Food and Planning: How London's planners can improve access to healthy and sustainable food

Planners have an influential role to play in making it possible for people to enjoy good, fresh food that is affordable and readily accessible. This document presents guidance from the London Development Agency on how planners can help to improve access to healthy and affordable food for people living in deprived areas of London. It contains a wealth of ideas, drawing on examples of what local authorities and organisations have done and the lessons learnt.


Written to contribute to the development of the Mayor's London Food Strategy, this report draws on the experiences of London's planners in helping local people gain better access to good food, food skills, and opportunities to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

Planners have an influential role to play in making it possible for people to enjoy good, fresh food that is affordable and readily accessible. This document presents guidance from the London Development Agency on how planners can help to improve access to healthy and affordable food for people living in deprived areas of London. It contains a wealth of ideas, drawing on examples of what local authorities and organisations have done and the lessons learnt.

The guidance presents the evidence that poor access to healthy and affordable food contributes to inequalities in life expectancy in London boroughs. It offers a framework within which London borough planners can seek to tackle these problems. It also signals how work to improve food access can help local authorities fulfil targets and commitments in the London Plan, local area frameworks, sub-regional development frameworks, Local NHS Delivery Plans, community plans and local Public Service Agreements.

What we know

  • Food and nutrition are a major public health issue
  • People living on low incomes suffer disproportionately from diet-related diseases
  • Local authorities can reduce health inequalities by improving access to healthy and affordable food

What this document adds

  • A framework showing how london borough planners can improve access to healthy and affordable food
  • Guidance on key factors that need to be addressed
  • Guidance on measures that can meet targets in development frameworks, community plans and local public service agreements
  • Examples of what local authorities have done and the lessons learnt

Progress update: Since publication of this report, Sustain has worked with local authorities, community support workers, planners and social landlords to, for example, develop retail strategies that support good food and establish community food growing spaces for the benefit of local people, particularly those living on a low income. See for example: Capital Growth, the campaign to support 2,012 new community food growing spaces for London by the end of 2012, www.capitalgrowth.org

Report contents

Foreword by Kath Dalmeny, Policy Director of Sustain and member of the London Food Board Executive

Summary

Introduction

1. Why is access to healthy and affordable food important?

  • Fruit and vegetables are central to public health policy…
  • …but people on a low income may have poor access to fruit and vegetables

2. Why is improving food access important to local authorities?

  • The London Plan
  • Local Public Service Agreements
  • PSAs and targets for reducing health inequalities
  • Primary Care Trust priorities (in relation to national public health policy)
  • Neighbourhood renewal
  • Related social, environmental and regeneration objectives

3. How can London’s borough planners improve food access?

  • Mapping and monitoring
  • Consultation with residents and local businesses
  • Support for existing and new neighbourhood food retail outlets
    • ODPM Under-Served Markets Project
    • Wholesale markets
    • Street markets and covered markets
    • Farmers’ markets and local box delivery schemes
    • Crime reduction initiatives
    • Mixed use development
    • Other work to support food retailers
  • Support for community food projects and educational activities
  • Using Section 106 agreements

Appendices

  • Appendix 1. Glossary and definitions of terms
  • Appendix 2: Food access and Unitary Development Policies of London Boroughs
  • Appendix 3. Acknowledgements
     

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01/03/2004
Planning Food Cities

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