for community food growing)
  • Identify more general local plan policies which refer to Green Infrastructure, amenity space, open space, quality of development, health, climate change, regeneration, etc.
  • Respond to major planning applications and monitor whether or not there is provision for food growing space.
  • Work with the Council to adapt and promote the Brighton Planning Advice Note
  • Liaise with Councillors
  • Offer support to neighbourhood forums to write planning policies which seek provision for community food growing in new development, support new food growing spaces in existing localities and identify community food growing spaces to be protected.

Should other Food related issues be addressed in your area?

A suite of planning policies for a good food environment

We have published a briefing, submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), which lays out our suggestions for national development management policies to achieve a sustainable food and farming system. These policies could be adapted right away by local planning authorities to make them specific to their area. Some are easy to implement with a high impact. For example:

Public Realm

A local plan policy could look for free drinking water to be provided at appropriate locations in new or redeveloped public realm. Read our blog to raise awareness of this issue.


Planning Food Cities: Find out how to get involved shaping the future of your local area to create a more sustainable and local food system.

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